Woodworking Tools Overview – Which Tools Do You Really Need?

Woodworking Tools“There’s always room for another tool” is a favorite saying among woodworkers. Whether you’re just starting out or already have some woodworking experience, it’s really easy to get excited about the prospect of adding a new tool to your workshop and as your experience grows you should add more tools.

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But it’s important to have tools that match your expertise. Some people hesitate to take up woodworking, even if they think it’s something they would enjoy, because they wonder how they can afford to stock a shop with all the tools they need.

The truth is, you don’t need to start out by “stocking” your shop. You can get started with a handful of essential woodworking tools and as you get comfortable with using those and your skills increase, you can add a new tool from time to time.

Adding new tools doesn’t have to shatter your budget either. Very good secondhand tools can be purchased at a fraction of their worth at garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets or go online and try Amazon, eBay or Craigslist.

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Listed below are some essential components every workshop should have. Start with the basics and move forward as your expertise grows.

Basic Tools – Many of these you probably already have, such as a hammer and nails, screwdrivers, both flathead and Phillips, and a utility knife. You may want to consider adding a tool belt, just to keep your tools handy, some wood glue, and a carpenter’s vise to keep your wood firmly in place while cutting or while drying two pieces you’ve glued together.

Measuring Tools – From basic and simple like a measuring tape or a ruler, to more specialized measures, such as T-squares and marking gauges, levels and framing squares, you’ll need an assortment of ways to measure your materials.

Cutting Tools – All the wood you use for projects will have to be cut, so you’ll need a good handheld saw to start. There are two kinds, crosscut saws designed to cut across the wood grain, and rip saws which cut along the length of the grain.

Other saws you will find helpful as you progress include miter saws for making precise angle cuts, coping saws with their thin blade for cuts that are more delicate, and of course power saws, like table saws and band saws, used when precision cutting is required.

Finishing Tools – To finish off your project or decorate it, you’ll want chisels in various sizes to carve out designs or take out excess wood when necessary. For smoothing out your finished piece, you’ll need a file and sandpaper in varying grits. The last step is to protect your project and for that you’ll want stains and/or paint, and for some projects you may need a lacquer or a sealant to protect the finish.

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