Woodworking Tools List

One Doesn't Need Power Tools to Get Started in Woodworking

If need ideas on which hand tools you'll need to get started in woodworking, this page should help. Below are the Top 10 hand tools you'll need for nearly any woodworking project, whether you're working in your wood shop or on a job site.

  • 01 of 10

    Claw Hammer (Finish Head)

    Woman hammering nail into wall
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    Everyone has probably used a hammer at some point in their lives. While there are many types of hammers for all kinds of applications, the most versatile woodworking model is the claw hammer with a smooth, slightly rounded finish head. Choose one that is not too heavy, but feels good in your hand. I prefer a 20 oz. model.

  • 02 of 10

    6" Layout Square

    A Layout Square (also commonly referred to as a combination square or a rafter square) is an invaluable woodworking tool. Not only is it probably the quickest and easiest tool for marking a straight line for an end cut, but can be used to quickly mark any angle up to 45-degrees or measure up to six inches. I keep one in my back pocket or nail pouch whenever I'm in the shop.

  • 03 of 10

    25' Retractable Tape Measure

    A Retractable Tape Measure is another tool that is an absolute must for any woodworker for measuring the length of cuts or for marking where to attach another board. A quality tape measure should have both Standard and Metric markings, a locking mechanism and a slightly loose hook on the end of the tape. The hook is loose on its rivets by design so the user will get accurate results whether the tape is used to take internal or external measurements.

  • 04 of 10

    Utility Knife

    A Utility Knife with a locking mechanism that uses disposable razor blades is another vital tool for the woodworker. This versatile cutting device can be used for scribing a mark in a piece of stock, cleaning up a hinge mortise or any of a hundred other uses when a knife is needed.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10


    The Chisel is another essential woodworking tool. A finely-sharpened chisel is perfect for cleaning out waste from joints and mortises. I like to keep one each of 1/4", 1/2", 3/4" and 1" width bevel-edged chisels within easy reach.

  • 06 of 10


    When you need to know if a piece of stock is perfectly horizontal (level) or vertical (plumb), you need a level. I like to keep two levels available: one relatively long level (I use a 28" or 36") and a short, 6" Torpedo Level.

  • 07 of 10


    Like the claw hammer, everybody has likely used a screwdriver at least once or twice in their lives. I keep a few versions in my shop: #1, 2 and 3 sizes of both Phillips and Flathead varieties, as well as a couple of square head, Torx, and star drivers.

  • 08 of 10

    Sliding Bevel

    A Sliding Bevel is very similar to a square, except that it can be adjusted to any angle and locked in place using a locking mechanism. This is very handy when an angle needs to be duplicated.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Nail Sets

    A nail set looks somewhat like a small, round chisel, but is used to sink nail heads flush or just beneath the wood's surface. I keep three different sizes in my pouch.

  • 10 of 10

    Block Plane

    The last absolute necessity every woodworker should have is a small block plane. This device is used for shaving thin amounts of wood away from the stock and is invaluable for cleaning up edges during assembly.