Demolition and Construction Tools

Review this overview of demolition and construction tools needed for carpentry and trimwork and how they will be used.

You probably already have some basic carpentry tools around the house. To handle the demands of a remodeling project, make sure the tools you have are good quality and in good condition. If not, purchase new ones.

One of the most basic tools is the hammer. A 16-ounce framing hammer is an essential. It is heavy enough to drive the large nails used for framing, yet small enough for use when installing moldings. Add a 22-ounce framing hammer for heavy work. Straight and Phillips screwdrivers are necessary for installing hardware and occasionally for opening a paint can. A utility knife does everything from sharpening your pencil to cutting drywall. Keep plenty of blades on hand and replace them often so you always have a sharp cutting edge ready.

You’ll find nail sets handy for driving finishing nails below the surface of moldings and extending your reach into hard-to-hammer places. An awl is a sharp-pointed tool you’ll use for marking hole locations and starting screws. For cutting and pulling small nails, nothing beats a set of end nips. Along the same line, three tools will handle your prying tasks: a cat’s paw for pulling big nails, a flat bar for general prying, and a ripping bar for heavy-duty demolition. A sledgehammer is also useful for demolition and for nudging wayward walls into position.

Demolition and Construction Tools

For cutting wood, you’ll need some chisels, saws, and other edge tools. A toolbox saw packs a lot of cutting capability into a compact size. A coping saw is indispensable for cutting moldings at inside corners. For making accurate crosscuts and miters in molding, you’ll need either a miter box or a power miter saw. For paring and fine-tuning the fit of door hinges and other hardware, you’ll want a set of chisels (blade widths of 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch, and 1 inch). A block plane makes short work of fitting a door. A putty knife is a multipurpose tool. Its obvious use is for applying putty to fill nail holes, but it is also useful for prying off moldings without damage. A pair of heavy-duty metal snips comes in handy for a variety of cutting tasks, including the installation of metal studs.

Keeping cutting tools sharp: Step 1

For best results, keep your cutting tools sharp. Use a sharpening stone and honing oil. Drip some oil on the stone, then polish the tool’s bevel, moving it in a figure-eight pattern. Make sure both the heel and toe of the bevel remain in contact with the stone.

Keeping cutting tools sharp: Step 2

When all marks and other nicks are gone from the bevel, turn over the blade and polish the back. The combination of the two polished surfaces makes a sharp edge. To test that it’s sharp, look straight at the edge with a strong light behind you — light will reflect from a dull edge.

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