8 tools for working with metal and wood

Anyone wanting to work on wood or metal repair projects needs some good tools. Here are some tips. 

8 tools for working with metal and wood

1. Working with nails

  • If you need to remove a nail from a surface and the claw of your hammer won't do the job, use a pry bar, a curved metal tool with two angled blades. One blade is used for pulling nails and the other for prying apart pieces that are nailed together or for pulling off old molding.
  • Sometimes it's easier to drive a nail if you make a small starter hole with an awl. Position this small, pointed metal tool where you want the nail to go and push it into the wood.
  • If you want to sink the head of the nail beneath the surface, use a nail set. This is a small punch with a narrow end that you position over the nail head while you drive it below the surface of the wood with a hammer.

2. Stud finders

  • A stud finder will help you locate the studs behind your wallboard.
  • Inexpensive models work magnetically to find the screws or nails that secure the wallboard.
  • Electronic stud finders measure changes in a wall's density.

3. Screwdrivers

  • When doing electrical work, you should use only a screwdriver that is encased in plastic; on an electrician's screwdriver only the tip of the metal blade is not covered with plastic. This plastic coating helps you avoid electric shocks.
  • If you're in an emergency situation and you have to use an ordinary screwdriver to make electrical repairs, wrap overlapping layers of electrician's tape around the entire shaft up to the tip and over any metal parts of the handle.
  • Even then, be sure to turn off the power before you start.

4. Carpenter's square

  • Used in framing, roofing and stairway work, a carpenter's square is a rigid, steel, L-shaped tool that helps you keep corners squared at exact 90-degree angles.
  • It doubles as a measuring rule and a straightedge.
  • A combination square is a steel rule with a sliding head that lets you mark off 90- and 45-degree angles.

5. Riveters and staplers

  • To fasten metal to metal or metal to plastic you may need a pop riveter, a small tool that applies rivets easily with a squeeze of the handle.
  • To fasten softer materials, get a heavy-duty stapler — either a hand-powered model or a power stapler.
  • You'll also need pop rivets and staples to fit these tools.

6. Planes

  • When working with wood, you'll more than likely need a plane of some sort — for example, to trim a bit from the top of a sticking door. A plane is basically a blade in a holder.
  • A good first purchase is a small block plane that smooths and trims wood and makes fine finishing cuts. An adjusting wheel under the palm rest controls the position of the blade.
  • Because of its small size, a block plane can be used in one hand, whereas larger planes require two hands.

7. Chisels

  • A chisel is a sharp, usually bevelled blade used for cutting or shaving wood or metal.
  • Wood chisels are generally fitted with wooden handles and are either driven by hand or struck with a mallet. They are ideal for cutting mortises, or recesses, for hinges or locks.
  • Cold chisels are struck by hammers and are used to cut sheet metal or chop off bolts or rivets.
  • A stonemason's chisel (also called a straight chisel) is used for cutting concrete block and stone.

8. Rasps and files

  • To shape or smooth metal or wood, you may need files or rasps, which are flat, round or triangular lengths of metal with rows of ridge-like teeth that cut into the material.
  • Files are used on metal and rasps on wood.
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