Many beginners trying to get started in woodworking take one look at their budget and worry how they can ever afford to buy a whole shop full of power tools to get started.
Fortunately, one doesn’t have to spend a fortune to get started.
There are really only seven woodworking tools that I would recommend any beginning woodworker
have on hand from the start, and most are relatively inexpensive.
However, with these seven tools, a beginner can tackle quite a number of projects.
The following woodworking tools are listed in order of importance.
1. Circular Saw
While some people consider the circular saw to be more of a
carpentry tool than a fine woodworking tool, I would tend to
disagree. There may be no more versatile basic handheld power tool
than a circular saw. When used with a clamp-on straight-edge, the
circular saw can be just about as accurate as a table saw and handle
quite a few of the tasks that one would attempt with a table saw,
particularly cutting sheet goods such as plywood or medium-density
fiberboard. When woodworking on a budget, a quality circular saw
should be the first handheld power tool purchased, as it is the one
that will likely be the most useful as you get started.
2. Power Drill
might expect to see a cordless drill on this list, but when we’re
talking about basic power woodworking tools, a corded drill is more
versatile and powerful. Sure, the cordless is, well, cordless, which
makes it more portable, but corded drills are less expensive and can
do more than a cordless drill. There are some options to consider
when choosing a corded power drill, such as whether you want a
3/8-inch or 1/2-inch chuck, keyed or keyless chuck, straight drill
or hammer drill, and so on.
The third tool for the beginner is the Jigsaw. A jigsaw allows the
user to cut curved and circular patterns in stock. Sure, a band saw
will likely be more accurate and can cut thicker stock, but for the
beginner, the jigsaw (sometimes also referred to as a Sabre Saw) can
be perfectly effective. For versatility, choose an orbital-action,
corded jigsaw that feels good in your hand and has an easy blade
4. Random Orbital Sander
The fourth most important basic handheld power tool every beginner
should buy is a random orbital sander. While palm sanders are less
expensive and can use plain sandpaper (cut into one-fourth
sections), the random orbital version uses hook-and-loop fastened
sanding disks, and doesn’t sand in patterns, using instead a random
sanding motion. This will motion will serve to reduce the chance
that any sanding marks may appear on the stock due to the sanding.
Of course, be certain that your local woodworking supplier has
sanding disks readily available in a number of grits to fit the
model that you choose, as the key to proper sanding is to use
progressively finer grits as you sand to reduce or remove any marks
that are left behind from the previous sanding.
5. Table Saw
you have the four aforementioned handheld power tools in your arsenal and you’ve had time to get comfortable with using them, its
time to make your first (and likely most important) major tool
purchase. The table saw is the heart and soul of every woodworking
shop, the centerpiece around which all of the other tools are used
and organized, so you’ll want to buy the best table saw that your
budget can comfortably afford. Take the time to learn which features
you really want and the table saw that best fits your budget and
your needs. This article will show you the most common features, and
how to determine what features you need and how to know if those
features are really well built, or simply added on to the saw
because they are selling features.
6. Compound Miter Saw
After you have chosen the perfect table saw for your wood shop, the
next major purchase one should consider would be a compound miter
saw. While not as expensive as a quality table saw, a compound miter
saw is invaluable for cutting compound angles (beveled, mitered and
combination cuts) on the ends of a piece of stock. Once you develop
your ability to make precise cuts with a compound miter saw, you’ll
find that your circular saw spends a little more time in the drawer
than it used to.
last tool I recommend for every beginning woodworker is a quality
router. While many routers available today offer two different bases
(a stationary base and a plunge router base), for most beginners, a
quality stationary base model will take care of quite a number of
tasks, and can also be mounted in a router table should you choose
to invest in (or even build one) one down the line. Choose a router
model that is at least 2-HP and has electronic variable speed
controls (as larger cutting bits should use slower speeds), a soft
start mechanism and is easy to make bit changes (preferably with the
ability to use both 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch shank router bits).
Finally, Don’t Neglect this one…
So now you are well equipped to take on all but the most extreme projects, certainly anything around the house.