Finding Richard at

Which way did he go? Where has he been? Where is he headed? So many questions . . ..

Minimalist Toolset

I’m a tool junkie.

I’ll be the first to admit it. And, no, I don’t want directions to the nearest 12-step program.

Tools are cool.

They’re what makes civilization possible.

The problem is, you can only carry so many with you — unless you want to use a semi tractor and trailer as your commuter.  I don’t know about your workplace, but mine only provides supermarket-size parking spaces.

So, I have a set of sockets, a couple adjustable wrenches, a couple screwdrivers and a pair of pliers, or two, that I carry in my truck.

I’m primarily a woodworker and a table saw just won’t fit behind the bucket seats in my truck.

So, I’m looking at what the bare-minimum set of hand tools would look like for a woodworker.

Here’s what I would start with:

  1. Claw hammer, 16oz
  2. Set of nail sets
  3. Chisel 1/4″
  4. Chisel 1/2″
  5. Chisel 1-1/2″ or 2″
  6. Hand brace
  7. Set of auger bits
  8. Large Yankee Screwdriver – I’d recommend a new one from The Traditional Woodworker, as they will use the ubiquitous 1/4″ hex head screwdriver and drill bits.
  9. Straight slot screwdriver
  10. Phillips screwdriver
  11. A handsaw. I recently read advice on-line from a very experienced professional carpenter to people wanting to get into the construction industry to buy only one hand saw — and to make it the coarsest rip-cut saw they could find, as it would handle almost all their needs.
    1. Irwin Tools makes their Pro Touch coarse cut hand saw in 15″, 20″ & 24″ lengths all for under $30.00 US
  12. Try square
  13. Framing square or triangular speed square
  14. Torpedo level
  15. 30′ tape measure
  16. Carpenter’s pencils
  17.  Wonder Bar wrecking bar
  18.  8″ & 12″ adjustable wrench (A.K.A. “Crescent Wrench”)
  19. Locking pliers (A.K.A. “Vise-Grips”)
  20. Slip-joint pliers
  21. 6″ Needle-nose pliers
  22. Flashlight
  23. Pocket knife or multi tool

This list is at least three times as long as the article that I recently read advising people wanting to get started in the construction industry to buy, but I’ve lost the link to that article, and combing my browsing history has not helped.  I’ll continue to search for that article and will post a link when I find it.


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