St. Louis Cabinet Makers Joint Apprenticeship Program


Cabinetmakers Program
Skill Advancement Training
Carpenters Program
College Credit
Advanced Standings
Course Offerings
Pay Information



Tool Selection and Purchase

A true craftsperson is known by the tools kept and how they are kept. Always go to a reliable dealer and ask for a reliable brand to guarantee first class quality. Tools made of all wood or steel rather than plastic are preferable.


A good plan might be to purchase one tool per week. Become comfortable with using that tool before purchasing the next. Tools purchased in sets, however, are often a real bargain. Be sure to ask the cabinetmaker lead instructor any questions you might have.

Tool Care

After working with a tool, wipe it off and carefully put it away. Every tool should have a storage place of its own to eliminate searching for tools and possible damage. Keep a light film of oil on your tools to prevent rusting and, above all else, keep them sharp.


A good tool is a life-long investment. Treat it as such and you will be repaid with outstanding results from its use.


The following tools lists are organized by year needed and are subject to individual needs and priorities. The cabinetmaker lead instructor can advise you regarding specific tool needs.

1st Year Hand Tool List

  • Safety glasses
  • Bench brush
  • Nail Hammer (12 oz. or 16 oz.)
  • Pocket tape rule (10’ or 12’)
  • Wood chisel set (Ό”- ½”- Ύ”- 1”)
  • Combination bench oil stone
  • Combination square
  • Twist drill bits (1/16 through Ό” by 64ths)
  • Countersink
  • Professional carpenter square
  • Carpenter level (3 adj. 360 vials)
  • Professional T bevel
  • Putty knife (1” blade)
  • Glue scraper
  • Block plane with lateral adjustment
  • Hand cabinet scraper
  • Burnisher
  • Hand saw (10 or 12 points)
  • Back saw
  • Dovetail saw
  • Screwdrivers, straight tip (1-2-3 point)
  • Screwdrivers, Phillips (1-2-3 point)
  • Push drill with drill pts. (1/16 through 11/64ths)
  • Steel bevel protractor
  • Utility knife (retractable blade)
  • Crescent adjustable wrench (8”)
  • Pliers, slip joint
  • Nail sets (tip size 1/32 through 5/32)
  • Smooth plane
  • Twist drill bits (Ό through ½ by 32nds) with storage case and turned down Ό” shanks

2nd Year Hand Tool List

  • Zigzag wood ruler with slide (6’0”)
  • Try square
  • Router plane
  • Jointer plane
  • Dowling jig with guide
  • Dividers straight legs for pencil
  • Spring clamps
  • File – 8” double cut flat bastard
  • File card with brush
  • Carriage clamps (3”)
  • Cabinet scraper
  • Carving tools for hand use
  • Flexible steel tape (50 ft.)
  • Hack saw and blades
  • Bit brace and bits
  • Carpenters wrecking bar (length 36”)
  • Jack plane
  • Rabbet plane #78
  • Side rabbet plane
  • Compass saw
  • Coping saw and blades
  • Scratch awl
  • File – 8” rasp combination flat and round
  • Hand drill
  • Automatic center punch
  • Wonder bar
  • Edge cutting nippers
  • Spoke shave (flat bottom)
  • Electric drill speed bore bits (Ό through 1 ½)

3rd Year Hand Tool List

  • Hex key wrenches built onto a handle
  • Center square
  • Pinch dogs 2 ½”
  • Marking gauge
  • Vise grip locking pliers
  • Yankee R spiral ratchet screwdriver and bits
  • Keyhole saw
  • Plumb bob and line
  • Trammel points
  • Rubber mallet
  • Tim snips (aviation straight type)
  • Needle nose pliers



St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program (CJAP)
Nelson-Mulligan Carpenters’ Training Center
8300 Valcour
St. Louis, MO 63123