Woodshop Wednesday: 9 Things Every Carpenter Should Carry

 

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My little toolbelt. (selfie)

Carpenters spend their days constantly in motion, and wherever they go they need to keep certain tools within arm’s reach. Enter the toolbelt. Mine is pretty dinky, just two pockets and a sleeve to attach it to my belt, but it’s big enough to hold the following nine items which come in handy all the time.

#1: A tape measure. Obviously. I recommend a Fatmax because it extends super far without breaking.

#2: A pencil. Use it to write down measurements, mark lines for sawing or nailing, and make other notes to yourself. I like the flat carpenter’s pencil because it’s easy to hold and easy to sharpen in the field (see #3), but any durable pencil will do.

#3: A utility knife. There are endless uses for this blade, from opening packages to trimming a splintered piece of lumber to sharpening your pencil.

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#4: A hammer. Not just for pounding nails: you can use the head to whack stakes into place or force a nailed/screwed/glued piece of lumber straight. The claw can pry loose anything from unwanted nails or staples to temporary woodworks like cleats or concrete forms.

#5: A carpenter’s square. These are super useful! Made of aluminum or plastic and shaped like a triangle, a carpenter’s square gives you a straightedge to draw a perfect right angle or 45-degree angle. The tee on one leg lets you hold the square flush against any edge.

#6: A cat’s paw. Basically a more versatile version of a hammer claw, most cat’s paws have a straight end and a right-angle end to pry out stubborn nails, staples, and more from awkward angles. Hit it with a hammer to wedge the sharp tips into lumber when your target is a really deep nail head.

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#7: Tool loops. Whether you’re using a drill, a nail gun, a staple gun, or anything else, you can carry them in your extra loops.

#8: Plenty of nails and screws. Adapt the fasteners you’re carrying to match the task at hand, of course, but you’d be surprised how often you suddenly need an extra nail or a screw. I recently pounded one into a stud for a makeshift coat rack.

#9: A spare pocket. For picking up waste, broken/bent nails, etc. and for storing fasteners as you take something apart.

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