Tools vocabulary

Here is the list of tools with definitions and example sentences


  • Hammer: a tool with a  heavy metal head that is firmly secured to a handle, used to pound on [hit repeatedly]  nails. He injured his finger with the hammer.
  • Sledgehammer: a large heavy hammer that is operated using both hands, and used to break up rock or concrete. He used a sledgehammer to crack a nut [idiom: he did something using much energy or force].
  • Mallet:  a lightweight hammer made of wood or plastic that is used to strike something softly. I need a screw driver and rubber mallet to assemble the furniture.  The wooden mallet used by judge to call for attention is a gavel.
  • Screwdriver: a tool with plastic handle and shank [steel bar] that fits in a screw’s head to tighten or remove it. Never use your screwdriver as a chisel, you can injure yourself.
  • Plane: a tool containing a sharp blade that is used to smooth or shape wood. An electric tool for smoothing wood is called a planer. He tried to smooth the wide board with the plane.
  • Saw (also handsaw): a tool consisting of a straight blade with many sharp teeth along lower edge, used for cutting pieces of wood. While using the handsaw, always hold the wood firmly in place with other hand.
  • Coping saw: a saw with a thin blade connected to a frame shaped U, used for cutting shapes and curves in hard materials. The joiner used a coping saw to trim the corners of the cornice.  
  • Hacksaw: a saw with a narrow blade connected to a frame, usually used for cutting metal. The plumber cut the plastic pipes with a hacksaw.
  • Bradawl: a tool with plastic handle and pointed blade, used for marking or making holes in wood. Make a pilot hole with the bradawl before inserting the screw in wood.
  • File: a tool consisting of thin, flat, rounded or triangular blade with rough surface, used for sharpening, smoothing or cutting metal or wood. He sharpened the knives with the file.
  • Chisel: a tool consisting of a metal blade with a sharp edge at the end, used for carving or shaving hard materials such as wood or stone. You should use a mallet to drive the chisel.
  • Spanner (US wrench): a metal tool with an open end, used for fastening nuts and bolts. Spanners can include an adjustable spanner (US monkey wrench) and Stillson wrench (US pipe wrench). I cannot loosen these stubborn nuts with this spanner.   
  • Pliers: a tool consisting of two parallel metal handles with jaws, used to hold objects firmly. The electrician cut wires with his pliers.
  • Spirit level (also level): a tool containing a transparent tube (called a vial) of liquid with a bubble inside, used to check whether a surface is horizontal or vertical. After you hang the picture frame, with a spirit level check that it is straight.
  • Tape measure (also measuring tape): a tool consisting of a long strip of metal, cloth or plastic marked by thin lines, that is used to find the length of something. I need a tape measure longer than 1 meter to measure the table
  • Vice (also vise): a heavy tool consisting of two parallel metal parts, used to hold an object in position.  He attached the vise securely to the table.
  • Drill: a tool or machine that is used for making hole or driving a screw. When using the electric drill, always wear safety goggles [safety glasses] to protect your eyes.
  • Sandpaper: strong paper or cloth with grit particles [very small pieces of sand] glued to one side, used for rubbing something to make it smoother. While working with sandpaper, wear a dust mask.
  • Nail: a thin piece of metal that has a sharp point and hit by hammer to fasten one thing to another or hang something. I hammered the nail into the wall using the nail and clothespin technique.  
  • Screw: a thin piece of metal that has a sharp point and thread [a raised line in the shape of a helix], that is turned by a screwdriver to fasten one thing to another. Tighten the loose screws.
  • Bolt: a type of screw that has no point, used with a nut [a metal ring with internal threads] to hold objects together. How can I loosen the stuck bolt and nut?
  • Washer: a flat ring that is used under a nut or head of a bolt/screw in order to prevent the nut or bolt from loosening or damaging a surface.

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