5 essential tools in construction work

Written by LetsBuild

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Tools have for eons been part and parcel of humanity’s daily activities. Early man devised simple cutting implements from stone, bone and other crude materials. In this age of technology and cutting edge advances in science, tools play a central role in various aspects of construction.

Tools are an essential component in increasing the efficiency of the work done in a particular construction project. The workload from a human perspective is also greatly reduced. Most tools are reusable but there is the exception of a select few that require changing of some bits, parts, and pieces before the commencement of a new task.

Tools used in construction work: The essentials

1. Dovetail jig

Dovetail Jig
Photo: Rockler Complete Dovetail Jig via Rockler.com

This is a specialized tool used in wood joinery. The tool works by cutting dovetail shaped cuts on identical pieces of lumber. This versatile tool eliminates the need for screws and nails; a traditional wood joining method. Instead, glue may be added into the joint slots further enhancing strength and structural integrity of the whole assembly.

The procedure entails a piece of wood being loaded underneath a template face up. The wood is then allowed to protrude beyond the template’s boundaries by about a sixteenth of an inch.

The wood is then firmly secured to the working surface and a dovetail bit is attached to the router. The router proceeds to make precisely placed cuts on the inside compartment of the template. The process is repeated on the opposing working piece after which the pieces are joined. Dovetail jigs make several types of dovetail joints which are as follows below:

  • Through dovetail joints
  • Secret double lapped dovetail joints
  • Sliding dovetail joints
  • Half-blind dovetail joints
  • Secret mitered dovetail joints

Dovetail joints are favored for their impressive mechanical strength and also for their aesthetics. These joints have been termed as the most beautiful carpentry and woodworking joints which are demonstrated by their extensive use in furniture assembly.

2. Jigsaw

Jigsaw Makita
Photo: Makita Top Handle Jig Saw (model JV0600K) via Makitatools.com

A jigsaw is a power cutting tool that entails a motor used to run a sawing blade in rapidly repeated up and down motion. The sawing blade is connected to the motor through a series of gears with off-center axes. The set of gears converts the jigsaw motor’s rotary motion into alternating up and down motions. Jigsaws excel at cutting both wood and metal materials, a fact that makes them a crucial addition in any construction project, professional or small scale.

Jigsaws are relatively easy pieces of equipment to use regardless of experience or proficiency. With proper safety precautions and adult supervision, children can also operate jigsaws. When fitted with the correct blade size and type, jigsaws can cut a variety of materials such as drywall of various densities and thicknesses, steel, fiberglass, and wood.

Different work materials require different cutting speeds. Wood, for instance, requires the fastest cutting speeds while other softer materials such as sheet metal and plastic require slower blade speed settings. The average blade speed is about 3000 strokes per minute. At this rate, jigsaws are very accurate and easy to maneuver. A jigsaw is to most people, a basic necessity whether in a hobbyist’s garage or professional contractors as well.

3. Drill/driver

Makita Drill Driver
Photo: 18V LXT® Lithium‑Ion Cordless 1/2″ Driver‑Drill Kit (4.0Ah) via Makitatools.com

A drill is a type of handheld power tool where a rotating chuck is used to house a drill bit or a screwdriver bit depending on the intended purpose of the device. The rotating chuck is operated by a motor that is powered by an electric current either supplied by portable batteries (lithium ion batteries/ Nickel Cadmium) or an external electricity source such as a household socket. Upon squeezing the power tool’s trigger, an electrical circuit is completed and powers up the device’s motor which then rotates the drill bit or screwdriver.

The inbuilt motor converts the electric current from the external power or source batteries into mechanical energy which provides the power to turn the drill/screwdriver bit.

This tool can be used to drill holes or drive screws which depend on the bit that has been mounted. A gear box is a handy addition that further enhances the tool’s efficiency in terms of mechanical advantage and torque. A power drill is a necessary addition to any home, garage or professional workshop.

It is a useful implement for basic home maintenance, simple carpentry and also professional tasks. Black & Decker hold the patent for first ever designed trigger-switch pistol grip power drill/driver.

Read Also: Why you can’t live without a construction programme

4. Wood router

Bosch - Wood Router
Photo: Bosch POF 1200 AE via Bosch-Do-It.com

Routers are another crucial class of woodworking/carpentry tools. Considered the single most versatile woodworking power tool, a wood router comes in handy in a variety of projects around the house. Routers serve both functional and decorative purposes in carpentry. Routers are superb power tools mainly because they are portable and can be used for a broad range of cutting, trimming, and shaping jobs on plastic, wood, metal, and laminates.

Wood routers work by “routing out,” or hollowing out, holes or grooves on wood, metal, or plastic to produce finished edges, curved contours, cutaways, and high precision holes. Routers rotate a cutting bit at different and often predetermined speeds. In particular, woodworking routers operate in the range of 8,000 and 30,000 rotations per minute.

Other types of routers used on materials such as metal and plastics operate between 2,000 and 10,000 rotations per minute.
Types of routers are as follows:

  • Plunge Routers: Plunge routers are the standard choice when making interior cuts. The router’s bit moves along an up and down axis allowing the operator to plunge the bit right into the target area.
  • Trim Routers are a type of handheld router that is designed and built to perform lamination tasks. This class of routers comes accompanied with a variety of bases for offset and bevel cuts.
  • Fixed Base Router: Instead of a cutting bit, fixed base routers have a bearing in place of the cutting bit. The bearing enables the tool to follow the edge of the material.

5. Table saw

Portable Table Saw - De Walt
Photo: DeWalt DW745 via PopularMechanics.com

A table saw, better known as a saw bench, is a woodworking implement that consists of a circular blade that is mounted on an arbor. The machine’s circular saw is driven by an electric motor either directly or via a belt and/or gears. The circular blade protrudes above the working surface, often a flat table. The flat surface is meant to provide support for the material being cut. The first model table saw design patent was filed in the year 1777 by an Englishman, Samuel Miller.

Modern table saws determine the depth of the cut by moving the circular blade up and down along a vertical axis. The higher the circular blade’s position above the table, the deeper the cut on the working material which is most often wood. Early table saw models featured both fixed blade and arbor positions which meant that the table needed to be moved up and down in order to control the circular blade’s cutting depth.

As mentioned, this depends on how much of the circular saw is exposed. In table saws, the angle of the cut can be controlled by adjusting the angle of the blade. There are four table saw models which are hybrid, cabinet, contractor, and table saws bench-top.


The advances in construction that have so far been realized during the past few centuries have been as a result of the man making use of tools to simplify tasks. Humans are obsessed with building structures and have been this way for a while now. The pyramids (if humans were responsible for them) and other astounding structures are a testament to this fact. Tools are intricately part and parcel of the whole construction endeavor.

About the Author: Jose A. Brown is the founder of eztoolhub.com. The site specializes in professional or D.I.Y home improvement and Automotive tool reviews. Jose is an Engineer by profession so the passion for power tools and hand tools, in general, is deep rooted. He is a California resident.