Is This a Plumbing Tool or a Carpentry Tool?

By: Jacqueline Samaroo

The block plane is a convenient tool which is usually small enough to fit snugly in the palm of the carpenter’s hand. It is most often used on small items, whereas bigger planes such as jack plane or jointer plane are operated with both hands and are used on larger items.

The butt chisel is a short chisel which makes it a good choice for working in corners. It gets its name because it is often used when fitting butt hinges to an object, such as a door.

The toilet auger is a type of plumber’s snake or drain snake. It is often the most effective way to clear stubborn clogs which cannot be cleared by a plunger. Many toilet augers are manual, but there are also motorized versions called drum augers.

Fixed basin wrenches can be used in tight spaces to loosen or fasten backnuts on sinks, and baths. They have the disadvantages, however, of not being adjustable and not providing as much torque (turning force) as a regular wrench.

A door has to be lifted off the ground in order for it to be set into place on its hinges. One way to do this is to use a door lifter. Some door lifters are designed so that they can be adjusted by foot, leaving both of the carpenter’s hands free to affix the hinges.

Thread seal tape is scientifically known as polytetrafluoroethylene film tape, but it also goes by the common name plumber’s tape. It is a simple and easy way to create a watertight seal between two threaded pipes.

The coping saw’s thin blade and cylindrical handle help make it a useful tool for cutting out curved shapes at the edge or interior of a piece of wood. It is shaped very much like a hacksaw but has a wider frame, thinner blade and different style handle.

Basin wrenches are specifically designed to reach into recessed areas, making them very handy when removing or installing faucets. Sometimes, however, a basin is so deep that even an ordinary basin wrench cannot reach behind it. In those cases, the telescopic basin wrench with its extendable arm, is the best tool for the job.

The rubber material from which the suction cup of the toilet plunger is made helps to create a good seal and hence, good suction when the plunger is placed around the toilet drain. The flange at the bottom of the toilet plunger cup is sized for maximum seal and suction, as well.

Sink plugs come in a variety of styles, ranging from the old-fashioned rubber stopper on a metal chain to the more modern range of pop-up or pop-out (PO) plugs. The PO plug is attached to a lever system underneath the sink which may wear over time but is generally simple to replace, despite its complicated appearance.

The scratch awl’s main function is to scratch or scribe marks in wood. The carpenter can then use a saw or chisel more accurately by following the line. The scratch awl can also be used like a center punch to make a dimple (or indentation) in an item to serve as a guide for aligning a drill bit at the center of a hole to be drilled.

The center punch creates a guide hole for centering a drill bit. A ball peen hammer is usually the tool used when striking a center punch, but the automatic center punch works by spring action and does not require a striking tool.

The immersion heater wrench is a specialized tool which most do-it-yourselfers may never have need of. It is essential, however, when a plumber needs to remove and replace the heating element in a hot water cylinder.

Soil pipe cutters work very efficiently at cutting pipes made of brittle material, such as clay, concrete or cast iron. The chain is wrapped around the pipe and then with continued tightening and the force of compression, the chain causes the pipe to snap cleanly in two.

There are several tips and tricks for removing a worn faucet valve seat, including using a screwdriver or needle-nosed pliers to get the job done. Those aren’t necessary, however, if you have the right tool – a faucet valve seat wrench. The wrench is also perfectly designed for fitting the new valve seat into place.

The table saw is a powerful machine for making various types of cuts in wood. It includes a range of safety features to ensure the operator is not hurt while using it. These include a blade guard, a guiding rip fence and anti-kickback pawls or bars.

A faucet handle sometimes becomes so corroded that it is almost impossible to remove without scratching and damaging the area around it. One tool which can definitely get the stubborn handle off cleanly is the faucet handle puller. It is, after all, specifically designed for just this job.

The pocket hole jig helps the carpenter to drill holes at the correct angle and to the correct depth. The angled hole is called a pocket hole and is often preferred by carpenters as it neatly hides the screws joining two pieces of material together.

A rabbet is a groove or step located at the edge of a piece of wood. The rabbet plane is specifically designed for cutting rabbets. It can also be turned and used to smooth the vertical side of the rabbet once cutting is complete.

Major leaks sometimes require that the water be turned off at the main connection, close to the meter and just as it enters the property. This allows you to fix the broken pipe and prevents loss and wastage of large amounts of water – which you would still be billed for!

Internal pipe wrenches are sold individually or in sets, just like regular wrenches. They are used by plumbers to remove broken or rusted pipe nipples and fittings which have become stuck in the end of a pipe.

Wooden mallets can be used to drive hand tools, such as chisels, without the danger of damaging or deforming the striking end of the tool. They are also used to drive dowels into place. Wooden mallets present a lower risk of marring the surface of an item than a metal hammer.

The basket strainer wrench serves the very specific function of holding the basket strainer firmly in place so that the lock nut can be loosened from around it. Once the nut is removed, the worn or damaged basket can be taken out and replaced.

Its long, narrow blade makes the keyhole saw the ideal tool for cutting intricate shapes and small holes, such as keyholes. It is a good choice for use on soft woods and drywall and goes by several other names, including drywall saw and alligator saw.

The PO plug wrench’s four-way design allows it to be used to remove and install different types of pop-out plug drains. It is an inexpensive tool, but is typically well made and well suited for the job.

The edge float looks and cuts very much like a handsaw or serrated edge knife. It can be used to remove quite a bit of material at once and its teeth can be resharpened as needed.

The sink strainer lock nut wrench is often sold in a standard size to fit most lock nuts, which are holding a basket strainer in place. There are, however, adjustable varieties which, like a regular adjustable wrench, can be made to fit more snugly around lock nuts of various sizes.

The fishtail gouge is named for its flared blade. Its edge is curved for scooping out material from an item. Gouges are a type of chisel and are popular tools with wood carvers.

A protractor can be used to set the sliding T bevel to a specific angle and this angle can then be marked on an item for cutting. The sliding T bevel can also be used to check whether two items are cut to the same angle or to help copy the angle on one item to another item.

A card scraper can be used to add a very smooth finish to an item. While card scrapers are sold commercially, some woodworkers do a bit of recycling by making their own out of the old circular saw blades or handsaw blades.

The sink plunger is the one most people think of when they hear the word “plunger.” It has a rubber suction cup attached to a wooden (or sometimes metal) handle. Blockages which prove to be too stubborn for sink plunger to loosen can often be taken care of with a drain snake.

Copper pipes bend fairly easily but they will tend to bend in a non-uniform manner if the right tool is not used. That tool is the pipe bending spring. It comes in two varieties – the internal pipe bending spring and the external pipe bending spring.

The flat side of a hammer’s head is usually referred to as the face and is the side most used for driving nails. The other side is the peen, which can be wedge-shaped like a claw hammer, curved, or spherical as in a ball-peen hammer.

A fitting placed in the end of a PEX pipe is normally held in place by a copper ring. PEX crimpers are used to squeeze the ring tightly around the pipe and fitting, creating a watertight seal.

The notches on the end of the tub drain wrench fit into the grooves of the drain. A regular wrench or a screwdriver can then be used to turn it so as to loosen or tighten the drain.

The tenon saw is a type of backsaw (reinforced along its upper edge) and it is specifically designed for forming tenons. A tenon is a projection which fits inside a mortise hole to make a secure mortise and tenon joint.

Older people may know the drain-cleaning bladder by another name – the blow bag. It has a connection at the end to fit a regular garden hose, while the other end has a valve which is forced open when sufficient water and pressure builds up in the bladder. The force of the water is often all that is needed to clear blocked drains.

At first glance, the rip saw and the cross-cut saw might look identical. Closer inspection will reveal, however, that the angle and shape of their teeth are quite different. The rip saw cuts like a chisel and is best used for cutting along the wood grain while the cross-cut saw cuts like a knife and is ideal for cutting across the wood grain.

Floats are used to shape flat or curved surfaces on wood. Although they work quickly, floats leave the surface with a polished finish. Mortise floats are particularly designed to work on the inner surfaces of a mortise hole.

Explore More Quizzes

Image: Tim Stocker Photography/Moment/Getty Images; Gary John Norman/DigitalVision/GettyImages

About This Quiz

Unlock that toolbox! It's time to show you have got mad skills when it comes to the tools of the trade! Both carpentry and plumbing are age-old professions - practiced by humans for millennia. Early man began carving tools, weapons and boats from wood, as well as using it to build dwellings. there is also evidence that homes from as far back as the 4th century BCE were already making use of indoor plumbing.

Over the years, there has been some overlap in the tools used in both plumbing and carpentry, but each has also developed a set of tools suited to the skill set and job requirements of the profession. So, while both carpenters and plumbers have easy-to-identify tools such as a tape measure and screwdrivers on their tool belts, could you say which profession uses some of the more specialized tools? Get started on the quiz if you think you can!

Truth be told, it's not really that hard to do. Some of the tools may be quite easy to categorize if you bear in mind that one profession focuses on shaping and forming while the other deals mostly with water systems, pipes, valves and fittings. So, you won't have to be a master carpenter or certified plumber to ace this quiz! If your middle name, however, is "Fix-it," that might help. Time to get on the job and start the quiz!

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!