Just as there are things in life you couldn’t live without, there also tools in a woodworker’s life that he couldn’t possibly give up without feeling like he just quit.
First of all, if you pretend to be working with wood, you’d have to be some sort of wizard to figure out the precise size of the boards and determine where the cut must be made without a tape measure.
That’s one tool that should always stick to you as if putting it down would leave you undressed. That’s how I think you would probably feel, but I wouldn’t know for sure because I never put it down. The tape measure is the one tool you usually forget to mention because it’s also been there.
I use it to measure length, width, and even thickness, even though the caliper is the first choice for this type of measurement. When given no choice, you can rely on it to replace the layout square.
I also couldn’t live without my saw. No matter how much technology evolves and transforms all of our tasks into a gadget-handling situation, some things are unchanged. Like the simplicity of getting the hand saw off the tool hanger and adjusting the edges of a small flitch or slate.
That simple steel blade works wonders in record time if I use it correctly. There’s no need to plug it or switch modes, I just apply some regular movements, and it does its job.
Another tool that I sure wouldn’t know how to go without is the claw hammer. Some projects use glue, miter joints or condor tails, but using nails is still the quickest and unelaborate finish. For my basic needs as a woodworker, the claw hammer is the main weapon.
The hammer always comes in handy, no matter what sort of utensils or hobby you keep in your toolshed.
Object number 4 on my list is a hand plane. Planers come in various sizes, and you can either choose a portable one or a benchtop planer. For the couldn’t-live-without-list I can pick the first option without a shadow of a doubt.
As most of the projects require a certain amount of detail work, I think a hand planer is one of the best options in taking care of irregular pieces of wood and bringing them to the same thickness.
One would think that if you put the parts together, your work is done, but woodworking projects are a bit more complicated that following the instructions you received from a Swedish guy. When working with lumber, I had to deal with leveling and curving operations much more often than I expected. That’s why I put the planer to regular use.
In short, if I were to wake up one morning with these four tools missing from my toolshed I’d have to go and buy others before starting work.