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.

Employment: Spring 2015

Work at Third Floor Corporation.

White oak post notched and mortised for exterior arbor at Garrison, NY property. Fabrication by Third Floor Corporation Apprentices.
White oak post notched and mortised for exterior arbor at Garrison, NY property. Fabrication by Third Floor Corporation Apprentices.

All positions are paid. We frown on the practice of “offering” unpaid “internships. ” Rather we prefer to pay and demand commitment, dedication to craft, and hard work in return. Compensation based upon experience, skill, craft development and educational level.

We are always interested in the work of talented artisans, subcontractors in the mechanical trades and hard working intelligent ambitious people of any background.

We have an apprenticeship program for college graduates. We also provide  job training opportunities for high school graduated or GED complete youth in Peekskill and Newburgh, NY . Please email a complete resume attached in Microsoft Word format with a succinct cover letter and educational background information to Doctorstructure@thirdfloorconstruction.com

Please include a clear subject line in your email with these inquiries in order to evade our spam filter. Be forewarned our filter is set to weed out the vague, the indecisive, the disingenuous, catch phrases, truisms,  business-school double-speak, stereotypes, bigotry, idle chatter, and, as well– of course– malicious software.

Below is a sample of our long running Craigslist employment advertisements

Apprentice Carpenter

Apprentice carpenter to assist lead carpenter in high end residential construction and structural repairs of antique and classic modern houses. All custom architectural work. Steady work for individuals devoted to their craft. Busy disciplined environment.
  • Resume’s in Microsoft Word Format only. Include work and educational background
  • Reply by email only.
  • Full time year round work
  • Must have working cell phone, valid driver’s license and own transportation to work in Westchester, Putnam, and Fairfield Counties.
  • Must have tools for higher paid positions.
  • Must be in good physical condition for work in construction environment.
  • Must be able to read construction documents.
  • Must be capable of executing tasks without supervision
  • Some professional experience and education in the craft required.
  • High school diploma required.
  • Legal residency required.
  • College education preferred.
  • Strong math and technical skills a must.

Apprentice to Master Builder (Peekskill, NY)

Paid Intern/Apprentice to master builder for custom residential construction.

  • Excellent opportunity to learn the building trades as a direct assistant to experienced General Contractor.
  • Flexible hours. Excellent opportunity for Architecture, Engineering or Project Management graduate
  • Must have working cell phone, valid driver’s license and own transportation to work in Rockland, Putnam, Westchester and Fairfield Counties.
  • Must be in good physical condition for work in construction environment. Outdoors in all weather conditions. Occasional long hours. Direct participation in physically demanding construction work in a job site environment is required.
  • High school diploma or GED required. Legal residency required. College education preferred. Strong math and technical skills a must.
  • Detail oriented person must be willing to document site conditions and work activities. Must be able to follow very detailed and specific instructions and to communicate those instructions clearly to others.

Equal opportunity. Female apprentices welcome.

Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
Do NOT contact us with unsolicited services or offers.
Please respect our time. No telephone or text inquiries without prior written (email) contact including a letter of introduction and resume.

Bibliography for the Apprentice Carpenter

Bibliography for the Apprentice Carpenter

The following is a list of books and publications that I have recommended to apprentices starting out with Third Floor over the years. Taken as a whole these give a good sense of the history of the craft most particularly in the European/American Tradition. In addition to these books I also recommend a study of the traditions of Japanese carpentry and architecture. Recently I have begun to encourage the study of the theory of high efficiency building construction known as Passivehaus

  1. Vitruvius (1st Century BCThe Ten Books of Architecture [link to the Gutenberg Project free online version]  TRANSLATED BY MORRIS HICKY MORGAN, PH.D., LL.D., HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE  (1914)
  2. John Fitchen, Building Construction Before Mechanization, MIT (1989)
  3. Harry F. Ulrey and John E. Ball, The Carpenters and Builders Library 4 vols, Audel 1972 [This four volume set is the best and most thorough discussion of the technicalities of the carpenters craft ever put to print. The volumes are listed by subject below]
    • Vol 1. Tools, Steel Square, Joinery
    • Vol 2. Builders Math, Plans, Specifications
    • Vol 3. Layouts, Foundations, Framing
    • Vol 4. Millwork, Power Tools, Painting
  4. Fine Homebulding Magazine and the related publications of Taunton Press
  5. PHIUS Passive House Institute US access to Passive House Training
  6. Rachel Carley The Visual Dictionary of American Domestic Architecture, Henry Holt and Company (1994) [Among other things this book has an excellent short section detailing various types of Native American dwellings and structures. It is also useful for the development of the architectural vocabulary necessary to the professional carpenter. Through the book most of the architectural details or “elements” are labelled. ]