5 Carpentry Tools Every Homeowner Should Have

The basic tools for home repairs include a Philips screwdriver, a tape measure, a utility knife, and a hammer. Frequently overlooked are the carpentry tools that come in so handy when repairing busted railings or installing new flashing. While carpenter’s tools have gotten a bad reputation for frequently being too specialized — what else will you ever do with a No. 0 biscuit? — there are some that are simply indispensable. Do you know the five carpentry tools that will make home maintenance easy and enjoyable? More importantly, do you know what you should expect to spend on them?

1. Rip Claw Hammer

You can spend between $8 and $50 on a claw hammer. Avoid the curved claw hammer, which is a bit of a uni-tasker, and instead, opt for the ripping and framing hammer. It still delivers the benefits of the claw but also comes in handy during demolition work. (Anyone who has ever owned a home knows that there is plenty of demolition to be done over the years.)

2. Hack Saw

A basic handsaw, preferably a 12-inch hacksaw with comfortable grip and durable frame, is among the carpentry tools you cannot do without. Spend about $35 on a good saw, and you will be rewarded with years of good use. Cutting a board or shortening a table leg does not usually call for a power tool.

3. Electronic Stud Finder

Basic tools for home improvements frequently do not include a stud finder. This useful carpentry tool lets you find framing studs without lengthy attempts at knocking around the walls. The magnetic versions are OK, but the internal capacitor stud finder with center search is perhaps the easiest to use. Sold as a one-step, this tool may be as inexpensive as $34.

4. Random Orbit Sander

Costs for a random orbit sander range from about $59 to more than $110. Better than hard work and sandpaper, this tool makes quick work of sanding doors, table surfaces, boards, and pretty much everything else that needs to have a coat of paint or varnish removed. Since it does not matter whether you sand with or against the wood grain, this is one of the carpentry tools no freshly minted woodworker should fail to own.

5. Set of Clamps

Since you will do your fair amount of work with wood glue, have several clamps you can use to press glued wood surfaces together. I needed some clamps just recently when fixing the kitchen cabinet door with the trusty wood glue. Since staples and nails would have looked out of place, the glue was the only way to go. Holding the surfaces together with clamps overnight lets the glue set and harden before you work with the pieces some more.

More Woodworking Ideas from Sylvia Cochran:

How to Build a Wooden Table Without Burning Down the House
DIY Refinishing Hardwood Floors? Read This FAQ First!
Safety Tips for Setting Up a Woodshop With Power Tools

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