Types of hand tools and their uses

Hand tools are basic necessities of any form of smithy work. Broadly they include hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, the bench vice and the hacksaw.


These are designed to deliver high force on a small area. Hammers are made from a good grade of tool steel. This tool steel is hardened and drawn to a blue colour at the eye and dark straw. The handle of the hammer is made of hard wood, commonly, hickory. The length of the hammer depends upon the weight of its head.

Hammers are classified based on their shapes as: Ball Peen hammer, Cross Peen hammer and Straight Peen hammer. The ball peen hammer is the most common type of hammer used in a machine shop.

Screw Drivers:

Screw drivers are of several kinds. Each is unique for its own purpose. Therefore it is necessary for a tool maker to have a set of screw drivers for all requirements.

The blades of screw drivers are of various widths and lengths suited for special purposes. The blade is made of forged carbon tool steel and heat treated to give it hardness. The tip of the blade is magnetised in some cases to provide easy access to screws in tights corners and crevices.


Wrenches are used for turning bolts, nuts, pipes, etc. There are a large number of wrenches available which derive their names from their characteristic shape, form the object they are used to turn or from their construction. Few examples include the alligator wrench, the spin spanner, the face spanner, the double head set and more.

It is better to go for closed end and open end types of wrenches than adjustable ones. The shape of wrenches’ handle depends upon the amount of leverage required. It is not wise to use a large wrench such as a monkey wrench on a small not or bolt as it is easy to damage it.

The Bench Vise:

In order to hold the work piece in place, the bench vise is used. It prevents the movement of the work piece while working on it and makes the handler’s job very easy. Vises are of various kinds but the basic requirements of a bench vise are a fixed jaw, a movable jaw, a screw and a nut fastened to the movable jaw and a handle by which the screw is rotated.

While using the bench wise to hold soft metals, there are possibilities of the metal to mar the surface. In cases such as these, false jaws made of brass or Babbitt metal are used. Screw and the handle of the bench vise is made from steel and its nut is made from malleable iron.

Hacksaw Frames:

Hacksaw frames are used in carpentry for sawing purposes. They are made to take 8-,10- or 12- inch blades. The hacksaw blades are made from high grade steels which are tempered and hardened. Because of its hardness, the blades tend to be very brittle. In some cases though, the blades are flexible as only the teeth are hardened. This makes the  hacksaw blades easy to use.