Ready to get started with woodworking, but not sure what tools you need? Whether you’re interested in working with wood as an enjoyable hobby or looking to develop a rewarding career, having the right tools is an essential first step to any project. Here are the basic tools that every beginning carpenter should have and know how to use properly.
You’ll never be able to make even the easiest woodworking project without using measuring tools like tape measures, rules and squares. You’ve surely heard the old saying “measure twice and cut once,” and once you actually start working with wood you’ll quickly learn how true this is. Tape measures are essential for making quick, accurate measurements, while squares and rules allow you to properly align joints and mark pieces for cutting. To put it simply, when you’re working with wood there’s just no substitute for good measuring tools.
Levels and plumbs are another set of tools you must learn how to use properly for professional results. Levels and plumbs allow you to make sure wood pieces are fitting properly and are flat or form the correct angles for easy joining. And plumbs also help you make awkward measurements on your pieces by using gravity as a point of reference so you can draw lines that are truly straight.
Chisels are some of the first tools that were ever used, and they’re still an essential part of your toolbox today. You’ll definitely want to build up a good selection of chisels for cutting, shaping and cleaning up rough edges or joints on your woodworking projects. There’s nothing really complicated about using a chisel, but many experienced carpenters spend years honing their skills with these tools, and the beautiful items they create as a result speak for themselves.
Planes are basic hand tools that you use to shape and smooth wood before using it in your woodworking projects. If money is tight, you can use planes to finish rough lumber instead of buying expensive pre-cut wood from home improvement stores. Using a hand plane gives you great experience in smoothing wood and getting a feel for it. In addition to straight planes, you should also learn to use shaped planes to make moldings and adjust the thickness of a wood piece. And once you’re comfortable using hand planes and have more money in your budget, you’ll find that plane power tools can make your work easier and allow you to complete your projects more quickly.
Another power tool every woodworker should have is a circular saw for basic cuts. As you get more advanced, you can add specialty tools like miter saws and table saws, which will give you precise control over the angle and depth of cuts, and allow you to tighter joints and straight edges for your work pieces. Depending on the types of woodworking projects you choose, you may also need a jigsaw for making curving cuts or creating large cutout holes in wood pieces.
Routers are another type of power cutting tool that are used to hollow out areas in wood faces or shape rounded edges. Using routers can add texture and dimension to a woodworking piece, and a router table is recommended to give you maximum control over the shape and size of your cuts.
Finally, sanding tools are part of the finishing process, and give your work a smooth, attractive surface that makes the piece look professional. While hand sanding is certainly possible, using power sanding tools can save you significant time and effort when you are completing your woodworking project.
This is just a basic list of the tools any beginning woodworking will find helpful when getting started in making new projects. There are certainly many more specialized tools that will come in useful and help you work more quickly as you gain more experience. But before spending money on those, it is best to start with the basics and learn to use them well so that you have a solid foundation for pursuing woodworking as a hobby or even as a career.