If you want to process wooden surfaces quickly and efficiently, you should stock up on a set of practical tools. Which of them are worth buying, and what to consider when choosing?
Application and processing of wood
For many years, people have used wood for many different purposes. It is an excellent building material, suitable for erecting houses or creating its essential elements (e.g., roofs, floors, doors) as well as decorating houses from the outside and interior design. We can successfully make furniture, decorations, or fences, and garden elements out of wood. Wood is also used to create other instruments and tools such as ladders, floats, or hammers. For some purposes, wood can be used as a natural, raw material, even together with bark, e.g., for fences in a typical country style, logs, or the so-called washers. All you need to do is cut the raw wood elements properly and undergo moisture protection (impregnation, oil).
Wood is a natural, ecological material with excellent insulation properties and valued aesthetic qualities. At the same time, it is a material that is relatively easy to process. It can be used to create both simple and more complex elements – carved, bent, or profiled.
Specialized machines are usually used for mass woodworking, but we can also process wood on a small scale – at home or a home workshop. All you have to do is gather materials (suitable wood) and purchase some practical tools and tools for woodworking.
Hand tools for wood
- a) DIY (with wood in the leading role), we start by creating a design and choosing the wood processing method. Then we collect the necessary materials (boards, plywood, glues, nails). Essential tools, especially at the preliminary stage, will be:
– carpentry pencil with thick, clearly significant graphite, for precise marking on the wood of places subjected to a given type of processing (cutting, hammering a nail),
– measure – that is, a metal or wooden ruler, it will allow you to lead straight lines and maintain the correct dimensions,
– angle fence (coaster), which will enable drawing lines at the right angle,
– table (or another working surface) is best equipped with a vise, carpentry pliers and clamps, which will significantly facilitate our work in a wide range of all types of DIY.
- b) We usually start the woodworking process with an appropriate cut. We use saws for this purpose. They differ in construction, size, and shape, which means they can be well adapted to the cutting method and type of wood. Wood saws perform various kinds of cuts; most generally, they are divided into manual and electric saws.
Among hand saws we distinguish saws:
single lever, consisting of a handle (usually made of plastic) and a cutting element – a metal saw blade with teeth. The most common varieties of single lever saws are:
- a) payers, used for quick, straight cuts constituting the rough cutting of quite large elements (e.g., beams, boards) along or across. They are equipped with a saw blade (it should be quite stiff up to 1 mm thick and 30-60 cm long) with alternately parted teeth, large size – for longitudinal cuts or with smaller teeth – for transverse cuts,
- b) hole saws – saws with a thin, pointed blade, used to cut holes (e.g., in countertops) or to create arches or other complicated shapes. Hole saw teeth have a specific conical profile, they are not bent, so it is possible to cut curves. The saw blade should be quite stiff (which is worth checking out), and the teeth should preferably be hardened (these are black),
- c) grooms – used for precise cuts, e.g., to a specific depth, for cutting excess veneer on furniture. They have a thin blade, small teeth, which are also placed on the rounded edge of the blade. They enable trimming e.g., ends of finishing elements at various angles, which is facilitated by appropriate indentations on the saw,
- d) ridges, enabling precise cutting of small wooden parts, e.g., rollers, slats. They will also let you cut grooves, tenons, and mites. The blade of the backbone is thin, but on the upper edge, it is stiffened by a characteristic steel or brass strip allowing better control of the cut,
- e) saws with replaceable saw blades, in the handle of which a system enabling saw blade replacement was used. This usually applies to saw blades offered by one of the power tool manufacturers. These are practical tools, but quite expensive.
Frame saws – they have a saw blade (which can have teeth on both sides) mounted on a special frame-holder. Their varieties are:
- a) Schedule – a large saw with large teeth, it is mainly used for cutting boards or veneers from beams, has a unique blade tensioner, preventing it from twisting during cutting,
- b) trichinosis (or hair saw, also known as laubzega) – it is used for multiple, precise small incisions, e.g., in model making, cutting narrow gaps, holes, curvatures. It has a skinny blade with beautiful teeth on one or both sides, mounted on a bow steel frame. During operation, the module can be rotated around its axis, which allows you to change the cutting direction,
- c) angle saws – with a guide, is used for precise cutting of frames, slats or boards. The adjustable guide has a fixed bow with a tensioned blade and handle. It is possible to adjust the cutting angle, e.g., every 15 or 7.5 and even every 1 degree. The vice and stops built into the guide base stabilize the workpiece.
Do you know that:
Saws with more sharp teeth allow for accurate machining. The larger the teeth – the faster the sawing becomes, but the
less precise – the more coarse it is. The shape of the saw teeth determines its intended use for cutting along or across the fibers.
With a 90 degree angle of saw teeth – the saw is universal, but with:
– an angle less than 90 degrees – the saw is used for longitudinal sawing,
– an angle higher than 90 degrees – for cross-cutting.
Hand-held circular saws – these are electrically powered devices (e.g., using the drive of a regular drill) with a round cutting disc. They are used for simple cuts that give the overall format of the processed material, e.g., the right length or shape.
- a) Chisels – these are simple tools consisting of an impact-resistant shaft (e.g., composite) and variously shaped blades – a saw blade (best – of good quality, hardened steel). Chisel blades have a width of approx. 4 to 40 mm, and their cross-section may have the shape of e.g., trapezoid, arc, rectangle. They are designed for precise modeling, gouging, cutting grooves, and removing excess material. Using a chisel, we can create sockets and gutters in wood (carpentry joints), needed for embedding other elements. Tools can have different sizes, lengths, and cutters. We can buy them as individual pieces or in sets, adapted, e.g., to various types of wood or types of works (construction, sculptural).
- b) Planes – commonly known as planes, they are used for smoothing wood surfaces, rounding edges, creating recesses, or ripping old coatings. The tool has an ergonomic, hand-fitted housing in which the knife is placed. There are very different shapes of knives available (plain, scratching boards, trackpad, scrapers, angles, profiled knives for decoration), we can exchange them freely – matching the task. The degree of protrusion of the blade will regulate the thickness of the wood layer to be cut.
It is worth running a planer (Hebel) along the wood fibers – then there will be no fraying of wood; as a result, we will get a better
the smoothness of the treated surface.
- c) Wood drill bits – they do not have to be particularly durable, because wood is not a very demanding material. For wood, it is often enough to use a hand drill, electric screwdriver, or drill. Among the wood drill bits, there are types such as:
– spiral, quite typical, ended with a sting, with one large groove to remove chips,
– canned, allow drilling of large holes with a diameter of more than 10 mm,
– vane or feather – flattened, with two straight cutting edges, e.g., for widening gaps.
Types and use of wood tools
- d) Grinding tools – sandpaper of varying thickness is most often used to level the wood surface. From softer wood, we will use paper with coarser grains, for harder ones – with finer ones. Then we graduate from the article with the highest gradation – the smallest. Sheets of sandpaper can be used directly, or put them on a wooden block, trowel, or another object. We can also use:
– wire brushes,
– grinding wheels,
– files with parallel cuts,
– rasps with relatively small spikes.
The softer the wood we process – the larger the file or rasp blades we use.
Do you know that
Before starting the grinding and smoothing of the wood surface, we should check if there are any
hard elements left in the material, e.g., staples, nails, screws. They could blunt and destroy smoothing tools, as well as damage processed wood.
Electric wood tools
Much faster, more efficiently, often more accurately, you can process wood using tools with electric or another drive, or individual separate machines. For example:
– we can use saws for wood cutting; their type should be selected appropriately for the size of the wood (for sawn timber, logs), the expected accuracy and quality of the cut, as well as the intensity of work,
– for drilling in wood, exceptionally repeatable, drilling machines can be used, e.g., column drills, or versatile models with a movable head (drilling with a wide range and at different angles),
– for wood milling – individual milling machines allow you to achieve the desired shape quickly, thanks to the use of cutters with specially shaped cutting edges,
– for leveling wood shapes – planers. The bottom surfaces of the processed material are leveled by planers called planers, and the upper surfaces by planers,
– for grinding, we use grinders that prepare the wood for final finishing. Angle grinders are especially popular, where the mandrel with the disc is set at an angle of 90 degrees to the axis of the mill, which increases the stability and safety of workers. Other types of grinders are oscillating (with a vibrating foot with abrasive material), eccentric (in addition to vibrations they also rotate), and belt grinders (high efficiency). Thanks to the use of grinders, we no longer need to make sure that the alignment is carried out in the direction of the grain,
– for the final finishing of wood, you can use a polisher that uses soft discs and delicate abrasives.
If we deal with woodworking only occasionally, it is instead not worth purchasing too expensive and very durable, proprietary tools. All you need are medium-quality tools, instruments, and devices at reasonable prices. If we process wood more often, we should not save too much and buy weapons for better quality and durability. Particular attention should be paid to:
– making blades and blades of good quality steel grades, additionally subjected to hardening,
– method of forming and sharpening working tips,
– quality of joining tool elements,
– the durability of materials used for handles, shanks, or frames.
For example, the cheapest saw can be purchased for about PLN 10, but it will have a handle made of unstable plastic, connected with rivets, a blade made of ordinary hardened steel, and the blades sharpened only in one direction. A more professional saw will already have a handle made of good quality plastic, covered with rubber, connected to the blade with stable screws. The blade will have hardened teeth, ground on three sides. In addition, there may be a thickening of the edge, increasing stability, corrosion protection, or a coating that reduces friction. The price of such a saw will then reach around PLN 200.
Electric saws – the most economical versions (plastic housing, weak discs, and bearings, low revolutions up to 4,500 rpm) we get for about PLN 100, but the best for about PLN 600 – 700. The more expensive ones – they have metal housings, a more efficient engine, 4800 – 5000 rpm, durable discs, more excellent stability, and precision of work.
Both the quality class of wood tools, as well as their quantity and variety – we should choose depending on our tasks and needs. Sometimes, for example, instead of buying a single chisel, drill, or rasp, you can buy a whole diverse set because it will significantly improve our work and take it cheaper than when buying individual pieces. However, there is no need to purchase more massive sets for single and rare jobs.