Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you need to have the essential woodworking tools to create some fundamental projects. So, we will give you the list of woodwork instruments that you must have in your arsenal.
Both pros and beginners must have these 10 essential woodworking tools.
- Woodworking Chisels
- Rubber mallet
- Sharpening Kit
- Square Rulers
- Marking Knives
- Block Plane
- Hand Saws
- Tape measure
- Sanding Blocks
As you can see, these are non-powered woodworking tools, but it will still allow you to create any projects that you want to do. Even our ancestors didn’t use any power tools, but they were able to create beautiful wood arts that we treasure until today. Don’t worry because we will also give you the essential power tools that you need.
10 Essential Woodworking Tools for Pros and Beginners Alike
In woodworking, there are five groups or classifications of basic woodworking tools. It includes tools used for measuring, holding, cutting, finishing, and assembling. You must have at least one tool for each category, and you’d be able to create your first project. To help decide what needs to be done in your simple toolbox, here is a beginner’s guide to the need for woodworking equipment.
Tool #1 – Woodworking Chisels
Basic chisels are the essential tools to the point that it has been a symbol of woodworking. You can start with just one size of a chisel and start learning how to use it properly and keep it sharp. If you’re serious about mastering the woodworking by hand, you might want to spend more on your chisels. Note that some cheaper sets do not have an extension of steel through the handle to support hammering. Here are some of the most basic woodworking chisels.
- Beveled Edged Chisels – The most common woodworking chisel that has a flat or very slightly hollow back, and beveled sides for maximum dovetails access.
- Paring Chisels – Thanks to its long, thin, and light with beveled blades, it can offer up to 15 degrees slice, if appropriately sharpened.
- Butt Chisels – It features heavy-duty handles for pounding hammer or mallet and shorter blades and shafts for rough surfaces.
- Mortising Chisels – These are slightly heavy and thick chisels used to size mortises of various strength and width. It also has slightly tapered sides to make mortises and similar joints.
- Socket or Firmer Chisels – It has a super thick blade with a rectangular cross-section designed to cut through tight and big projects.
Tool #2 – Rubber Mallet
Of course, if you have chisels, you must also have rubber mallets. This tool is essential for making indentions in the wood, and for pushing your chisels through the material. Moreover, it is also beneficial when doing wood joinery as it provides a little finesse, compared to a traditional metal hammer.
When you join softwoods together, you’ll want to keep a scrap block of wood against a piece of work that’s about to get pounded. It will further protect the board from getting bogged down in the process.
Tool #3 – Tool Sharpening Kit
You want your chisels and hand saws to stay sharp, right? With everyday and prolonged use, tools with sharp metal edges are prone to dullness. Therefore, it’s good to have a sharpening kit like a decent water stone or diamond plate sharpening stones.
Tool #4 – Squares
Efficient woodworking squares are essential tools for beginners when you want precision and consistency. When it comes to woodworking, most projects have a 90-degree angle. Moreover, almost every joint you’ve ever made in woodworking requires the same measurement. So, squares come in handy and a good investment. Here are some types of squares to add to your toolbox.
- Combination Square – It’s an all-around convenient square that can be modified to various depths, making it useful when marking and moving marks and lengths.
- 3-Inch Machinist Square – It’s a fantastic square for tuning your power tools, and checking the square on a simple cross-cut or rip cut.
- Framing Square – It’s perfect for gluing up wood to 90 degrees before the gluing sets. It’s also beneficial to make 90-degree marks across more significant bits.
Tool #5 – Marking knife
You will always use pencils in woodworking, but sometimes you need better and more precise marks for proper length. In this case, a marking knife comes in handy. It leaves a small scratch in the wood fiber instead of those graphite lines from a pencil. So get a basic marking knife for you, it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Tool #6 – Clamps
Clamps will offer stability in holding your materials, and essential, especially in gluing pieces of wood. We all know that most projects in woodworking require the use of glue instead of screws and nails. Moreover, clamps are helpful when planing, sanding, and securing your works. There are different clamps available, but you don’t have to buy all of them. You can stick to these types in the beginning.
- Bar Clamps – Invest in high-quality bar clamps with 4 feet and 2 feet in height. These variants are enough for most projects.
- Quick Clamps – These are smaller size clamps, but faster to set up and have quick-release features.
- Hand Screw Clamps – These are bulky wooden clamps that come with two threaded handles. What makes it unique is the squared-off body, which allows the users to clamp down to workbenches.
Tool #7 – Block Plane
This tiny hand plane works well for cleaning corners, flattening small parts, adding a chamfer to the edge, cleaning up the folding carpentry, and more. Wood Planing is also for creating horizontal, vertical, or inclined flat surfaces on workpieces that are too large for shaping. For each specific shape, there’s a particular hand plane tool that can do the job accurately. It is essential to know how to use this tool correctly to avoid ruining the wood’s quality. Here are the different types of hand planes.
- Scrub Plane – It is approximately 9 inches long, which removes wood residue quickly. As the name suggests, it scrubs off a large number of wood chips rapidly — the shortest and most stringent type of wood planes.
- Jack Plane – It is 14 inches in length and highly accurate in flattening the wood. When it comes to smoothing, it is more efficient and precise than scrub planes.
- Jointer Plane – This 22-inch long tool is perfect for the jointing and final flattening of the lumber.
- Smoothing Plane – It is around 10 inches long suitable for preparing the surface of the wood for the final finishing. It is desirable to use this on smoothing the edges of the lumber.
- Polish Plane – It is a traditional Japanese plane for smaller shaving to create a highly smooth surface.
Tool #8 – Hand Saws
A standard finishing hand saw is coming in handy for some projects. A good pull saw, too, does wonder. Long before the invention of power tools, hand saws have been crucial in woodworking. It cuts the pull movement, making it more precise and flexible for intensive research. Another handy choice is a hack saw for metal cutting. You can use it when constructing table sawing sleds and jigs that require aluminum hardware.
Tool #9 – Tape Measure
It might not be the ‘best’ measuring tool for beginners, but it’s one of my most widely popular tools for a lot of projects. It’s ideal for building, but not for greater accuracy. It does not say, however, that it is not useful for a variety of different reasons. You will find that many of the measurements and cuts you make do not require precision. It is because you’re going to make cuts to get the board close to its final dimensions, or the final cut.
So there are times when “close enough” is actually alright. When you need convenience, tape measures will work equally well on short and length measurements. It is easy to put it on your belt, so you can always have it with you whenever you need quick measuring.
Tool #10 – Sanding Block
Sometimes a papersand is not enough, and it takes a sanding block to smoothen the entire surface. Using sandpaper in your hand is a sure-fire way to create an uneven sanding surface, and probably grooves from the uneven pressure that your hand is applying.
An excellent woodworking tool for beginners is a sanding block with a velcro handle. You’re going to have to buy proprietary sanding pads for it because it’s much faster than other types of sanding blocks. However, this is not necessary. You can get along with basic sandpaper sheets and universal sanding blocks. They’re going to take a little more setup, but they’re going to do the trick, and having full sheets of standard sandpaper will save you money.
5 Essential Power Tools For Your Woodworking Projects
If you are a beginner in woodworking, you don’t have to buy all those power tools. You only need a few for drilling holes and cutting edges. As you gain more experience and depending on your projects’ complexity, you have to invest in more high-end power tools that will make your life a lot easier. So, here is a list of the five essential power tools for your woodworking projects.
Power Tool #1: Drill
Every woodworker, regardless of the experience and skill level, must have this powerful tool. From handy-man DIY projects to massive construction, a drill is essential for woodworking, drilling holes for screws, and wood joinery.
You can get a couple of cordless drills to keep track of all your drilling needs. It will include screw settings, countersink settings, and clearance, and pilot holes. Clearing hole clears the threads and lets the bolt or screw pass through freely. However, it’s still tiny enough to have a screw or a bolt on the side. On the other hand, the pilot hole is narrower and allows the screw to fit while still capturing most or all of the threads of the screw.
Power Tool #2: Table Saw
Table saws are, by far, one of the most useful and versatile power tools in every woodshop. Even a beginner woodworker may find it convenient to use a table saw on a variety of projects. Moreover, it is a good stepping-stone in learning new skills and improving woodworking abilities to the next level. You can start with a less expensive table saw, and it will still allow you to use it with many types of cuts and joinery techniques.
If you think that you are not yet ready for a table saw, it’s okay. You don’t have to push things, especially if you feel that using table saws would be challenging and risky. You can still enjoy woodworking with or without table saws. Instead, you can look for an excellent cross-cutting tool. Moreover, it is also crucial that you plan your projects.
Power Tool #3: Cross-cutting Tools
If you don’t want to have table saws yet, you can always start with crop cutting tools. These are the tools that you use to make a cut across the wood’s grain and make the board shorter. Every project involves 99% required cross-cutting, especially if it requires furniture, picture frames, and other small crafts. Your cross-cutting machine will also handle your miter cuts if whenever you need to make it. Here are the two most common cross-cutting tools that you may want to have in your woodshop.
- Compound Miter Saw – It’s usually a beginner woodworking tool for most people when they’re starting. It’s not too expensive, and it’s doing a good job. It’s what most beginner woodworkers use. Even if you expand your skills, compound miter saws will still be useful for future use.
- Miter Box – This cross-cutting method is the most straightforward and most reliable “manual” cross-cutting version. It’s a very cheap way to treat cross-cuts and miter cuts. It’s certainly a step up from cross-cutting freehanded, which is still an art that takes a long time to learn and practice.
Power Tool #4: Curve Cutting Tools
With several designs, you would be able to improve your style by incorporating simple decorative curves significantly. Fortunately, some curve cutting tools are useful in decorative work. Moreover, it is also essential in the creation of functional projects such as woodworking jigs.
Another advantage of these tools is that you will finally be able to make more complex cuts with ease. For example, cleaning a dovetail joint can be done quickly and precisely with a scroll saw or even a coping saw. Here are the key options for curve cutting materials.
- Coping Saw – It is a simple hand saw that has a deep frame with narrow blades. Coping saws can handle even the finest detail that you need to work on your projects. Moreover, it is useful in cutting curves, dovetails, trim molding, and fretwork.
- Jig Saw – We use this tool more often, compared to others. Jig Saws are another handheld power tool that makes the process of cutting curves more accessible and quicker. Moreover, it does a decent job when it comes to straight cuts. If you want versatility with cross-cutting tools, you can choose from various types of blades for Jig Saws that work for different kinds of cuts.
- Scroll Saw – Compared to Jig Saws, Scroll Saws are stationary power tools that move up and down. The cutting action goes downward. Its power to make precise cuts, while leaving a smooth finish, makes it suitable for fine detail work. It is excellent for any basic curve cut, too. However, you should know that this power tool has limitations in-depth when it comes to cutting from front to the back. On the other hand, there are no limitations on the side to the side cuts.
- Band Saw – This standard woodworking tool is excellent for basic curves, cutting down rough wood, and re-sawing. It is, however, the one curve cutting tool that does not handle fretwork. It is because you can’t insert the blade into a hole in the plate.
Power Tool #5: Random Orbital Power Sander
A power sander is a famous and useful tool for both beginners and professional woodworkers. While opinions may vary on what kind of power sander you should use, you can still get great results by using a random orbital sander. In addition, this tool uses hook and loop sanding pads of different grits, rotates in a circle, and oscillates side to side so that the circle is uneven, thus the name ‘Random.’ This action reduces the chance of leaving the circle marks everywhere it touches.
The method with an excellent random orbital sander is to use the correct grit to do the task and minimize applying too much pressure. It makes sanding a lot easier and performs better than a basic palm sander. However, take notice that it still depends on the roughness of the wood. You can always sand your hand with those sandpapers, but it’s exhausting, particularly for large projects. So get a power sander and save yourself some time and effort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know some of the essential woodworking tools, both handheld and power tools, let us answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
What is the most useful woodworking tool?
All woodworking tools are useful, and the most utilized one depends on the projects. For example, if you do cutting more often, then saws are the most functional machine. On the other hand, if you are focusing on wood carving, chisels and hammers should be the primary tools in your arsenal. For most woodworkers, a table saw is the most versatile. It excels well in making both curved and straight cuts. Moreover, it can do a million jigs while performing various tasks with repeatability and precision.
Which woodworking tools should I buy first?
The tool that you need to buy first depends on your project. However, as a woodworker, you need to have at least one tool for measuring, holding, cutting, finishing and assembling. It means you can start with an accurate ruler, clamps, rip saw, sandpaper, wood glue, screws, and hammers. If you have at least one kind for every category, you’re good to start working on your first project. Start small, and aim big is the key in woodworking.
Is woodworking hard to learn?
At first, woodworking may seem hard to understand. However, if you have the passion and enjoy this activity, you will always have the heart to learn every method and skill. Woodworking takes time to learn every curve, every curve, and every process. You should be patient in doing one project at a time and focus on improving yourself as a woodworker.
Both beginner and professional woodworkers need essential tools in their toolbox to the most beautiful wooden objects. We hope that we could enlighten you with the most useful tools that you need to have in your woodworking arsenal. Regardless, you should at least have one tool for measuring, holding, cutting, finishing and assembling, and you’re good to start doing your first project. More importantly, have the patience to learn every process of your project.