An illustrated hand tools glossary. The tools used in general construction

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Adjustable Bevel
A hand tool for marking angles. Consisting of a stock, either metal or wood, and a movable sliding metal or wood blade.
A woodworking tool with a sloping steel or iron blade square off a wooden handle.
Air Stapler
A pneumatic staple machine much like a small nailgun.
Animal Glue
A mixture of animal by products rendered down and dried to a hard jelly like consistency. When heated it takes on a liquid state and can be used as glue. It is the oldes of glues having been used by the ancient Egyptians.
Auger Bit
In woodworking, a tool for drilling holes in wood.
Auto Level
A tripod mounted optical instrument that is used for obtaining levels in construction work. It's use require one person to read the instrument and on person to hold a staff that readings are taken from.
Aviation Snips
Snips that have a compound action that make for easier cutting with standard length handles.
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Back Saw
A small hand saw that has the top of the blade stiffened with a metal rib of steel or brass.
Ball Peen Hammer
A mechanic's style hammer with a rounded peen
Beam Compass
A setting out tool that is used for scribing circles and arcs,
Bench Dogs
Rectangular wooden pegs that fit into holes in a woodworking bench as an aid to holding work firmly
Bevel Edge Chisel
A woodworking tool with the side edges beveled. It is used for general cutting.
Blacksmith's Vise
A large strong steel vise that has a leg that sits on the floor to absorb the shock of any hammering.
Bow Saw
In woodworking: A thin metal blade in a metal or wooden frame. Used for crosscutting and ripping and some curved cuts.
Braided Line
A string line made out of braided material, rather than twisted.
Breast Drill
A hand operated drill with a pad on the end which can be place against the chest to increase the force applied. The drill operates through a wheel and pinion gearing, so it is possible to have a range of gearing. Two speed drills are common.
Broad Axe
An axe with a wide blade. Used for felling trees, a woodsman's axe.
Buck Saw
In woodworking: A thin metal blade in a tubular metal frame. Used for crosscutting, mostly lopping tree branches and sawing up logs.
Bullnose Plane, Metal
A smaller type metal rebate plane with the blade fixed right at the front. Used for cleaning out rebates up to a corner.
Bullseye Level
A small circular bubble level
Butt Gauge
In hand tools. A marking gauge specifically designed for hanging doors with butt hinges. Two gauges in one and can get very close to fixed door stops.
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Carpenters Axe
In woodwork a tool with a flat metal blade fixed to a wooden handle. Used to hew and cut wood into rough shape.
Caulking Gun
A lightweight steel frame with a squeeze grip handle for applying a range of caulks, sealants and fillers that are marketed in tubes.
Cee or Gee Clamps
All steel precision clamps used by metal fabricators.
Chalk Line
A string line that is covered with powdered chalk. When stretched tight on a surface and flicked the chalk leave a straight line on the surface.
Chemical Fastener
A mixture of a polyester base resin and hardener kept in separate compartments of a tube that are mixed together in a nozzle when they are extruded out of the tube.
Chemical Fastener Gun
A large form of a caulking gun that is used for applying chemical fastener.
Circlip Pliers
Mechanics pliers used for fitting circlips or retaining rings. Can be classed as internal or external
Claw Hammer
A carpentry tool the hammer face is used for driving nails and the opposing claw is used for withdrawing nails and other prising or levering work.
Cold Chisel
A former metal worker's tool used for cutting steel. Now used for chipping and breaking concrete etc.
Combination Square
A all purpose all steel square. In it's standard form it is a rightangle and a mitre square, and with an additional bases it is a muliti-angle bevel or protractor and a tool to find the centre of bar stock..
Concrete Screed
In concreting: A hand held straightedge used in leveling and tamping wet concrete.
Construction Laser
Any one of a number of devices that projects a beam of laser light, horizontally or vertically to determine level and plumb lines. Also known as a Laser Level
A person who makes or made wooden barrels.
Coping Saw
In hand tools. A small saw for cutting curves. Typically for scribing around mouldings on skirtings (baseboards) and cornices (crown molds).
Cross Peen Hammer
A hammer with a sharp head opposite the face and at right angles to the handle.
Crosscut Saw
In hand tools. A saw for cutting across the grain of timber.
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Dial Calliper
An engineering calliper with a dial readout. Also know as a Dial Gauge
Digital Caliper
An engineer's tool for making fine measurements, both internal and external
Dovetail Saw
A joinery and cabinetmaking saw with a small thin blade and fine teeth supported by a stiff metal back of brass but also steel. It takes it's name from the dovetail joints that it is used for cutting.
Draw-knife Bench
A purpose made seat or bench to hold the material while using a draw knife. The main details being that the worker sits down and uses his feet to control the gripping of the material.
In woodworking, two handed tool for shaping mainly in the round or curved sections. Used by wheelwrights, coopers, boat builders and others.
Dumpy Level
An early form of optical leveling instrument. It is a commonly mis-used term when referring to a Builder's Automatic Level. The dumpy has a leveling tube that has to be set at each swing of the instrument. Further it gives an upside down reading in the view finder. It has no auto features.
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Ear Muffs
Ear protectors that muffle sound and protect the ears in noisy environments.
Ear Plugs
Cylindrical foam hearing protectors that muffle sound and protect the ears in noisy environments.
Easy Clamps
One handed clamp that works through a ratchet handle similar to a caulking gun.
Edging Tools
Small hand tools for making neat edges to concrete surfaces.
A earth leakage detector ELD, also known as an RCD or residual current device, is an electrical safety device that detects faults in electrical systems within milliseconds and shuts off the current before harm can be done. When fitted into a portable junction box for mains power leads or cords it is called a safety box etc.
Engineers Precision Level
A short level built to exacting standards with graduations on the glass surface.
Explosive Fastener tool
Also known as Powder actuated fastener tool. A "gun" that can fire high tensile steel nails and bolt fitting into hard materials like steel of concrete. Sometimes called direct fasteners.
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F Clamps
Carpentry clamps in the shape of an F
Fencing Pliers
Large pliers with the capacity to cut, bend and twist heavy gauge and high tensile fencing wire.
Fiberglass Tape Measure
A wind up type of builder's long tape measure. Comes in various lengths up to 50M.
Fibro Cutter
A two handed tool metal tool used for cutting fibrous asbestos cement sheeting.
Firmer Chisel
A woodworking chisel with square sides to the blade. There are no side bevels. These chisels are stronger and can take more punishment than beveled edge chisels.
Floor Clamps
Aids to fixing tongue and grooved flooring. They clamp to the floor joists and exert pressure on the boards to close the joints.
Framing Square
Also called a roofing square and steel square this is a flat steel square with legs of 600mm and 400mm or 2ft by 18 inches. It can be used just a general square but it can also be used to perform roof and stair set outs by using sets of tables inscribed on both faces of the sqaure.
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Gents Saw
A smaller version of a dovetail saw with a straight round handle.
German Jack and German Smoothing Plane
A wooden plane with a handle at the front.
A one handed tool with a wooden T handle and a metal spike with a small screw on the tip. Used for making starting holes for screwing or drilling.
Glass Cutter
A simple small tool for cutting glass.
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A metalworking hand tool for sawing metal and hard plastics etc.
Hand Brace
A hand tool used for drilling holes.
Hand Clamps
Basic wooden clamps consisting of two opposed pieces of wood, the jaws, joined by threaded handles made on a wood lathe.
Hand Floats
Hand tools for finishing concrete. The consist of a shaped base and a handle. They are made with different materials for different finishes. Steel, magnesium,wood,plastic and sponge etc.
Hand Mortiser
In woodworking: A machine that speeds up the task of making mortises but is powered by hand.
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Jack Plane, Metal
The all purpose Carpentry and Joinery metal plane. Between the try plane and the smoothing plane in size.
Jack Plane, Wooden
The all purpose Carpentry and Joinery plane. Between the try plane and the smoothing plane in size.
Jointing Tools
Small hand tools for making neat looking joints to concrete pavements.
Junior Hacksaw
First made by Stanley. A small saw with a simple one piece bent metal frame for metal and plastics cutting. It uses cheap disposable 6 inch blades.
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K Clamps
Joinery sash clamp named after the shape of the main bar which is a K rather than T shape. Made by Bessey
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Leg Vise
A simple vise that reaches to the floor. Often home made by the user.
Leveling Staff
A surveyors and builders aid in leveling. Most commonly an extendable aluminium rod with checkered painted graduations on the face. In close work it could just as easily be a simple board with pencil marking on it.
Lump Hammer
Also known as a club hammer. A short heavy two faced hammer used with heavy short strokes when working with cold chisels and the like.
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Marking Gauge
In woodworking: A hand tool made out of mainly wood to mark or score lines parallel to an edge or face.
Mechanics Vise
A workshop tool, firmly mounted at a convenient height for holding and gripping material while working on it.
Metal Smoothing Planes
Carpentry and joinery hand planes made out of mainly metal. A small light plane used for dressing off and finishing.
Mini Hacksaw
A handle and a support bar that uses standard length hacksaw blades. The front end of the blade is not supported and so it is useful for sliding into spaces that a standard hacksaw will not fit into.
Mitre Clamps
Joinery clamps used for holding mitred corners together. Also known as Picture Frame Clamps
Mortise Chisel
A woodworking chisel with square sides to the blade. The blade increases in depth the closer it gets to the handle
Mortise Gauge
A joinery tool for marking mortise joints or similar parallel lines. It has two adjustable gauge points on one side an a single gauge point on the other side of the main bar.
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Needle Nose Pliers
Pliers that have elongated narrow jaws.
Notched Floats
In hand tools. Steel floats with notched edges used for spreading adhesive. Mainly used by ceramic tilers to get an even bed.
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Offset Snips
Metal snips with the handles cranked or offset to give knuckle clearance
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Panel Saw
In hand tools. A smaller version of a crosscut saw used for finer work.
Paring Chisel
A woodworking chisel with bevelled edges. The length of the blade when new is a lot longer than other chisels. It is a bench tool.
Pattern Makers Vise
A complicated vise that allows the rotation of the jaws and objects held in them.
The the rounded or sharp thin end of a hammer head opposite the face
Pipe Cutter
A hand tool for cutting metal pipes. Ranges in size from a small copper pipe cutter through to say 300mm diameter steel and cast iron pipes.
Pit Saw
The main tool of the trade of the pre industrial age sawyer. A long steel blade with handles for a man at each end. Used in a saw pit, with one man on the top and one man underneath. for ripping down the length of logs.
Small hand tool with a scissor like action used for gripping, cutting and bending
Exactly vertical. If a member is vertical it is said to be "plumb". If not it is said to be "out of plumb".
Plumb Rule
A length of wood from which a plummet can be conveniently strung to find vertical.
Pop Rivet-Tool
A tool for fixing pop rivets. Comes in various layouts and sizes depending on the rivet size, but the small pliers like tool is the most common.
Pump Screwdriver
An Iconic tool in it's day pump screwdriver had a short few years when it was the fastest way to drive screws.
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Quick Action Vise
A vise that has a lever under the turn screw to disengage it so that the jaws can be move quickly without using the threads.
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Ratchet Brace
A brace that includes a ratchet for ease of use in tight spaces, and also to use just the most powerful or easiest arc of turn.
Ratchet Mechanism
A device used to convert a full circular motion of a tool or machine, into smaller arcs of motion to give more power and or convenience. Consists of a ratchet wheel and pawl.
Rebate Plane, Metal
A plane that is used to make rebates with the blade going the full width of the pane. It uses depth and width stops to achieve accurate work. Also known as a Rabbet Plane
Retracting Tape Measure
The device that replaced the carpenter's folding rule. A spring loaded self retracting thin steel tape measure.
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Sash Clamps
Joinery clamps named after their use when making sash windows. Normally they are made using a "T" section bar and the movable ends fit into a series of holes in the bar to give the coarse distance settings.
A purpose made seat or bench to hold the material while using a draw knife. The main details being that the worker sits down and uses his feet to control the gripping of the material. Also known as a Draw-Knife Bench
Side Axe
An axe with one flat face the better to give a smoother finish. Typically used working downwards on the side od a baulk of timber.
Sledge Hammer
A hammer with a sharp head opposite the face and at right angles to the handle.
Smoothing Plane, Wooden
A small plane used for fine work. Used for smoothing and levelling off joints in doors and windows and other joinery work
Snips Handing
Snips can give a curly offcut on the left or right hand side for ease of use, or they can have no bias and so are called straight cutting.
Socket Chisel
A woodworking chisel made out of solid cast steel. Normally used for heavier work. The handle fits into the cast socket and quite often has a ferule or button on the end.
Socket Chisel
A woodworking chisel made out of solid cast steel. Normally used for heavier work. The handle fits into the cast socket and quite often has a ferule or button on the end.
Speed Square
An aluminium triangular square, with one right angle and two 45 degree angles. Used for general squaring when marking out and by some people (reputedly) for obtaining roofing angles.
Spirit Level
A hand tool with curved sealed glass vials containing a liquid and a bubble of air. The glass bubbles are located parallel to or at rightangles to the body of the level to give horizontal or vertical readings.
In woodworking, a hand tool having a blade set between two handles. Used on curved and flat work and for rounding off edges.
Spring Caliper
A machinists tool for checking the size of something turned on a lathe. They can be categorised by being Inside calipers or outside calipers.
Stonemasons Level
Historic usage: A wooden frame from which is suspended a plumb bob to find a horizontal level. Also used by carpenters etc.
Straight Peen Hammer
A hammer with a sharp head opposite the face and parallel to the handle.
String line.
Line usually out of string, but also used is wire, cord, nylon fishing line etc. When stretched tight it is used as an aid to creating straight lines.
Swivel Base Vise
A mechanics style vise that has a base that can be swiveled to allow for different working positions.
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Tenon Saw
The largest of the back saws which is used for cutting the shoulder joints for tenons.Usually with an enclosed handle.
Tile Laser
A small laser tool designed for fast setting out square lines on floors for professional floor tilers.
Tin Snips
Snips or shears for cutting thin sheet metal.
Toggle Clamps
Hand operated lever clamps which can quickly apply pressure and just as easily release it. Very useful for repetition work.
Torpedo level
Short levels that are convenient to pack in a tool kit or overall pocket.
Transitional Plane
A hybrid metal and wood plane.
Treadle Metal Lathe
An example of an almost modern metal screw cutting lathe driven by a treadle, that is by foot power.
Treadle Wood Lathe
An example of a woodworking lathe driven by a treadle, that is by foot power.
Tree Bits or Step Bits
Metal cutting bits that can drill a variety of different sized holes.
Try Plane of Jointer, Metal
The longest of the metal hand planes used for straightening timber.
Try Plane, Wooden
The longest of the hand planes used for straightening timber.
Try Square
A joinery tool for testing timber or lumber for square, that is 90 Degrees. Also used for general squaring work. Comes in various sizes.
Two Man Crosscut Saw
A saw with a handle for a man at each end. These saws are designed to cut on both strokes and so have distinctive teeth.
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A device consisting of a primary scale and a sliding scale, normally the sliding scale has one less divisions than the other. Thereby making it possible to read the primary scale to greater accuracy.
Vernier Calliper
An engineering calliper with a vernier scale for accurate measurements. Also known as a Vernier Gauge
Vise Grips
Small adjustable hand tools that can grip and lock onto, and hold together small objects.
Vise Jaw Caps
Parts that fit over the steel jaws of a vise to protect the work. Often copper, aluminium, plywood or timber.
Vise Jaw Inserts
Replaceable hardened steel inserts for vise jaws.
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Warrington Hammer
A small cross peen hammer used by woodworkers for driving small pins or nails.
A person who makes or made wooden wheels.
Wing Compass
A compass, often large, for scribing arcs and circles, with an arced wing that helps to steady the legs in use, and with a locking screw on the arc to hold the legs firmly in position.
Wood Turning Tools
Metal chisels of robust construction with long wooden handles used for wood turning.
Wooden Planes
Carpentry and joinery hand planes made out of mainly wood. The oldest form of hand plane.
Wooden Planes
Carpentry and joinery hand planes made out of mainly wood. The oldest form of hand plane.
Woodworking Pipe Clamps
Clamp ends that are attached to standard diameter steel pipes.
Woodworking Vise
A vise that is built into a carpenter or joiner's bench. Optimised for holding timber.

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
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