Carpentry Tricks You Wish You Knew Before

Are you thinking of building a bunkbed for your son? Or have you been stalling on reframing the front door? Carpentry is the art of working with wood. Cutting, sawing and nailing all things wood. But for many amateur carpenters a typical two-hour job often takes much longer. Why? The answers vary. At Workman’s Friend we have a love of carpentry. In fact we love almost anything that involves working with our hands. One of the reasons we enjoy this type of work so much is because we’ve learned a few tricks of the trade along the way. Now it’s our turn to pass this knowledge on to you. Unfortunately, these tips won’t make up for all that time you spent fixing one of your mistakes. What it will do is make your next job go a lot faster.

Read More: Barrier Skin Cream Perfect for Capenters

Write it down  

How many times have you taken and retaken measurements? No, it’s not the measurement tape’s fault you can’t remember the width and length. However, this quick trip can help with recall. Next time, before you go to measure, stick masking tape to the side of your measuring tape. With each measurement jot down the numbers on the side, this simple trick will help you from forgetting the length on the way to the saw.

Use your toenail 

The toenail trick is especially important when framing. Instead of relentlessly hammering a nail into a stud to get into position, try this. Take a large nail and drive it into the stud at an angle. This approach harnesses the power of the toenail and moves the stud into position often with only two blows. The time it takes you to frame is cut in half.

Pencil over tape

Have you ever measured a baseboard and cut it, only to learn it is too short? The solution is to put away your measuring tape and use your pencil instead. Hold your trim or whatever piece of wood you are trying to calculate in place. Then mark it using your pencil. This approach is not only faster but it eliminates mistakes.  It is also a useful trick when installing siding, laying shingles and framing.

Buy a gun

No not a handgun, buy a trim gun. Using a hammer and nails to install trim is a thing of the past. Air-powered guns complete the job so much faster and more effectively. There is no need for splits, re-drilling and you avoid knocking the piece of wood out of position as you hammer. A trim gun that shoots 5/8-2-inch 18 gauge brads is the most versatile air-powered gun to own.

Hammer it out

A multi-purpose hammer is as essential to a carpenter as a stethoscope is to a doctor. No matter what type of carpentry you are doing, whether it is finish work or rough construction, a smooth-faced, 20-ounce, straight-claw hammer will make any job easier. The hammer’s claw can be driven under walls for lifting, or can be used for crude chiseling. Yet most importantly the hammer it can drive almost any nail and its claw is the perfect shape for pulling nails as opposed to the curved-claw version.

Thanks to the tips and tricks mentioned above your weekend project should go a smoother and probably more quickly too. Keep in mind, your goal is not to finish installing the trim in your living faster than your neighbor. This isn’t a race or a competition. Instead your goal is to enjoy the process and complete your task successfully. Now go put on your tool belt!


Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream is a light-weight and odorless hand cream perfect for any carpenter. A simple application of our heavy-duty formula will keep your hands moisturized while you hammer, saw and cut away. When it’s time to clean-up a simple wash wipe and you’re done. Check out our website at


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