Hand Tool Set for the Apprentice’s First Day

The following list is the required list of tools to be in the possession of a carpenter’s apprentice on her or his first day of work for Third Floor Corporation.
 Ben Fiering–Fort Montgomery, NY August 29, 2015

Apprentices helpers and contractors who desire to advance to the standing of carpenters on Third Floor Corporation projects, should come to work every day equipped with at least the following tools and a tool bag or box in which to keep them organized.

[There are a variety of branded products mentioned below and a few retailers.  It should be clearly stated that this blog accepts no funds or other support from retailers or manufacturers and that these should not be considered as endorsements. They are meant only to aid in locating and identifying the tools mentioned.]

  1. –Safety Glasses.
  2. –A note pad on which notes can be taken and drawings and calculations made.
  3. –A tool belt or a combination, hammer holster and nail apron, or one of each which will accommodate a hammer, fasteners and some or other simple tools to be worn when working in appropriate conditions.
    This Carhart set shown below is light and easy to take on and off for those of us who prefer not to work wearing a heavy belt.

    This cotton nail apron for less than 3 dollars is acceptable if worn with a hammer holster and a basic belt that will hold a tape measure. The master carpenter who first trained me worked this way, with a simple cotton nail apron and a hammer holster.



  4. –A knife or utility knife in good condition
  5. –A tape Measure.. and one of good quality, Stanley, Dewalt, Milwaukee, etc with a wide rigid blade of at least 16′.
  6. –A carpenter’s pencil and a standard pencil and means of keeping these sharpened.
  7. –A Framing Hammer of some sort with a waffle head. I recommend a wooden handled Framing hammer but this is not required.

    http://www.vaughanmfg.com/shopping/Products/23-OZ-Milled-Face-California-Framing-Hammer-With-Curved-Handle__CF1-HC.aspx The Vaughn “California” framer is the classic but there are many variations

  8. –A finish hammer preferably 16 oz and must be smooth faced so as no to mar finish woodwork. I recommend the hammer below. It is a lifetime tool and can be used to pry nails and such due to its strength.


  9. –A “catspaw” nail puller. such as this one shown below. There are many variations on this tool from Stanley, Vaughn, Bostitch and Estwing and Dewalt. personal preference should prevail but you should have a durable double ended tool of this type.


  10. –A 12 – 16″ Flatbar This one below is from Dewalt


  11. –A combination square, I recommend the classic Stanley tool below. It is durable, inexpensive and the markings are etched so they will stay readable as the tools ages and wears.


  12. –A set of good long body wood chisels and a stone to keep these sharp. This set below is available at the home depot.


  13. –A set of simple screwdrivers or a combination screwdriver with a #1, #2 both Phillips and flat.
  14. –A simple adjustable “monkey” wrench
  15. –A Lineman’s Pliers. These Channel Lock pliers will last a lifetime if kept oiled and dry. In a pinch you can cut through a deck screw with these to shorten it. Klein also makes a pair of these as do many others.


  16. –A chalk line.”Chalk Box” .. and some chalk to put in it’ This Irwin “Straight Line” solid aluminum chalk box doubles as a Plumb Bob and has yet to be improved on by more expensive plastic bodied models.


  17. –A brass plumb bob


  18. –A two foot Level. and over time a plumber’s level and a 4′ level.
  19. –Nail Sets such as these inexpensive standard type shown below


In addition to these it is useful for people to have in their cars some basic painting supplies, a caulking gun putty knife etc.