The tools of the trade for woodworking are an essential part for workers and hobbyists alike. You might be wondering to yourself, “what are the basic tools for woodworking?” Beginner woodworking tools can include a few dozen different gadgets and gizmos, so this guide should keep it simple for novices to follow along. There are two schools of thought to consider when looking at essential woodworking tools: the best of the best and budget alternatives. No matter which choice you pick, these tools are going to help your woodworking shop stand out and be useful in your next project!
Before diving into a guide of why you’ll need specific tools, it’s crucial to know what you need on the list:
- Power Drill
- Table Saw
- Circular Saw
- Miter Saw
- Hand Saw
- Claw Hammer
- Block Plane
- Jack Plane
- Hand Planes
- Wood Finish
- Ear Protection
- Tape Measure
- Combination Square
Once you know what you’ll need, it’s time to make sure why you need these are must-have tools for woodworking. Tools of woodworking often have different applications and uses, so you may find some tools (i.e., workbench) being used in every project you do while others (i.e., miter saw) being used in some, but not all tasks. Woodworking can be a heavy-duty activity, so it’s vital to have the best tools around to minimize potential damages to you or your creation!
If you ever pondered “what is the most essential woodworking tool,” you’ll need for basic woodworking, the workbench is your answer. Any beginner woodworker is going to need a workbench for most projects, as its convenience for planning and executing said plans are extremely useful. You should expect to use it in every project, as it can store tools, paperwork, wood, etc. while offering unparalleled convenience. Without a workbench, you’re going to have to use a different surface for placing your wood on, and you’re going to need a separate storage facility.
There are two types of workbenches you should consider for woodworking: a standard good quality workbench for home use and a portable workbench.
The UltraHD Workcenter is a state-of-the-art workbench with wall storage and cabinets designed to store many tools you might use for your next assignment. It can support over several hundred lbs so that some heavy-duty projects can be done solely on it.
You should expect to typically use this workbench with a myriad of other tools, as it’s often the foundation for a good project. Before doing any work, you can grab a seat and plan out your project with blueprints. Another great attribute for a workbench to have is durability, as the metal frame is coated to be naturally resistant to coating.
Black Decker Workmate
If you’re not so concerned about storage, the Black Decker Workmate is an excellent portable workbench you can take wherever you wish to work. A beginner woodworker can take advantage of its small size, especially if you don’t have too many tools (thus, less of a need for storage). It can hold over 350 lbs, so it’s adequate in storing large volumes of wood.
The stability of a portable workbench is paramount to its success, so seeing it not slide around or wobble is an excellent trait worth praising. As a necessary tool that complements other tools of the trade, you need to have a workbench of some kind for essential woodworking and projects.
A drill is an essential power tool every legitimate woodworker should have in their collection. Whether you’re putting holes in wood or installing a screwdriver tip to twist screws into place, a drill is among the most common tool for woodworking to have in your arsenal.
As far as the best of the best goes, the DEWALT 20V Drill is a basic carpentry tool sure to impress newcomers. It comes with a tool kit and a few different inch variations of drill bits you might need for drilling holes into wood. As DEWALT has over 100 other tools in woodworking, they’re a trusted manufacturer of some of the best power tools on the market. With high performance and a strong motor, the DEWALT 20V Drill is an excellent choice for somebody needing a basic drill that can get the job done effortlessly.
If you’re on a tighter budget, you should check out the GOXAWEE Electric Drill. It also comes with different drill bit sizes and is cordless for your convenience (with an easy to use charger). Accuracy and precision are a must in the field of woodworking, so this drill does an exceptional job at that. Remember, drills have a useful niche as tools for woodwork in creating holes and occasionally being used, such as a screwdriver with the appropriate screw bit installed.
Types of Saws
There are many different types of saws on the market, so that it can be confusing for a newcomer to the world of woodworking. From the get-go, these are the type of saws you should expect to use:
- Table Saws
- Circular Saws
- Miter Saws
- Hand Saws
Most of these are power tools, but hand saws are hand tools. Aside from that, all types of saws excel in cutting wood, albeit some do so in a different manner. As a result, some projects you work on may favor one kind of saw over another. Considering this can vary from scenario to scenario, it depends on what you’re working on and what type of cut you need from your saw.
Do you need to cut straight lines on small and longboards of wood? There is no more accessible tool to use than a table saw in that scenario! Considering you’re looking at a list for essential woodworking tools, chances are you need a tool that can cut straight lines effortlessly. You don’t need to be a veteran to appreciate the simplicity of a table saw, as it combines some aspects of a workbench and other traits of saws in one mechanism! Should you choose to cut materials harder than wood, you should be pleased to know that a table saw can excel in cutting metals as well!
The DEWALT Table Saw is a common sight on most lists, for it excels in everything a table saw should and more! With over 5800 RPM and a 15 amp motor, this is a robust table tool capable of cutting wood quickly. With several safety features attached to it, a beginning woodworker should feel at ease when using the DEWALT Table Saw. One excellent aspect is its portability, as you might be moving tools around frequently if you’re new at this hobby.
An affordable alternative is the Rockwell BladeRunner X2. It is less than 15 pounds, so it’s straightforward to carry around wherever you please. Despite that, it’s still powerful and capable of cutting metal, tile, and aluminum through different cutting methods. This machine comes with a five-piece blade set; a novice woodworker should be able to experiment with other blades and types of woods to see what is comfortable for you. You cannot go wrong with adding a table saw to your plethora of tools!
A circular saw is a mainstay among saws. If you want accurate cuts done in a circular manner, a circular saw is what you need! Table saws use a similar circular blade, so you could technically classify some saws in several categories. Aside from technicalities, circular saws are more than just excellent carpentry tools. Their use in woodworking is outstanding, especially since it tends to be cheaper than other saws.
The DEWALT Circular Saw is an excellent machine capable of cutting several degrees as you see fit. It’s lightweight and easier to carry around compared to table saws. It might not be as powerful, but it still offers an excellent, state-of-the-art cut. With 85% of over 1,200 ratings being five stars, you can always check out the reviews to see why this machine is worth considering for your workshop.
The SKIL 5280 is an affordable option that does the same things as DEWALT’s machine, just at a lower quality. Nonetheless, it is still an Amazon’s Choice product. Also, as far as battery-powered saws go, this one is superb in its battery life. If your saws last long before charging or replacing the batteries, then you can get more mileage out of them!
Miter saws excel in cutting wood at many different angles, especially if you value crosscuts. A miter saw isn’t a necessity, but rather a luxury making a beginner woodworker’s experience significantly more manageable. You don’t have to mess around with measurement tools as often when you’re using it so that you can have a cleaner workspace as well! Most miter saws look the same, yet there are some minor differences in functionality between them.
Need one that is powerful, durable, and accessible to use, regardless of your skill level? The DEWALT 12-Inch Miter Saw can handle bevel cuts up to 48 degrees for the left side, and three degrees for the right side. With a headlock pin attached, your safety is valued! It can handle frameworks for various projects such as picture frames, casings, etc., which you can then choose to use with other essential woodworking tools for a smooth experience.
If you would like to have one, but with a laser, then the Delta Power Saw with Laser may interest you. It only goes up to 47 degrees on the left side for bevel cuts, yet it is a more affordable option. Amateur woodworkers may value the ease-of-access in using this item, so you should be pleased to know that it works with most stands. Users praise the quality of the machine as a whole, so you should expect it to last you a while and, thus, less of a need to buy a replacement.
If you need to cut curved lines, a jigsaw is an excellent gadget for basic woodworking! Intricate cuts may generally be brutal for somebody new, an amateur seeking basic woodworking tools capable of giving them a challenge should consider a jigsaw! Some jigsaws have evolved to become scroll saws, which is the same thing except it cuts materials like wood a tad more delicately.
One jigsaw worth checking out is the Bosch Jigsaw, which is excellent for circular and curved cuts. Its toolkit is designed to make your wood cutting experience more consistent with sheer precision. It has variable speed, so newcomers of different backgrounds can get used to handling wood. Its orbital action is unparalleled, so make sure you follow proper protocol prior to using it.
A cheaper alternative is the CRAFTSMAN Jigsaw, as it comes along with a three-year warranty. It also contains variable speeds depending on how you use it, so you can experiment with the types of speeds offered along with adjusting the blade you’re using. It would be best if you didn’t underestimate the power that comes along with this jigsaw, as it can cut wood quite easily.
There are two types of hand tools related to the hand saw family tree. There are push saws and pull saws, both specialized in cutting wood. The main difference, as evident as it may seem, is that push saws get more benefit from the pushing motion and vice versa for pull saws. Either type is advantageous to have when you don’t need power tools for your next task, which can be the result of a multitude of reasons, even as simple as wishing to save electricity.
A push saw worth checking out is the CRAFTSMAN Hand Saw, as it can do a fast, clean-cut in a simple motion. Whether you wish to do 45-degree cuts or 90-degree cuts, the CRAFTSMAN Hand Saw is an excellent gadget for its sheer simplicity. Simple doesn’t mean that it’s worse either, as there are instances where it’s more convenient to a hand saw over several power tools. One example would be to cut the wood in different shapes as opposed to just straight lines or curved lines.
If you wish to have a pull saw, the SUIZAN Japanese Pull Saw is, without a doubt, an ideal hand saw for those with a tight budget. Made out of high-quality steel, you can rest easy knowing that it won’t break if you use it correctly. As it is different from Western push saws, it can give you some much-needed diversity in your workshop. One main benefit is that it requires less power to use effectively compared to push saws, so if you can get over the initial difference in how you use it, you should find it to be a fine addition to your collection of tools.
One of the most common tools associated with carpentry and woodworking is the trusty hammer. Specifically known as a claw hammer, these hand tools are excellent for hammering in nails, minor defects, and anything else that needs blunt force! It’s primarily associated with nails, as you’re going to need a nail or two for most projects anyhow. Even though hammers are cheap by comparison to other tools, there’s going to be two hammers on this list worth noting.
The Stalwart Hammer is an excellent claw hammer, capable of putting nails in, as well as removing them with the claw. As it is a hammer, there’s nothing particularly fancy about it. It’s over 13 inches long, and the handle is made out of anti-vibration materials so that you can hammer away without worry! The polished wood also makes it hard to fatigue, so you won’t have to worry about durability issues.
An alternative is the IRWIN Hammer. This claw hammer is the same price but specializes as a smaller hammer in case you need a pocket hammer. As long as you make sure to keep it stored in a tool kit or a workbench, you should be able to enjoy man’s simplest hand accessory.
Planes are used for keeping your woodworking experience simple, whether it’s reducing the thickness of the wood you’re working on or keeping the wood stable. There are different types of planes worth checking out for a beginning woodworker:
- Block Planes
- Jack Planes
- Hand Planes
A block plane is typically used for cleaning up shavings of wood from any tool you utilize for cutting it. It can also be used to remove glue lines, as well as other minor chemicals you may not want to spread around. The WoodRiver Block Plane is highly adjustable, while the Kakuri Wood Block Plane is more available for those on a tight budget.
Next up are jack planes, which are primarily used for cleaning up timber. A jack plane can be used for getting your wood to the right size you desire before getting started on the woodworking. The Stanley Jack Plane is an Amazon’s Choice product, highly beloved for its assistance in getting the wood as accurately as you want it to be. With excellent precision, it’s bound to impress even veteran woodworkers. The GreatNeck does the same things as the Stanley equivalent, just as an inferior, yet cheaper alternative.
A hand plane uses your strength to force the blade over the wood. The WEN 6530 is the number one bestseller for its category. As an electric hand plane, it should be among the most accessible tools you can use for a woodworking tool, as it can cut up to 34,000 times in a single minute! Of course, if you need a cheaper option, the AmazonBasics is a good alternative that can get the job done if you need it.
After you finish cutting and assembling your wood, there are some tasks still left for you to do before you’re truly done with your work. Applying wood finish can extend your project’s lifetime, as certain chemicals react with the wood to protect it from the environment. Different finishes have different results, but some finishes are usually a must-have for novices to use on their woodworking tasks. Two examples to consider are Tung oil and Linseed oil.
Tung oil is the cheaper option here, but it still protects your wood from moisture, everyday wear, and certain types of fungi. You typically slather a thin coat of tung oil over your finished project and wait for some time for it dry before storing it elsewhere.
Similarly, you apply two layers of linseed oil and wait for it to dry. It’s easy-to-use and dries in a range of 12 to 18 hours, depending on how much you use. With an insane value for its price, you’re guaranteed to have enough oil for large projects.
Remember, even if the gear itself doesn’t help you cut wood, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider getting it. Safety gear like gloves and earmuffs can make it more comfortable for you as you use hand tools or power tools alike. Remember, you don’t need to spend money on accidents if you prevent it with proper safety precautions.
Starting off, you need gloves to protect your hands from debris and cuts. The DEX Fit gloves are an excellent addition for basic woodworkers, as these gloves also work well with oils and other liquid finishes you might need when woodworking. Remember, some chemicals do not mesh well with human skin, so having a reliable means of protecting your hands is a must!
Next, you need safety goggles. Without your eyes, you might as well consider woodworking a dead hobby. If you wish to see what you’re cutting while protecting your eyes, then something as simple as safety goggles is convenient for you! The DEWALT Dual Mold Safety Goggles is scratch-resistant and highly durable, so your sight is well-protected!
The final mandatory safety precaution you should take involves protecting your hearing. Woodworking can be loud, and prolonged exposure to it can lessen your hearing. There’s no need to have extended damage, as you can seek to use ear protection such as the Mpow 035 should be satisfactory is lessening loud, sharp sounds such as a blade chopping wood up.
Without having proper measurements, your creations may end up wonky and unprofessional-looking. With several tools at hand, such as a ruler, there are specific measurement tools designed for woodworking for you! A combination square is essentially a ruler with a header for more reliable measurements. One you should consider is the Mr. Pen variant, as it’s insanely cheap and works with most saws, workbenches, etc.
Naturally, if you want something longer and more useful to other applications, a tape measure fits quite well, among other hand tools. As long as you make sure not to tear it up irresponsibly, a good tape measure could be used for activities outside of woodworking. The LEXIVON 2-Pack goes up to 25 feet, making it excellent for any woodworking project!
How to Get Started
Once you get the tools you need, it’s time to lay out how your workshop is going to look like. As this is the basic equipment worth considering, you can choose to upgrade to fancy widgets if you wish to challenge yourself or if you want to have more applications to your tasks. Once you have all your tools at hand, it’s time to think of your first big assignment!