TOOL BOX DEFINITIONS
Aluminum file – Addresses the problem that ordinary files pose when used on soft aluminum, which is clogging. The scalloped-tooth pattern cuts cleanly and leaves a fine finish.
Bar clamps – Suited for jobs that require strong clamping pressure. Permits two-handed tightening. Available in ranging capacities. Ideal for joining boards to make wider panels.
Belt sander – Reach for this tool when you want to save some elbow grease from a hand plane. Powerful and able to remove stock aggressively, this tool is fitted with a coarse abrasive belt that can grind down door edges and trim uneven frames. Comes in a range of sizes.
Bow saw – Ideal for pruning, landscaping work and sawing firewood. Tubular steel frame with blade-tensioning lever that snaps closed to form a handle.
Brick mason’s hammer – Indispensable masonry tool; designed exclusively for setting and splitting bricks, masonry tile and concrete block. Forged-steel head with a square striking face opposite a flat, sharp cutting edge. Should never strike metal, including a brick set or stone chisel.
C-clamps (including a bench vise) – Similar to the vise grip but offers a wider opening. Holds objects in place while sawing or joining. Feature clamp pads that protect the surface and allow for gripping tapered pieces. Ideal for laminating or veneering.
Chalk line – Useful for marking a straight line, this tool features a line that is reeled out from a chalk-filled canister, hooked at one end of the intended cut line, tensioned and snapped.
Chisel – A long-bladed hand tool with a beveled cutting edge and a plain handle that is struck with a hammer or mallet, used to cut or shape wood, stone, metal, or other hard materials.
Circular saw -A voracious tool, the portable circular saw is critical to any building or framing project because it can cut lumber quickly, with power and with accuracy.
Combination square – A valuable tool, equipped with a six inch long steel rule for marking 90-degree and 45-degree angles.
Compass saw – Similar to a coping saw, but more heavy duty. A thin blade set into a pistol-grip handle, it quickly cuts curves, circles and cutouts in wood, plywood and wallboard. Useful for cutting access holes when installing pipes and electrical boxes. A smaller version is the keyhole saw.
Compound miter saw – A miter box and hand saw used in conjunction to make compound-angle (45 and 90-degree) miter cuts. Also can be used with a measuring accessory for cutting frames. Basically a chop saw with a tilt mechanism added to the pivoting head. Miters are set by rotating the tool’s turntable and the head is tilted for bevel cuts. A great choice for working with moldings and trim. A sliding version has the in-and-out capability of a radial-arm saw that enables it to make most any kind of cut.
Coping saw – Has a narrow metal frame which supports a thin blade held in place with a hook, loop or pin on each end of the blade. Can be rotated in the frame to make intricate curved cuts. Makes a finer cut than a compass saw.
Double Square – This unique tool is designed for checking squareness of a board’s edge after planning and jointing. Fits easily in a work apron pocket.
Drill – A rotating tool that is inserted into a drilling machine or tool for boring cylindrical holes.
Drill Bit – Drill bits are cutting tools used to create cylindrical holes, almost always of circular cross-section. Drill bits come in many sizes and have many uses. Bits are usually connected to a mechanism, often simply referred to as a drill, which rotates them and provides torque and axial force to create the hole.
Drywall hammer – Designed for installing drywall, this hammer has a milled striking face opposite a hatchet blade. Use the hatchet blade to score the drywall to permit snapping it along the scored line of cut.
Electronic level – This tool makes use of blinking lights and a beeping signal to indicate level, plumb, pre-selected and unknown angles.
Flat Head Screwdriver – A flat-head screwdriver is a tool used to either tighten or loosen slotted screws with a single indentation in the head.
Frame clamp – Uses corner blocks and long-threaded rods with sliding speed nuts to assemble square, rectangular and other oddly-shaped work pieces. Ideal for frames and objects with corners.
Hacksaw – Cuts metal quickly and smoothly. Proper amount of tension prevents flexing during the cut. The handle provides knuckle protection.
Half-round file – Bastard-cut file that is double cut for fast stock removal and one face is round for working concave shapes. Classified as a machinist’s file, it’s also useful for fine trimming in wood.
Hammer – A hand tool consisting of a handle with a head of metal or other heavy rigid material that is attached at a right angle, used for striking or pounding.
Hammer drill – Specially designed to both rotate the bit and apply a pulsing pressure that breaks through masonry neatly, faster and easier than a rotary-action alone. Intended for concrete and other masonry work.
Hand saw – The most common and recognizable of all handsaws. Has a wide, tapering blade with teeth cut along one edge and a handle riveted to the wide end. Two basic types: crosscut and rip. Most effectively used to cut large, wide or thick pieces of wood.
Hand screws – Traditional woodworking clamps, hand screws feature solid maple jaws and dual handles that allow for tremendous pressure. Can be set parallel or at angles. Ideal for complex work with no parallel sides.
Joint-maker’s square – Slightly smaller than a standard miter square, this square is especially helpful for furniture builders and model makers.
Keyhole saw – A small saw with a short, narrow blade and a tight turning radius. Smaller than a compass saw, it can also cut light metal.
Knife file – Used by tool and die makers, it is excellent for tight, acute angles.
Leveler – a device for establishing a horizontal line or plane by means of a bubble in a liquid that shows adjustment to the horizontal by movement to the center of a slightly bowed glass tube.
Measuring tape – A measuring device that can be used to measure distance in linear or even around curved surfaces. The measuring tape can be made of various materials.
Miter saw – The power alternative to the miter box, miter saws are great for basic crosscuts for lumber and trim. Although not capable of beveled or compound-angle cuts, they are simpler to use, durable and less expensive than compound or sliding compound miter saws.
Miter square – Designed exclusively for laying out and marking precise 45-degree angles. An oversized blade accommodates large work pieces.
Nails – A slim, pointed piece of metal hammered into material as a fastener.
Nail-holding hammer – A magnet set into the head grips an iron or steel nail. One sharp strike starts the nail.
Nail puller – Has a V-notch, which slips under the nail head and a long handle to provide extra leverage to pull up a nail.
Nail sets – For use when a nail head is to be sunk below the work surface. Tips can vary: point, flat or a cup, which permits firm location on the nail head. Cushioned grip versions can protect your hands, allowing you to concentrate on the work and not your knuckles.
Ninety-degree corner clamp – For accurate 90-degree joints, allows for gluing and nailing while the pieces are secure. Can be screwed to a bench top.
Orbital sander – Great for finishing work, the square pad can sand inside corners. Should be used with care, because swirl marks can show up when sanding dense hardwoods. Accepts sheet sandpaper.
Paring chisel – The design allows you to make light finishing cuts with the blade flat on the stock, even when working in the middle of a wide board.
Phillips Screwdriver – A screwdriver that would take more torque than the usual screw with its single slot, on which the screwdriver would be easily centered and would be less likely to slip.
Pipe clamp fixtures – Long reaching fixtures attached to a pipe, that once positioned, are tightened by turning a handle. Only pipe length limits capacity. Ideal for joining boards to make wider panels.
Plastic-tipped hammer – A steel-core hammer that features two replaceable plastic faces—one hard, one soft. The hammer can strike various materials without marring, including wood, metals, plastic and stone.
Plate joiner – A tool designed to quickly and accurately cut matching slots in pieces that are to be joined with a small carbide-tipped blade.
Pneumatic nailer – Framing: Perfect for frame construction. The most powerful of the air-powered fasteners, it can drive nails up to 3-1/2-inches long. Pin: Used for attaching trim, carpet strips and moldings. Finish: Useful for installing siding, flooring, door and window casing and most types of finish carpentry.
Pneumatic stapler – Can drive crown-style staples up to 1/2-inch wide and two inches long. Smaller models are great for installing carpeting, roofing felt, floor underlayment and insulation.
Pruning saw – Excellent for trimming trees and bushes, the curved blade folds back into the curved hardwood handle for convenience.
Pry bar – Has a curved blade to fit behind molding or between two sections of an object that are to be separated. The long handle provides leverage to pry the sections apart.
Quick-action clamps – A workshop favorite designed for easy operation, the lower jaw slides easily on a bar and locks securely in position under the slightest pressure.
Random-orbit sander – This tool spins like a disc sander but moves in a circular orbit, like an orbital sander. This action chews through wood grain but doesn’t leave cross-grain scratches. Can sand in any direction.
Reciprocating saw – An indispensable tool for contractors and remodelers, the “recip” saw will chew through most any cutting task. Ideal for demolition tasks, such as wall removal. Can cut through wood, metal or plastics easily. Great at cutting rough openings, cutouts for plumbing and heating ducts and can even prune tree branches.
Rip saw – Hand saw used to cut along the grain (the length of the material).
Router – Portable power tool that, when fitted with one of a myriad of bits, can do such things as cutting cabinet joints (dado, rabbet, etc.), trim plastic laminate, shape decorative edges, mill moldings and carve signs and plaques.
Round file – Standard file for cleaning up or enlarging holes and shaping tight internal curves. Works on metal or wood.
Rubber and plastic mallets – Use these mallets to strike blows without damaging the surface. Useful for assembling furniture parts, setting dowel pins, metalwork, etc.
Ruler – rule a strip of wood, metal, or other material, having straight edges graduated usually in millimeters or inches, used for measuring and drawing straight lines.
Sabre saw – If you need the ability to follow curved or straight lines, cut metal (as well as plastic, brick, etc. with the right blade) or enclosed holes, reach for this tool. A popular tool, the unique design provides relatively-safe cutting.
Screwdriver – a tool used for turning screws, usually having a handle of wood, plastic, etc, and a steel shank with a flattened square-cut tip that fits into a slot in the head of the screw.
Scroll saw (or jigsaw) – Freehand curve-cutting machine (along with the band saw) with fine-tooth blades that can cut intricate patterns and smooth edges in thinner stock. Operates with little vibration, quick blade changes and easy-to-operate clamps. Is stationary, as opposed to a sabre saw, which is portable.
Sharpening stones – Blocks of natural or artificial stones that have been dressed or smoothed. Used with an oil or water lubricant to sharpen blades of woodworking tools such as chisels and planes. Most are rectangular in shape and come in many grades, from coarse to fine.
Sliding bevel square (or T-bevel) – Indispensable for marking, transferring and checking angles. Helpful when marking odd angles and dovetail joints and when cutting a board to fit an existing angle.
Smooth plane – Designed for general-purpose planning; often used after the jack plane for final polishing.
Speed square – One of the most popular and versatile carpenter’s layout tools available, combining the best features of a framing, try and miter square with the angle finding capability of a protractor. Use for all framing layout work including wall and roof construction and stairway building.
Spiral-cut chain saw file – Featuring a special spiral-cut pattern, this file cuts faster than standard, round chain saw files.
Spiral-ratchet screwdriver – A spring-loaded shaft turns the driver bit, driving screws quickly and easily.
Spring clamp – Ideal for holding mitered corners, each jaw has tiny teeth that grip and hold angled work pieces, irregular moldings and tough-to-clamp joints. The “paperclip” of the workshop, ideal for small work and light pressure.
Square file – When needing to make a round hole square, this is the tool. The long, tapered profile makes it useful for cleaning up right-angle shapes such as slots and keyways.
Square-recess screwdriver – A square-tipped tool drives square-recessed fasteners in items like recreational vehicles, boats, mobile homes, hobby equipment and furniture hardware.
Squeeze clamps – Light duty clamps applied with one hand with an automatic advancing squeeze handle.
Steel straightedge – Worth the price and a staple of most workshops. Etched gradations provide better accuracy. A T-Square is formed by adding a head to this tool.
Stud finder – The essential tool for locating wall studs. Crucial when hanging heavy objects.
Super shear file – Designed for work on softer metals, iron, annealed steel, plastic and hardwood. Has an offset circular tooth that cuts both fast and smooth.
Tack hammer – Perfect for driving small brads and tacks. Has a magnetized head that holds the tack for one-hand starting. Goes easier on the thumb and forefinger.
Three-way edging clamp – Used to apply and repair moldings, decorative trim and edging. C-clamp design with a third screw that applies right angle pressure to the edge.
Two-handed screwdriver – Features a unique double-grip handle that allows you to apply extra high torque. Can work in deep holes and narrow spaces.
Universal clamps – Designed for cabinet framework, these clamps can be secured to the edge of a work to hold two pieces together. Ideal for holding drawer supports, shelves and butt joints.
Upholsterer’s hammer – The magnetic face of the hammer makes it easy to start upholstery tacks and small nails. Also called a tack hammer.
Vise-grip hold-down clamp – Squeezes objects together to promote bonding.
Wrench – Any of various hand or power tools, often having fixed or adjustable jaws, used for gripping, turning, or twisting objects such as nuts, bolts, or pipes, typically at an angle perpendicular to the object’s axis.
Warding file – Designed for shaping and trimming notches in locks and keys. Double cut on the faces and single cut on the edges. The tapered profile makes it useful in situations where an ordinary file won’t fit.
Warrington hammer – The woodworker’s choice of hammers, it has a cross-peen which enables you to start small nails and brads, then finish hammering with the opposite end.
Wet saw – If the job is cutting several bricks, pavers or tiles, this tool uses water to keep the blade and brick cool as well as decrease dust and flying debris.
Wood (lignostone) mallet – Use this mallet for striking wood and plastic-handled chisels and gouges, for installing dowel pins and assembling wooden parts. Have tremendous resistance to cracking.
Yardstick – A yardstick is a ruler used for measuring. Its length is one full yard, which is the equivalent of three feet. Each foot is 12 inches in length, making the yardstick 36 inches long.
Zigzag folding rule – Classic woodworking rule that is better for measuring longer runs.