33 Essential Tools for Woodworking Beginners


If you’re planning to start doing woodworking, you’ve probably been asking the tools that every beginner needs. There are just a few fundamental woodworking tools that you need to acquire. So, let’s all find out what are these tools.

Every woodworker’s essential tool kit involves the items that are the most useful in woodworking. So, here’s a list of categories the vital tools for every beginner in woodworking.

  1. Cutting Tools (Crosscut Saw, Rip Saw, Dovetail Saw, Coping Saw, Hacksaw Slip-Joint Pliers)
  2. Measuring Tools (Combination Square, Sliding Bevel, Scratch Gauge, Framing Square, Steel Tape, Folding Rule, Compass, Scratch Awl)
  3. Joining Tools (Claw Hammer, Finish Hammer, Nail Set, Wooden Mallet, Screwdrivers, Dowel Jigs, Dowel Jigs)
  4. Shaping Tools (Smooth Plane, Block Plane, Wood Chisels, Rasp, Scrapers, Utility Knife)
  5. Portable Power Tools (Router, Circular Saws, Drills, Twist Drills, Jigsaws, Random Orbital Sander)
  6. Safety and Maintenance (Face Shield, Hearing Protector, Safety Glasses, Dust Mask or Respirator, Sharpen Stones, Dust Collecting System)

Giving you a list of categories is not enough because you should know how to use each tool right. Each categorization involves different specific tools. However, don’t get deceived with the power tools that you can see in most woodworking shops of professional woodworkers. You don’t have to start that big. All you need are these beginner’s woodworking tools, and you’re on your way to carving and assembling pieces of wood.

What Tools to Buy First for Woodworking?

As a beginner, you have to prioritize the tools that you have to buy. First of all, it’s because you are not earning any money yet from woodworking. Even if you’re born rich, isn’t it nice to save money by not purchasing the devices that you don’t need? You have to start with the essential tools that are beneficial in most beginning projects. As you move forward and gain more experience, that’s a perfect time to buy other advanced tools.


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  • Cutting Tools. These involve devices that will allow you to reduce the wood according to the shape that you prefer. Even before the invention of power saws, manual cutting tools have been around for ages. Here are some of the necessary cutting tools that you should have around while working to make different styles of cut.
    1. Crosscut Saw. A 12 Point-Per-Inch can do most primal cuts on wood perpendicular and across the wood grain. It comes in small and large teeth. Small-teeth models are for fine woodworking, while the large ones are for a coarse job like log bucking.
    2. Rip Saw (6.5 or 7.5 Point-Per-Inch). It is primarily for making rip cuts, or a cut parallel to the wood grain. It is one of the most useful handsaws for any woodworking project.
    3.  15 teeth-per-inch Backsaw or Dovetail Saw. It is ideal for many applications. Backsaw or Dovetail Saws are perfect for workpieces that require small and exact cuts. Moreover, it is also suitable if you need an elegant finish and joint-making.
    4. Coping Saw. It is a kind of saw for cutting more intricate external shapes, interior cut-outs, slicing curves, and cut the molding for creating coped joints. It has a very narrow blade as it stretches across the frame, which forms a U-shaped structure.
    5. Hacksaw. It has a narrow fine-tooth blade set, which can cut various materials like wood, plastic, and most especially metal. It almost looks like a Rip Saw, except that it has a thinner blade body and a smaller handle.
    6. Slip-Joint Pliers. These are versatile tools for gripping and bending different materials. They have both small teeth located near the front face for gripping small objects and nails. Meanwhile, the coarse teeth are at the back for gripping bulky nuts and bolts.
  • Meter Tools. The second category that you need to invest in is marking and measuring devices. Without these, you won’t be able to cut straight. Before making any cuts, you have to ensure the accuracy of your measurements. Otherwise, the parts of your workpiece won’t much together.
    1. Combination Square. When it comes to woodworking, a 45-degree Combination Square offers precision and versatility. It is a multi-use measuring instrument that can measure the center of a circular object, get depth, and do simple distance measurements. 
    2. Sliding Bevel or Bevel Gauge. It has an adjustable body that allows you to set and transfer angles. The handle is usually from wood or plastic. On the other hand, the metal blade has a thumbscrew or wing nut.
    3. Mark Gauge or Scratch Gauge. It is suitable for both woodworking and metalworking when marking an outline on the material to ensure accurate cutting. The primary purpose of a Marking Gauge is to scribe a line parallel to a reference edge or surface. This method is perfect for joinery and other sheet metal operations.
    4. Framing Square or Steel Square. It is a handy tool for laying out square structures and framing because of its long-armed square.
    5. 10 to 12 Feet Steel Tape. It is the most common measuring device that you can see in carpentry, but also popular in woodworking. It is a flexible rule of thing steel that retracts into its protective case. Steel Tapes are useful in measuring irregular and regular shapes.
    6. Folding Rule. 6 to 8 feet is the most common size of Folding Rules when extended. It has multiple pivoting sections that you can fold and unfold in place. If you want to form a rigid ruler for taking length measurements, this type of ruler is perfect for you. 
    7. Compass. This tool is excellent in creating perfect circles. It has a V-shaped body wherein one end has a pointed tip, and the other purpose is for pencils.
    8. Scratch Awl. It is useful for layout and point-making tool because of its steel spike with its tip sharpened to an excellent point. Scratch Awls allow you to scribe a line to be followed by a hand saw or chisel when making woodworking joints and other operations. 
  • Join Tools. From the name itself, this category involves different kinds of joining tools used for combining pieces of wood. These tools will help you assemble and join the parts in your workpieces.
    1. 16 oz. Claw Hammer. It is the most common type of hammer that has been around for a long time. Generally, it is for driving and pulling nails on the wood. More often, Claw Hammers have a circular metal head and a claw on its back.
    2. 8 oz. Finish Hammer. It has a smooth striking surface used for avoiding cracking the surface and the quality of the wood. Most finish hammers have a magnetized slot along the top edge of the striking surface for holding a nail. Its massive head with long handles and milled face will also allow you to drive large nails quickly, even into dimensional lumber.
    3. Nail Set. It is a small tool that will help you drive the finish nail flush to the surface of the wood. It also keeps the hammerhead in a safe distance away from the material. Nails Sets have a pointed tip on its end, and a blunt top head fit for most hammerheads.
    4. Wooden Mallet. This tool is for knocking wooden pieces or driving dowels and chisels. It ensures that it will not ruin or deform the material that you’re going to striking. Moreover, Wooden Mallets reduce the force driving the cutting edge of a chisel for much better control.
    5. Straight or Phillips Screwdrivers. We are all familiar with this tool. It is for turning screws with slotted heads. Some screws have one straight diametral slot cut across the head in a variety of sizes.
    6. Dowel Jigs. These materials make more accurate holes and can attach two logs with precision. Dowel Jigs are excellent for drilling pocket holes. Moreover, they are also ideal for crafting various frames for woodworking projects.
    7. Bench Vise or Clamping System. These are essential for stabilizing the material that you’re working when drilling, gluing, hammering, planing, sawing, and other operations that require steady support.
Can You Plane Wood Across the Grain
  • Shape Tools. These include different shaping devices for removing extra material on the wood for smoothing and sculpting purposes. Shaping tools use a relative linear motion on the workpiece to cut the excess parts and form the shape that you want to achieve.
    1. Smooth Plane. It is a type of bench plane more often used on a wood surface. Once you’ve used it correctly, a Smooth Plane can create a finish that equals or more significant than what sandpaper can do.
    2. Plane. This tool is perfect for general-purpose work like chamfers, trimming and fitting moldings, fitting drawers, and other small smoothing operations. Moreover, Planes are also ideal for smoothing end grain like squaring or trimming.
      • Jack Plane. It can remove a massive amount of material in one pass. From its name, most woodworkers refer to it as a “jack-of-all-trades” because of what it can do.
      •  Block Plane. This type is smaller and stouter, which makes it suitable for smoothing tight spaces.
      • Rabbet Plane. It is for cutting right angle grooves perpendicular to end grain. 
    3. Wood Chisels. It is a shaping tool for carving or cutting a hard material such as wood, stone, or metal by hand. You can hit its head with a mallet, any mechanical power, or by your bare hand.
    4. Round and Flat Rasp. It features a course-form for shaping wood or other material. More often, it consists of generally tapered rectangular, round, or half-round sectioned bar hardened steel case.
    5. Cabinet Scraper and Hand Scrapers. These are for manually scraping small amounts of material from the surface of the wood. Scrapers are for smoothing, shaping, or removing any excess.
    6. Utility Knife. It is a multi-purpose tool that has a cutting edge suitable for general tasks. A Utility Knife is ideal for cutting hides and cordage, scraping hides, butchering animals, cleaning fish, and other relevant projects.
  • Portable Power Tools. The tools in this category will increase your productivity, which is the reason that they are essential tools for woodworking. Just take note that you can still do more intricate and beautiful workpieces with or without these tools, for as long as you have those hand tools mentioned above.
    1. Router. It is a handy and portable tool in woodworking for both professional and decorative purposes. This tool is perfect to use in cutting edges, making classic shapes, molding rabbets, cut easy dadoes, creating patterns, and recessing lock faceplates. More notably, Routers are excellent for cutting and trimming various materials other than wood.
    2. Circular Saws. A Circular Saw is handheld power saw with a spinning, vertically-oriented blade that comes in corded or cordless models. This tool can cut through any surfaces like boards, plywood, softwood, and hardwood for as long as you use the right kind of blade. Moreover, they are perfect for both rip and long cuts.
    3. Drills. It is a primary tool for creating round holes or driving fasteners. They come in various speed, power, and size.
    4. Twist Drills. These are rotary cutting tools that usually have two cutting edges and two flutes. Twist Drills provide cutting lips for removing chips when creating a hole into the material.
    5. Jigsaw. It is a handy power device for cutting intricate curves different materials other than wood that also include metal and plastic. It has a small and narrow vertically-mounted saw blade, which moves up and down to cut your wood. It is robust and firm enough to perform delicate cuts for various applications that weigh 5 to 20 lbs and runs a 120-volt motor.
    6. Random Orbital Sander. Since sanding is necessary for the finishing procedure, you need a Random Orbital Sander. It makes the sanding process faster and easier. Plus, it ensures that your final finish does not have any scratches. Just make sure that you have a well-balanced sander that is comfortable to use. 
  • Safety and Maintenance Tools. These are self-explanatory and common-sense tools. Safety and Maintenance ensure that you have a safe and sound working environment, so it’s essential to have them while working.
    1. Face Shield. It is a device for protecting your entire face from any sharp flying objects while working on your workpiece. 
    2. Safety Glasses. Any protective eyewear protects the area surrounding your eye to prevent any particulates from striking it. 
    3. Hearing Protector with Noise Reduction or Cancellation. The sound of power and portable tools can be stressful for your ears. So, make sure to wear a Hearing Protector with Noise Reduction or Cancellation to prevent any hearing loss.
    4. Dust Mask or Respirator. These devices are for protection against non-toxic nuisance from a pile of wood dust.
    5. Sharpen Stones. These tools are for maintaining the sharpness and efficiency of each blade of your handheld tools.
    6. Dust Collecting System. An excellent dust collection system must capture woodworking dust and debris – both airborne and those that fell on the ground. Then, move it to a single collecting area. Generally, here are the keys to success in collecting dust from saws.

A good quality fundamental tools will help you create the most attractive workpieces. Take note you don’t have to buy all the tools for each category. It’s good to have at least one device for every section, depending on the type of your project.

9 Power Tools Every Woodworker Should Have

As you gain more experience in woodworking and become a better woodworker in the future, you’ll probably need power tools in this stage. These power tools will increase your productivity, accuracy, and efficiency. These tools are not your priority as a beginner, but use this reference as a preparation in case you want to be a full-time woodworker.

  • Power Drills. This power tool can effectively replace your screwdriver. Power Drills come handy and convenient, especially for drilling holes and driving screws into those holes. If you plan on building wood pieces and other DIY projects at home, a Power Drill is what you’ll probably search first.
    • Types of Power Drills. Power Drills come in both cordless and corded models. Both are convenient to use, but they offer slightly different features. A corded drill is more powerful and versatile, while coded drills are more portable. You can choose between ⅛ inch or ½ inch chuck and keyed or keyless chuck for corded drills.
      • Miter Saw or Chop Saw. This power tool will make it fast and easy to chop down boards. Miter Saws can do both straight and angled cuts, which makes it favorable for furniture and cabinet making. They feature a mounted circular blade brought down onto the surface that you want to cut. Miter Saws require less space to work, which makes it ideal for cross-cutting and other cuts at a variety of angles.
  • Circular Saw. This power tool is excellent for cutting large and unwieldy pieces of wood. It is powerful, but it’s limited to cutting full sizes. It comes in corded or cordless models, which provides more portability. Using the right kind of blade, it can also cut metal, masonry, plastic, and tiles. 
    • Blade Types. Circular saws have three cutting edge types — the Ripping blades for cutting the material lengthwise along or with the grain. Second, Crosscut blades are for sawing across the grain, and Combination Blades can do both rip cuts and cross-cuts. 
    • Blade Diameters. Most Circular saw blades start at 7 ½ to 10 inches. A 12-inch diameter cutting edge is suitable for cutting massive dimensional wood.
    • Different Models. The most significant advantage of using a Circular Saw is that you can bring it anywhere with you. For Corded Models, you can use it for as long as there’s a nearby functional electric socket. Otherwise, you can use a rechargeable Cordless Model. 
  • Jigsaw or Sabre Saw. This tool will allow you to cut curved and circular patterns on the wood. Some would say to you that a Band saw is better for this job, but a Jigsaw is entirely sufficient for most beginners. The reciprocating and saber-like blade with back and forth motion will help you make intricate cuts. Choose a Jigsaw with an orbital-action for extra versatility. Moreover, make sure that it feels good when you hold it.
    • Type of Blade. Jigsaws have Fine-tooth blades for sawing veneers, and coarse tooth-blades are for rough and fast work.
How to Prevent a Table Saw from Binding
  • Table Saw. It is probably the most heavy-duty of all power saws. It almost has the same primary function as a circular saw, which is cutting across more substantial pieces of wood. However, Table Saws are better in making straight lines. They are the heart and soul of every woodworking shop. Take your time gaining more experience before investing in this power saw because cutting with it is not accessible if you’re a beginner.
    • Versions of Table Saws. Three Table Saw versions are suitable for beginning woodworkers. 
      1. Cabinet Table Saws are quite heavy, which makes it steady and stable. It has a lower cabinet to cover the motor with a lade driven by a belt and pulley system. This version is excellent for all-purpose work, which makes it ideal for most starters who plan to use Table saws.
      2. Benchtop Table Saws weigh lighter, which makes them portable. You can conveniently move it from point a to point b. They may be noisier, but Benchtop Table Saws are compact.
      3. Contractor Table Saws have the tightest design, which makes them ideal where time and space is a premium. 
  • Router. A quality router will help you take care of several tasks. For greater efficiency and accuracy, choose a router model that has at least two hp with electronic variable speed controls. Moreover, take into consideration the soft start mechanism and easiness of changing bits.
    • Types of Router Bits.
      1. Straight Bits. It has various lengths and diameters, which are primarily for making straight cuts to form groove or dado across the wood grain. Straight bits are also essential to hollow out an area for a mortise.
      2. Rabbeting Bits. From the name itself, it is mainly for cutting rabbets or shoulders at the edge of a workpiece to join pieces. Rabbeting Bits also includes various bearings in different diameters. 
      3. Chamfer Bits. It is for cutting angled or beveled styles for decorative purposes or for joining multi-sided constructions. Chamber bits are excellent for those who need decorative pieces or edging.
      4. Molding Bits. They are ideal for incorporating multiple edge-forming proles into a single bit.
      5. Stile-and-Rail Bits. These are perfect for shaping frame-in-panel construction like cabinet doors.
      6. Edge-forming Router Bits. They are the ideal type for making intricate edging tasks.
      7. Joinery Bits. These are specialized bits, which also includes dovetail router bits, drawer lock router bits, finger joint bits, and lock miter bits. Each kind provides precision in routing an area to join pieces of wood.
  • Nail Gun. In woodworking, wood glue is more frequent to use than nails and screws. However, it’s good to have a Nail Gun in your toolbox. It takes on the job of a hammer more efficiently because you don’t have to pound the nail individually. With one pull of the trigger, you can drive nails fast. It may not completely replace a hammer, but it’s good to have one model in your arsenal.
    • Types of Nail Gun
      1. Framing Nailer. It is the heaviest duty nailer that is ideal for all-purpose, especially for heavy construction. It is suitable for wood framing of more prominent and thicker materials. Framing Nailers can work on three ½ inch nails and join 2 x 4 inches thick wood. Most of its models have interchangeable sequential and contact trip as well as tool-free depth-drive adjustment.
      2. Flooring Nailer. It is precisely for making quick work of laying tongue-and-groove floorboards. Also, Flooring Nailers are different from other typical Nail Guns that you can see in the market. However, they are not as versatile as other nailers because they are only for laying floorboards.
      3. Palm Nailers. From its name, these are palm-sized nail guns that work the same as the regular counterparts. There’s also a strap that you can wrap around your hands so that you can use comfortably anywhere. Palm Nailers are light and small, which makes your work much easier even for extended periods. Most Palm Nailers can work on 2 to 6 inches long nails. 
      4. Roofing Nailers. These Nail Guns works like Framing Nailers because they are also heavy-duty. It is for driving nails into roofing materials, but it is also ideal to use on wood. It has a lightning-fast speed that also provides accurate results.
      5. Siding Nailer. It uses shorter nails of 1 ¼ to 2 ½ inches broader heads. It can also use aluminum nails, which makes aluminum sidings stronger. However, watch out for the thickness of the material, because it can only work on thin wood.
      6. Pin Nailer. Generally, this type is for finishing all carpentry projects. Pin Nailers have the smallest and tiniest kind of Nail Gun. Moreover, they also offer the most delicate finish. It can work on 23-gauge headless nails that have a resemblance to pins. However, Pin Nailers have no holding power compared to the other types. 
      7. Brad Nailer. It works like a Pin Nailer, which makes it a contender for projects that require intricate finishes. However, the primary difference is that this Nail Gun uses larger nails of up to 18 gauge. For some, this nail is still relatively small, but it is more significant compared to pin nails. 18-gauge nails provide more holding power, too. 
      8. Finish Nailer. It is also suitable for finish carpentry work designed for specific nail size. It is almost the same with Pin and Brad Nailers except that Finish Nailer can hold onto bulkier pieces of wood. It is compatible with 15 to 16-gauge nails.
  • Screw Gun. Just like a nail gun, Screw Guns are for driving screws into the material. They can hold tight and loosen the screws for assembling and disassembling. Investing in this tool makes the process of driving screws faster and simpler.
  • Paint Sprayer. When it comes to finishing, a Paint Sprayer is beneficial. It is perfect for giving color to your workpiece. It may be a bit expensive compared to a paintbrush, but it’s mode convenient and easy to use. 




FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Woodshop?

It depends on the projects that you want to make. More complex and challenging workpieces require high efficient if you wish to higher productivity. You can start small by doing easier, but exciting wooden projects for approximately $6,500 starting capital. It includes $2,000 for wood and other materials, plus $1,500 for woodworking tools and equipment.

Do You Need to Have a License to Build and Sell Furniture?

It is a question that you need to verify with your local government because it may vary depending on the law of every nation, state, or country. However, most places will require you to have state sales tax identification or a seller’s permit on building pieces of furniture to sell them.




Do I Need a Router Woodworking?

Routers are great power tools to have in your tool kit. If your budget allows, there’s no reason not to buy them. Routers are useful for cutting, trimming, and shaping tasks on wood, plastic, metal, and laminates. Therefore, most woodworkers prefer to have one model of this tool in their toolbox.

Final Words

Believe it or not, most woodworkers can still create many beautiful, useful, and long-lasting workpieces. Woodworking is an activity that relieves stress, and an excellent exercise in boosting your creative muscles. Regardless of your skill level – an expert craftsperson or a rank amateur – you need to get the most fundamental essential tools for woodworking. 




More often, many amateur woodworkers will feel overwhelmed with the vast array of tools available on the market. It’s easy to spend your entire savings with thousands of dollars’ worth of expensive woodworking tools. However, always remember that woodworking tools don’t have to be costly and extravagant. As a beginner, start with the basics until you get the feels and more experienced in doing great work.


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