Here’s a look at some common hand tools for working with timber
A general-purpose handsaw is one of the first tools in most toolboxes. The saw can handle cutting across the grain (cross-cutting) and along the grain (rip cutting). They’re around 500mm long but you can buy smaller saws that do the same job but fit into a toolbox for easy storage. The handles on most saws are moulded with 90 and 45 degrees angles to the blade so you can use them as a square for quick marking of angled cross cuts.
A tenon saw is a short fine-toothed saw use for fine cutting and making joins in timber. The square end and stiffened rib along the blade keep it rigid for accurate cutting.
The D-shaped frame and flexible narrow blade, allows you to cut tight curves through timber. It is used for fine detail work and cutting one side of a scribed join where skirting boards meet at an internal corner.
A dovetail saw is used for creating fine joints - like the dovetail after which it is named! It has a thinner blade than a tenon saw and more teeth for a finer cut.
Japanese handsaws are fine-toothed saws that cut on the pull stroke not the push like conventional saws. It also has a thinner blade so is perfect for situations when you don’t want a wide cut through the timber.
Hand planes are used to smooth timber prior to the finer finish of sanding. The fine-tuning and sharp blade allows you to take thin shavings off timber with much more accuracy than a power plane. A bench plane is used for initial smoothing of rough timber and should be followed with a smoothing plane.
Chisels are used for scoring and removing timber for rebates and smoothing in tight areas where a plane is impractical. They are struck with a mallet when removing timber and by hand for smoothing. Common uses for the DIYer are smoothing notches in posts and creating rebates in doors for hinges and handles.