In the old days people would build a house with just a saw and a hammer. You could certainly build a house with just those 2 tools, but very few of those houses were straight, nor are many of them still standing today (except maybe some timber frame structures). If you want your house or addition to be plumb, level, and sturdy, then there are a few essential framing tools that you will need to master.
Framing hammer — This hammer has a heavy metal head and a 16″ long handle to make spacing framing members 16″ on center a snap.
Circular saw — This electric or battery powered saw is the main type of saw used to cut framing members because it cuts fast, can be set at differing depths, and can be set to cut any desired angle.
Framing level — This long metal level is essential to ensure that your walls are plumb and that your floors are level. It is handy to have a shorter level to level and plumb in smaller areas.
Carpenter’s Square — This sturdy metal device is in the shape of the letter ‘L’ with a 90 degree angle to make straight cuts and perpendicular cuts easier. They come in various sizes for different applications, though the principle is the same.
Framing Square — This triangular shaped ‘square’ helps in making straight crosscuts, and when used correctly will allow the user to figure lengths and angles of rafters quickly.
Tape Measure — Use a metal tape measure, preferably of a length longer than any piece that you need to cut. Having 2 tapes will speed your framing project, as you will not waste as much time looking for the one you left on top of a wall somewhere.
Other Framing Tools
Other framing tools that will make your framing jobs much quicker:
Pneumatic Nailers — Air powered nail guns allow you to nail lumber together much quicker and more accurately than hand held hammers. The nails that are used in pneumatic nailers also have a touch of adhesive on them that aid in their security to stay in place in the wood.
Cordless saws — battery powered saws are more convenient and safer than typical electric saws, especially on roofs.
Table saw — This circular saw blade set into a table will allow you to mill any size of lumber that you need for odd angles or tight framing requirements. A fence attachment allows you to make precise, straight edges for specialize sized framing requirements.
Other saws — Jig saws and reciprocating saws will make cutting framing lumber easier
and quicker in specific situations, though they are not essential to any framing job. You should also have a mid-sized hand saw available to get those odd remnant cuts that a power saw just can’t get into. Even a keyhole saw can come in handy in a pinch—it’s narrow, pointed blade can get in spots where nothing else will.
Other electrical tools — A drill, sander, roto-zip, and plane either plug-in or cordless all have their place on a building site to make framing jobs, quicker and easier.
Other small tools, though not normally considered framing tools, which will make any framing job easier include: Chalk line, plumb bob, carpenter’s pencils, construction adhesives, sledge hammer, chisels, punches, and other wood working tools. This list is not inclusive, but having these tools on hand (either bought or borrowed) will allow you to complete your framing project efficiently. But, please remember, that the one tool not on this list is the one you will need to finish your project.