My Framing Rigout

 In Tool Reviews, Wood Projects

I am not generally one to do much carpentry…DIY maybe a little beyond that, but I have some work to do to get my houses ready to hit the market this spring.  I am getting together my rig out for doing framing and more general carpentry and these are the 5 tools I use for carpentry.

Circular Saw

When it comes to construction lumber just about any circular saw will do, but I do prefer the cordless models.  I recently did a shootout looking at all of the best cordless circular saws on the market and the new Milwaukee M18 FUEL was the winner, but I still find myself drawn to this DeWalt 60 volt saw.  You can check out my full review here.

Speed Square

Depending on whether you are working with 2x4s or 2×6 and larger you can get away with a 4 inch or a six inch square.  It is important to scribe square reference lines on you board before you cut them down to ensure that your framing comes together square without much coercion.  I am indifferent about plastic vs steel in these. As long as you check it for square periodically and correct it on a sanding block, either is fine.


My favorite tape for the longest time was the 16ft Leverlock tape from Stanley, but it seems they have changed something about the quality of the blade recently.  I recently tried the new Stud tape from Milwaukee, and while I like it, it is a bit too bulky, even in a 16 ft configuration. For those reasons, I am trying out this new Klein 16 ft tape.  It does have a steel blade, but it is Teflon coated, has a great standoff and clear bold markings. I have read a few reviews questioning its durability so I will reserve a recommendation until I have used it a bit longer, but so far so good.

Chalk Line/Laser Level

For framing chalks lines/laser levels are sort of an either or.  I have been trying out this new Milwaukee 100ft chalk line and while it works great and is super overbuilt, it is a bit much for an average framing job I would do.  It snaps a great visible line, but takes up too much space in the toolbag for what I need it for. I have been leaning more towards lasers lately and Bosch recently sent me their 50 ft Cross Line laser for me this is a perfect setup for laying out square and plum walls without having to worry about seeing the lines.  50 ft is plenty for my uses, although they make up to 1000ft version.

Framing Nailer or Framing Hammer

Finally you need a way to attach all of these 2x4s together and you can do this either the old fashioned way with a hammer and nails or using this awesome 21 degree framing nailer from Ridgid.  I have used this one on three projects so far and I can honestly say I can’t remember a single jam or misfire. It does have an annoying feature where it stops firing nails when it is almost out that I haven’t been able to figure out how to override, but it works.  I still bring the hammer up onto the ladder with me though, just in case I mishit one and need to drive it home.

In moving over the next couple of months I have a room I am going to try and reframe, hopefully I can get to it.  These tools should be helpful in bringing this project through the finish line.

What are your favorite framing tools?  Are there any that I left out? I guess I sometimes bring a mini prybar and a nail puller too, but is there anything else I am leaving out?

Remember, Keep your tools sharp, and your mind sharper


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