These must have carpentry gadgets are a great addition to the power tools I use on a regular basis. I covered those in my Power Tools for the New Carpenter post. There are a few other tools and gadgets I use when building cabinets and built-ins that help me get professional results. If you are a new carpenter and want to have everything on hand for that next project, these are some items I would consider getting ahead of time.
Must-have Carpentry Gadgets
Porter-Cable pocket hole jig. This jig is awesome carpentry gadget! You don’t have to ever have to change the collar on the drill bit when you change material thickness. There is just a quick twist of a knob to adjust for material thickness and you’re good to go. I have a post, showing how it works so check it out here.
Kreg Jig Jr. pocket hole jig. This is a good little pocket hole jig for times when you need to drill a pocket hole on a large piece of material or a cabinet that’s already put together and you can’t use the larger jig.
With that you’ll need a face clamp
Square check for tape measure. Squaring up your cabinet “box” is VERY important! This keeps the tape measure in exactly the same spot on each corner and keeps it from sliding off. I do have some trouble with the entire square check falling off when working alone but if you have a helper, they can hold it in place easily. If you work alone, you put it back in place 3 times, swear a couple times and somehow get it done. Still, this little $3 tool makes the process as easy as possible.
EZ Mark Line Cords For when I staple the back onto my cabinet. It saves some time so I don’t have to measure and mark where all my shelves are. Just line up the cords with the shelves and staple below (or above, depending on how you place your cord.)
Assembly square I have many of these. I clamp them on my cabinets while I secure the shelf to the side. It makes sure everything is going together square.
These Clamp-It, corner clamping jigs pair with the assembly square and are awesome for holding cabinet parts square. I use these on the floor and they hold the cabinet parts up as well as holding them square. These have been a Game Changer!
I use these Bessey Corner Clamps to hold the top of the cabinet parts square while I secure them.
Squares come in different sizes and different prices. This square has a lip on one edge so it sits on the edge of the wood you are marking and ensure that you have a square mark every time. You can use it for marking and for cutting. Some inexpensive squares can be dead on but it is important to note that not all squares are square — check yours to make sure it is square before using it.
You can get pick up a decent, inexpensive square at the hardware store or home improvement store. But you’ll only know if it’s actually square if you check it so I’d take a pencil and scrap of wood with you when you pick one out.
Or you can buy one that is guaranteed to be square. This Woodpecker 12″ precision square costs about $100. It’s an investment for sure. It’s accurate to .001-inch, guaranteed for life. Definitely something you would only need if you’re seriously concerned about precision.
I have three of those items. Maybe I should get some of the others. 🙂
I have most of those and find them invaluable. But the EZ mark line cords are new to me. What a handy gadget! Gotta get me one of those!
BTW, I’m so glad your blog is back. I’ve missed it.
Me too. Thanks. 🙂
Great list! After reading this I am going to get me some of those assembly squares and a square check.
PS – what happened to your cabinet making tutorial. I went to pull it up, and it says “page not found.”
Unfortunately one of them lost all the pics during my “down” time. I’ll try to fix it and get it back up but I unpublished it for now. It’s not much of a tutorial with only half the information. 🙁
Anne @ Unique Gifter says
Drool! I haven’t heard of some of these things and they are SO CHEAP and would have saved SO MUCH headache and heartache. I’m adding them to my amazon basket right now! (ie: ez mark line cords).
Feral Turtle says
I put three of them on my wish list! Thanks so much. Cheers.
Tanja @ Postmodern Hostess says
Sandra, thanks for these tool/gadget recommendations! I still use the gloves and ventilator you recommended a few years back, and these are just the recs I was looking for. 🙂
Ed "Sawdust Guy" says
When you want to use the square check by yourself, try a little double-sided tape to hold it on the corner. It’s the next best thing to another set of hands.
Nancy Williams says
Those EZ Mark cords are really cool but the prices on everything have really gone up since you posted this!
was looking at those HF corner clamps. do you still find them useful? I’d be looking to use them while pocket-holing shelves and cabinet bases
Jake Williams says
Great info on some very useful tools. Thank you for the info!