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What Tools Every Woodworker Should Have

What Tools Every Woodworker Should Have

Woodworking is a hobby that can be both gratifying and challenging. To get the most out of your woodworking experience, it is important to have the right woodworking tools. While there are a wide variety of woodworking tools available, there are a few basic tools that every woodworker should have.

A good quality hammer and saw are essential for any woodworking project.

A drill is also a valuable tool, as it can help you create holes for dowels or screws.

In addition, a set of chisels and a router can be very helpful for shaping and carving wood.

With the right tools, you will be well on your way to enjoying all the benefits that woodworking has to offer.

A multitude of woodworking tools being used in a woodworking project.
A normal selection of smaller woodworking tools that you might use on a project.

The Basic Woodworking Tools

Whether you're a woodworker or not, you probably have some of the tools needed for woodworking.

Small home improvements and fixes require a lot of the same tools. Purchasing those items can help you around the house, and in the garage and let you start a woodworking hobby.

Think about what you would need to hang a picture. A hammer, tape measure, possibly a level, and some nails. If the pictures or shelves you are hanging need wall anchors, you'll need a drill and some drill bits and either a screwdriver or some screwdriver bit ends for your drill to screw the screws into the wall anchor.

Ever have a door that just doesn't want to latch? A lot of the time, the catch just isn't lining up correctly. Maybe someone didn't install it correctly in the first place or the house has settled over time and things aren't just working right. A couple of chisels will be your best friends to clean up that mortise and make it line up with your door catch so you have a nice operating door that opens, closes, and that you can even lock the deadbolt.

These items are tools you'll use as a woodworker. Basic woodworking tools that you can use for everyday tasks at home make them pretty easy to have around.

Taking the Next Steps in Your Woodworking Hobby

You've just learned what the basic tools for woodworking are. There are still a few more things you'll need to get off to a good start.

In woodworking, the layout is everything. You've heard the phrase measure twice, cut once. To go along with your hand tape measure, you're going to want a workbench. A workbench doesn't have to be a fancy modern bench that costs thousands of dollars, although they are very cool! You can easily make a bench out of a sturdy old table or desk or even a pair of saw horses with a piece of wood secured to them. The advantages of some of the workbenches are that they come with vises and holders and even cabinetry below the work surface to store tools. It's a personal choice and the kind of bench or workstation is up to you.

Get Those Boards Cut!

You will inevitably need to cut a board if you're going to do woodworking.

There are two major kinds of cuts. Cross-cuts and Ripping. With a cross-cut, you are cutting across the grain of the board when you cut to make the board shorter. Ripping is when you are going with the grain of the board (or cutting along the length of the board) to make the board narrower.

The Circular Saw is a tool you probably can't live without.

Different saws can help you make those cuts pretty easy. If you're on a budget and buying your first saw, you may want to grab a circular saw that you can use for both operations. With a circular saw, you can mark the lumber and cut it or you can set up a straight edge with clamps to allow the saw to run against the straight edge and make a straight cut where you intended it to be. A circular saw is great for large sheets of plywood and things that are hard to handle. It's a basic saw that you will go back to use a lot.

The Miter Saw you'll fall in love with.

A miter saw is a key woodworking tool in most shops.
A Miter Saw being used to cut a board.

A miter saw is one of the steps up from a circular saw.

The cons of the miter saw are that it does crosscuts and no ripping. It is also limited on cut width by the size of saw you pick. If you have a small miter saw, it may not be able to saw all the way across a larger width board.

The pros really out weight any cons when you purchase a miter saw. These days, most miter saws are compound sliding miter saws. This means the saw itself moves across the base allowing for wider cuts but still is ultra-precise. You can make an angle cut and even a compound with a tilt of the blade. Cut corners, trim, crown molding. It's truly a saw you will love to have.

Step up to a Table Saw

A table saw is one of those tools that will probably be your first major purchase. You can get by and do the basic cutting with a circular saw, but at some point, you will get fed up and want to cut lumber faster and easier.

A table saw will allow you to rip lumber or cross-cut. You can use a dado blade to make dado cuts for dados and rabbets. It's going to be faster, make the cuts easier, and more accurate. If you want to cut several boards the same width, you'll set your table saw fence at the width and shove several boards through. It's that simple.

A woodworker ripping wood using a table saw.
Ripping wood using a table saw.

Other Saws That You Might Need for Woodworking

Hand saws are great for small projects. They come in a variety of styles and sizes depending on your needs. Pick up a dovetail saw, a Dozuki or Ryoba saw or a regular hand saw. Each has its purpose and as you learn woodworking you may want one or all of them.

Jigsaws come in handy to cut curves, designs, and irregular cuts that you just can't do with a large circular blade. The jigsaw has a reciprocating blade that is much smaller and easy to maneuver. JIigsaws are small power tools that can be found in both electrical and cordless versions. You can easily cut wood with them but don't count them out on other home improvement projects. They work great for soft metals and other materials. Just make sure to get the right blade for what you are cutting.

Break out a Bandsaw

A person operating a bandsaw

If you're starting to get serious about woodworking, you're probably looking to invest in a bandsaw. The bandsaw can cut curves, resaw lumber, do compound cuts, rip lumber and even cut some metals with the right blade.

Bandsaws have two different capacity areas to remember. One is the distance from the frame of the band saw to the blade (throat depth) and the other is the height of the cut you can take. The size of a bandsaw is usually measured by the throat depth. If you like to cut tall items, make sure you pay attention to how high they can cut also.

There are several different kinds of blades and sizes that you can put on a bandsaw. Each blade will make your saw act very differently. You may have several different blades depending on what functions you choose to do with your bandsaw.

Scrolling, Scrolling Scrolling!

Many woodworkers would tell you that a scroll saw is not a necessary tool to have in a woodworking shop. Others would beg to differ!

If you're doing cabinetry or large projects, you probably won't find a use for a scroll saw in your shop. A scroll saw is for those intricate projects where you need the design and detail that other saws just can't do.

Scroll Sawing an object from wood.
Scroll Sawing

You can pick up a manual scroll saw frame and cut with these small blades by hand or go the power way and get a scroll saw. Scroll saws use 5 1/2" blades that are super small to give you very intricate cuts. There are scroll saws that use pin ends and those that are pinless. The difference between the two is huge! A pin-end scroll saw will do great with outside cuts and make larger inside cuts. It cannot make intricate interior cuts due to the size of the blade.

A scroll saw with pinless blades is a dream to have if you want to make intricate cuts and do small things. Scroll saws are very versatile! Do crafts, build a clock, make furniture, and use them to enhance your woodworking.

Routers, Do They Really Fall into the Basic Woodworking Tools Category?

A router is a tool that you may not have right away but as your woodworking skills and desire improve it may be on your list. A router is can do a lot of things and not just for woodworking. Routers are a portable tool but you can mount them on (or under) a table. You can use a router to cut panels, make dadoes, and rabbets, create patterns in wood, make special profiles along the edge of your projects, clean up edges, and more. They are versatile tools that will add dimension and detail to your woodworking projects.

A woodworking tool known as a router being used on wood.
Using a router to make a profile on a woodworking project.

Hand Tools Needed for Woodworking

Hand tools can range from simple things like a hammer and tape measure to marking gauges, plumbs, chisels, screwdrivers, squares, and tons of other items.

Some hand tools are going to be a necessity on minute one. Others you will find that you need as you are working on certain projects. Clamps are a good example of something that you can add as you go along. You'll find that over the years, you'll need or want more for certain projects.

There are planes, wood carving tools, turning tools, rasps, and other cool gadgets like power gouges and micromotors. Your need for these will depend on what type of woodworking you are doing.


Sandpaper and sanders should definitely be on your list of tools to start woodworking.

It is an essential woodworking supply that a lot of woodworkers don't spend enough time with. Sandpaper comes in tons of shapes and sizes from flat sheets to sanding sleeves, cones, belts, and discs. It also comes in different grits from super coarse to super fine.

You can use sandpaper by itself to sand your projects or grab one of many different sanders to handle the job. A belt sander is great for leveling surfaces and cleaning things up. A random orbital sander can take the job from there and make it super smooth and ready for finish. Using a combination of sanding techniques is essential for most projects to look their best.

Turn to sanding sleeves that can be put on a sanding drum to level out bumpy contours and curves or go ahead and put a coarser grit on to create some profiling with a drum sander. You can even use your drill, a drill press, or a power carving unit to work with the sanding drums. Sanding cones can soften edges and take our rough areas and are great on a micromotor or flex shaft tool.

You can't forget that sandpaper works well within your finishing process also. Whether you are sanding between coats of finish or polishing with super fine grits, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Tools That You Want

There are tons of woodworking tools out there that do a lot of cool things. You certainly don't need everyone to begin woodworking. Some will make things faster and handier and you'll find that you want to add more as time goes along to make your woodworking stand out from others.

A planer and a jointer are two of those items. These are two handy tools that I feel our shop couldn't do without. We plane a lot of lumber and to get a straight edge on that lumber, a jointer works well. We also flatten the lumber with a jointer before it goes in the planer if it has too much of a cup or warp. If you're buying lumber already to thickness, and not doing a ton of woodworking, you may not need these items.

A person using a jointer.
A large jointer with other woodworking tools in the background.

I can't imagine listing all the tools you need for woodworking. Wait a minute, you don't need tons of tools, but having some of them is kind of fun! If you need some woodworking tools you can Shop Woodworking Tools Today

Pick up some necessities and specialty tools that you want and need to have fun doing woodworking! Need to learn more or get more ideas for your next woodworking project?

Apr 07, 2022 Cherry Tree Toys

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