Looking to get started with building furniture, making repairs around the home, or other woodworking projects? The first thing you need is the right set of tools. Here, we’re going to look at the average woodworker’s arsenal and why you need each tool. You might not need every suggestion for the project you have in mind, but they all have a role to play for regular woodworking.
The table saw
This is the starting point for just about any woodworker. A quality table saw will be the most frequently used tool in your workshop. It can be used for cutting wood down to size, straightening, jointing, and cutting grooves for joinery. The only purpose it doesn’t meet is sanding, making it one of the most versatile machines you can find. With the table saw, above all else, you want to invest in quality and make sure you’re getting the saw with the dimensions and power supply to fit your needs.
A smaller handheld tool, the jigsaw can do most of what the table saw can, but with a little more precision. It’s often used for detail work and smaller grooves. One of the key functions is that it can do what the table saw can’t: cutting in curves.
The circular saw
You don’t exactly need both a table saw and a circular saw. The table saw can do much of what the circular saw can do. However, the latter can do it a little more conveniently in some cases, depending on the piece of wood you have.
There are a few different tools you can choose to plane a piece of wood, which is turning a rough, unfinished piece of wood into a smooth, flat surface that’s ready to work with. The router is the most practical and portable tool for the job. However, the router can also profile edges, cut inlays, cut traditional joints, and much more. If you have the space and the money, a power jointer and planer can plane wood more efficiently, but it’s not essential.
None of the tools mentioned above can sand wood, which is essential for giving it a nice, smooth finish ready to be painted or stained. A random orbit sander is the most versatile, able to handle just about everything except edges and tricky corners, but you can hand sand those.
A good set of chisels is an essential part of your toolkit for when you’re ready to finish off your project. You want chisels in a variety of sizes, but the ¾” chisel is the most important of them all if you’re only buying them one for carving out recesses, cutting joinery grooves, or shaving rough surfaces, and chopping corners. You won’t use a chisel as often as the other tools, but there’s no replacement for a chisel when you need one.
Remember that despite the importance of good tools, you shouldn’t neglect the most important part of any woodworking project: you. There’s no substitute for skill, so practice with each tool mentioned above is essential.