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Category Construction Glossary
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There are many tools that you must have handy when building a house
but there are a few that get used often in the building process.

I'll start with the obvious. A hammer. In this day and age, many
builders use compressors and framing nailers. The hammer still has a
place on the jobsite. Most carpenters still use the hammer to frame
floor joists, walls, ceiling joists and rafters. The feeling is that
they can draw connections tighter with a hammer. I'm in favor of using
a hammer for framing and using a nail gun to nail off plywood on
decks, walls and roofs.

Another obvious tool is the circular saw. I like to have at least two
on the job. one for me to do laying out of plates and roof cutting and
one for the crew to cut headers, cripples and whatever else they might
need it for. I prefer a worm drive saw. Its a heavier saw but I like
to use that to my advantage when cutting. I also like the fact you can
see the blade cut the line. Others prefer what is called a sidewinder.
The blade is on the other side of the saw thus the name. A righthanded
user will usually find himself leaning over the saw to see the blade
and follow the cut line. This is a lighter saw so it may fatigue the
user less than a worm drive.

Layout tools. These include pencil, speed square, framing square,
chalk line, dry line and tape measure. Obviously the pencil is a
companion to most of the other tools for making layout marks and
lines. The speed square is used primarily to square lumber and laying
out plates for wall, floor joist, ceiling joists, and rafters. It can
also be used for rafter cutting layout but I prefer a framing
square,which I feel is more accurate. The framing square is also used
to square up wider lumber like 2x10's and 2x12's. Pages can be written
on the many uses of a framing square. I've even heard stories of guys
being able to figure their paychecks with one. A chalk line is a
necessity and is one of the first tools used to start building a
house. Lines are snapped on top of foundation walls, on decks for wall
layout and for cut lines on plywood, OSB and wall sheathings. A dry
line is used to keep things straight. Its used to straighten tops of
walls, basement steel, and hip rafters among other things. Last but
not least is the tape measure, the most important of the layout tools.
It would be impossible to build a house without it.

There are also what I like to call lifting and persuading tools. A
handy tool to have on site is a prybar. On my jobs its primary
function was to lift a wall to put a 2x4 block under the top plate.
This is for finger room when it is time to lift the wall. The main
persuader on any job is the sledgehammer. Also called a trim hammer
for moving that heavy wall that last 1/8th of an inch to the line. I
also like to use it to tap a wall square before sheathing it. Another
necessary use for the sledgehammer is to tap tongue and groove plywood
decking together.

Don't forget the erasers. Sometimes we make mistakes. Thats why we
keep nail pullers (cats paw) and a sawzall or reciprocating saw on
hand. I prefer the sawzall. I like to cut the nails rather than pull
them. I feel its quicker and makes for a cleaner job.

Don't forget a 4 foot level. I almost did. This is considered a layout
tool. You'll need one to level interior walls to brace them off and to
install window and doors. Other than this thats almost all you'll need
it for except for an occasional check for plumb and level.