Hand tools evolved over time alongside with the jobs that they were used for. We can divide them according to the purpose they serve (striking tools, wrenches, pliers and so on) or we can divide them according to the jobs they are used for. This second division is broad and distinguishes between two types of tools; agricultural tools and craft tools.
Agricultural tools are tools used in farming and includes tools for tilling the soil and tools for harvesting the crops. Here you will find shovels/spades, diggers, hole making equipment, ploughs, sickles and such. Agricultural hand tools are slowly being replaced by machinery in the western world but are still extensively used in third world countries.
Craft tools are tools specific to any craft. In this case we divide tools into woodworking tools, blacksmithing tools, wall-painting tools, tools for jewelry making and so on. A lot of tools are used across various crafts such as saws, hammers and pliers.
If we want to get better overview of some of the most used tools today, we can divide them according to the purposes they serve. Here is a list of some of the most commonly used tools today.
Striking tools – striking tools are used (with considerable force) when we need to hammer something down, puncture something or chip away excess of material. We divide striking tools into hammers, chisels and punches. Hammers are used to deliver extreme force to a concentrated area (though hammering down nails is most common). There are different types of hammers, such as framing hammers, ball-peen hammers, rubber hammers and sledge hammers. Chisels are used to chip away at hard materials such as wood, metal or stone. They can be used alone or with a hammer for extra force. Punches are used to create holes in walls for screws and such.
Wrenches and screwdrivers – Wrenches are used for removing and securing bolts. Usually wrenches have two types of openings on their ends, open-end and box-end so they are in fact a 2 in 1 tool. We use screwdrivers to place or remove screws. Screwdrivers come in numerous shapes and sizes and the type is determined by the shape of the screw they are designed to fit. Pliers are classified as levers and are used to amplify strength and manipulate objects in their grasp.
Cutting tools – We divide cutting tools into saws, knives and files. Saws are used for cutting large objects such as planks or metal tubing. Types of saws include crosscut, rip, coping, drywall, compass, bow and other saws. Each of these is best suited for specialized use. Compass saws are used to cut out circular or curved shapes and coping saws are used for delicate woodwork. The bow saw is used for woodcutting and will work with pushing or pulling motions and chances are you already own a bow saw that you use around the garden. Knives are used for smaller cutting projects. The best knives are those with interchangeable blades. They are both sharp and cost efficient since the blade is easy to replace once it becomes dull. Files are used for delicate and precision work, filing down excess material so we achieve a better fit.
Measuring tools – Tape measures and levels are used in construction. They ensure that the materials are cut into proper size pieces and are straight. Measuring is essential before we proceed to work with other tools since otherwise we run the risk of wasting materials.
Of course there are other tools that are used today in specialized industries but these are the most common variety. The above mentioned tools can be found in most amateur toolboxes and will allow us to do most of the home repairs ourselves. If you are not familiar with a tool make sure to research it online to see what it is used for and always remember that safety comes first.