November 25, 2022

50 common hand tools and their uses

There’s no denying it, hand tools are essential for any home improvement or construction project. But with so many different types of hand tools out there, it can be difficult to know which one is best for the job at hand. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 50 common hand tools and their uses. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, this list will help you make sure you’ve got the right tool for the job.

common hand tools laid on a surface
  1. Hand saw

A handsaw cuts fiberglass, drywall, or wood. It is a manual tool. It has types for many functions from pruning trees to cutting green wood, processing timber, and logs, and manufacturing many wood items.

  1. Hammer

It is a tool with a heavy metal head mounted at right angles at the end of a handle. It is for breaking things and driving in nails. There are hammers, and your task will dictate the tool you choose (Diydata.com).

  1. Chisel

A chisel is a cutting tool with a sharpened edge at the end of a metal blade. It works by driving with a mallet or hammer in dressing, shaping, or a solid material such as wood, stone, or metal.

  1. Sandpaper

Sandpaper is a hand tool used to bend into crevices and around corners. For use, it requires pressure. It is for sanding jobs. It comes in paper with sand or an abrasive stuck to it. It is for smoothing or polishing surfaces. See how sandpaper is made.

  1. Crowbar

It is an iron bar with a flattened end, used as a lever. It removes nails or prises two materials or separates objects apart.

  1. Pliers

It is a hand-operated tool for holding and gripping small articles or bending and cutting wire. It can pivot in any of the two positions to grasp objects of different sizes in the most effective way.

  1. Punch

A punch is a hard metal rod with a narrow tip at one end and a broad flat back. It creates a hole through a hard surface. The back of the punch is struck with a hammer to drive the point through the work.

  1. Picks

A pick is a hand tool with a thin metal shaft and a pointed end. It removes small pieces of material from a surface, such as chipping away at a rock face to create a foothold. It is a T-shaped hand tool for prying. Its head is metal and attached to a handle. The handles of wood, metal, and fiberglass. 

  1. Wrench

Wrenches are in various shapes and sizes for gripping, fastening, turning, tightening, and loosening pipes, nuts, and bolts (Lowes.com). There are two kinds of wrenches: pipe wrenches and standard wrenches.

  1. Drill

A drill is a tool with a rotating cutting bit used to make holes in materials such as wood, metal, or stone. A handle turns the drill at the end of the drill. The cutting bit is called a drill bit. They come in many sizes and shapes for different kinds of holes in different materials.

  1. Screwdriver

A screwdriver is a time and labor-saving. There are varieties of screwdrivers, but there are three main types. That is the Phillips head, slotted, and star. That takes up less room in the tool bag, and easier to find the right screwdriver. This tool is for turning screws. It consists of a metal rod with a flat or cross-shaped end that fits into the top of the screw.

  1. Hacksaw

A hacksaw is a hand-operated tool with a blade for cutting metal. It is used to cut pipes, bolts, and nails. The blade is held in place by a frame. The blade is held at an angle to the object being cut. Hacksaws also cut through the plastic. The hacksaw features a U-shaped frame and a handle.

  1. Stripper

A wire stripper is a small hand-held tool to remove the insulation from electric wires. They remove the insulation to replace or repair the wire. 

  1. Awl

An awl is a pointed tool used to make holes in materials such as leather or wood. The awl is used to punch holes in the material. It is a hole maker that pushes material to one side without removing it.

  1. File

A file is a tool with a coarse surface used to smooth or shape wood or metal. It is pushed along the surface of the material being worked on. It is used to remove material from a workpiece. It is hardened steel in the form of a bar.

  1. Tape measure

A tape measure is a hand tool that measures distance or size. It is a long, flexible ruler version consisting of a case, thumb lock, blade/tape, hook, and sometimes a belt clip.

  1. Clamp

A clamp is a hand tool used to hold two or more objects together. It is used to fasten materials such as wood or metal while working on them. Clamps come in many sizes and shapes for different jobs. Clamps are versatile tools to hold work securely in place. They are for carpentry, woodworking, furniture making, welding, construction, and metalworking.

  1. Spanner

A spanner is a hand tool used to turn a nut or bolt. It is a wrench with jaws that grip the sides of the nut or bolt head. It is used to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts. For a good grip, clasp it over the nut. The spanner is adjustable and works with many sizes of nuts and bolts.

  1. Scissor

A scissors is a hand-operated cutting tool. It has two sharp blades that cut when they are brought together. The blades are attached to a handle. It is a cutting instrument featuring a pair of opposed metal blades that meet and cut when the handles at their ends are together.

  1. Staple

A staple is a small metal or plastic fastener that holds two or more pieces of paper together. It is used to fasten papers to a surface, such as a bulletin board. It is inserted into the papers with a stapler. It is a tool used for putting large staples into walls and wood. It is a hand-held machine used to drive heavy metal staples into surfaces.

  1. Vice

A vice is a mechanical screw device that holds an object firmly in place while it is being worked on. It is tightened or released with a handle. It holds wood or metal while being cut, drilled, or sawed. Vices come in many sizes and shapes for different jobs. It is a tool made of two parallel jaws for holding a workpiece. It is for holding a workpiece during hand operations, such as filing, hammering, or sawing.

  1. Axes

Axes are tools used to fell trees or to cut wood. They have a metal head with a sharp cutting edge attached to a wooden handle. The axe is swung at the tree. The head’s weight and the swing’s force fell the tree. The axe is also used to split wood. The head is placed on the wood and struck with a hammer to split it. It is a heavy metal blade that is sharp at one edge and attached by its other edge to the end of a long handle. It cuts wood. 

  1. Mallet

A mallet is a wooden or rubber hammer. It is used to drive chisels or to shape metal. It has a wooden or metal head and a long handle. The mallet is held in one hand and struck with the other hand to drive the chisel or shape the metal. It is a tool with a heavy head, usually of metal or wood, attached to a handle. The mallet is used to strike an object, such as a chisel, so the blow is distributed over a large area. It also drives wooden pieces together, such as hammering dowels or chisels.

  1. Nail gun

A nail gun is a power tool that drives nails into wood or other materials. It is used to fasten pieces of wood together. It has a handle, trigger, and a magazine that holds the nails. The nail gun is held in one hand and fired with the other. It is powered by air, electricity, or a battery. It is a tool that uses compressed air or electricity to drive nails into wood or other materials.

  1. Staple Gun

A staple gun is a power tool that drives staples into wood or other materials. It is used to fasten pieces of wood together. It has a handle,  trigger, and a magazine that holds the staples. The staple gun is held in one hand and fired with the other. It is powered by air, electricity, or a battery. It Is a tool that uses compressed air or electricity to drive staples into wood or other materials. It Is a powerful tool that drives fasteners such as staples into wood. It fires individual fasteners with a connected strip located in the tool’s magazine. Its use cases include insulation, house wrap, roofing, wiring, carpeting, upholstery, and craft materials.

  1. Planer

A planer is a power tool used to smooth or level a surface. It has a handle and a rotating blade. The planer is held against the surface to be smoothed. The blade is turned on and the planer is moved along the surface. The blade removes wood from the surface to smooth or level it. It is a tool used to smooth or level a surface by removing wood with a rotating blade. It flattens and smoothes a wood surface, removing thin layers until the desired thickness. 

  1. Allen Key

An allen key is a small hexagonal-shaped wrench. It is used to tighten or loosen screws. The allen key is inserted into the screw. It is turned to tighten or loosen the screw. 

  1. Level

A level is a tool used to check if a surface is level. It has a long metal or plastic body with a bubble in the center. The level is placed on the surface. The bubble is checked to see if it is in the center. If the bubble is in the center, then the  surface is level. It consists of a horizontal or slightly inclined glass tube containing a clear liquid and having one or more air bubbles in it.

  1. Anvil

An anvil is a heavy metal block with a smooth surface. It is used as a work surface for shaping metal. The anvil is placed on the ground or on a table. The metal is placed on the anvil. It is struck with a hammer to shape it. The anvil is a tool used as a surface to shape metal. It is a block of metal with a smooth, hard surface on which another object is struck. It is for hammering curved pieces of metal. You can make your own anvil.

  1. Protractor

A protractor is a tool used to measure angles. It has a handle and a  semicircular scale. The protractor is placed on the surface. The angle is measured by aligning the scale with the edge of the surface. It is a tool used to measure angles. It has a handle and a  semicircular scale.

  1. Speed Square

A speed square is a triangular carpenter’s tool used for marking out. It is used to measure angles. It has a handle and a triangular scale. The speed square is placed on the surface. 

  1. Calliper

A calliper is a tool used to measure the thickness of an object. It has two arms moved together or apart to measure the thickness. The object to be measured is placed between the arms. The arms are moved until they touch the object. The thickness is read from a scale on the arms. It is a measuring instrument consisting of two jaws, one fixed and the other movable by a screw, for measuring.

  1. Ruler

A ruler is one of the most basic woodworking tools. It is a straight, narrow strip of wood or metal. It is used to measure the length of a piece of wood. The ruler is placed on the wood. The length is read from the scale on the ruler. It is a measuring tool for length and drawing straight lines. The rulers are marked with standard distance in centimeters at the top and inches at the bottom and made of plastic, metal, or glass.

  1. Utility Bar

A utility bar is a long, thin metal bar. It is used to pry or lever open doors and windows. It is also used to straighten bent nails.  The utility bar is placed on the surface. It is levered or pried to open the door or window. It is a flat bar with beveled ends for opening boxes, crates, and manhole covers. It removes nails, prises off skirting boards, and prices lightweight doors and windows.

  1. Utility Knife

A utility knife is a small, sharp knife. It is used to cut paper and cardboard. The utility knife is held in hand. The blade is extended. The object to be cut is placed against the blade. The blade is drawn across the object to cut it. It is a small knife with an enclosed razor blade in a handle that provides a hand grip. 

  1. Paint Brush

A paintbrush is a brush used to apply paint. It has a handle and bristles. The bristles are made of natural or synthetic materials. The paintbrush is dipped in paint. The paint is applied to the surface with the brush. 

  1. Brace

A brace is a tool used to drill holes. It has a handle and a drill bit. The brace is held in hand. The drill bit is placed against the surface. The brace is rotated to drill the hole. It is a hand-operated tool consisting of a handle attached at right angles to a short, flexible shaft with a chuck at the end for holding drill bits. It is a hand tool for boring holes, featuring a cranked handle into which a drilling bit is inserted.

  1. Torch

A torch is a handheld light. It is used to illuminate an area. A button is pressed to turn on the light. Torches come in various sizes and luminosity.  It is pointed at the area to be illuminated. Woodworkers may use torches to see in dark spaces and to look for splinters in the wood.

  1. Rivet

A rivet is a  metal fastener. It is used to join two pieces of metal together. A rivet has a head and a shank. The shank is inserted through the holes in the metal. The end of the shank is hammered to flare out and secure the rivet. It fastens a variety of materials like wood, metal, and plastic.

  1. Bender

A bender is a  hand tool used to bend metal rods. It has a handle and jaws. The jaws are made of hardened steel. The bender is placed on the metal rod. The jaws are closed around the rod. The bender is squeezed to bend the rod.

  1. Dispensing gun

A dispensing gun is a  handheld sealant gun used to facilitate an even flow of sealant. It has a handle and a nozzle. The nozzle is placed against the surface. The trigger is squeezed to release the sealant. It is for the controlled application of pastes, gels, adhesives, and fluids.

  1. Wire cutter

A wire cutter is a  hand tool used to cut wire. It has handles and jaws. The jaws are made of hardened steel. The wire cutter is placed on the wire. The jaws are closed around the wire. The handles are squeezed to cut the wire. It is for cutting electric wires and metal wires. It is a cutting tool that minimizes damage to the insulation or internal conductors of the wire or cable.

  1. Extractor

An extractor is a  tool used to remove various pins, screws, dowel pins, bolts, and studs. It has a handle and jaws. The jaws are made of hardened steel. The extractor is placed on the pin or screw. The jaws are closed around the pin or screw. The handle is turned to remove the pin or screw. It is used to remove damaged or broken screws and nails.

  1. Retrieval Tool

A retrieval tool is a  hand tool used to retrieve hard-to-reach objects. It has a handle and jaws. The jaws are made of hardened steel. The retrieval tool is placed on the object. The jaws are closed around the object. The handle is turned to remove the object. It is used to remove objects that are difficult to reach. Use cases include plumbing, woodworking, construction, automotive, and vehicular maintenance tools, such as hand drills, and hand planers.

  1. Glue Gun

It is a gun for gluing applications. A glue stick is inserted into the glue gun and then heated until it melts. The melted glue is applied to a surface to bond materials together.

  1. Bolt cutter

A bolt cutter is a hand tool used to cut bolts. It has handles and jaws. The jaws are made of hardened steel. The bolt cutter is placed on the bolt. The jaws are closed around the bolt. The handles are squeezed to cut the bolt. It can be used for cutting electric wires, bolts, chains, padlocks, and wire rope. Bolt cutters are stronger than wire cutters.

  1. Soldering iron

A soldering iron is a  handheld tool used to apply heat to solder. It has a handle and a tip. The tip is made of metal. The soldering iron is placed on the solder. The tip is heated to melt the solder. The molten solder is then applied to the joint. It is used in electronics to make electrical connections. 

  1. Bubble Inclinometer

A Bubble Inclinometer is a hand tool used to measure angles. It has a handle and a bubble level. The bubble level is placed on the surface. The handle is turned to level the surface. The angle is then read from the bubble level. It is used to measure angles in carpentry, construction, and surveying.

  1. Laser thermometers

A Laser thermometer is a hand-held tool used to measure temperature. It has a handle and a laser. The laser is placed on the surface. The handle is squeezed to activate the laser. The laser measures the temperature of the surface. It is used in cooking, automotive, and industrial applications.

  1. Sledgehammer

A Sledgehammer is a hand tool used to strike another object. It has a handle and a head. The head is made of metal. The sledgehammer is placed on the object. The head is swung to strike the object. It is used to break up concrete, asphalt, and stone.

David D. Hughes
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