What's in a carpenter's toolbox - Pro Construction Guide
What's in your Toolbox?

What’s in a carpenter’s toolbox

Jonny Roetker  //  Owner, Rocker Carpentry //  Valparaiso, Ind.

It was all about a girl. That’s where the story of Jonny Roetker’s love affair with carpentry began. While working at a coffee shop, Roetker met a young lady who he knew he’d one day marry. To help keep fanning those romantic flames, he took a job in construction, and then fell in love with carpentry, too. Oh, and he married that young lady.

“I had to learn fine woodworking/joinery finish work and upholstery,” Roetker recalls. “What I love the most about what I do is that there is no finish line. You’re always learning, always being challenged by new styles of work, new types of joinery. Carpentry has been around for thousands of years, and it will continue to hold an important place down the road.”

As for how he learned the trade – and continues to improve – Roetker says he owes it to the many different colleagues with whom he has worked.

“I don’t really have any one mentor,” Roetker says. “I’ve learned a lot from different guys on the jobsite. I also consider the woodworking community on social media to be a sort of ‘collective mentor.’ There is so much to learn from craftsmen and women out there.”

If you’re looking to be a part of this community, Roetker’s advice is simple: Try everything. “Get in over your head, make mistakes and learn from them. Take on new challenges. Listen to people who have been doing it longer than you.”

For John Roetker, these tools are essentials in a carpenter’s toolbox:

KREG AutoMaxx 3 in. Face Clamp Model# KHC-1410 

This totally changed cabinet and furniture building – strong, fast, and convenient.


HUSKY 14-in-1 Painter’s Tool Model# DSX-G14 

This painter’s tools is great for getting in tight spaces.


DEWALT 15 Amp 10 in. Job Site Table Saw with Rolling Stand Model# DWE7491RS 

This table saw is accurate and reliable. I’ve had it for four years, and it hasn’t let me down once.


EMPIRE 7 in. Laser Etched Rafter Square, Model# e2994 

This laser etched rafter square is crucial to helping keep everything square and is an essential tool in any carpenter’s toolbox.


RIDGID 22 in. Pro Tool Box, Black Model# 222570 

It’s the single biggest and best change in my jobsite organization and efficiency.


BESSEY 24 in. K-Body REVO Parallel Clamp with Composite Plastic Handle and 33⁄4 in. Throat Depth Model# KR3.524 

This REVO Parallel clamp is amazing for cabinet and built-in doors. Everyone should have this tool in a carpenter’s toolbox.


BUCK BROS. Economy Wood Chisel Set (3-Piece), Model# 40601

It’s great for making a quick mortise on the jobsite.


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