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Muddy Faces

Woodwork tools & tips

Recommended woodwork tools from Early Years woodworking expert Pete Moorhouse.

Outdoor Hub

Having the most suitable tools makes a big difference & can reduce risk

The four main woodworking tools are:


The best hammer is a “stubby” ball-pein hammer. They are designed for adults to hammer in awkward places but they could not be more perfect for young children. They are a perfect weight for young children, have short handles so are more controllable and have a large hitting surface making it easier to hammer the nail.

Schools used to use long pin-head hammers which made it much more likely children would miss the nail.


Saws that cut on the pull stroke are so much easier for young children, being more controllable and require less effort. There are many pull saws available these days. I am a huge advocate of Japanese pull saws – these are light, have thin blades and everyone who uses them is taken aback but how easy they are to use. These are used with both hands holding the handle.


The best hand drills are those with enclosed mechanisms as there is no chance fingers can get caught in the exposed cogs. Ensure work is clamped when drilling. Short drill-bits are less likely to snap.


Use a stubby pozidriv screwdriver. Short-handled screwdrivers are easier to control and the Pozidriv “cross” shape means the screwdriver is less likely to slip out from the screw.

Pete’s Top 5 Woodworking Tips!

  • 1. Start with balsa wood and then move on to pine
  • 2. Short, thin nails are a lot easier to hammer in!
  • 3. Glue a sheet of sandpaper to a board for easy sanding
  • 4. Collect lots of corks (adult to slice up) – they make great wheels and are soft to hammer into
  • 5. Allow children freedom to follow their own interests
George hand drill60x60

Early Years Woodworking

Woodwork tools in the Muddy Faces shop

We have collated a shop category pulling all Pete's recommended tools together in one place:

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