You've probably swung a hammer in your day or used a tape measure to check the dimensions of a piece of furniture. Most people have used a paintbrush or roller to freshen up a room or worked with a selection of screwdrivers to assemble something or replace a few batteries.
But what about tools that aren't quite so common? Could you recognize a wood drill if you saw one? What about a froe, hawk or nail kicker? Any idea what a cat's paw looks like, or a macaroni tool?
These uncommon tools aren't found in every garage, but you might be surprised to find out some of these unusual gizmos are hiding in your very own toolbox. Some are uncommon because they are more specialized than hammers or screwdrivers. Others are rare simply because they represent an old-school way of working -- one that's been largely replaced by modern power tools and other more efficient alternatives. These tools run the gamut from those used in carpentry, plumbing, electrical work and plain old home remodeling and repairs.
If we show you a picture of an uncommon tool, do you think you could match it to its name? Take our quiz to find out!
A shingle froe is an old-school tool used for cutting wood shingles from a log or lumber. Its name comes from a rarely used word -- froward, meaning away. To use this tool, dig the blade into the wood, then pull it toward you, shaving off a perfect wooden shingle every time.
No, it's not a bird. A mortar hawk is actually a very simple tool consisting of a metal plate with a handle underneath. Workers can drop a pile of mortar on the plate and keep the mortar with them while installing brick or block.
A hardie is a simple blacksmithing tool. It features a square peg that fits into a hole on an anvil. The hardie holds pieces in place as they are forged and shaped by the blacksmith.
Not just a chisel....a power chisel. Old-school chisels require you to carefully cut and scrape wood a tiny bit at a time. A power chisel adds a motor, resulting in a much faster wood removal project.
A hot cut is aptly named. It's used by blacksmiths when cutting hot metal, as opposed to a cold cut, which is used for cutting metal after it's cool. The term hot cut can be used to describe a variety of specialty blacksmith tools, from chisels to rasps.
Have you ever tried to pick up a bale of hay? It's large and unwieldy, no matter how strong you are. A hay hook features a metal hook with a T-shaped handle that can be plunged into the bale and used to move it with ease.
Scrub planes are tools used to manually remove large amounts of wood from a board or rough lumber via sweeping diagonal strokes. The use of this hand tool has been largely replaced by thickness planers and other big workshop equipment.
No, it has nothing to do with making pasta. A macaroni tool consists of a handle attached to a sharp, U-shaped channel. It's used to cut grooves in or shape wood.
A cat's paw is a cool name given to a tool that resembles a miniature crow bar. It has a curved neck and a groove at one end, making it an ideal tool for removing stubborn nails.
A paint comb is like a regular hair comb, except it's used to groom paintbrushes instead of your own head. These tools are made of special alloys to resist damage from paints and chemicals while thoroughly cleaning the bristles of the brush.
An undercut saw is a power cutting tool that's incredibly compact and versatile. Designed to fit in very small, tight spaces, it's ideal for undercutting door frames or cutting materials installed in a corner.
A timber scribe is a tool used to carve numbers or letters in wood while constructing a home or building. It tells the installers where to place each piece based on the mark carved at the end of the wood.
A bullnose or shoulder plane features a cutting blade that sits flush with the very end of the tool itself. This makes it possible to plane all the way to the edges of a work surface, which is not possible with a standard plane.
People have been using adzes to get the job done since the Stone Age. This tool resembles an ax or a hoe, with the blade set at a right angle to the handle. It's used to cut, shape and smooth wood.
A bull float is a tool used in concrete finishing. It may be installed on a long handle, like a broom, or equipped with a short handle on one side. After the concrete is leveled with a screed, the surface is compacted and smoothed with the float.
A plugging chisel is designed for use on mortar instead of wood. Builders use it to pull crumbled, old or damaged mortar out from between bricks and concrete blocks so they can install new, fresh mortar.
A bush hammer is a heavy-duty tool with a square head. Cones or pyramids cover one surface of the head. By swinging the hammer and striking concrete or stone, you can use this tool to add texture to these surfaces, which can improve both appearance and traction.
Think of a nail kicker as the opposite of a nail gun. Nail kickers are tools that remove nails at the push of a button, leaving the surrounding surface largely undamaged -- unlike most other nail removal tools.
Whetstone is a simple term used to describe a sharpening stone. Used for sharpening tools like knives, chisels and scissors, a whetstone comes in different grits to provide rough or fine finishes to the metal.
A halligan bar is a must-have tool for firefighters, police and rescue crews. These beastly looking tools make quick work of doors, walls and other obstacles that get in the way during a fire or other type of emergency.
Are you putting all your weight into your wrench and still not moving that bolt an inch? A hydraulic torque wrench is designed to handle these tough jobs, using a simple hydraulic system to loosen even the toughest bolts.
If you spend a lot of time working on cars, a parts washer is a must. This tool removes grease and grime to not only make parts look better, but also function better together after installation.
A hook and pick set reaches in spaces that are too small for your fingers. They are useful for all kinds of work, and are designed to pick up and position screws that are too small or too hidden to reach by hand.
You know that gunk that gets left behind when you try to peel a sticker off a piece of glass or other object? A sticker scraper is designed to remove both label and adhesive from stickers on windows, cars and building materials.
You're trying to replace the panel on your furnace or water heater. You're down to the last screw -- and you fumble and drop it down into the nether regions of your basement, where it is lost forever. That is, unless you have a telescoping magnetic pickup tool -- a slim metal device that can reach down into tiny crevices and recover lost fasteners. It's also super helpful if you drop something magnetic down a drain and need to recover it.
Have you ever found yourself trying to drill something in a space too small for a standard drill? An angle driver is designed just for jobs like this, including installing and removing screws in tight spaces.
Laminate flooring recreates the look of wood or tile for a fraction of the cost. Unlike standard materials, laminate is fairly easy to cut without the use of a power saw. Instead, pick up a laminate cutter, which looks like a giant paper cutter but is designed to create smooth cuts in laminate flooring.
You've seen levels with their floaty air bubbles. But what if you could make this tool even cooler by adding lasers? Laser levels make layout or picture-hanging easy and come in models that shoot a single line of light as well as more advanced units that can shoot half a dozen lines or more at the same time.
If you're like most people, you only have two hands. So, how are you supposed to hold a tool, hold what you're working on in place, and keep track of tiny fasteners? A magnetic wristband keeps screws safely in place on your wrist so you can grab only the one you need.
A spill plane, or taper plane, is a truly old-school tool. It's designed to cut spirals or tapers in wood, which are then used to move a fire from one spot to another. This tool dates back to the days before matches were cheap and plentiful.
Water can wreak havoc on a home. A moisture meter detects moisture levels in wood, concrete and other building materials to keep moisture at bay and prevent issues with mold and rot.
A point spacing tool is a surprisingly simple way to install objects on a wall at the desired spacing or distance from one another. This collapsible tool allows you to mark nailing locations, and is useful for hanging things like pictures and coat hooks,
A mortorq screw is aptly named. It's built to provide more torque than a standard screw. It looks like a Phillips screw, but has wider wings and a sturdier construction, making it appropriate for automotive and aerospace applications.
A hori hori is a multi-purpose knife used by gardeners. It has two sharp edges and a sharp point, making it perfect for weeding, digging or dividing plants.
A tubing cutter is a specialty tool designed to easily cut lengths of metal or plastic pipe. It provides a cleaner cut than a hacksaw, and is totally portable for use on a job site.
Forget setting up the miter saw -- miter snips provide a more convenient way to get the job done. Mitering cuts are angled cuts used on things like paneling and molding. Snips allow you to make the cuts so that the trim or molding lines up perfectly at corners and joints.
You can't use a standard screwdriver to remove one way screws, making them ideal for public spaces and restrooms, where you wouldn't want anyone tampering with screws. They require a special extraction tool for removal.
A cobrahead is a multi-purpose gardening tool. It consists of a hooked metal digger attached to a long handle and can be used for anything from weeding to planting.
Before the power drill, carpenters relied on hand drills to cut holes in wood. Today, these tools are still used in precision applications, like art and furniture building.
A hewing ax is designed to take wood from round to square by flattening the sides of logs. It's a popular hand tool for building log cabins, timber framing or rail ties.