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Various Tools Used For Wood Working

Updated on March 10, 2013

Introduction

Woodworking can be a labour intensive job because activities such as cutting, fitting and finishing are all a part wood working. It is important to use the right tools for the job. This helps to reduce the required labour and makes woodworking much more convenient and enjoyable.

Tools Required To Accomplish Most Tasks.

The tools required to complete most tasks are simple and include such things as;

  • hammers
  • saws
  • wood glue
  • screws and other fasteners
  • chisels
  • a square and/or a combination square
  • marking tools such a marking gauge or marking knife
  • rulers

These tools are classed as hand tools and as such are operated by hand. They can be purchased in many places, either local or via the Internet at a reasonable cost. There are other tools that aren't necessarily required but which make woodwork a lot easier.

They include;

  • power drills
  • power saw e.g. a jigsaw, circular saw or table saw
  • a thicknesser, jointer or electric plane

The above list is by no means comprehensive and can be added too at any time. The need for this type of tool is dependent on the type of project being undertaken. These types of tools are also operated by hand, the difference is they either run on battery or mains power. They also tend to be more expensive than there non-powered relatives.

Workshop Hand Tools-The File

Types of Saws

From top to bottom.A Japanese Pull saw. A Gents or Dovetail Saw. A Tenon Saw .
From top to bottom.A Japanese Pull saw. A Gents or Dovetail Saw. A Tenon Saw .

Types of Saws Available

There are quite a number of different types of saws available and they include;

  • Japanese
  • Dovetail
  • Cross-Cut
  • Ripping
  • Tenon
  • Flush cut
  • Coping
  • Junior Coping
  • Chain Saw

The above-mentioned saws are all used for cutting timber but have different applications. For example, the dovetail saw is generally used in box making for cutting dovetail joints or cabinet making for cutting other types of joinery such as tenons or mitres. The Japanese saw has a very thin blade and is used for making very fine cuts. It is also a saw that cuts on the pull stroke rather than on the push stroke. There are many varieties of Japanese saws and they all have their own specific uses.

Typical marking tools used in woodworking
Typical marking tools used in woodworking

Marking Tools

A marking gauge can also be known by many other names such as a scratch gauge or awl and is used in both woodworking and sheet metalworking to mark lines for cutting and other processes. The purpose of the tool is to scribe a line parallel to a single reference edge or surface. It is commonly used in Joinery and Cabinet making to mark dimensions for the different types of joints. They can be made from metal and timber and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and brands.


A 6" metal type ruler with laser engraved increments
A 6" metal type ruler with laser engraved increments

Measuring Tools

These include measuring tapes, rulers and squares. They are specifically used for measuring dimensions in increments, either imperial or metric, depending on where in the world you are. They have a number of applications including woodwork and metalwork and also come in a variety of lengths and sizes. they can be made from metal or timber.

Metal rulers are a better choice when marking with a marking knife as they keep their edge. The increments are usually laser cut so tend to be a little more accurate. There is , however, one drawback to using a metal rule. It can be difficult to see the increments on a well use ruler in bright light as the light reflects of the surface of the ruler. This problem can be easily overcome with a little forethought.

Hammers

A hammer is one of the necessary tools any woodworker should have. They come in a number of varieties but only certain types are used in woodworking.

A one piece forged steel claw hammer
A one piece forged steel claw hammer

Claw Hammer

A claw hammer is a tool primarily used for driving nails into, or extracting nails from another object, usually timber. A claw hammer is generally associated with woodworking but is not limited to use with wood products. It is not suitable for heavy hammering on metal surfaces (such as in machining work), as the steel of its head is somewhat brittle;

An upholstery or tack hammer. One end is usually magnetized to facilitate placing tacks.
An upholstery or tack hammer. One end is usually magnetized to facilitate placing tacks.

Tack or Upholstery Hammer

A tack or upholstery hammer, as they are also known, is a lightweight hammer that isused for securing upholstery fabric to furniture frames using tacks or small nails. It can also be used for tacking plywood to the back of a cabinet or on the base of a small box among other uses. Usually, one face of the hammer is magnetized to aid in placement of tacks. This keeps both hands free to aid in keeping surfaces square and in place while applying tacks.

Wood Glue

Wood glue is anadhesive specifically used to tightly bond pieces ofwood together. Many substances have been used as glues.

Animal Glue

For many centuries animal glue, especially hide glue, was the primary adhesive of choice for a great many types of woodworking - furniture and lutherie among other things. Although not widely used these days it is still used in specialized applications such as musical instruments(lutherie), for replica furniture, and for repairs to antique woodwork.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Epoxy.  This particular brand used mainly in the recreational boat-building industry.
Epoxy.  This particular brand used mainly in the recreational boat-building industry.
Epoxy. This particular brand used mainly in the recreational boat-building industry.

Epoxy

Epoxy is generally a two part mix system that cures under a wider range of temperatures and moisture content than other glues. Unlike other types of glue it does not require pressure while curing - clamping actually weakens the bond. It has good gap-filling properties and bonds to most cured wood glues with the exception of PVA.

Two part epoxy adhesive is very resistant to ultraviolet light and salt water, most epoxy is heat resistant up to 350 °F. The formulations containing powdered metal and rubber or plasticizers are very tough and shock resistant. Epoxy can, however, trigger long-term sensitivity (allergies) from overexposure, and is often expensive.

CA or Superglue as it is better known can be used to coat pens once there turned and ready for finishing
CA or Superglue as it is better known can be used to coat pens once there turned and ready for finishing

CA (Cyanoacrylate)

Most commonly known as Crazy glue or Superglue. It is used mainly for small repairs, especially by wood turners. It bonds instantly, especially to skin. Cured Superglue is essentially a plastic material and is strong when cured. It is also easy to sand. Medium thick CA can be use to coat the timber used to turn pens. It has a longer drying time that makes it easier to apply.

A crosslink PVA Glue. It's waterproof!
A crosslink PVA Glue. It's waterproof!

PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate)

PVA is the most commonly used glue in woodworking and is also known as "white glue" or "hobby glue". Although It has more slip during the assembly stage of a project which makes it easier to use, it's hard to repair as nothing else sticks to the cured glue. It is non-toxic and application tools are easily cleaned up with water. It also has a good bonding strength when cured. Clamping is required whilst drying

Other glues use in woodworking include contact cement which is used to attach veneers to other stock and hot glue which is used for temporary applications.

A set of Irwin chisels. They have hard plastic moulded handle.
A set of Irwin chisels. They have hard plastic moulded handle.

Chisels

Chisels come in a variety of widths and are used for removing waste timber from a joint. They come in metric and imperial sizes. They usually have wooden handles but can also have hard plastic or resin handles. The resin handles have a metal rod which extends from the blade through the handle to the top which cushions the strike of the mallet.

This minimizes damage to the handle. Wood chisels have a metal ferrule around the top to stop the handle from splaying when struck with the mallet. Both these things preserve the life of the chisel. The blades are made from tool grade steel and are able to honed to a sharp edge.

Finishing

Every part of a project is as important as another. However, how you prepare your project for finishing determines the look, feel and quality of the finished project. Preparation for finishing is usually achieved with a number of tools of which sandpaper is one.

Different grades of sand paper that can be used to achieve a smooth finish.
Different grades of sand paper that can be used to achieve a smooth finish.

Sandpaper

Sand paper comes in quite a number of different grades from 40 grit, which is very course, upwards. It also comes in wet and dry varieties. Sandpaper works by removing the grain of the timber. As you go through each grit, it removes more grain making your project smoother and smoother until, finally, you reach the desired level of finish.

Different types of card scrapers. The most popular shape being the the postcard size scraper. The scraper with the handle is used on a wood lathe for removing  fine shavings.
Different types of card scrapers. The most popular shape being the the postcard size scraper. The scraper with the handle is used on a wood lathe for removing fine shavings.

Card Scrapers

Card scrapers or cabinet scrapers as they are also known are available in a range of shapes and sizes, the most common being a rectangular shape of around postcard size. They are used for smoothing and removing small amounts of timber without burring the grain. They are generally used with hardwood's since they don't cause tear out. They are most commonly used in cabinet making.

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