Whether you’re just starting out in the art of woodworking or you
are a professional there are a few basicwoodworking tools that you will need to
complete your projects. These tools don’t have to be insanely expensive
and there are not that many of them. More advanced tools will help
you accomplish things a little faster and might save you a little
money in the cost of scrap materials but some are not necessary.
There have been many times when I built a simple small wooden box
that looks really elegant. Truth is I only used two power tools, one of
which almost everyone has…..the trusty table saw! The other is a
wood planer. I will get into detail on this tool below.
Making your projects stand out can be very easy, they don’t have to
have moving parts or have curvy edges. The wood accents on your pieces
will give your eye something to look at and your brain will think, man
that is nice.
Tools to begin your woodworking hobby
Your basic go to, must have tool is a table saw. Any table saw will
do, it does not have to be a huge super expensive cabinet saw. Your
local hardware store will have options to choose from for under $200. I
know what you may be thinking, cheap table saws are not that accurate.
I’ve learned with my cabinet saw that I still check my blade angle with
a triangle square to ensure my blade it perfectly 90 degrees to the
The same goes for the cut fence measuring ruler. It’s accurate and I
can generally trust it. The fence ruler can get off is from the blade
width. You will find there are several types of table saw blades.
Depending on what you’re are trying to accomplish will dictate what type
of blade is best to use. Some blades are thicker than others, referred
to as the blade width and kerf.
When you’re calibrate your cut fence, measure the distance between the fence and the side of the blade facing the fence. To find out more about table saw blades and their functions visit my post about blade types here.
The wood planer, also known as a thickness planer is the second tool
you need to think about getting. How many small boxes do you see that
are 3/4″ thick? The answer is not many. Most wood that is bought at a
hardware store is already planed down to 3/4″ and most wood you’ll
find at a wood specialty store is approximately 1″ thick.
Having the ability to reduce the thickness of your material is
crucial. Your local hardware store will have thickness planer for
around $300 to $500 and up. Although more expensive than a table saw I
use this tool almost as much. The key is keeping the blades in good
condition by removing staples or other foreign material that is not
wood. Even a little staple will put a groove in the blade and it will
show on your planed out piece. Usually you’re are going to sand your
piece and that little groove will be easy removed so its not the end of
the world if you’re do it. I’ve done it more than once.
Using your basic tools together in harmony
When I start a project I will usually cut the board down to a rough
size of the finished piece and then run it through the planer. This
saves in the amount of saw dust the planer will create. It’s amazing to
see how a little board can turn into a garbage bag worth of saw dust.
Once I’ve got my piece to a more manageable size I bring it back to
the table saw and cut it down to its finished size and make any other
angle cut I might need. By planing your piece first you’re are saving
strain on your table saw blade and reducing the unwanted side effect of
burning the wood.
Smaller woodworking power tools
Besides the table saw and the wood planer I recommend getting a palm
sander. There are many different varieties of these and they don’t have
to be expensive. I started out with a very cheap palm sander that
worked great. The key to sanding is using the right sanding grit and
using it in the right order.
A biscuit cutter is another great tool. You can find a name brand
for under $200. I almost always use this tool if I’m joining to longer
pieces together on an edge. It adds tremendous strength to the joint
and helps keep the pieces edges lined up.
Woodworking hand tools
When it comes to hand tools there are not too many. That being said,
there are many difference variations of the same tool. What I am
talking about are things like chisels. There are different chisels for
different jobs but we’ll call the basic chisel its own category for now.
Another might be a small hand saw such as a coping saw. These little
saws are nice for more intricate pieces where you might want to remove a
small amount of wood where a table saw is too dangerous to use.
Basic tools will lead you’re to success
As you’re can see, you’re don’t have to have professional woodworking
tools. Most people already have a table saw. They may use it to cut
2×4’s for building a shed and may not have thought about the smaller
projects and the usefulness these saws have. With patience and a few
tools you’re can make some great decorative boxes and tables. I still
don’t have a vertical band saw, mostly because I’ve been able to
accomplish what I need without the added expense of a band saw.
Don’t get me wrong, a band saw would be wonderful and it has its
place. My garage is my shop and I do some amazing things out there…so
I’m told. The biggest expense is going to be your wood planer, it is a
must have if your want to do small projects.
With a little practice you will be great at building wooden projects and see the reward of trusting yourself.