Best Hand Woodworking Tools You Must Have in 2021

Written by Stephen

On March 23, 2021
Woodworking tools DIY

Power tools are in rage these days but as any seasoned DIY expert will tell you, good ole fashioned woodworking hand tools will always have a niche that cannot be replaced. Whether for repairs or for any personal project, having the proper woodworking tools in your arsenal is a must to make the job easier and help you achieve better results.

However, with so many options on the market right now, it can be difficult to find ones that are the best of the best. Fortunately, we’ve saved you the time by doing the research for you. Below are the 6 best hand woodworking tools we could find, their pros and cons as well as some final remarks.

Top 6 Woodworking Tools 2021

1. Estwing Framing Hammer

The humble hammer is the simplest but also the most versatile DIY woodworking tools out there. If you are shopping for one that does its job perfectly and is as sturdy as a hammer can get, the Estwing Framing Hammer is the one to purchase.

Forged as one solid piece of tempered steel, the hammer is super durable and can easily tackle a heavy beating without even a scratch. Featuring an excellent weight distribution and balance, striking with the hammer delivers powerful blows without taxing the wielder. It weighs just 16 oz but punches way above its weight.

Thanks to its superb patented nylon-vinyl grip, the hammer is comfortable to hold and manages to reduce vibrations by nearly 70%. Furthermore, the grip is molded and bonded to the hammer piece, meaning that it will never come apart, no matter how many times you use the hammer.

Featuring a rip claw, you can utilize it for not just pulling nails but also for many other applications such as spilling wood, demolition work and prying boards. The hammer is available for buyers in both milled and smooth face options.

The company behind the hammer has been making woodworking hand tools for nearly a century and they showcase this legacy and experience in every tool they manufacture. All their products are 100% American made. Purchasing this hammer, you won’t be disappointed by its quality or performance.

Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Comfortable grip
  • High performance
  • Good balance
  • Great value for money
  • Made in the US

Cons

  • The long handle may feel overbalanced for a few people

The Verdict

Quality-wise you won’t find a better hammer on the market for the price range. Durable, high performing and excellently, Estwing’s is easily the king of hammers and there is no arguing about that.

2. Crown 4-1/2-inch Mallet

In woodworking and carpentry, sometimes you need woodworking tools that land a softer and more controlled blow, such as when driving a chisel or knocking wooden pieces together. A hammer just doesn’t cut it as there is always the risk of a strike being too powerful and damaging the wood. Instead, a craftsman utilizes a mallet.

Hailing from the United Kingdom, the Crown 4-1/2-inch is one of the best performing mallets we have come across. The tool features exceptional balance and lands powerful yet controlled blows easily. The mallet is also surprisingly quiet to work and carries good feedback. The mallet is comfortable to hold and work with – right out of the box it will feel like it was meant for your hands.

The mallet is composed of beech, a wood that is well-known for its hardness and toughness, even surpassing that of oak. However, beech can be vulnerable to moisture which impacts its durability. Hence, leaving the mallet out for days outside in moisture heavy conditions may not be recommended.

As a dried wooden mallet, it would require oiling. This helps improve its weight and provides better resistance against moisture. This mallet absorbs the oil hungrily. Just after 2-3 coats, it is ready for use as a hand tool for woodworking.

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Comfortable
  • Tough
  • High performance
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Not suitable for prolonged use in moisture

The Verdict

It’s a solid tool and feels great to use. Whether as a beginner woodworking tool or as an upgrade for the seasoned professional, you can’t go wrong with this purchase.

3. VonHaus 10 Piece Premium Chisel

For curving or cutting wood, the chisel is the ‘paintbrush’ of the wood craftsman. The quality of the chisel a person has can make all the difference when it comes to woodworking. Using a bad chisel set can work up plenty of frustration and leave you will terrible results.

A high-end chisel set can be a valuable investment and if you are in the market for one, we recommend VonHaus Premium Chisel. The chisel set contains split proof 10 pieces (from ¼’ to 2’), a Robert Larson honing guide and sharpening stone.

Made from heat-treated chrome vanadium steel alloy, the chisel blades possess extraordinary durability and strength. Even after many repeated uses, the metal is likely to retain its edge. The overall quality is extraordinary given the price and these chisels are guaranteed to last a lifetime with proper use.

Featuring rubberized ergonomic grips, the chisel is very comfortable to hold and work with. For easier sticking and effective transfer from force from the mallet into the chisel, all pieces also feature a uniform concave metal striking cap.

The sharpening stone the chisel comes with is made of aluminum oxide and features 120/200 grit. The stone wasn’t exactly the best we have come across but was good enough to get a decent job done. For better results, you may want to get yourself a more high-end 400/1000 grit sharpening stone.

The VonHaus set comes in a terrific wooden storage box, which is also a big plus in our opinion. Though some may find the design to be badly molded and thus, make it not easy to quickly take out the tools when need requires. So overall, the feedback on the box is mixed.

Do note that the chisels will need sharpening before you can start using them. This is especially the case for the larger head, which may need a fair amount of grinding and polishing.

While the honing guide offers excellent and easy to understand instruction, the fact that they need to be worked on and can’t be used straight out of the box don’t make them the most ideal of beginner woodworking tools. The chisel set is also available in 6 pieces (½’ to 1 ¼’) and 8 pieces (¼’ to 1 ½’) as well.

Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Split proof
  • Ergonomically designed
  • The set comes with a sharpening stone and a honing guide
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Needs to be sharpened on arrival

The Verdict

No matter how intricate or demanding the task, this set from VonHaus will deliver. At the price it is on offer, the set delivers tremendous value. If you don’t mind a little elbow grease, these are a must buy.

4. Olson Saw SF63510 (Woodworking Hand Saw)

For cutting wood into intricate shapes or for interior cutouts, the woodworking craftsman requires the use of a coping saw. Sturdy, durable and offered at an unbeatable great price, Olson Saw SF63510 is definitely an option to consider for a purchase.

The saw quality is second to none for its price range. Buying this woodworking hand saw, you can be assured that its blade is unlikely to break easily, even after years of heavy usage.

Furthermore, the blade can also be rotated 360-degree for added versatility and the saw washers hold the tension within the blade quite nicely. No matter the type of wood, its saw blade will run through it like a knife through butter.

As for any drawbacks, its hardwood handle isn’t the easiest or the most comfortable to grip and we wish the company could have done more homework on its design. However, this is the only quip we have with this woodworking hard tool.

Pros

  • Very sturdy
  • Durable
  • 360-turning blade
  • Tremendous value for money

Cons

  • Not the most comfortable grip handle

The Verdict

Easily the best ‘regular’ coping best hand saw for woodworking on the market, this is a premium quality tool that’s tough to beat in both price and sawing performance.

5. Stanley 12-220 Block Plane

Block planes are a great tool to have when dealing with grain ends and doing touchups to your woodworks. If you are interested in buying a block plane for your DIY, consider the one on offer by Stanley.

Stanley is a well-known name when it comes to hand tools for woodworking. The brand is known for the quality and performance of its products and Stanley 12-220 Block Plane proves to be no exception to this.

The cutter is fully adjustable and rest on the block plane at a 21° angle, making it perfect when it comes to cross-grain planing. The block plane is attractively priced. However, part of the reason for it is that the company intentionally left out some of the finishing steps during manufacture.

This isn’t a tool that you may be able to use straight out of the packaging. Its blade would need sharpening, the sole will need flattening, etc. However, once the required modifications are made, this block plane certainly delivers. Overall, this can be a great little tool that is easy to set up and work with, it just requires a bit of elbow grease to truly shine.

The tool also comes with a limited life-time warranty from the Stanley so if there are any defects or deficiencies in the workmanship, you can have it repaired or replaced.

If budget isn’t a constrain and you are after a more premium block plane for woodworking use, then we recommend the Stanley Bailey No.60-1/2 Low Angle Block Plane as an alternative.

Pros

  • Fully adjustable cutter
  • Easy to use and set-up
  • Limited life-time warranty
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • May require some modification before first-time use

The Verdict

With its highly affordable price considered, this is a great starter plane overall. It may need some work done at the start but once you are past that, this is a tool that will serve you well for years to come.

6. Komelon SM5425 Speed Mark Gripper

No woodworking hand tool set is ever complete with a reliable tape measure.  This excellent one from Komelon is our top recommendation.  Its well-designed end hook attaches firmly with no give, helping you take accurate measurements on large scale projects.

The non-glare tape length is an ideal 25 feet, more than enough for most projects but not long enough that you start having issues with getting it to roll back up. The tape measure features an ergonomic compact design, offering an easy and comfortable grip. The gripper on the tape prevents it from rolling back in while you take your measurements.

Our only criticism of it is that the retraction function leaves a bit to be desired. It is difficult to trigger with one hand and refraction feels inconsistent.

Pros

  • Ideal length
  • Great value for money
  • Ergonomic design
  • Durable
  • Firm and accurate measurements

Cons

  • Mediocre refraction function

The Verdict

Overall, a great purchase with tremendous value. For quick and easy measurements, this is the tape measure you want to have.

Parting Note

In writing our description of the products, we have tried to be as accurate as possible so to not give our dear viewers a dishonest review. Regardless of which of the above mentioned tools you choose to buy, we can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with the purchase. We hope you found our article to be informative and our list of recommendation to be worthwhile. Share it with others in your circle who may also find its content helpful.

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