Tools Used in Woodworking: Your Essential Guide to Woodworking Tools

Woodworking has been around for a long time — a really long time. The first woodworking tools like saws made from horn, stone and flint were made about 300,000 years ago. That’s way back in history! You can read more on this in an article we found on Advanced woodworking can be traced back to Ancient Egyptians and some of the wood furniture exists to this day.  

Needless to say, advances in tool technology have improved the efficiency and durability of woodworking tools. Professional wood shops are equipped with handheld and power tools, large and small. In this article, we’ll be covering the precision hobby tools for small woodwork like carving, balsa model making, furniture restoration, miniature diorama making or dollhouse building. 

a person using an adjustable clamp to hold two pieces of wood together

Adjustable Clamps:

Clamps are essential in a woodshop and are used to hold items together or in place. They’re handy when gluing, sanding, painting and more. Lightweight clamps are great for softer woods as they won’t leave visible marks. Some clamps feature helpful mechanisms like quick release or speed lever action to open and close easily. 

Iron c-clamps get their name from their shape. They are made from iron and even though they are miniature, these helpful tools can grip and hold your project in place over a longer period of time by tightening the spindle. 

Shop C-Clamps

a set of carving gouges

Carving Gouges:

Made from carbon steel, carving gouges are made, as the name dictates, for carving. 

The cutting edge is the sharp part. There are a few shapes available like U-gouge, V-gouge or chisel gouge. 

These tools have shaped tips ground to a sharp beveled edge that cut away materials like wood, rubber, clay and wax, among others. 

Just Starting Out and Working on Small Projects? Check Out the Woodworking Set.

a set of carving routers

Carving Routers:

Carving routers are carbon steel sharp edge tools used for shaving or carving plaster, wood, wax, clay and more. Sharp edge shapes include square, round and v-shape. 

Read more about these tools in our previous article Clay Sculpting for Beginners — Tips for Getting Started.

a person using a file on a table leg


Carbon steel tools with fine cross-hatch abrasive cuts, files are available in many shapes and sizes so you’re bound to find the right one for your project. For woodworking projects requiring precision, small files are a great choice as they are durable and flexible, therefore remove the excess material easily. 

Detail is important in precision work. Files are available in a knife, square, round, half-round, flat and equaling shapes. 

a person using a mitre box to cut a piece of wood

Mitre Box:

These helpful guides are available in many sizes, from large to small. The Excel Mitre Box measures about 5” in length, making this the ideal size for small woodworking projects like picture frame-making, model making and more. 

It features 45-degree and 90-degree angle cutting slots. Place wood, plastic or other light density material in the mitre box and, using a razor saw, cut the perfect angle needed for your project. Another feature is the flange at the base. This helps to keep the mitre box in place using the edge of the work bench. 

It is sold separately or as a set with a razor saw. Check out this review!

an excel blades nail setter

Nail Setter:

This is a wonderful tool that helps to hammer nails flush and protects wood from hammer marks and dents. It features a magnetic tip and spring-loaded shaft. 

Razor Saw:

Engineered from high quality aluminum, razor saws are small yet powerful cutting tools. Flexible and durable, they can be used on wood, soft metals and soft plastics. They are interchangeable and fit the K2, K5 or the K6 handles. Teeth range from 16tpi to 46tpi. 

Rotating Swivel Vise

Rotating Swivel Vise:

It would be hard to find a woodworking shop without a table vise. They are the helping hands and sometimes a project is impossible to complete without the use of one. Vises are available in many sizes and designs, but the general description is table top mounted with adjustable jaws.

The swivel allows you to position your project exactly as needed. Engineered to assist in the workshop, this model features a swivel joint and rubber padded jaws that hold the project securely in place at the needed angle. Adjust the jaws with the screw and handle mechanism. Rubber padding is textured for even more grip. Clamp your project to the work bench with a rubber padded, built in c-clamp. 

a sanding stick on top of two pieces of wood

Sanding Sticks:

We’re all familiar with sandpaper, but sanding sticks are a game changer when it comes to woodworking. Ranging from #80 grit to #600 grit, these color-coded sticks feature a rounded tip and a pointed tip, so detailed sanding work is easier and permits for easy access to harder-to-reach areas. Changing out used sanding belts is quick and easy with the spring-loaded mechanism. 

a swiss style mini hammer

Swiss Style Mini Hammer:

This small hammer features a forged steel head with a flat face and a chisel face and a wooden handle. Perfect for model making, woodworking or upholstery work like hammering in decorative nail heads or securing upholstery.

a tape measure on top of a wood plank

Tape Measure:

A tape measure is a flexible and extendable ruler made from a soft metal strip housed in a plastic or metal container. Tape measures can also be made from plastic or covered cloth. Most feature a hold button that, when released, quickly reel back the tape into the housing. Heavier duty models also feature a belt clip. 

a pyrography tool next to a piece of wood with a burned in design

Wood Burning Tool:

Also known as a Pyrography Tool, it is powered by electricity and heats up to 180 degrees F. This tool has interchangeable tips that heat up and are used to stamp or burn designs into wood or leather surfaces. It’s a great addition to the wood shop. You can create intricate surface motifs or a simple logo signature. Learn more on how to use this tool by reading our previous article Woodburning for Beginners

a set of woodcarving chisels

Woodcarving Chisels:

Carving chisels are essential for wood carving by professionals and beginners alike. The cutting edge, or the sharp part, comes in a few shapes like a v-shape, skew or straight. Each shape serves a purpose and makes a different shaped carving in the wood. They are usually sold as sets

Check Out Our Entire Woodworking Hand Tool Collection

And, good luck with your newfound hobby!