What Tools Did Pioneers Use?

Pioneers in the American West used tools such as axes, mallets, knives, augers and lathes to fell trees and turn them into buildings. Power tools did not exist at the time, and pioneers needed to be economical with what they brought along with them on their travels, so many of the tools they used were either small, light or able to multitask.

In addition to traveling long distances, pioneers typically lived in remote areas, so running out to the store for supplies such as nails was not an option. Pioneers often improvised, but many of them did have sturdy tools they brought with them from more developed environs. Mallets or hammers could be used for a variety of applications including building furniture and buildings. Similarly, axes were also important for building homes, barns and furniture. Not only could they be used to cut down trees and branches to be used as building material and firewood but axes were also important splitting those trees up for use. Once a log was cut with an ax, pioneers would use tools such as a lathe to smooth and shape the wood. Lathe-smoothed wood could be used for floors and walls within a pioneer cabin.