Some iPhone Apps for Woodworkers

Let’s face it, the iPhone is making massive inroads into the mobile phone arena.  It seems that walking down the road, if you see someone talking on a mobile then it is 50-50 whether it is an iPhone or not.  The phone aspect itself is obviously irrelevant to woodworking, but there is that small other feature of the iPhone particularly which is a little more relevant.  It is a computer, and a very portable version at that.  What’s more, software for it is easily purchased through the Apple apps (ie applications) store and that can be done directly on the phone itself, or through iTunes on the user’s computer.

The ease of accessing applications, and the cost (some free, and the majority being around $A1.19 (ie $US0.99)(although many reviewed here are $2.49)) has resulted in iPhone applications now equate to 99.4% of all mobile phone apps purchased.

Looking through my iPhone, I thought I might show you some of the woodworking related applications I have (and in no particular order).

There are a couple of conversion programs (there are a whole heap out there, but these are a couple I’ve stuck with), which allow you to convert from one measurement to another (and with a wide range of starting and finishing units to choose between)


ConvertBot ($A2.49), which uses a dial-interface to choose the starting and finishing units, then changes to a calculator-type screen for entering the measurement itself. Since that was released, another has become available that I prefer:


Convert ($A2.49) which has a very straight-forward interface, and without changing screens allows both the starting/finishing units to be selected (finger-scrolling), and the value to be entered via the numeric keypad.

Often though, in the workshop it isn’t just changing units from one to the next that we need (after all, if your plans are in imperial, you can always use an imperial rule if you don’t want to bother converting all the measurements to metric).  What is useful is being able to add and subtract measurements, particularly in an unfamiliar format (fractional inches being the obvious one).


ShopCalc is a mobile app that works in pretty much the same way as the FastCap calculator shown on here recently. You enter in whichever format you want, then add/subtract etc any other format, then finally display the answer in whatever format you choose.

Now inside the iPhone is an accelerometer. This device is like a spirit level inside the phone, detecting what orientation you have the phone in so it adjusts the display accordingly.  The accelerometer is surprisingly sensitive, and therefore allows a raft of woodworking opportunities.

One app, called iHandy Carpenter ($2.49) has 5 woodworking tools built-in, including a rule, spirit level, plumb bob etc.

Spirit Level

Plumb Bob

And a number of others, perhaps more suited to the carpenter/tradie than the home woodworker.  The spirit level for one, is the equivalent of the Wixey ($A70ish) for a fraction of the price.

Not only tool applications available, but also a whole stack of resources, including…..Stu’s Shed (through a mobile interface)

Stu's Shed on the iPhone

Superb small screen interface

And of course, we can’t not mention,,,,,the Wood Whisperer!

Wood Whisperer

There are a whole stack of other applications, of various levels of quality (and price).  If you come across any that prove really useful, please drop me a line!

Bear Creek's boardfoot calculator

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