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Timber Hand Tools

Hand Saw

Hand saws, also known as "panel saws", "fish saws", are used to cut pieces
of wood into different shapes. This is usually done in order to join the pieces together
and carve a wooden object. They usually operate by having a series of sharp points
of some substance that is harder than the wood being cut. The hand saw is a bit
like a tenon saw, but with one flat, sharp edge.

Back Saw

A backsaw is any hand saw which has a stiffening rib on the edge opposite
the cutting edge, allowing for better control and more precise cutting than with other
types of saws. Backsaws are normally used in woodworking for precise work, such as
cutting dovetails, mitres, or tenons in cabinetry and joinery. Because of the
stiffening rib, backsaws are limited in the depth to which they can cut. Backsaws
usually have relatively closely spaced teeth, often with little or no set.


A hand plane is a tool for shaping wood. When powered by electricity, the tool
may be called a planer. Planes are used to flatten, reduce the thickness of, and impart
a smooth surface to a rough piece of lumber or timber. Planing is used to produce
horizontal, vertical, or inclined flat surfaces on workpieces usually too large for
shaping. Special types of planes are designed to cut joints or decorative moldings.

A rasp is a tool used for shaping wood or other material. It consists of a point
or the tip, then a long steel bar or the belly, then the heel or bottom, then the tang.
The tang is joined to a handle, usually made of plastic or wood. The bar has sharp
teeth. Rasps generally cut more coarsely than files. In woodworking, rasps are used
for rapidly removing wood from curved surfaces. They remove less wood than
a drawknife, so they are easier to control. Even though rasps leave very coarse
finishes, the cut-away areas can be easily smoothed with finer tools, such as files.

Try Square

A try square is a woodworking or a metal working tool used for marking and
measuring a piece of wood. The square refers to the tool's primary use of measuring
the accuracy of a right angle (90 degrees); to try a surface is to check its
straightness or correspondence to an adjoining surface. A piece of wood that
is rectangular, flat, and has all edges (faces, sides, and ends) 90 degrees is called
four square. A board is often milled four square in preparation for using it in building


A spirit level, bubble level or simply a level is an instrument designed to

indicate whether a surface is horizontal (level) or vertical (plumb). Different types of
spirit levels may be used by carpenters, stonemasons, bricklayers, other building
trades workers, surveyors, millwrights and other metalworkers, and in
some photographic or videographic work.

A chisel is a tool with a characteristically shaped cutting edge (such that wood
chisels have lent part of their name to a particular grind) of blade on its end, for
carving or cutting a hard material such as wood, stone, or metal by hand, struck with
a mallet, or mechanical power. The handle and blade of some types of chisel are
made of metal or of wood with a sharp edge in it.

Claw Hammer

A claw hammer is a tool primarily used for pounding nails into, or extracting
nails from, some other object. Generally, a claw hammer is 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; the ball-peen hammer is more suitable for such metalwork.

Brace & Bits

A brace or brace and bit is a hand tool used to drill holes, usually in wood.
Pressure is applied to the top and the tool is rotated with a U-shaped grip. The U-
shaped part is a kind of crankshaft. It gives the brace much greater torque than other
kinds of hand drill; a brace can be used to drill much wider, and deeper, holes than
can a gear-driven hand drill. The price of the greater torque is lower rotational speed;
it is easy for a hand drill to achieve a rotational speed of several hundred revolutions
per minute, but it requires considerable effort to achieve even 100 rpm with a brace.
Due to the design of the brace it tends to be easier than a power drill to keep at a
precise 90 degree angle.

Tape Measure

A tape measure or measuring tape is a flexible ruler. It consists of a ribbon

of cloth, plastic, fiber glass, or metal strip with linear-measurement markings. It is a
common measuring tool. Its design allows for a measure of great length to be easily
carried in pocket or toolkit and permits one to measure around curves or corners.


A scratch awl is a woodworking layout and point-making tool. It is used to

scribe a line to be followed by a hand saw or chisel when making woodworking joints
and other operations. The scratch awl is basically a steel spike with its tip sharpened
to a fine point. The tip of the spike is drawn across the timber, leaving a
shallow groove. It may also be used to mark a point by pressing the tip into the
timber. This instrument is generally used when dimensioning and for laying out with
the grain. It may also be used across the grain. However, a marking knife is preferred
for this operation. Traditionally used in leather-crafting to trace patterns onto leather.
Sometimes used in the automotive and sheet metal trades to punch holes and scribe
lines etc. in sheet metal.

A screwdriver is a tool, manual or powered, for turning (driving or

removing) screws. A typical simple screwdriver has a handle and a shaft, and a tip
that the user inserts into the screw head to turn it. The shaft is usually made of tough
steel to resist bending or twisting. The tip may be hardened to resist wear, treated
with a dark tip coating for improved visual contrast between tip and screwor ridged
or treated for additional 'grip'. Handle are typically wood, metal, or plastic and usually
hexagonal, square, or oval in cross-section to improve grip and prevent the tool from
rolling when set down. Some manual screwdrivers have interchangeable tips that fit
into a socket on the end of the shaft and are held in mechanically or magnetically.
These often have a hollow handle that contains various types and sizes of tips, and
a reversible ratchet action that allows multiple full turns without repositioning the tip
or the user's hand.


A mallet is a kind of hammer, often made of rubber or sometimes wood, that

is smaller than a maul or beetle, and usually has a relatively large head. The term is
descriptive of the overall size and proportions of the tool, and not the materials it
may be made of, though most mallets have striking faces that are softer than steel.

A clamp is a fastening device to hold or secure objects tightly together to
prevent movement or separation through the application of inward pressure. In
the United Kingdom and Australia, the term cramp is often used instead when the
tool is for temporary use for positioning components
during construction and woodworking; thus a G cramp or a sash cramp but a wheel
clamp or a surgical clamp.


Pliers are a hand tool used to hold objects firmly, possibly developed
from tongs used to handle hot metal in Bronze Age Europe.[1] They are also useful
for bending and compressing a wide range of materials. Generally, pliers consist of a
pair of metal first-class levers joined at a fulcrum positioned closer to one end of the
levers, creating short jaws on one side of the fulcrum, and longer handles on the
other side.[1] This arrangement creates a mechanical advantage, allowing the force of
the hand's grip to be amplified and focused on an object with precision. The jaws can
also be used to manipulate objects too small or unwieldy to be manipulated with
the fingers.


An axe (in American English also spelled ax) is an implement that has been
used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood; to harvest timber; as a weapon; and
as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol. The axe has many forms and specialized uses
but generally consists of an axe head with a handle, or helve.
Bow Saw

A modern bow saw is a metal-framed crosscut saw in the shape of a bow with
a coarse wide blade. This type of saw is also known as a Swede saw, Finn
saw or buck saw. It is a rough tool that can be used for cross-cutting branches or
firewood (maybe up to 6 inches in diameter) down to size.


A screw, or bolt, is a type of fastener, typically made of metal, and

characterized by a helical ridge, known as a male thread (external thread) or
just thread, wrapped around a cylinder. Some screw threads are designed to mate
with a complementary thread, known as a female thread (internal thread), often in
the form of a nut or an object that has the internal thread formed into it. Other screw
threads are designed to cut a helical groove in a softer material as the screw is
inserted. The most common uses of screws are to hold objects together and to
position objects.