We get lots of messages asking about different woodworking techniques and what tools we use to make some of our projects. When I look at the tools I have now, I feel like I can do anything.
Especially when I think back to my first days of woodworking when I had a handsaw, miter box and drill. It’s amazing what you can do with limited tools!
However, having the right tools makes things a lot easier. I consider these tools the most essential woodworking tools for beginners.
Essential Woodworking Tools for Beginners
What is the most useful woodworking tool? Honestly, it’s a toss up between a miter saw and a table saw. But I’ll give the nod to the miter saw because of its versatility and commonality.
Miter saws allow you to make basic cuts on wood for almost any project. You can also cut at an angle or a bevel with precision. The only thing you can’t cut with a miter saw is cutting wider wood into narrower wood. For this you need a table saw or a circular saw.
If you want to start woodworking and are interested in having the best tools for the job, I’d recommend these as the most useful woodworking power tools for beginners and intermediaries.
- Miter saw
A miter saw (AK chop saw) is the easiest way to cut wood down. It makes it easy to cut wood with straight or angled cuts and is the saw that we use most for any standard building project.
- Table saw
A table saw is perfect for cutting straight lines in pieces of wood that turn out really perfectly straight. We use it a lot to cut large sheets of plywood or wide wood down into smaller strips.
- Cordless drill/driver
A drill is essential for connecting any pieces of wood together! You can use it to screw pieces together but also to hang things on the wall… the possibilities are endless. This is a total essential for anyone looking to do any sort of DIY project.
- Orbital sander
Cutting wood means that you are going to end up with rough wood, and you will need to sand it smooth. An electric orbital sander is going to be much more efficient than trying to sand things by hand. These sanders are not expensive and are so so much of an upgrade from hand sanding.
- Speed square
Need straight lines and sharp corners? The speed square is your best friend. These are inexpensive so grab a few to ensure that all of your work is looking good.
- Tape measure
A tape measure is a good everyday tool to have, but it’s also an essential for your workshop. You want to be able to measure the actual size of boards and use your tape measurer to make sure that you don’t make any incorrect cuts before it is too late.
- Nail Gun
A brad nailer, or nail gun, is a great tool to have. It quickly adds nails with teeny tiny heads that are nearly invisible in your project. If you are currently using a hammer and nails, or trying to drill everything together, you will really feel the upgrade in this tool purchase!
- Glue Bot
If you are doing a lot of woodworking, you will quickly start to use a lot of wood glue. Holding the bottle upside down constantly is impossible, and so you constantly have to shake the bottle, squeeze it hard, etc. The glue bot makes it much easier to apply glue easily and one handed – and at under $10, it’s a nice-to-have that quickly feels essential.
On the subject of gluing, you are going to need to clamp things in place after you glue them. So, you’re going to need a lot of clamps! They aren’t expensive, but you really will want a lot and a large variety of them, so be sure to accumulate them over time!
- Paint Sprayer
Plan to paint any of your pieces? A paint sprayer makes the process much quicker and easier. We love using the paint sprayer to get into every nook and cranny of a project.
In my opinion, these are the most necessary and useful tools for a beginning woodworker. I added to my collection little by little over the years, and with each new tool, woodworking became easier.
For example, for a long time, I had a circular saw but not a table saw. They essentially do the same thing, but a table saw makes cutting a long board so much easier and faster. With a circular saw, you have to make a straight edge for your saw and be smooth with your hand. A table saw allows you to set your fence at a certain width and push your board through the saw for a perfect cut.
Woodworking can become extremely expensive and take up a lot of room in your garage if you buy every tool there is. However, if you’re looking to be a hobby woodworker or are interested in making things to sell, that list above will cost you less than $1,000 and can get you anywhere you need to go.
If you are looking for a less-expensive way to get into woodworking, look for these tools somewhere other than the big box stores. Search on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or your local pawn shop to find used tools for much cheaper than new.
Let’s talk about a few other woodworking tool questions:
What are basic hand tools?
The most basic hand tools are hammers, screwdrivers, pliers and wrenches. They aren’t flashy and they aren’t meant for fancy projects, but they will get the job done.
What are basic carpentry tools?
The most basic of carpentry tools is the handsaw. Handsaws are great and you can do a lot of things with them. I even made a coffee table out of driftwood with just a handsaw. They just won’t make things easy on you. Once you upgrade to power tools, I was able to make a geometric coffee table that I never could have done with a handsaw.
There are also a variety of other saws that aid in carpentry, like a coping saw or Japanese saw. Sanding blocks are also needed for basic carpentry.
How do I become a woodworker?
Practice. I’m entirely self-taught and can now make some pretty intricate furniture pieces just a couple years later. It takes tools and wood and an internet connection to watch videos on YouTube. You can teach yourself woodworking for sure. If you are really interested in jump-starting your woodworking hobby, most cities have classes you can take.
How much does it cost to start a woodworking business?
Starting a woodworking business will cost you as much as you’re willing to invest in tools and supplies. If you want to start a woodworking business, you’re going to need to spend a lot of time practicing the craft before you can think about selling. Then you’ll need to find clients. You can do this by posting examples of your work on Facebook Marketplace.
If you continue on the journey of a woodworking business, you’ll need to invest in better tools, more wood, marketing and all the licenses and fees that come with running a legitimate business.