In this article, we will be looking at a recommended tool list for a brand-new carpentry apprentice. This is a small list of the bare essentials, as well as some additional options for your new job.
As a carpenter moves through there apprenticeship and becomes fully qualified, they will constantly add to their tool list. This will include small hand tools, and more expensive power tools. However, there are a few tools that you will need right from the start.
In the beginning of your apprenticeship, most of the work you do will be quite simple. You will be doing more of the unskilled jobs, such as moving tools, cleaning up, unloading materials, and making cups of tea.
When you are not doing these jobs, you will be working with a professional carpenter and learning the trade.
Below is a list of tools that we recommend you acquire, before starting your new apprenticeship.
Hand tools for apprentice Carpenter
Toolbox or bag
You’re going to need something to carry your tools in. For this, a toolbox or a tool bag will be needed. The one you choose, is really down to personal preference.
You don’t need to spend a fortune. However, you should make sure it fits all of your new tools, as well as allowing room for new tools you will add in the future.
This is another item for carrying tools, but unlike your toolbox, you will be wearing it on the job. Items such as your hammer, tape measure and pencil will be needed all of the time. A tool belt and pouch, lets you carry small essential tools for when they are needed.
As a carpenter, you will always need a sharp pencil on hand. You can’t go wrong with a decent quality HB pencil. These have nice strong leads and are very good for drawing accurate lines. HB are a type of pencil you might have used at school.
Another popular option is a carpenter’s pencil. These are flat and tend to have a softer lead. They are good for scribing, and due to their shape, they don’t roll away.
The type you choose is up to you, and since pencils are pretty cheap, it won’t hurt to buy a few of each and figure out which you prefer.
A tape measure is another essential tool. You will use this constantly, so it’s a tool that you will keep in your pouch all day. There are many different tape measures out there and they all do the same job.
Another tool that you will use every day, is your claw hammer. It is recommended, that you buy a decent hammer, as this is a tool that will last for a long time. The industry standard in carpentry is Estwing. Whilst these are slightly more expensive, they are well worth the money.
A decent Estwing hammer will last an extremely long time. I personally still own the same hammer I bought in 2002 when I started my own apprenticeship.
Any Stanley knife will do the job and you don’t need to spend a fortune. This is just a handy tool to have in your pouch and it will get a lot of use.
Another tool that is essential to a carpenter, is their hand saw. There are many brands out there and some are quite expensive. However, this is an instance where value is important. You are likely to go through saws quite a bit. Therefore, a good quality affordable saw is preferred. For this, we recommend the Bacho 244.
This is an affordable, high-quality saw. It has fine teeth, which give a very nice accurate cut and they last pretty well with regular use.
You can easily spend double on a hand saw, but since you will need to replace them regularly, this is a great economical option, and you will notice that these are very popular with carpenters.
The combination square is another handy tool that you will use a lot. These are relatively affordable and you will use it on a daily basis as a carpenter.
Smoothing plane & Block Plane
These are two different planes that you will use regularly as a carpenter. They are quite expensive, so they may not be essential when you first start your apprenticeship. However, you will need them eventually, so if you don’t buy them in the beginning, they should be on you wish-list to buy soon.
Ideally you don’t want to buy cheap low-quality planes. These are tools that will last a lifetime if you buy good quality and look after them.
Stanley is generally considered the gold standard for this type of tool.
Chisels are another tool that you may not need on your first day. However, you will need them soon enough, and just like your planes, you should buy good quality. Ideally, you need a full set of bevelled chisels and the best choice by far are Marple’s chisels.
Other less essential tools
The tools mentioned so far are the bare essentials. They will allow you to get started in this trade with your own set of high-quality tools.
However, you will find that over the years, you end up buying lots of different useful tools to help with your job. Some of the most common tools you may buy in your first year as an apprentice include:
- Coping saw
- Hack saw
- Spirit levels
- Sliding bevel
- Nail punch
- Screw drivers
This is not an extensive list, but these are a few of the tools you can buy as you get started in your new career.
Over time, you will find that you are constantly adding new tools, and it wont take long before you have an impressive collection.
Power tools needed for an apprentice Carpenter
Just like hand tools, you will end up buying a lot of power tools in your career. However, the vast majority of these, are not essential when you are just getting started.
The one power tool that you should try to get if you can afford it, is a cordless drill. This is a tool you will use on a daily basis. Therefore, it makes sense to buy one from the very beginning.
There are many brands out there and some are extremely expensive. Whereas others are very cheap. The main thing you need to consider, is that some are designed for professional use, and others are DIY tools. Whilst it may be tempting to buy cheap, it is likely that drills on the lower end won’t last very long.
Brands such as DeWalt are designed for professional use and often have good deals on entry level drills. In many cases you can get a drill and impact driver set, with batteries and charger for well under £200.
If you are on a budget, you can just buy the drill on its own for between £120-£150. However, these types of sets, do allow you to pick up two tools very cheap, compared with buying them separately.
You can manage without the impact driver, but it is a very useful tool to use in combination with your combi drill.
We hope you found this apprentice carpenters tool list useful.
Carpentry is a fantastic trade to get into, but, getting started with all the tools and kit you need is not cheap. However, these tools should be seen as an investment in your future career.
Many of the hand tools you buy, will last for your entire working life (providing you look after them).
This means it does make sense to buy good quality tools.
Over time, you will end up spending a lot of money on tools (especially power tools), but some of the first tools you buy are some of the best. Speaking from my own experience, I still own the vast majority of tools that I purchased to start my apprenticeship, and that was over two decades ago.