Encyclopedia of traditional Chinese carpentry tools: chisels, planes, shovels, inkwells, etc.

Encyclopedia of traditional Chinese carpentry tools: chisels, planes, shovels, inkwells, etc.

In ancient times, a person could call himself a carpenter with a saw, ruler, thread and a piece of wood.

The advent of woodworking and the continuous improvement of woodworking tools have played an extremely important role in promoting the brilliant development of Chinese furniture and architecture.

Miaojiang uses wonderful tools, and wonderful tools make exquisite products, and they go back and forth endlessly, truly creating a magnificent world of wooden architecture in China.

Woodworking is a very important process in the production of classic furniture. It includes material cutting, material selection, spike and tenon cutting, and assembly, all reflecting the skills of the master craftsmen.

Traditional woodworking tools such as chisels, planers, shovels and inkwells still carry the wisdom of traditional Chinese craftsmen...

Encyclopedia of traditional Chinese carpentry tools: chisels, planes, shovels, inkwells, etc.

According to the experience of generations, carpenters have generalized various common sayings for tools. , the seven-piece house looks like a child, and it's no wonder to travel around the world."

Going back in history, the use of these tools dates back to the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States Period, and they are the perfect embodiment of Chinese wisdom.

When we talk about the invention of woodworking tools, we naturally think of Lu Bang, the "father of carpentry."

In the two books "Mengzi" and "Mozi", Lu Ban is called "Gongshuzi".

Of course, Lu Ban's behavior of "respecting the image of the manufacturer" is also related to the level of technological development of that time.

Starting from the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period, iron production in my country was widely developed during the three Jin dynasties. At the end of the Tang Dynasty, the refining and production of iron in the south exceeded that in the north. During the Song Dynasty, more than half of the twenty-five fields of four overseers and two smelters were located south of the Yangtze River. the method of pouring steel became the main method of steel production in the Song Dynasty.

Encyclopedia of traditional Chinese carpentry tools: chisels, planes, shovels, inkwells, etc.

▲Ming Wanli "Lu Bang Jing" engravings depicting the work of a carpenter

With the development and application of iron smelting technology in my country during the Southern Song Dynasty, hand planers appeared and played a big role in the production of white wood furniture, making furniture carvings and decorations widely used.

According to Dai Tong in the Six Books of History of the Southern Song Dynasty: "Planning teaches how to cut and heal wood that is spade-shaped and pushed by the tree." This made the production of white wood furniture in the Song Dynasty reach a very high level.

The Song Dynasty centipede planer made the lines, dimples and convex backs of furniture more refined and contributed greatly to the creation of pleasant furniture.

The appearance of iron tools opened up a wide world for wood carving and high relief, but due to their insufficient hardness and toughness, the appearance of hardwood furniture became somewhat impossible.

White wooden furniture at the end of the Song Dynasty reached a very high technical level in terms of decoration and carving techniques.

During this period of historical development, the production of human tools developed from primitive stone tools, bone and bronze tools to iron smelting. Tool making provided space for the development of furniture making, thus contributing to the maturity of furniture culture and laying the foundation for future performances The rise of Ming and Qing furniture laid a solid foundation.

Encyclopedia of traditional Chinese carpentry tools: chisels, planes, shovels, inkwells, etc.

▲Compiled by Wu Rong, "Artisan's Home Mirror with New Jingban Luban Classics Engraving" (Engraved Edition of Huixianzhai, Wanli 33rd Year of Ming Dynasty)

In the middle of the Ming Dynasty, the iron-making process entered a new stage, especially the hardness of planer knives reached a new level, and during this period, hardwood furniture such as chicken wings and ironwood appeared. be some kind of inevitable connection.

Inlay steelmaking technology in the middle of the Ming Dynasty promoted the development of woodworking tools, especially small woodworking tools, and created the conditions for the expansion of the use of cutting tools in the manufacture of hardwood furniture.

In Zheng Zi Tong by Ming Zhang Jilie, it is written: “Planing and cutting, flat wooden utensils, iron blades like spades, held in wooden frames that do not allow rotation. The wooden frame has holes and two small handles on the side. , press it several times with your hands, the chips will come out of the hole, and it will be easy to rake."

Encyclopedia of traditional Chinese carpentry tools: chisels, planes, shovels, inkwells, etc.

Encyclopedia of traditional Chinese carpentry tools: chisels, planes, shovels, inkwells, etc.

Although wooden furniture was discovered in the middle of the Ming Dynasty, wooden furniture with carved designs did not exist.

Apart from the fact that people liked the beautiful texture of wooden furniture at the time, it had a lot to do with the hardness of the carving knives of the time.

The surviving furniture of the Ming Dynasty has smooth and concise lines and is considered beautiful and durable, and the wood is simple and exquisite. prove that the royal family is very fond of exquisite carvings reminiscent of dragons.

Encyclopedia of traditional Chinese carpentry tools: chisels, planes, shovels, inkwells, etc.

Actually, the advent of hardwood furniture does not mean that at that time it was simply discovered that hardwood could be used as furniture, but due to the development of iron production technology, people found that with the advent of tools with a higher hardness and strength, people who are accustomed to thinking, When hard woods that cannot be turned into furniture are turned into furniture, extraordinary effects are obtained.

However, due to the insufficient steel mouth of carving knives, it can be considered that these hardwoods do not fit or cannot be carved, and a lot of effort is spent on a simple style instead.

This shows that the development of iron technology is still ongoing, which has led to the renewal of production tools and made it possible to make furniture from hardwood and copper inlay technology.

In 1637, the tenth year of Chongzhen's reign, the "Tiangong Kaiwu" written by Ming and Song Yingxing recorded that artificial cold drawing technology already made it possible to produce extremely thin steel wire, leading to the introduction of steel wire saws in the era late Ming and early Qing. It became possible to use the technology of carving on hardwood furniture, which opened a new page in the craftsmanship of making hardwood furniture.

In modern times, Mr. Tian Jiaqing has written a book called Days with Mr. Wang Shixiang.

In this book, he wrote some very good words about woodworking and woodworking tools.

For example, he said, "The superiority of Chinese woodworking tools is enough to make the world fall in love with them." He also said:

Woodworking tools are made by the craftsmen themselves, they may seem simple and crude, but with their help some practical, but not simple tasks are easily solved.

It can provide extremely precise debugging and modification that even today's various types of precision equipment cannot do, and has quite complex thinking and functionality.

From the relatively clear line of the development history of traditional Chinese furniture in general, it can be seen that the production of furniture is moving forward with difficulty under the constraints and advancement of production tools.

Decoration and carving of wooden furniture during the Ming and Qing dynasties should be limited to tools, and their development was far behind porcelain, jade, etc. Thus, the decorations on this furniture were mainly influenced by local culture and other factors . culture.

Due to the main improvement of tools in the middle of the Qing Dynasty, its furniture is likely to be in line with or more advanced than the development of porcelain and jade decoration culture at that time, because as a carrier of hardwood furniture, it is easier to use from the point of viewsize and durability. And the goal of practical transmission to the world.


The saw is one of the traditional woodworking tools, used for horizontal sawing and vertical sawing of wood, manual sawing has a long history.

Band saws, also called "saw blades". The sawing angle is usually 45° beveled.

Among the frame saws, the saw blade is mounted on one side, and a rope frame is mounted on the other side, which is tightly wound and twisted.

Gange saws can be divided into three types: thick, medium and thin, depending on the length of the saw blade and the pitch of the teeth.

The length of the rough saw is 650-750mm, the tooth pitch is 4-5mm, and it is mainly used for sawing thicker wood; thorn; thin saw blade length 450-500mm, tooth pitch 2-3mm, mainly used for sawing thinner wood and tenon ledge.

The history of saws for metal goes back to the Shang and Zhou dynasties, and in Mozi there is an entry that "no one can hammer and saw with an axe."


An ax is a traditional carpentry tool. It uses the principle of leverage and the principle of changing momentum equal to momentum. It is divided into two parts: the ax head and the handle.

The tip of the ax is made of metal, the handle is made of wood, and the shape of the blade is usually curved (sometimes straight) or flat.

"Chopping" with an ax is the basic skill of traditional carpentry, "One life with an ax and three years of planing."

Swearing is not easy to master, but it is more difficult to master with an ax than with a planer.

The ax is the best percussion tool for chiselling and chiselling. They are much easier to use than a hammer. When the ax is placed horizontally, the base area is much larger than that of a hammer.

Use an ax to cut off the edge. When the wood grain is straight, it can be cut in two or three strokes, which is much faster than with a saw. An ax is also very useful for cutting wooden wedges.

In an era without power tools, the ax was a sharp tool for carpenters, and carpenters greatly valued their axes.


The planer is a tool widely used to make traditional classical furniture. It consists of two parts: a planer blade and a planer.

The blade of the planer is made of forged metal, and the planer is made of wood, that is, insert a piece of steel sheet obliquely into a cabinet with a square hole, and press it tightly with a load. , left and right Has a handle for easy handling.

The hand planing process is a process in which the planer continuously cuts through the wood while the planer is moving forward.

The planing or surface treatment of wood is called planing.

The planing of wood after drawing lines, chiselling and sawing is called clean material.

Once the structure of the furniture is brought together, the overall layout is called pure light.

Historyplaning tables can be traced back to at least the Ming Dynasty.


The inkpot is a very common tool in the traditional Chinese woodworking industry. The ancients had the name "rule setting and Chen Shengmo".

The wooden crafts of folk ink fountains are self-made, and the ink pools are often carved in the shape of peach, fish, dragon, etc., which are not only for entertainment, but also a kind of show off. woodworking skills.

Ink fountains are mainly used for cutting wood. Woodworking ink fountains used in furniture making can be made smaller, and woodworking ink tanks used in timber construction can be made larger.

On the one hand, the inkpot can be used as an elastic line for round lumber, or for straightening the edge of the board, and can also be used to mark elastic lines for material selection and jigsaw boards and other aspects.

For example, when marking wood planks or splicing lines, an ink fountain is sometimes used as a hanging line to measure if the line is vertical and smooth.


The drill consists of a handle, a drill, a pull rod, a cable, etc. There is a round hole inside. The bamboo part is connected to the rod and can rotate freely. It is used for drilling.

There are two types of commonly used drills: the pull drill and the bow drill. The bow drill is suitable for drilling larger holes.

Both of these drills can change the size of a drilled hole by changing the drill.


A chisel is the main tool for joining wooden structures in the traditional woodworking process. It is used for gouging, gouging, grooving and shoveling. It is usually used in combination with a hammer.

A chisel is a tool for digging grooves or punching holes. When using a chisel to drill holes, generally hold the chisel handle in your left hand and the hammer in your right. From a hole.

Half the slot is drilled from the front and the through hole needs to be drilled about halfway from the back of the component, and in turn the front is drilled until it is drilled through.


A hammer is the most commonly used carpentry tool for straightening or breaking objects.

Hammers come in different shapes. Usually this is a handle and a pommel. One side of the pommel is flat for striking, while the other side of the hammer is shaped like a horn. Its function is to pull out the nails.

It also has a round hammer head.


The shovel is one of the widely used traditional tools, mainly used for clearing local planes.

The shape is thinner than a chisel, the angle of the cutting edge is less than that of a shovel, the handle is long, and the upper end has no hoop at all, the operator operates the handle on the hand or shoulder, or a hammer can be used to tap it lightly.

According to various purposes, shovels are divided into flat shovels, round shovels, oblique shovels, etc.

Flat shovel: The edge of the knife is flat, and the edge of the knife and body of the shovel form an inverted isosceles triangle. It is mainly used to open square holes or repair some square holes.

Inclined blade shovel: The blade is at 45°, mainly used for repairs, most of which are used for carving and some dead corner repairs.

Round shovel: The edge of the knife is semi-circular, mainly used to open round or oval holes.

Diamond Shovel: The blade of the knife has a V-shape, which is now rare and mainly used for carving and repair.

Ruler of Luban

The Luban ruler is a measuring tool with religious overtones. It is said to have been made by Shubang, Duke of Lu during the Spring and Autumn period. In fact, the length of the Luban ruler is not fixed, and it is not the usual measurement length.

The scale is divided into eight main cells, each of which is divided into several small cells for writing various good and bad words, respectively. The content is similar, but the specifications are not uniform.

When building a house and making furniture, use this ruler to measure the height, width and length of the whole house and each part of it.