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An Introduction to Hand Tools

As their name suggests, hand tools are essentially devices that enable the user to work on a material or a physical system using only his hands. Hand tools can be used manually by employing mechanical force or electrically by using electrical current.

Hand tools can be classified into several broad categories according to the function they perform. Let us take a look at some of the chief classifications and examples of each below:

* Driving and chopping tools, which include hammers, mauls, sledges, screwdrivers and bits and chopping tools.
* Cutting and smoothing tools, which include saws, chisels, planes, files and rasps and brush-cutting tools.
* Drilling, boring and countersinking tools
* Measuring, leveling, layout and marking tools like rules, tapes, plumb bobs, and squares
* Gripping, prying and twisting tools such as pliers, wrenches and bars
* Holding, raising and grinding tools like vises, clamps, jacks, grinders and oilstones
* Digging tools including shovels, posthole diggers, picks and mattocks
* Pipe wrenches
* Pocket HoleJig
* Specialty tools like automotive rescue tools, needle files, glass magnifiers, grommets and fasteners, hooks, probes, positioning, inspection and retrieval tools, magnets and punches

The most common functions served by these hand tools are those of plumbing and woodworking.

Plumbing tools are required for 3 main parts of a plumbing job – cutting the pipe to length (hacksaw and pipe cutter), bending it to shape (bending spring, pipe bending machine) and then joining it up to other pipes and fittings (gas blow lamp, spanner).

Your woodworking toolbox should include a drill (corded or cordless), a circular saw for trimming and cutting, finishing and belt sanders, a jig saw for cutting curves and rough outlines, a table saw with a powerful motor and a router to cut profiles.

Whether you are a professional, a hobbyist or simply a responsible home owner, a good set of hand tools is the basic requirement to perform any carpentry or plumbing jobs around the house.

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