Basic Carpentry Tools List

Basic Carpentry Tools List

First and foremost, when choosing basic carpentry tools, never choose the cheapest available! It has been my experience when purchasing carpentry tools, that you get what you pay for. When you buy cheap tools they hurt you every time you use them.

When you buy good quality tools they only hurt you one time, at the checkout line. This does not mean that you need a $100 Stiletto Titanium Framing Hammer when a $30-40 framing hammer will do just fine.

When considering tool purchases can you really afford the lost time, productivity, and money that an inferior tool will most likely bring you. I have had the same 7 1/4 worm gear Skilsaw for fifteen years now. I mostly use it for cheek cuts on hip/valley and jack rafters now, but it was used for all types of cutting when first purchased. This is just one example of how long a good quality tool can last.

It is actually amazing how few tools it takes to frame a new house, they can easily fit inside and on top of a 3/4 ton cargo van. The past few years, framing carpenters have started to carry their tools in a cargo trailer which they pull from job site to job site and leave until the job is done. This seems to work well for many framers, however I prefer my tools go home with me at night, especially in a high crime area. Following is a list of basic carpentry tools, hand and power .

Basic Carpentry Tools - Hand

Tool Pouch : All framers need a good set of tool pouches.I recommend leather with two separate pouches, three inch wide belt, and separate hammer holder. This is the foundation of any set of basic carpentry tools.

Tape Measure : You pick the brand however, it should be 25, 30, or 33 feet long and have a blade width of at least 1 inch.

Speed Square : A triangular shaped metal square, Swanson is the most popular brand.

Chalk Line : I would recommend a speed line, you should really have two, one for red chalk and one for blue.

Chalk Line Clamp : A fairly new tool that eliminates the need for two people to chalk a line.

Chisel : I carry a one inch wide one that I am not afraid to use on nails or as a small pry bar.

Carpenter's Pencil : I usually carry two, sharpened at both ends so I do not have to drop what is being done to sharpen a pencil.

Framing Square :

Get a good one (not the $8 special at walmart) made of stainless steel or aluminum so it will last.

Utility Knife : Make sure that it is retractable.

Framing Hammer :

Straight claw 20-24 ounce are the best for framers. Stay away from steel shanked hammers, fiberglass or wood are best.

Cat's Paw : I prefer the type that have a nail digger on both ends, one curved and the other straight.

Hand Tools

  • Speed Square
  • Framing Square
  • Framing Hammer
  • Tool Pouch
  • Tape Measure
  • Chalk Line
  • Chalk Line Clamp
  • 1 Inch Chisel
  • Carpenter Pencils
  • Utility Knife
  • Nail Puller
  • Basic Carpentry Tools - Power

    Extension Cords : Good quality outdoor cords of at least 14 gauge, are required to keep your power tools from burning up due to voltage drop. 100 foot cords are the most common, however shorter length's can come in handy.

    Generators : It is inevitable that you will get a framing job where there is no electric power available. You should have a generator available, renting one is very expensive compared to the price of owning one. The one I use is rated at 5000 running watts, 6500 surge watts and will run my electric air compressor, saws, and drills.


    Air Compressor : Gas or electric? I prefer an electric model, the one I use can run three framing guns at the same time with a ten gallon portable tank attached.

    Framing Nailer : Here again, do not skimp on quality. I prefer Paslode but also like the newer Senco's.

    Circular Saw : I use a 7 1/4" sidewinder for cutting sheathing, studs, plates, joists etc. You can not beat a worm gear for tougher cutting jobs.

    Ladders :

    You need at least two 6 and one 8 foot heavy duty step ladder and two 24 foot extension ladders.

    Electric Drill : I recommend a corded 1/2 inch variable speed model.

    Reciprocating Saw : They all claim you do not need a sawzall to build a new house. Then why do they all carry one in their truck?

    Power Tools

  • Construction Calculator
  • Extension Cords
  • Portable Generator
  • Portable Air Compressor
  • Framing Nailer
  • Circular Saw
  • Stepladder, 6-Foot
  • Corded Drill
  • Porter-Cable 9750 Tiger Saw
  • Links to Related Carpentry Pro Framer Pages

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