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Hand Tools

Hand Tools

What are Hand Tools?
Hand tools are devices that are primarily used in performing those jobs that does not require or does not involve the use of a machine or a motor. These are handled and powered solely by the person who is using these tools. One can see a large variety of hand tools, ranging from general tools like hammers, pliers, wrenches, etc. to specific tools like calipers. Some hand tools can be converted into power tools.

History of Hand Tools
The origin of hand tools can be traced back to 6000 BC when the combined antlers and wooden axes were used for the first time during this period. At around 8000 BC, the antlers of rein deers were used to form sharp cutting edges and were used as axes and azdecs. During the Roman times, many hand tools were transformed into useful things. Benches, another form of hand tools, were first used during the Greek and Roman period.

Simple wooden screw vices were being used at the start of the 17th century. Hammers, which were simple hand held stones, continued to be used in this form until the Greek period. Mallets were used by both the Egyptians and the Roman, even though the widely recognized square section mallets were not developed until the later medieval period.

The Egyptians used the copper hand saws which were up to 0.5 meters long. These were later developed by the Greeks and Romans, who introduced the wooden frames for supporting the blade as well as for setting the saw teeth alternately, with the sole purpose of getting a more accurate and sharp cut


Types of Hand Tools
There is a wide variety of hand tools that are used in the agricultural sectors and in a number of other uses as well. These are:

  • Cabinet Scraper: This is also known as card scraper and is basically a woodworking shaping or finishing tool. It is highly useful in removing small amounts of materials in the tricky areas of the grain and is most suitable for working with hardwoods. Scraping a surface produces a much cleaner surface than sanding, as it does not result in the clogging of wood with dust, nor does it leave a trail of torn fibers
  • Brace: Also known as brace bit, this hand tool is used for drilling holes, most often in wood. The brace is rotated with a U-shaped grip, whereas the pressure is applied at the top of the object. The U-shaped part of the brace looks like a crankshaft. The front part of the brace comprises of a check spindle that has V-shaped brackets and clamps inside the brace. There is a three position gear behind the chuck of a brace which allows the ratcheting of the handle. If the gear release is turned from the center position, it enables the brace to be ratcheted in the needed direction
  • Clamp: A clamp is defined as a device that is used to fasten or hold objects more tightly to prevent separation or movement by applying inward pressure. There are both temporary and permanent types of clamps. A temporary clamp is used to provide the desired positions to the components while fixing them together. The various types of temporary clamps are bench clamp, band clamp, C-clamp, pipe clamp, etc., and the various types of permanent clamps are wire rope clamps, hose clamps, etc.
  • Block Plane: It is basically defined as a small woodworking hand plane which has iron bedded at an angle slightly lower than the other planes. Since the blades of a block plane are set at a shallow bed angle, thereby allowing the blade to slice through the end grain, these are primarily used to pare the end grains. It is also used in removing component by removing thin shavings of wood to make the component fit in at a high tolerance rate
  • Chisel: It is yet another type of hand tool that has a strong cutting edge, and is used for cutting or carving a hard materials like wood, metal or stone. The chisel is forced into the material to cut the material fast. Gouge, a type of chisel, is used in particularly in wood turning, woodworking and in sculpture to carve out small piece from the material
  • Hammer: A hammer is also another form of a hand tool that is mainly used in delivering an impact to the desired object. It is most commonly used in driving nails, breaking up objects and in fitting parts. It consists of a head and a handle, with most its weight being concentrated in the head
  • Hacksaw: It is a saw that is used for cutting bones or metals. Many of the hacksaws have a pistol grip that keep them firm and easy to grip. Small hacksaws that can be held in a hand have a metal arch with a handle that are fitted around a rigid, narrow blade. This blade is quite brittle in nature, and thus, care should be taken to ensure that there are no brittle fracture of the blade
  • Pick Axe: A pick axe is a hand tool having a hard head attached perpendicular to the handle. The head of a pick axe is made of metal, while its handle is usually made of wood, wood or fiber glass
  • Spanner: It is a tool used in turning bolts, nuts or any other item that is hard to turn. The most commonly visible shape of a typical spanner is an open end and a ring
  • Torque Wrench: This hand tools is used to set the torque of a fastener such as a bolt or a nut in a precise manner. It is most often used when there is a crucial need for tightening the screws and bolts
  • Plier: This hand tool is designed mainly with the aim of gripping objects by the use of a lever. Since pliers are used for many different purposes, they sometimes require different jaw configuration in order to grip, pull or turn an object. Some of the common types of pliers are special purpose pliers, gripping pliers, adjustable pliers, crimping pliers, rotational pliers, etc.
Other Types of Hand Tools
In addition to the above, there are numerous other varieties of hand tools. These are:
  • Screeds
  • Screwdrivers
  • Shovels (Pointy Nosed/Round Nosed)
  • Spades
  • Steel Post Removers
  • Trowels
  • Wheel Barrows
  • Wire Strippers
  • Rubber Mallets
  • Pipe Cutters.

Taking Care of Hand Tools

Hand tools require a lot of maintanence if they are to be used efficiently for a longer period of time. Mentioned below are some tips on how to clean, store, and maintain these hand tools:


  • Always clean the hand tools immediately after using them
  • No pathogen should spread while washing the hand tools
  • Those areas of a hand tool that are prone to rust should be cleaned regularly with a light oil
  • Always store the hand tools in a dry and protected environment
  • Always place them in racks to facilitate easy identification and safety
  • The metal blades of some of the hand tools should always be well oiled and sharp
  • Keep a check on these hand tools to avoid any form of wear & tear in them
  • The wooden part of any hand tool should be sanded regularly and should be oiled with linseed oil and turps mix.
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