The act of woodworking is a fun hobby that produces some beautiful things. If you’re considering getting into the woodworking game or moving beyond a handheld tool, there are a few critical pieces you’ll need.
Let’s take a look at a few tools that are essential for a beginning woodworker’s toolkit. These essential woodworking tools will allow you to complete various woodworking projects as a beginner with precision and efficiency.
Here’s what you need to get your personal workshop started on the right foot:
- A Circular Saw
- A Jigsaw
- A Power Drill
- A Random Orbital Sander
- A Router
- A Band Saw
- A Nail Gun
- Bench Grinder
- Scroll Saw
- Rotary Tool
- Oscillating Multi-Tool
01. A Circular Saw
Circular saws are one of the most essential power tools most people invest in. A circular set of teeth tears through boards, making cuts quick and accurate. While circular saws typically make construction work faster, they also have applications in woodworking.
The various types of blades allow you to accomplish different kinds of cuts. You can add these blades to your arsenal and begin covering those larger projects you’re interested in.
- Ripping Blades — These allow you to follow the grain of the wood.
- Crosscut Blades — These create smooth cuts against the grain of the wood.
- Combination Blades — A combination blade is suitable for both types of cuts.
Related article: How To Choose The Right Circular Saw Blade
02. A Jigsaw
Jigsaws increase your cutting capability from straight, even lines like what the circular saw does. A jigsaw can curve, jig, and perform any number of other cuts. They use a back and forth or up and down motion to perform these advanced cuts.
They’re truly handheld, allowing you to steady your work with one hand while operating the saw with the other. You can even make cuts through interior pieces. This is an excellent tool for ensuring that you’ll go from a simple activity to something more advanced with some practice.
03. A Power Drill
This drill is a simple way to up-level your woodworking activities. A power drill ensures that you have a powerful option with the versatility to connect pieces and make the final assembly.
A corded version may be a little bulkier, but you’ll have all the power you need to finish your projects. They’re more affordable and often last longer than their cordless counterparts.
There are three types of power drill:
- Regular drill — For the basic home DIYer, this tool provides simple action
- Hammer drill — If you drill into tough surfaces like metal or some types of plastic, this is the one.
- Impact driver — Also, a heavy-duty option, some DIYers use this to add cement or other hard materials to their list of options.
Some shops have more than one option. If you’re doing basic projects, a simple power drill is all you need. If you’ve moved beyond those simple options, you may want to invest in another type.
04. A Random Orbital Sander
An orbital sander provides an excellent way to enhance the look and feel of your wood. The patterns of a random orbital sander will provide a smoother finish without scratch marks. The hook and loop fasteners secure the discs, and the entire system has a little more heft than some of the palm sander options out there.
If you prefer to do the finishing with sandpaper then read this: How To Choose Sandpaper
05. A Compound Miter Saw
The compound miter saw is another power tool that provides the ability to angle cutting heads to get those bevels you’ll love with more elaborate projects. The angles go in two directions, giving you more flexibility.
Some people believe that the compound miter saw makes circular saws unnecessary, but having both tools at hand allows you to separate your jobs by complexity and gives you more avenues for your projects.
Check our head to head comparison guide here: Table Saw Vs Miter Saw Vs Circular Saw: What’s the Difference?
06. A Router
A router allows you to accomplish those decorative finishes that woodworkers are known for. A good quality stationary base will give you everything you need to practice your woodworking chops.
Choose one that’s about 2HP at least and one that offers variable speed controls. You’ll be able to get all your projects accomplished. With a soft start option and easy change bits, you’ll be performing everything you need to in no time.
07. A Band Saw
A band saw is a simple handheld tool that allows you to cut wood, carve out shapes, and handle contouring all in one tool. The ability to use it for both detail cutting and handling small pieces of lumber cutting is a versatile option.
It’s good to have for your collection of heavy power cutting tools. A band saw, a power drill, and a good nail gun are excellent to get started. A powerful band saw can serve almost all your needs for the table saw. Besides, a table saw is not recommended for beginner woodworkers as it requires more skill and experience.
08. A Nail Gun
When you start doing more elaborate projects, such as furniture or outdoor construction, a nail gun is a must-have. You’ll have consistent positioning and depth and save yourself a massive headache with hammering.
There are different types of nail guns, and the type will depend on your typical project. Here are some of the most common types:
- Framing nailer — heavy-duty option for outdoor construction
- Brad nailer — midsized nailer suitable for a variety of nail jobs
- Pin nailer— a smaller option that preserves the delicate finish of the furniture and small projects
- Palm nailer — a smaller option that fits into a compact space
While these aren’t the only types of nail guns, they do give you a good range of functions. Take a good look at the kinds of projects you want to take on to find the right nail gun for your needs.
09. Bench Grinder
If you’ve got a more extensive collection of tools, a bench grinder can help make maintenance go faster. This tool is designed to sharpen other tools and could be purchased with a belt sander to save space if you’ve got a small shop.
You can sharpen tools by hand, but once your collection goes beyond a few options, it’s hard to keep up. The bench grinder makes it possible to make quick adjustments to tools, and the only maintenance you’ll need for your grinder is a metal brush.
10. Scroll Saw
Scroll saws have two advantages. First, they’re compact and allow you to create delicate details such as ornaments or added features to your furniture. Second, they’re relatively quiet as far as cutting tools go.
A scroll saw is a neat tool that can level up your woodworking. They won’t take up much space, and they don’t create a lot of dust or castoff. If you have elaborate plans for some of your wood pieces, a scroll saw could help you accomplish what you’re after.
11. Rotary Tool
Rotary tools are a lower-powered but handheld version of die grinders. These tools allow you to make small cuts, sand, shape, or any other DIY actions, and they fit into the palm of your hand.
Find a rotary tool kit with a variety of attachments so that you can have some flexibility.
- Grinding stones — Sharpen, deburr, smooth, and enlarge holes.
- Sanding discs — Smooth out a variety of materials depending on the size and grit.
- Plastic brushes — Clean out even tough stains and grime from small areas of your shop.
- Cutting discs — Made from a variety of materials, allowing you to cut wood, plastic, metal, and other materials.
- Diamond points — Create designs, engrave, or cut delicate areas
12. Oscillating Multi-Tool
This option takes the place of some of your larger saws when you don’t have the clearance to use them. It works by twisting backward and forwards along a specific angle, allowing you to attach different heads for different purposes. You can perform a wide variety of jobs with this tool.
You can trim, sand, cut angles, make plunge cuts, and even scrape tough plaster and cement from other materials. This multi-tool is handheld and flexible.
How to Buy Woodworking Power Tools
When you’re deciding on power tools, keep these basic ideas in mind:
Variable speeds — Many of these tool options have variable speed capability. This allows you to control your tool’s power and speed, allowing you to preserve delicate materials or ramp up the speed to get through something like masonry or metal.
Handle the tool in person — If possible, find a place to handle the tool in person. You can feel the size, weight, and material for a better decision. Whether you order online after that is up to you, but get the tool in your hand first.
Find a kit — When you’re a beginner, a cordless power tool that comes with a kit could be useful. Kits contain the typical, all-purpose attachments, allowing you to get a feel for the tool before you upgrade to specialty attachments.
Corded or cordless? — Corded power tools don’t run out of battery in the middle of a job and often have more power. Cordless gives you the freedom to go anywhere and removes dangerous trip hazards. Choose based on your most pressing needs.
Read more about corded and cordless tools here: Corded vs Cordless Circular Saw
Completing Your Shop
Beginning your collection of power tools expands what you’re able to do in your woodworking hobby. It’s essential to consider the types of projects you find easier and love to do, powered ways to accomplish those projects.
Purchasing woodworking tools can help you become more efficient and ensure that you have as little strain on your arms and shoulders as possible. Plus, as long as you’re careful and follow all the safety rules of your woodshop, woodworking tools can also add another critical element to DIY— fun.