Useful Woodworking Hand
Tools For The Workshop

Woodworking hand tools make up the biggest portion of any woodworker's tool inventory. And the longer you've been working with wood, the more wood working tools you'll likely have acquired.

You'll always own more hand tools than power tools because woodworking hand tools tend to specialize. Take hammers — there's claw hammers, framing hammers, dead blow hammers and so on.

Or hand saws — You have back saws, ripping saws, coping saws, keyhole saws, crosscut saws and japanese saws to name a few.

Most people buy them as they run into jobs where it's expedient to use specialized hand tools. Woodworking is more flexible than other pursuits in this regard though, as you can usually get by with what you've got.

The hand woodworking tools featured here are some that I've found useful over the years that make life in the shop a little easier and more enjoyable.


Self centering vix bit.

Vix bits are self centering drill bits used for drilling pilot holes when installing drawer slides, hinges and other cabinet hardware that require precise alignment.

The vix bit has a tapered end which centers itself in the countersunk mounting hole of the hardware and a spring loaded plunger that retracts to expose the spinning drill bit.

Marking & Layout

Transfer punch

Use transfer punches when you need to transfer the location of holes from a template or pattern to a piece of stock for copying.

They're much more accurate than measuring and marking, and leave a nice dimple to help start the drill bit in the center of the hole.


Electronic digital calipers

Digital calipers provide much more accuracy than a tape measure or rule when it comes to many measuring jobs encountered in the workshop. I've come to rely on mine and always keep them within easy reach.

This article explains the different methods of measuring and some of the useful features that make the digital caliper indispensable in the modern woodworking shop.

Dial indicator - dial gauge with magnetic stand.

A dial indicator is not a tool one would typically associate with woodworking, but if you own woodworking machinery it can provide a high degree of accuracy when setting up and maintaining your machines.

With the use of special holders, the dial gauge can be used to set planer and jointer knives accurately after they've been replaced or resharpened. Aligning your table saw blade to the miter slot with anything other than a dial gauge is likely to yield inferior results.