Hand tools I use

As much as possible, I use the list of tools that Chris Scwartz outlined in his book The Anarchist Tool Chest.


Marking & Measuring

Essential Cutting Tools

  • Bevel-edge chisels: 1/8″, 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1-1/4″
  • Mortise chisels: 1/4″ or 5/16″
  • Spokeshave
  • Cabinet, modeling and rattail rasps
  • Card scrapers

Striking & Fastening Tools

  • Chisel mallet*
  • Cross-peen hammer
  • 13 oz. to 16 oz. claw hammer
  • Dead-blow mallet
  • Nailsets*
  • Nail pincers
  • Set of slotted screwdrivers
  • Screw tips for drill/drivers
  • Sawnut drivers (if you have split sawnuts)
  • Countersinks; counterbores
  • 10″ brace 
  • Hand drill
  • Set of 13 auger bits
  • Brad points: 1/8″, 3/16″, 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″ and 1/2″
  • Birdcage awl
  • Dowel plate*


  • Dovetail saw cropped-new-plate.jpg
  • Carcase saw
  • Tenon saw
  • Panel saws (rip saw, crosscut saw, fine crosscut saw)
  • Flush cut saw
  • Coping saw


  • Sharpening stones (honing and polishing)
  • Strop* (if you use oilstones)
  • Grinder
  • Oilcan or plant mister
  • Burnisher


Good-to-have Tools

  • Dial caliper
  • 12″ combination square
  • Dovetail marker*
  • Jointer plane/Foreplane
  • Smooth plane
  • Large shoulder plane
  • Carpenter’s hatchet
  • Drawknife
  • No. 80 cabinet scraper
  • Beading plane
  • Small complex moulder, such as an ogee or square ovolo
  • Half-set of hollows and rounds
  • 1-1/2″-wide paring chisel
  • Fishtail chisel*
  • Drawer-lock chisel
  • Mortise float
  • Drawbore pins
  • 12″ bowsaw
  • Sawfiles
  • Mill file
  • Saw vise
  • Saw set
  • Side-clamp honing guide
  • Trammel points*

* Tools that can easily be made or should be made by the woodworker.

word – not made or purchased yet.

One thought on “Hand tools I use”

  1. Just found your site via a lead in Furniture and Cabinetmaking (a UK~England~publication). Wow, looks great. Can’t wait to fully explore it. I have a small workshop in Cheshire, England where I make boxes and small furniture items. Currently still finalising plans for a tv/media cabinet commission to be made in American Cherry and Sycamore; wood in w/shop acclimatising. I retrained as a cabinet maker after retiring as an Airline Pilot a few years ago. I have a few basic power tools, planer/thicknesser, ( I believe you call it a jointer?), band saw, small pillar drill, but really do most of my work using hand tools.
    I shall look forward to reading your blogs.
    Kind regards

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