What are hand tools used for?
The use of hand tools is common in all industries. These tools are complementary to power tools that make the job easier for the user. Hand tools have a long history in our civilization. We have developed hand tools to help us make the difficult (or sometimes the impossible tasks) easier for us. In order to understand the hand tools’ industry better, it is a good idea to take a look at its history. In the following paragraphs, I have gathered a brief history of how hand tools were developed throughout the years.
The earliest hand tools that our ancestors used were sharp stones which they used to hammer and cut various materials. This was during the Stone Age. In the Bronze Age, casting the copper and tin alloy was the primary way of making hand tools. These bronze tools had greater sharpness and were stronger than the previous ones made out of stone. During the Iron Age, iron tools replaced the bronze ones, because they were stronger and provided more durability.
The most similar tools to our modern hand tools were produced by Romans. They developed practical tools that could be used for a wide range of applications. However, they were still made by hand. When the Industrial Revolution happened, just like many other goods, manufacturing of tools transitioned from being made by craftsmen to being produced by factories.
Now that you know a little bit of the history, let’s take a look at various usages of hand tools in different industries.
Proper and safe use of hand tools
Before the invention of electricity and power tools, we had to use hand tools to do a wide range of tasks, from making a hole in the wall to cutting a piece of wood into two. Even now and with the variety of power tools that we have access to, some tasks are only done with the help of hand tools. To make the most out of hand tools and ensure their long lifetime, we must know how to properly use them.
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For starter, you should always keep your hand tools in good conditions. You can make sure of that by regularly maintaining them and keeping them safe. Regular maintenance is the key to the proper use of hand tools. Secondly, you always should use the right tool for the tasks you have. You can use a flat head screwdriver to open a Philips screw if you are in a tight situation, but it will ruin both the hand tool and the screw itself if you do it regularly. Using the right tool for any specific application will ensure the durability of your tool and in the meantime, makes your job a lot easier. Another point worth considering is to examine each hand tool before using it to see if there are any damages. And when you see damages, don’t use that tool. If someone tries to use a damaged tool, it can harm the operator as well as the workpiece. In addition, operate the tool according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. They know how a tool works best. Finally, to assure your safety, always use proper protective gear.
Use of hand tools in metalworking
Metalworking is one of those jobs that require a lot of tools. Many might think that it needs a lot of power tools such as angle grinders and welding machines. But it is interesting to know that as well as power tools, metalworkers need a handful of hand tools to properly shape metal.
One of the most common hand tools in metalworking is a hammer. If you have never been to a blacksmithing shop yourself, you must have seen one on TV. Blacksmiths use hammers to shape extremely hot pieces of metal and adjusting their thickness by strokes of hammer. Snips and shears are also considered to be highly practical hand tools. They are mostly used to cut pieces of metal sheets. Depending on the style, they can cut smaller or larger pieces. Lastly, files and rasps are metalworking hand tools used to deliver a smooth finish or for highly delicate tasks. They come in a variety of shapes such as round or square and levels of roughness to cover a wide range of applications.
Use of hand tools in DIY projects
The number and the variety of DIY projects are great. As a DIY project, you can make tree house as well as a Christmas card as. And many smaller DIY projects do not require power tools and can be done by using only hand tools. One of the most common hand tools not only in DIY projects buy also in everyday life is scissors. You can cut and shape various materials with a pair of scissors. Another extremely useful DIY hand tool is a cutter or utility knife. These knives are mostly used to cut straight and also curved lines in materials such as paper, cardboard and leather. Screws, bolts and nuts are also used widely in DIY projects which to fasten or tighten them, you need screwdrivers and wrenches. In addition, cutting is one of the main activities in many DIY projects, so a proper saw can also be highly practical. And lastly, pliers are great hand tools in DIY projects for tasks such as holding tightly and also bending and compressing various workpieces.
Use of hand tools in jewelry making
Making jewelry is something that usually requires a high level of precision. This is why the tools used in this industry must work accurately. There are a wide range of pliers used in making pieces of jewelry such as combination, bent nose and long nose pliers. In addition, to offer a finished surface and a smooth look, needle files are used. These files remove any excess material off the surface and makes it shiny.
Use of hand tools in electrical work
Electricians do a wide range of tasks with hand tools. In fact, most of the tools they use on a regular basis are hand tools. Probably the most useful hand tools for electrical works are pliers. From combination pliers to long nose pliers and diagonal cutting pliers, they can do a wide range of applications like cutting, bending, twisting, gripping and even straightening wires. Screwdrivers are another toolbox must-have for electricians. Nowadays, many professionals have adaptable screwdrivers with interchangeable bits. This way, they will have lighter toolboxes.
Measuring tapes and spirit levels are also essential tools for electrical work. When working with wiring, you need to have the exact measurements. This is why having a high-quality measuring tape is necessary. A spirit level is extremely practical for installing light fixtures and finding the precise positions. When working with wires, striping the plastic coting of wires is a regular task. This way the copper inside of a wire is exposed and customized connections can be made. The best way to strip a wire is by using a wire stripper. Wire strippers come in a variety of types. Therefore, you can choose one that best suits your needs. The last must-have hand tool for electricians is a non-contact voltage tester or a test pen. These great hand tools are used to safely check if a wire or device has voltage before you start working on them.
Use of hand tools in woodworking and carpentry
Before the power tools and cordless tools took over the woodworking and carpentry industry, professional woodworkers and carpenters did all of their jobs with their hands. And even though nowadays many of this industry’s tasks are done with the help of machines, using hand tools is still inevitable. One of the most important tasks in woodworking is cutting. And to do that there are a variety of wood cutting saws available for every application; from making straight rough cuts to cutting curved delicate lines. Driving and extracting nails is another popular task in woodworking and the perfect hand tool for that is a claw hammer. An absolutely necessary tool for woodcarving is a chisel which is also useful in clearing out joints and saw cuts. Block plains are also practical tools for smoothing a wooden surface. And if you want to hold two pieces of wood in a certain position (for example, to apply glue), you would find clamps extremely beneficial. And finally to have straight corners and accurate measurements, you need to have a measuring tape and a layout square.
Use of hand tools in woodworking
Use of hand tools in gardening
Gardening is one of the oldest activities in the world and there are a wide range of hand tools used in this activity. Although many of the tasks in gardening can be done with power tools, some prefer to use hand tools. There are quite a few reasons, but one of the main reasons is that gardening hand tools are generally less expensive than their electrically-powered counterparts.
One of the essential hand tools for gardening is a wheelbarrow. Having a wheelbarrow or a garden cart makes working in a large garden or yard a lot easier. You can transport soil and other components effortlessly with a wheelbarrow. Another gardening hand tool that every garden needs is a digging shovel. To dig a hole in the ground for planting and transporting dirt from the wheelbarrow, a digging shovel is the right tool. They are also great for stirring compost piles and mixing potting soil.
Hand trowel is another gardening essential. It is especially useful in container gardening. Hand trowels are great for transporting soil into containers and pots. In addition, they are perfect for planting seedlings and bulbs. Another practical gardening hand tool is gardening shear. Gardening shears are essential for any type of gardening. A good pair of gardening shears can take care of a lot of cutting and trimming jobs. They are great for harvesting herbs, vegetables and fruits. Loppers, weeders, garden hoes, spades and leaf rakes are other hand tools that many professional gardeners find useful.
Use of hand tools in digging
The main hand tool for digging tasks is a digging shovel. These digging shovels come in a variety of shapes, sizes and types. In my opinion, the most practical type of digging shovels is the pointed shovel. With their pointy edge, they can easily penetrate the surface to make digging easier for you. To transfer the soil and dirt, getting a wheelbarrow is a good idea.
Use of hand tools in welding
Welding can be really dangerous if you don’t follow safety guidelines. This is why the most useful hand tools to have for welding is protective gears. A pair of welding gloves, auto darkening welding helmet, safety glasses, ear plugs and protective welding clothes are essential. To chip and remove welding slag and spatter from the workpiece, a chipping hammer is useful. Additionally, you can use a wire brush for cleaning the debris before and after you weld.
Use of hand tools in manufacturing
Depending on the type of product being manufactured, different types of hand tools are needed. But in many factories and manufacturing shops, you can always find various kinds of wrenches, spanners and pliers. Screwdrivers are also essential as there will always be a screw that needs to be tightened or loosened.
Use of hand tools in demolition
When talking about demolition jobs, the first hand tool that comes to mind is a hammer. There are wide range of hammers available for demolition such as ball peen hammer, club hammer and sledge hammer. What makes the demolition tasks more effective, effortless and easier is the use of some chisels alongside hammers.
Use of hand tools in repairing cars
Mechanics usually use a wide range of hand tools when repairing a car. One of the most important hand tools in this job is wrenches. A car has a lot of nuts and bolts and to fasten and loosen them, you will definitely need a wrench. Expansion bars, ratchets, screwdrivers, hammers and pliers are also regular tools in car repairing.