I wrote an article sometime back about the must have tools for a wood-shop. This is a list of about 29 must-have woodworking tools ( at the time of writing this), and includes everything from the basic tools to start with, to the advanced woodworking machines to acquire as one progresses along their woodworking business or hobby.
However, the title for that article is a little misleading in saying that they are the woodworking tools for a woodworking business. In fact, that list is a comprehensive list almost all the essential tools that make a complete workshop, starting with the basic tools and going upto advanced.
Regardless, I decided to do a specific post for a list of tools for the woodworking beginners.
I am going to show you some very beginner friendly tools and link to their video demonstrations on YouTube. Most of these tools can be bought online as well through any major retail chain. Most of these woodworking tool videos are by woodworking professionals who are also influencers and bloggers and so they end up giving you the online links for most of the tool they go through in their videos.
Let us begin. These tools are not in any order of importance or priority. So go though the entire list.
It’s probably not a bad idea to start with a few basic master hand tools. Or you can skip to Woodworking power tools for beginners
Woodworking hand tools for beginners
Woodworking is a wonderful craft that allows you to create beautiful and functional pieces out of wood. If you’re just starting out on your woodworking journey, it’s essential to have the right tools.
Claw hammer – Chisel Set – Tape Measure – Mallet – Hand Saw – Block Plane – Work Bench – Hand Drill – Glasses – Mask.
- Claw Hammer : A claw hammer is a versatile tool that is used for driving and pulling nails. Look for one that has a comfortable handle and a weight that feels right for you.
- Tape Measure : Accurate measurements are crucial in woodworking. And this may come as a surprise to you but you also need to learn how to use a measuring tape correctly. Many do not. Even minute differences in your measurements can result in very frustrating results during assembly. It is not for nothing that we have devoted and entire article to the art of measuring and cutting woodwork for beginners.
Invest in a good quality tape measure that has clear markings and at least 25 feet in length, and one with a locking mechanism for the measurement.
One very useful tools for measuring and marking wood before cutting is a ruler that has vertical slits along each marking. So it becomes easy and accurate to put your marker in the slits and mark at the exact measurement point.
- Chisel Set : Chisels are essential for carving and shaping wood. Even if you are not using a hand chisel set for cutting out joints, knowing how do use chisels expertly will make an easy task out of fine-tuning the joints as well as doing on the spot modifications and changes without having to set up a larger machine tool like a table or a mitre saw. The great thing about hand-tools is that they are so portable and can be used anywhere without a power connection.
I highly recommend getting familiar with using as many woodworking hand-tools as possible. It’s also a great way to reconnect with what you are making.
- Mallets : And since no chisel set is complete without a mallet, get a couple of those as well. You almost never use hammers when working with chisels. You also do not use hammers for a lot of other woodworking stuff that requires pounding, such as coaxing a joint to fit better. Mallets are softer impact tools and do not damage the wood surface. There are different sizes of mallets with different head sizes, weight as well as the softness level of the head. Pick out what feels comfortable and a couple of variations.
- Hand Saw: A hand saw is great for making straight cuts in wood. Choose a crosscut saw for cutting across the grain and a rip saw for cutting along the grain. Actually a handsaw can do more than just make Street cuts. If you are going to be using a jigsaw, you can pretty much cut out any shape by hand in wood.
I will repeat one more time that often it is easier and quicker to pick up a hand tool to do a job rather than going to a power tool. As long as you are familiar with using the hand tool. This is another topic where we have written an article on using the different kind of hand saws in your workshop. It’s really best to have a few different kind of hand saws in your workshop such as the coping saw, backsaw, jigsaw and others. You can read about them more in detail in this article. 7 kinds of hand saws and when to use each one.
- Block Plane: A block plane is used for smoothing wood surfaces and removing rough edges. It’s a handy tool for achieving a polished finish on your woodworking projects. Planes are great for finishing.
If you think learning to use hand tools is difficult, remember this, especially as a woodworking beginner, it is easier to control hand tools as compared to power tools. Simply because, the power you use is your own.
Undertand the potential for hand tools for beginners like this. You need to learn the skill of cutting or polishing wood. Now the ‘process’ is more or less the same, regardless of which tool you use. The wood needs to be cut in a particular way or polished. It’s the ‘method’ that differs depending on whether you use hand or power tools.
For this reason alone, starting with hand tools gives you a controlled approach on learning each woodworking process before you learn to do the same thing with power tools. Learning to use power tools is another learning curve, be sure of that as well.
- Drill: A drill is essential for making holes and driving screws. Opt for a cordless drill with adjustable speed settings for versatility and ease of use. I don’t think anyone uses a hand drill anymore though I remember my father having one in the house and putting it to use pretty often around the house.
The thing with using a hand drill is that you need the use of both hands. Its great for some precise and slow drilling provided you can clamp or stabilise the woodworking piece on your work table. For most purposes you are going to be using a power drill and we have that covered later along.
- Safety Glasses: Protecting your eyes is paramount when working with wood. Invest in a pair of safety glasses that offer both impact and UV protection.
- Workbench: A sturdy workbench will provide you with a stable surface for your woodworking projects. Look for one that is adjustable and has built-in clamps for securing your workpiece. Buy one as sturdy and high quality as you can afford. Your work bench takes a lot of strain from all the weight, pressure and impact from various woodworking processes. So having a durable work bench is going to pay off in the long run.
- Dust Mask: Woodworking can produce a lot of dust, which can be harmful to your lungs. Always wear a dust mask to protect yourself from inhaling fine particles. I have seen many woodworkers not wearing one, especially in the videos you see online. There are reasons for it.
They might be skipping wearing a respirator because of aesthetic reasons since they are recording a video and they might need to speak during the recording as well. Also, they might be using tools with effective duct collection systems that go a long way in containing the dust produced.
Lets start with other beginner woodworking tools you are going to need. Remember, as a beginner, it’s important to start with a few basic tools and gradually expand your collection as you gain experience and tackle more complex projects.
Drills in woodworking are mostly used for joinery, whether it is drilling a hole or driving in nails and screws. So therefore, they are vital tools for all woodworkers but more so for the beginners. The reason is that advanced woodworking can use several different kinds of joinery techniques, but using screws and bolts in one of the simplest and fastest way of creating woodworking joints.
The development of better motors and battery systems has made it possible to have quite a few power tools in the cordless variety and woodworking drills for beginners are no exception. Heavy duty, all day usage might require you to get the corded powered drills.
Drills are a great replacement for screwdrivers. You will, however, need some practise with this if you haven’t used drills to put screws in or unscrew them. It is easy to shred the screw if you are not careful. Cordless drills are actually better for putting in screws because of the light weight, mobility as well as having a smaller motor.
It is more difficult to control the torque on a powerful drill and very easy to shred the screw. You will have to practise starting slowly, maintaining speed and stopping at the right point.
Here are a few cordless drills that are perfect for beginners:
- DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Drill/Driver Kit
The DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Drill/Driver Kit is a great option for beginners. It offers a compact and lightweight design, making it easy to handle and control. With a powerful motor and variable speed control, this drill can handle a variety of woodworking tasks. The kit includes two lithium-ion batteries and a charger, ensuring you have enough power to complete your projects.
- Bosch 18-Volt Compact Tough Drill/Driver Kit
The Bosch 18-Volt Compact Tough Drill/Driver Kit is another excellent choice for beginners. This drill is known for its durability and versatility, making it ideal for woodworking projects. With a compact design and a comfortable grip, this drill is easy to maneuver in tight spaces. It also features a 20+1 clutch setting, allowing for precise control over your drilling and driving.
- Makita 12V MAX CXT Cordless Drill Kit The Makita 12V MAX CXT Cordless Drill Kit is a compact and lightweight option that is perfect for beginners. Despite its smaller size, this drill still offers plenty of power. It features an ergonomic design and a comfortable rubberized grip, ensuring a comfortable and secure hold. The kit includes two lithium-ion batteries and a charger, giving you extended run time for your woodworking projects.
Remember, as a beginner, it’s important to start with a drill that suits your needs and skill level. Consider factors such as power, battery life, and ergonomic design when making your selection. With the right cordless drill, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle your woodworking projects with confidence. Happy drilling!
You know the golden rule of successful woodworking. Measure twice and cut once. Most of the woodworking is about making the right measurements and finals cuts on the wood. And then using joinery techniques to put the pieces together.
Therefore, saws are the first power tools that a beginner woodworker needs to consider. So which is the first saw that you should get? That kind of depends on where you source your wood from and what kind of projects are you starting with. I would highly recommend starting out with a good tablesaw, as good as you can afford. It’s best to buy a quality table-saw because this is a one tool that is meant to be the work-horse and back bone of a majority of your woodworking projects.
The reason I mentioned the source of your wood was that if you buy large sheets from the lumberyard, or even from a depot store, then a circular saw comes in extra handy to cut down the sheets into size before you bring them into your workshop. Makes the job of carrying them, storing them and loading them on the table saw much easier. A circular saw has other great uses to it as well. We will talk about that in a bit.
Table Saw For Beginners
You will be able to choose from several models of table saws either from major online retailers of woodworking tools or from your local Home Depot stores. I highly recommend trying to find out go to home store a good home improvement store somewhere close to where you live so that you can physically examine the saw, as well as take the advice and guidance of the sales person present there.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t do your own research. Don’t go in completely blind when going to buy any woodworking tool. Even as a woodworking beginner, you should do some research to the best of your ability by reading online blogs, woodworking, magazines, and publications, et cetera
Most people at home improvement stores, try to provide genuine help and information to the best of their ability, but even then, it serves to have a prior knowledge if not for any other reason than to actually understand what the representatives at the store is telling you about the features and advantages of a particular tool. This fore knowledge will help you make the right choice.
Also, you might get lucky and find someone knowledgable and other times not so much. So being well researched yourself is a great idea. These days there are detailed and informative reviews to be found in all decent woodworking publications as well as in video format online. Go through them. Watching the reviews for something that you are interested in buying is addictive and a lot of fun ).
I am not getting into any reviews here as there are some really good ones out there. Hopefully, I will embed some of them in this post. If I cannot find the time to do it while publishing this post, I definitely try and update it later. I will, however, point you towards one particular post that covers some basics of how to go about buying a new table saw, especially as a beginner. It talks about the important stuff to look out for and mistakes to avoid. Here it is.
Some recommendations for a beginners table saw. When it comes to choosing a table saw for beginners, there are a few factors that you should consider. Here are three great options that are highly recommended:
Some recommendations for a beginners table saw. When it comes to choosing a table saw for beginners, there are a few factors that you should consider. Here are three great options that are highly recommended:
- DEWALT DWE7491RS: This table saw is known for its portability and durability. It features a rolling stand that makes it easy to move around your workspace, and its 15-amp motor provides enough power for various woodworking tasks. The rack and pinion fence system allows for accurate and precise cuts, making it ideal for beginners.
- Bosch 4100-10: This table saw offers a powerful 15-amp motor with a convenient gravity-rise stand. It has a large cutting capacity and a SquareLock rip fence that ensures consistent and accurate cuts. The Bosch 4100-10 is also equipped with safety features such as a smart guard system and anti-kickback pawls, making it a solid choice for beginners.
- SKIL 3410-02: If you’re looking for an affordable option without compromising on quality, the SKIL 3410-02 is worth considering. It features a 15-amp motor and a 20-inch x 26-inch cast aluminum table that provides a decent cutting capacity. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of more expensive models, it still offers reliable performance and is suitable for beginner woodworkers.
The Mighty Mitre Saw
As a beginner, you may well be questioning just how many saws do you really need? If you already have a table saw, do you need another mitre? Or a Jig Saw? If you understand the functionality of these different saws, you will see how, while they all do the cutting, have different utilities.
Of course as far as woodworking beginner tools go, you don’t have to get them all at one. Anyway, a mitre saw is a great addition and in fact, you can think of getting this one even before you get a table saw.
See, one of the differences between how you use a table saw and a mitre saw is that a mitre saw is used to make ‘smaller’ cuts and, if I am really going to put myself out there, more precise ones. Let me just make something clear here. There are virtually no cuts that you cannot make on a table saw. But if I was going to me only making small cuts such as cutting arms and legs for a chair, you will find me choosing a mitre saw rather than a table saw.
For one thing, just the posture of standing and working on a mitre saw is different. The technique is different. No bending over a table saw ans carefully pushing the wood through the blade using handles and jigs. Just look at the two pictures below. Do you get what I mean by the stance and the technique? It is a great machine to make cuts, both general and high precision ones.
A mitre saw also makes it very easy to make cuts at an angle. You just set the blade at the angle you want and bring the blade down on the piece.
A circular saw makes good practical senses because it is portable. Some woodworkers demonstrate how, with using a saw guide, a circular saw can work in the same manner as a table saw and be used to make long straight cuts. It is commonly believed that a table saw makes higher quality of cuts. They are more accurate and clean. This is mostly to do with the stability of the manoeuvre of cutting on a table saw. Whereas, a circular saw is hand held.
But like I said, the functionality can be enhanced a lot using a circular saw guide to cut straight and good quality blades to make clean cuts.
The Band Saw
No, don’t get fooled by the fact that I am mentioning this particular kind of woodworking saw in the end. In fact, a bandsaw is an extremely versatile saw and can do things that even a tablesaw cannot. I want to emphasise that all these different kind of saws have different functionalities, and as a beginner, you need to figure out which tool you need first. So I’m going to post a video right here at this point which demonstrate what each of these source is capable of and how they differ in their functionality. This will help you make the right choice about what you need to get first, that is what is going to be your beginner, woodworking saw.
Some popular options for bandsaws.
WEN 94396 Benchtop Bandsaw This is a great budget-friendly bandsaw for beginners. It is small and lightweight, but it is still powerful enough for most tasks. It also has a variety of safety features, such as a blade guard and a dust collection system.
RIKON 10-326 Bandsaw This is a mid-range bandsaw that is perfect for beginners who want a more powerful and versatile saw. It has a larger wheel diameter and a more powerful motor than the WEN 94396, and it also comes with a variety of accessories, such as a fence and a miter gauge.
DEWALT DCS371B 20V MAX Cordless Bandsaw This is a great cordless bandsaw for beginners who want the convenience of not having to deal with a cord. It is powerful enough for most tasks, and it has a long battery life. It also comes with a variety of safety features, such as a blade guard and a dust collection system.
Delta 28-400 Steel Frame Band Saw This is a heavy-duty bandsaw that is perfect for beginners who want a saw that can handle even the most challenging tasks. It has a large wheel diameter and a powerful motor, and it comes with a variety of accessories, such as a fence, a miter gauge, and a dust collection system.
When choosing a bandsaw for beginners, it is important to consider the following factors:
- Power: Bandsaws come in a range of power levels. For beginners, it is best to choose a saw with a variable speed motor so that you can match the speed to the task at hand.
- Wheel diameter: The wheel diameter of a bandsaw affects the cutting speed and blade life. For beginners, it is best to choose a saw with a wheel diameter of at least 14 inches.
- Throat depth: The throat depth of a bandsaw is the distance between the blade and the frame. For beginners, it is best to choose a saw with a throat depth of at least 6 inches.
- Safety features: Look for a bandsaw with safety features such as a blade guard, a dust collection system, and an emergency stop switch.
- Price: Bandsaws range in price from budget-friendly to expensive. Choose a saw that fits your budget and needs.
Now, clamps. And more clamps. All kinds. All shapes and all sizes. You need to have enough because virtually any piece of joinery, surface lamination etc. will require the use of clamps. The strategy for budgies and clams for your workshop typically involves buying several of them in different sizes. However, there are two things to consider here. First of all as a beginner. You are probably not going to be building complex projects or several projects at the same time, so you are not going to need very many clamps at the same time.
The second thing to consider is the fact that there are some very effective and brilliantly designed clamping systems that are available today. These systems are different from conventional clamps in the sense that they often allow you to build a custom set up and make it very easy for you to ensure that the right kind of pressure at the right angle is maintained when you clamp down things, such as when you glue two pieces of wood together at right angles to each other or when you are allowing a joint to set in properly.
As effective as these clamping systems are, they are also expensive. Therefore you can always buy clamps as and when you need as you go along with developing your skills as well as making more complex woodworking projects.
Here are some of the best woodworking clamps available on the market:
- Bessey H-Series Parallel Clamps: These clamps are known for their high-quality construction and parallel jaws that provide even pressure distribution. They are available in various sizes and can handle a wide range of woodworking projects.
- Jorgensen Cabinet Master Clamps: Designed specifically for cabinet and furniture-making, these clamps feature large clamping faces and a quick-release mechanism for easy adjustments. They are sturdy, reliable, and built to withstand heavy-duty use.
- Irwin Tools Quick-Grip Bar Clamps: Quick-Grip clamps are known for their convenience and versatility. With their one-handed operation and quick-release trigger, they allow for fast and easy adjustments. They come in different sizes, making them suitable for various woodworking tasks.
- Bessey K Body REVOlution Parallel Clamps: These parallel clamps have an innovative design that offers increased clamping force and stability. The large clamping surface helps prevent marring of the workpiece, and the ergonomic handle ensures comfortable operation.
- Pony Jorgensen Cabinet Claw Clamps: Ideal for assembling cabinets and boxes, these unique clamps combine the features of a clamp and a corner square. They are designed to hold the corners of a cabinet or box at a perfect 90-degree angle, simplifying the assembly process.
It’s always a good practice to have a variety of clamps on hand to ensure you have the right tool for the job.
What are Saw Horses?
As the name suggests saw horses are tables that allow you to easily work on them and are specifically designed to enable you to do a lot of sawing and cutting on them. They are typically narrow and long, very very sturdy and stable. You can put a couple of sawhorses side-by-side in order to increase your surface area. Saw horses are an economical way of creating stable, study and a safe surface for all your working processes, such as cutting, finishing, and hammering.
If you’re looking for a reliable and durable saw horse, I would recommend the “WORX Pegasus Multi-Function Work Table and Sawhorse.” This versatile saw horse offers a sturdy and stable work surface, capable of supporting up to 300 pounds. Its innovative design allows you to easily convert it into a workbench or even extend it to create a larger workspace. The built-in clamps are also a handy feature that helps secure your materials in place, ensuring precision and safety while cutting. Overall, the WORX Pegasus is a great option for any DIY enthusiast or professional carpenter looking for a reliable saw horse that offers practicality and versatility.
Sanders are absolutely essential to woodworking for finishing as well, as whenever you need to take some wood off the surface for whatever reason which includes making accurate fitment for jointing. Almost no woodwork is complete without sanding it down to some extent.
Power sanders are mainly of two kinds, orbital sanders and belt. Belt sanders tend to be the more aggressive, as compared to orbital sanders. I highly recommend starting with orbital standards as a beginner working tool and the odds are that you are not going to need the belt sanders at all even in the future.
I also recommend using Block planes for finishing and sanding as a beginner. I have already spoken about the great utility of learning how to use hand tools, when beginning with woodworking to teach you technique and form. It’s hard to learn technique with a with a power tool straightaway because, beyond a point, they don’t allow you to really slow down and be mindful of what you are doing.
Power tools work very quickly and require a high degree of control specially a tool like a sander. A little too much pressure, a little too much speed or a little too much pressure and you end up taking up taking off way much more wood than you intended to, and there is no recovery from that. Block planes are also a great to use for small jobs, such as tuning tenon joint. It is often quicker and easier to just pick up a block plane to sand down a small woodworking part.
Here are some of the best orbital sanders for beginners:
Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander This is a great all-around orbital sander that is perfect for beginners. It is lightweight and easy to control, and it has a variable speed motor that allows you to match the speed to the task at hand. It also has a built-in dust collection system that helps to keep your work area clean.
DEWALT 20-Volt Cordless Sander This is a great cordless orbital sander for beginners who want the convenience of not having to deal with a cord. It is powerful enough for most tasks, and it has a long battery life. It also has a built-in dust collection system and a comfortable grip.
SKIL SR211601 5-Inch Random Orbital Sander This is a budget-friendly orbital sander that is perfect for beginners who are just starting out. It is not as powerful as some of the other sanders on this list, but it is still capable of handling most tasks. It also has a built-in dust collection system and a comfortable grip.
BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 5-Inch Random Orbital Sander This is another budget-friendly orbital sander that is perfect for beginners. It is similar to the SKIL SR211601 in terms of power and features, but it is slightly more expensive.
Ryobi P411 Orbital Sander This is a great value for the money orbital sander. It is powerful enough for most tasks, and it has a long battery life. It also has a built-in dust collection system and a comfortable grip.
When choosing an orbital sander for beginners, it is important to consider the following factors:
- Power: Orbital sanders come in a range of power levels. For beginners, it is best to choose a sander with a variable speed motor so that you can match the speed to the task at hand.
- Dust collection: Orbital sanders can create a lot of dust, so it is important to choose a sander with a built-in dust collection system. This will help to keep your work area clean and reduce the amount of dust that you breathe in.
- Weight and balance: Orbital sanders can be heavy and bulky, so it is important to choose a sander that is comfortable to hold and use. Look for a sander with a good weight distribution and a comfortable grip.
- Price: Orbital sanders range in price from budget-friendly to expensive. Choose a sander that fits your budget and needs.
I hope this helps you to choose the best orbital sander for your needs.
If half of woodworking is about making accurate and write cuts, then the other half is about joining the pieces together properly. This is where woodworking joinery comes in and as a woodworking beginner, you should be looking to establish an expertise in making strong joints right from the start. it is a fact that strong woodworking joints come from well-made joints. If you are going to use classic woodworking joints such as tenon joints, you will, of course have to learn the proper technique off marking and cutting out those joints precisely. Ducktail joint is another example of a popular and effective working joint but it requires expertise and work to master.
Today there are certain joinery systems that are available which allow you to very easy joint two pieces of wood together using screws and bolts. These systems do all the job of aligning the two pieces together and holding them at the right angle, while allowing you to drill the holes according to the premade slot in the system.
It then becomes very easy to be able to drive the required screws through these precisely drilled holes. And while you are putting in the screws and the bolts, these joinery systems also hold the two pieces of wood together, sturdily while you work.
These are some example of various types of woodworking joinery gigs that help create different kinds of joints accurately.
- Doweling jig: A doweling jig helps you to drill precise holes for dowel pins. Dowel pins are a common way to join two pieces of wood together.
- Pocket hole jig: A pocket hole jig helps you to create pocket holes, which are a type of hidden joint. Pocket holes are often used to join cabinets and other furniture projects.
- Dovetail jig: A dovetail jig helps you to cut dovetail joints. Dovetail joints are a very strong type of joint that is often used in fine woodworking projects.
- Box joint jig: A box joint jig helps you to cut box joints. Box joints are a type of finger joint that is often used to join the sides of boxes and other projects.
- Biscuit jointer: A biscuit jointer uses biscuits to join two pieces of wood together. Biscuits are oval-shaped wafers that are inserted into slots cut in the wood. When the glue dries, the biscuits expand and create a strong joint.
This is it for now regarding the woodworking tools for beginners. Like I said at the beginning of the post, we have done another article that covers a comprehensive list of the woodworking tool that anyone should be looking at to furnish that workshop with. Do go through that article as well and then go through some of the popular reviews as well as a suggestions that we have made above for each of the tools to find the right one for yourself.
Before you go, I am attaching a couple of videos for you to watch that cover some of the tours that we have mentioned above, and hopefully the review as well as the demonstration is able to give you a good idea about the kind of tools as well as features that you need to be looking at in beginner, woodworking tools. All the best and happy working.