Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Woodworking Tools Every Carpenter Should Try

Discover the secret weapons of craftsmanship in our guide on lesser-known woodworking tools, essential for every carpenter's skillset.

Hidden Gems

Hey there! Are you a woodworking enthusiast or maybe even a professional carpenter? Well, you've come to the right place! In this article, we're going to dive into the world of woodworking tools and explore some hidden gems that every carpenter should try. Whether you're a beginner looking to expand your tool collection or a seasoned woodworker seeking new tools to add to your arsenal, we've got you covered.

Woodworking is a craft that requires precision, creativity, and the right set of tools. While there are certain staple tools that every woodworker should have, there are also a plethora of lesser-known tools that can make your woodworking projects even more enjoyable and efficient. These hidden gems may not be as well-known as table saws or power drills, but they can certainly elevate your woodworking game to a whole new level.

In this article, we'll explore essential woodworking tools that every woodworker should have, specialized tools that cater to specific woodworking tasks, power tools that make your projects faster and easier, niche tools that are perfect for specific woodworking techniques, and innovative gadgets that can simplify your woodworking process. We'll also touch upon the importance of maintaining and caring for your woodworking tools to ensure their longevity and optimal performance.

So, are you ready to embark on a woodworking journey filled with exciting tools and gadgets? Let's get started with the essential woodworking tools that should be a part of every carpenter's toolkit.

Essential Woodworking Tools

Woodworking is an art form that has been around for centuries, and it requires a wide range of tools to bring those creations to life. Whether you're a professional carpenter or a hobbyist, having the right set of woodworking tools is essential. While many woodworkers are familiar with basic tools like hammers and saws, there are some lesser-known tools that every carpenter should consider adding to their collection. In this article, we'll explore some hidden gems in the world of woodworking tools that you should definitely try.

Hand Planes

Hand planes are versatile tools that can be used for a variety of woodworking tasks. They are great for smoothing wooden surfaces, creating chamfers, and even fitting joints. Hand planes come in different sizes and shapes, each serving a specific purpose. Some popular types of hand planes include:

  • Jack planes are the most versatile and commonly used type of hand plane. They are great for removing large amounts of material and smoothing uneven surfaces.
  • Block planes are smaller and are perfect for detail work, such as chamfering edges or smoothing end grain.
  • Shoulder planes are designed for trimming and fitting joints, making them an excellent tool for woodworking projects that require precision.


Chisels are indispensable tools in woodworking. They are used for cutting and shaping wood, creating mortises, and even carving intricate designs. Here are a few types of chisels that every woodworker should have in their toolkit:

  • Bench chisels are the most common type of chisels. They have robust blades and are suitable for general woodworking tasks.
  • Mortise chisels have thicker blades and are designed specifically for cutting mortises.
  • Skew chisels have an angled cutting edge, making them ideal for cleaning up corners and creating sharp edges.

Japanese Pull Saws

Japanese pull saws are known for their precision and efficiency. Unlike traditional Western saws, which cut on the push stroke, Japanese pull saws cut on the pull stroke. This unique design allows for greater control and accuracy, making them a favorite among many woodworkers. Some types of Japanese pull saws include:

  • Ryoba saws have two types of teeth on one blade, allowing for both crosscuts and rip cuts.
  • Dozuki saws have a thin and flexible blade, making them perfect for making precise cuts, especially in tight spaces.
  • Kataba saws have a single edge and are used for general woodworking tasks like crosscutting and ripping.

Block Planes

Block planes are compact and versatile tools that are essential for fine woodworking. They are primarily used for trimming and smoothing small wooden surfaces. Some key features of block planes include:

  • Adjustable mouth: This allows you to control the size of the opening, making it easier to adjust the depth of the cut.
  • Low-angle design: Block planes have a low-angle blade, which makes them excellent for end grain and cutting through difficult wood grains.
  • Toe and heel construction: The toe and heel of a block plane are typically made from a harder and more durable material, ensuring stability and longevity.


Spokeshaves are curved and versatile tools that are used for shaping curved surfaces, such as chair legs or handles. They are designed to remove thin shavings and create smooth, rounded profiles. The blade of a spokeshave is typically adjustable, allowing for different amounts of material to be removed. When using a spokeshave, it's important to pay attention to grain direction and take light, controlled passes to achieve the desired result.

These are just a few examples of essential woodworking tools that every carpenter should have in their toolkit. Each tool serves a specific purpose and can greatly enhance your woodworking experience. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned woodworker, investing in these lesser-known tools will not only expand your capabilities but also add more joy and precision to your craft.

So, why not give these hidden gems a try? You might just discover a new favorite tool that revolutionizes the way you work with wood.

Specialized Woodworking Tools

In addition to the essential woodworking tools we discussed earlier, there are several specialized tools that can take your woodworking projects to the next level. These tools are designed for specific tasks and can help you achieve greater precision and efficiency in your work. Here are some specialized woodworking tools that every carpenter should consider adding to their collection:

Dovetail Jigs

Dovetail joints are known for their strength and beauty, but they can be quite challenging to create by hand. A dovetail jig is a tool that helps you cut dovetail joints quickly and accurately. It guides your router or saw along the edges of the workpiece, ensuring precise and consistent cuts. With a dovetail jig, you can create professional-quality dovetail joints with ease.

Router Planes

Router planes are used for smoothing the bottoms of grooves or dadoes, as well as for leveling the surface of a workpiece. They have a flat base and a cutting blade that extends beyond the base. By adjusting the blade depth, you can remove just enough material to achieve the desired smoothness or levelness. Router planes are especially useful for fine-tuning joints and achieving a precise fit.

Scraper Planes

Scraper planes are designed specifically for smoothing surfaces. They have a flat sole and a cutting blade that is set at a high angle. Because of this high angle, the blade scrapes the wood fibers rather than cutting them, resulting in a glassy-smooth surface. Scraper planes are great for removing tear-out, leveling glued-up panels, and preparing surfaces for finishing.

Bench Hooks

A bench hook is a simple but invaluable tool for woodworking. It consists of a wooden block with two raised edges attached at right angles. The bench hook is placed against the edge of your workbench, and the raised edges prevent your workpiece from sliding or moving during sawing or planing operations. It provides stability and accuracy, allowing you to make precise cuts or smooth surfaces without worrying about your workpiece shifting.

Birdcage Awls

Birdcage awls, also known as brad awls, are used for starting screw holes, marking out locations for hardware, and other delicate tasks. Unlike regular awls, birdcage awls have a hollow shaft with a crosspiece at the top. This design allows you to maintain a precise grip while exerting downward pressure, making it easier to control the tool and prevent the awl from slipping or wandering.

These specialized woodworking tools may not be the first ones you think of when setting up your woodworking workshop, but they can greatly enhance your woodworking experience and allow you to tackle more advanced projects. Whether you're looking to create intricate joinery, achieve smooth surfaces, or improve precision, these tools have got you covered.

Remember, investing in specialized tools is not only about improving the quality of your work but also about making your woodworking journey more enjoyable and efficient. So don't hesitate to explore these specialized woodworking tools and find the ones that suit your needs and preferences. With the right tools in your arsenal, you'll be well-equipped to take on any woodworking challenge that comes your way.

Power Tools for Woodworking

When it comes to woodworking, power tools can help take your projects to the next level in terms of speed and efficiency. These tools are designed to make your work easier and allow you to tackle larger and more complex projects. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned woodworker, it's essential to have a few power tools in your workshop. Here are some of the must-have power tools for woodworking:

1. Random Orbit Sander

A random orbit sander is a versatile tool that every woodworker should have. It's perfect for smoothing surfaces, removing old finishes, and preparing wood for painting or staining. When choosing a random orbit sander, look for one with variable speed control and a dust collection system to keep your workspace clean.

2. Corded Circular Saw

A corded circular saw is a staple in any woodworking arsenal. It's great for making straight cuts in plywood, lumber, and other sheet materials. Look for a saw with a strong motor and adjustable depth and bevel settings for maximum versatility.

3. Router

A router is a powerful tool that can be used for a wide range of tasks, including cutting, shaping, and creating decorative edges. It's a must-have for creating intricate designs and joinery. When choosing a router, consider its power, speed control, and compatibility with various bits.

4. Scroll Saw

A scroll saw is a precision tool used for intricate and detailed cuts. It's perfect for creating curved lines, intricate patterns, and delicate cuts. Look for a scroll saw with variable speed control and a tilting table for added flexibility.

5. Biscuit Joiner

A biscuit joiner, also known as a plate joiner, is a specialized tool that helps create strong and invisible joints. It's ideal for joining two pieces of wood together at a 90-degree angle. Look for a biscuit joiner with adjustable fence settings and multiple depth settings for different biscuit sizes.

These power tools will give you the versatility and precision necessary to take your woodworking projects to the next level. However, it's important to keep in mind that safety should always be a priority when using power tools. Always wear protective gear such as safety glasses and earplugs, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for safe operation.

"Power tools can make your woodworking projects faster and more efficient, allowing you to tackle larger and more complex tasks."

Niche Woodworking Tools

In addition to the essential and specialized woodworking tools, there is a world of niche tools that can take your woodworking projects to the next level. These tools may not be as commonly known or used, but they offer unique capabilities and benefits that make them worth considering. So, let's dive into some of these hidden gems and explore how they can enhance your woodworking experience.

1. Fret Saw

Fret Saw

A fret saw is a versatile tool that allows you to make intricate curved cuts in wood. It features a thin blade with fine teeth, perfect for cutting delicate designs, patterns, and fretwork. Whether you're creating decorative pieces, marquetry, or inlay work, the fret saw offers incredible precision and control.

2. Scratch Stock

Scratch Stock

The scratch stock is a simple tool that excels at adding decorative details to your woodworking projects. It consists of a handle with a replaceable blade, which you can customize with various profiles to create unique moldings, flutes, or decorative grooves. With a scratch stock, you can easily add elegant touches to your furniture or any wooden surface.

3. Mitre Trimmer

Mitre Trimmer

Achieving perfect miters can be a challenge, but with a mitre trimmer, it becomes effortless. This specialized hand tool helps you trim and refine the ends of your miters to ensure a tight and clean joint. It provides precise control, allowing you to achieve professional-looking results quickly and easily.

4. Japanese-Inspired Marking Gauge

Japanese-Inspired Marking Gauge

A marking gauge is an essential tool for accurate woodworking, but the Japanese-inspired marking gauge takes it a step further. Featuring a single beam design and a unique adjustable blade, this gauge allows you to make precise and clean markings on your wood, ensuring accurate cuts and joinery. It's a must-have for any woodworker who values precision.

5. Sloyd Knife

Sloyd Knife

The Sloyd knife is a traditional Swedish woodworking tool that deserves more recognition. This versatile knife is specially designed for carving, shaping, and smoothing wood surfaces. With its sharp blade and ergonomic handle, it enables you to create intricate details, smooth curves, and remove material with ease. The Sloyd knife is ideal for fine woodworking projects and can be a valuable addition to your toolkit.

These niche woodworking tools may not be the first ones that come to mind, but they bring unique capabilities to the table. Whether you're looking to add intricate details, achieve perfect miters, or enhance your carving skills, these tools can help you take your woodworking creations to new heights.

Remember, the key to successful woodworking is having the right tools for the job. By exploring these lesser-known gems, you can expand your woodworking horizons and unlock new possibilities in your craft.

"In woodworking, just like in life, it's the little things that make a big difference. These niche woodworking tools may seem insignificant, but they can have a significant impact on the quality and creativity of your projects."

Innovative Woodworking Gadgets

In addition to traditional hand tools and power tools, there are also a variety of innovative gadgets that can greatly enhance your woodworking experience. These gadgets are designed to make certain tasks easier and more efficient, allowing you to take your woodworking skills to the next level. Whether you're a seasoned carpenter or just starting out, these innovative woodworking gadgets are worth exploring.

Let's dive into some of the coolest woodworking gadgets that can help you work smarter, not harder:

1. Digital Angle Finder

A digital angle finder is a handy tool that allows you to accurately measure angles, making it perfect for creating precise cuts and joinery. This gadget features a digital display that shows the exact angle, eliminating any guesswork. With a digital angle finder, you can easily set up miter cuts, bevel cuts, and even measure angles for complex woodworking projects.

2. Self-Adjusting Corner Clamps

Corner clamps are a must-have when it comes to assembling frames or boxes. But what sets self-adjusting corner clamps apart is their ability to automatically adjust to the thickness of the materials you're working with. These clamps ensure that your corners are perfectly squared up, saving you time and frustration.

3. Pocket Hole Jig

A pocket hole jig is a versatile tool that allows you to create strong and hidden joints for your woodworking projects. This gadget makes it easy to drill pocket holes at a specific angle, making the process quick and efficient. With a pocket hole jig, you can join pieces of wood together without the need for visible screws or dowels.

4. Magnetic Featherboard

A magnetic featherboard is a safety device that helps to keep your workpiece firmly against the fence or table while you're using power tools such as a table saw or router. This gadget uses strong magnets to hold the featherboard in place, ensuring that your hands stay at a safe distance from the cutting blade. It's a game-changer when it comes to safety and precision.

5. Bandsaw Circle Cutting Jig

If you frequently find yourself needing to cut perfect circles with a bandsaw, then a bandsaw circle cutting jig is a must-have gadget. This jig allows you to easily and accurately cut circles of various sizes. It eliminates the need for complicated calculations and guesswork, making circular cuts a breeze.

These innovative woodworking gadgets can significantly improve your woodworking projects, making them more precise and efficient. By incorporating these gadgets into your toolkit, you'll be able to take on more complex projects with confidence.

"Woodworking gadgets are like little helpers that make your life as a woodworker much more enjoyable and efficient."

Maintaining and Caring for Woodworking Tools

Once you've invested in some quality woodworking tools, it's important to take care of them properly to keep them in excellent working condition. Proper maintenance and care will not only extend the lifespan of your tools, but it will also ensure that they perform at their best every time you use them. Here are some tips for maintaining and caring for your woodworking tools:

Cleaning and Oiling

  • Regular cleaning: After each use, take the time to clean your tools. Remove any dust, shavings, or debris that may have accumulated on the surfaces or in the moving parts. Use a brush or compressed air to get into hard-to-reach areas. Cleaning your tools regularly will prevent build-up and prolong their lifespan.
  • Rust prevention: Rust is the enemy of woodworking tools, so it's important to keep them protected. After cleaning, apply a thin coat of oil to the metal surfaces of your tools to prevent rusting. There are many types of rust-prevention products available, such as mineral oil or special tool oils. Choose one that works well for your tools and apply it regularly.
  • Blade care: For tools with blades, such as chisels and planes, it's important to keep them sharp and free from rust. After cleaning, inspect the blades for any signs of rust or dullness. If necessary, gently sharpen the blades using a honing guide and sharpening stones. This will ensure that your tools cut cleanly and efficiently.

Sharpening and Honing

  • Sharpening stones: Invest in a set of sharpening stones of different grits. These stones come in various levels of coarseness, ranging from coarse to fine. When sharpening your tools, start with a coarser stone to reshape the blade and remove any nicks or dents. Gradually work your way up to finer stones to achieve a sharp edge.
  • Honing guide: A honing guide is a tool that helps you maintain a consistent angle when sharpening your tools. It holds the blade at the correct angle as you slide it across the sharpening stone. Using a honing guide ensures that your tools are sharpened evenly and effectively.
  • Honing compound: After sharpening your tools, apply a honing compound to the blade. This compound helps to refine and polish the edge, resulting in an even sharper cutting surface. Apply a small amount of honing compound to a strop or a piece of leather and run the blade across it a few times.

Storage and Organization

  • Proper storage: When not in use, store your woodworking tools in a clean and dry environment. Moisture can lead to rust and damage, so it's essential to keep them in a dry place. If possible, hang your tools on a pegboard or rack to keep them organized and within easy reach.
  • Toolboxes or cases: Invest in a toolbox or a dedicated case for your woodworking tools. This will not only protect them from dust and moisture but also provide a convenient way to transport them when needed. Make sure the toolbox or case has compartments or dividers to keep your tools organized and prevent them from rubbing against each other.
  • Tool wrappings: For extra protection, consider wrapping your tools in soft cloth or using tool wraps. These can help prevent scratches and dings, especially during transport. Additionally, use blade guards for tools with sharp blades, such as chisels or saws, to protect yourself and the tool from accidental cuts.

By following these maintenance and care tips, you can ensure that your woodworking tools stay in optimal condition for years to come. Remember, a well-maintained tool not only improves the quality of your work but also enhances your woodworking experience. So, take the time to care for your tools, and they will reward you with precise and enjoyable woodworking projects.



In conclusion, woodworking is a timeless craft that requires the right tools to bring your vision to life. From essential hand tools like hand planes and chisels to specialized tools like dovetail jigs and router planes, there are endless possibilities for enhancing your woodworking skills. Power tools like the random orbit sander and corded circular saw can make your work more efficient, while niche tools like the fret saw and scratch stock allow for unique finishing touches.

But it's not just about the tools themselves, it's also important to maintain and care for them properly. Regular cleaning and oiling, sharpening and honing, and proper storage and organization will ensure that your woodworking tools last for years to come.

Whether you're a professional carpenter or a DIY enthusiast, exploring these hidden gems of woodworking tools can elevate your projects to new heights. So don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Who knows, you might just discover a tool that revolutionizes your woodworking game.

And remember, when it comes to finding high-quality woodworking tools, Ultra Handy has got you covered. Check out our wide range of tools and outdoor equipment at Ultra Handy. Happy woodworking!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are some lesser-known woodworking tools every carpenter should try?Some lesser-known woodworking tools that every carpenter should try include: 1. Japanese pull saw, 2. Cabinet scrapers, 3. Edge plane, 4. Doweling jigs, and 5. Butt chisels.
  2. Why should carpenters try using lesser-known woodworking tools?Using lesser-known woodworking tools can bring new perspectives and techniques to carpentry projects. These tools often offer unique functionality, precision, and efficiency, allowing carpenters to achieve exceptional results and broaden their skillset.
  3. Where can I find these lesser-known woodworking tools?You can find lesser-known woodworking tools at specialized woodworking stores, online marketplaces, and even through direct orders from manufacturers. Researching and exploring different suppliers and brands can help you find the specific tools you need.
  4. Are lesser-known woodworking tools suitable for beginners?Yes, lesser-known woodworking tools can be suitable for beginners. While some tools may have a steeper learning curve, they also provide an opportunity for beginners to learn new skills and techniques. With proper guidance and practice, anyone can master the use of these tools.
  5. Can I replace traditional woodworking tools with lesser-known ones?It depends on the specific woodworking tasks and personal preferences. Lesser-known woodworking tools can often offer unique advantages, but traditional tools remain essential in many cases. Assess your needs, consider the specific functions of each tool, and determine if replacements are suitable for your projects.