19 Must-Have Woodworking Tools For Beginner DIY Projects

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Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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Woodworking is a great way to relieve stress and a form of exercise. And while some people engage in it as a hobby, some do it professionally.  You can use woodworking tools to create unique and jaw-dropping pieces of furniture that enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home and office.

And like every other profession, there are specific tools that you will need in woodworking. There are many woodworking tools, but in the beginning, you will need only the essentials, and then you can upgrade and add others as you improve your skills. This article explores the essential woodworking tools you must have for all DIY projects. 

19 Must-Have Woodworking Tools For Every DIY Beginner

1. Workbench

It’s not technically a tool but an essential item in your DIY projects, as you’ll need a location to place your planks for clamps. Sometimes you must place the plank on a bench to cut with a saw.

Workbench

Image Credits: wikipedia.com

So, you can buy a sturdy workbench capable of holding down heavy items and stable enough to withstand shaking while working. And above all, it must have a flat top and be comfortable to ensure you are not straining to bend down.

Since you’ve done plenty of research, you can buy the materials you need and build your workbench in a few hours, saving you money. You never know; someone looking to start woodworking might see it and want an exact replica, thus acting as a marketing front.

2. Square

Mini framing square

Image Credits: finetools.com

If you are making a table, chairs, or cabinets, you’ll need a square to ensure that the angles are cut to precision. It is another measuring tool available in various sizes, and it’s good to have a variety for different tasks. Essential squares include:

    • Framing square: Best for big right-angle surfaces

    • Try square: Best for small right-angle surfaces

    • Speed squares: Measures angles at 90 and 45 degrees

    • Miter squares: Best for angled miter cuts

    • Bevel Square: Best for recreating an existing angle and transferring the pattern to a new wood surface.

3. Mallet/Hammer

Many need clarification on the two; their designs differ, although they perform similar functions. A hammer has a steel body. On the other hand, a mallet has wooden or leather heads and a detachable handle used to attach various head sizes.

Mallet

Image Credits: wikipedia

When striking with a hammer, you will feel the striking shock and witness its impression on the surface. But with a mallet, the wood absorbs the shock and leaves minimal marks on the wood surface; thus, it’s ideal for tapping wood joints together.

4. Plane

Planes are great for straightening and sanding abrasive wood surfaces. A hand plane has a fixed blade that helps shave off wood fibers, straightening and letting it take up a smoother appeal.

 Jack Plane

Image Credits: faithfulltools.com

The size of the blade and depth determine how much wood you can shave off. The planes come in different sizes and functions. They include:

    • Jack planes can smoothen all surfaces, including straight and curved edges.

    • Block planes, which are ideal for small and stour surfaces. They are suitable for smoothening joints.

    • Rabbet planes make right-angle grooves along the edges of the wood grain.

    • Scraper planes are sometimes called cabinet scrapers, which are suitable for scraping off wood for super-smooth surfaces.

    • Joining planes are designed to make smooth edges and join wood pieces together.

    • Spokeshaves, which are ideal for smoothening curved surfaces.

5. Lathes

Instead of sticking with the regular square-shaped table and chair legs, some prefer them to have a circular shape. In such a case, you’d need to use a wood lathe to cut, shape and sand the wood into the form you want.

Wood Lathe

Image Credits: lowes.com

The lathe works by rotating the wooden piece around a stationary cutting tool, which removes all the unwanted parts and gives you a nicely shaped and smooth workpiece.

6. Chisel

This sharp, angled steel blade with a wooden handle is mainly used for carving and cutting wood. When you want very rough wood, you’d have to use it with a mallet to apply force.

chisel

Image Credits: wiktionary.org

Chisels come in different shapes, sizes, and styles, and it’s recommended that you have a minimum of four chisels in your toolbox. The good thing is that they are not expensive, and you can get one for around $50 or so.

7. Measuring Tape

Every woodworker must have a measuring tape in their toolkit, the most preferred being the 25-foot tape. There are different tape measures, so choose the one that fits your needs.

Tape Measure

Image Credits: befr.rs-online.com

    • Retractable steel tapes are the most common as they are compact and effortless. Their length ranges from 12-30 feet.

    • Flexible reel tapes are made of fabric or steel and are over 100 feet in length.

    • Folding rules are rigid and are best for getting accurate measurements. They are folded into sections for storage.

    • Yardsticks, also known as rulers and are straight.

8. Sand Block/Random Orbit Sander

When making a table, chair, cabinet, or other wood furniture that requires smooth surfaces, you must use sanding blocks to smooth out the scratches and other things marring the surface. Although labor intensive, it provides the best result. There are rough sanding blocks for working on irregular surfaces, and once it’s a bit smooth, you can use a soft sanding block for a super-smooth texture.

Random Orbital Sanders

Image Credits: thisoldhouse.com

You can invest in a random orbit sander if you have money to spare. It does the work of rough and soft sanding blocks as it helps remove rough scratches on wooden surfaces. And you can adjust the sanding grit to the desired level. It is fast, easy to use, and perfect for small to medium projects.

9. Hand Saw/Portable Table Saw

Hand saws are the most basic woodworking hand tools. They come in various sizes and shapes, with various blade types to suit different accessories and cutting requirements. You’ll need saws for cutting your wood.

Handsaw

Image Credits: finetools.com

However, there are different types of saws, each with specific tasks. They include:

    • The circular saw has a blade with sharp teeth that cut across the wood. Most circular saws are electric and come in three types of blades. The ripping blade is ideal for cutting the wood along the direction of the grain. Crosscut blade cuts across the grains and a combination of the two. The difference between the blades is in their teeth, as ripping has evenly spaced while crosscut has staggered ones.

    • The jigsaw is crucial for every beginner woodworker as they make straight cuts and require you to move it back and forth. It’s the most affordable but labor-intensive.

    • The table saw is a good investment if you have the budget. It helps make cuts that other saws can’t make. The blade is raised above the table and can be adjusted depending on the width of your wood. There are three types of table saws, and they include:

    • Cabinet table saws: They are heavy, and their design requires them to stay in one place. They have a cabinet below them where the belt and the blade’s pulley system are stored. They are all-purpose and can rip lumber from wood or panel cutting. It is the preferred centerpiece for most workshops.

    • Benchtop table saws are light and thus can be placed on a workbench and removed when unused. 

    • Contractor table saws are primarily used by building contractors as they are fast and easy to use.

    • Bandsaws are ideal for making angled or intricately curved cuts.

    • Handsaws can be found in every carpenter’s workshop. They are affordable, light, easy to use, and make precise cuts.

    • Miter saws are best for making angled cuts. And the best part is they are versatile; the blades can be changed to make your preferred cut.

10. Marking Knife

Marking knife

Image Credits: wikipedia.com

Although pencils can make lines on wood, the graphite marks remain on the surface. Avoid marring your wooden surface using a marking knife for etching clean and accurate lines, especially on woodworking joints like dovetails.

11. Sharpening Tool

sharpening tool

Image Credits: woodsmith.com

Since you are working with sharp tools in your workshop, such as planes, saws, and chisels, you must often sharpen them as dull tools slow down your workspace. Invest in the right tool to ensure your tools are always sharp.

12. Drill

Drills are the best power tools for beginners as they are efficient and easy to use. Only a few people still use a hand drill or brace and bit. The best part about having an electric drill is that it’s multipurpose, meaning you can attach other tools to transform its function.

 Drill

Image Credits: nytimes.com

When buying a power drill, go for the corded model with a voltage of 110/120. This is because they have more torque and are more durable than cordless ones.

13. Clamps

To make a table, you must press the wood together compactly to achieve an even and flat surface.

Clamp

Image Credits: thespruce.com

A clamp will help hold several planks together, allowing you to glue or nail them together. Clamps are available in different types and sizes, and they include:

    • Bend clamp

    • C-clamp

    • Bar clamp

    • Pipe clamps.

14. Screw Gun

Screw Gun

Image Credits: gambrick.com

You will be working with screws, and instead of struggling with a screwdriver, why not invest in a screw gun. A screw gun makes fastening screws faster and easy to use.

15. Eye And Ear Safety And Gloves

Woodworking Safety gear

Image Credits: gharpedia.com

While working with various woodworking tools, you must consider your safety by using the proper eye and ear gear. This will prevent wood splinters from getting into your eyes or ears. And the gloves protect your hands from the sharp tools and from being pierced by wood splinters.

16. Toolkit

Woodworking tool box

Image Credits: woodworkingmasterclasses.com

To ensure that your woodworking tools remain in good condition, you must conduct regular maintenance by cleaning them and storing them in a quality and spacious toolkit.

17. Power Saws

Power saw

Image Credits: tractorsupply.com

Power saws are powered by electricity or battery and are used for larger, more demanding cutting tasks. Common power saws include circular, jigsaws, bands, and miter saws.

18. Sanders

Sander

Image Credits: woodworkingformeremortals.com

Sanders is used for smoothing and finishing wood surfaces. They come in different types, including belts, orbital, and disc sanders.

19. Routers

A Woodworking Router

Image Credits: obsessedwoodworking.com

Routers are used for shaping and cutting wood. They are especially useful for creating decorative edges and patterns.

Factors To Consider While Choosing Woodworking Tools

Numerous woodworking tools are available in the market, and each has unique features and advantages. These are some factors to consider when choosing woodworking tools:

1. Budget

Before buying any woodworking tools, it is essential to set a budget. Woodworking tools can range from inexpensive to very expensive, and the budget will help you narrow down your options.

2. Project Requirements

The type of project you want to undertake will also determine the tools you need. Many projects require different tools, and it is important to choose tools that are suitable for your project.

3. Skill Level

The skill level of the woodworker is also an important consideration when choosing woodworking tools. Beginners may require simpler and easier-to-use tools, while experienced woodworkers may require more advanced and specialized tools.

4. Quality

Quality should always be a top consideration when choosing woodworking tools. High-quality tools may cost more upfront, but they last longer and perform better in the long run, making them a more cost-effective option.

5. Size and Weight

The size and weight of the tools also play a crucial role. Heavier tools may be more durable and stable, but they may also be difficult to handle, especially for beginners. Lighter tools may be easier to handle but may not be as sturdy as heavier tools.

6. Power Source

Woodworking tools can be powered by electricity, batteries, or by hand. The power source should be considered when choosing tools. Electric tools are more powerful and efficient, while hand tools require more physical effort but offer more control and precision.

7. Safety Features

Safety should be a top priority when working with woodworking tools. Look for tools with safety features such as blade guards, emergency stop switches, and automatic shut-offs.

8. Brand Reputation

Choose tools from reputable brands with a history of producing high-quality products. Look for customer reviews and ratings to get an idea of the quality and reliability of the tools.

Frequently Asked Questions On Woodworking Tools For Beginners

1. What tools do you use for woodworking?

There are various tools you can use for woodworking, depending on the specific project you are working on. Here are some common tools to use in woodworking:

    • Handsaw: A handsaw is a common tool to cut wood by hand. There are different types of handsaws, including crosscut saws and rip saws.

    • Power saw: You can cut wood quickly and accurately using power saws. Some common power saws include circular saws, jigsaws, and reciprocating saws.

    • Planer: You can use a planer to smooth and flatten. You can also use it to adjust the thickness of the wood.

    • Jointer: You can use a jointer to make the edges of boards straight and square.

    • Router: You can use a router to cut and shape wood. You can also use it to create decorative edges, grooves, and more.

    • Chisels: You can use chisels to carve and shape wood.

    • Drill: You can use a drill to create holes in wood. You can also use it to create pilot holes for screws or to create holes for dowels.

    • Clamps: You can use clamps to hold wood pieces together while the glue dries. There are different clamps, including bar, pipe, and spring clamps.

    • Sandpaper: You can use sandpaper to smooth and finish wood surfaces. Sandpapers come in various grits, ranging from coarse to fine.

    • Workbench: A workbench is a sturdy table used for supporting wood pieces during woodworking projects. It typically has a flat surface and may have built-in clamps or vices to hold the wood in place.

2. What are the 4 basic skills woodworkers should have?

Woodworking is a skilled craft that requires precision, creativity, and a good understanding of material, tools, and techniques. Here are four basic skills that woodworkers should have:

1. Measuring and Marking

One of the most important skills for a woodworker is measuring and marking. This involves using various measuring tools such as tape, combination square, or marking gauge to measure and mark the wood accurately.

2. Cutting

Cutting is another essential skill for woodworkers. They should be able to use a variety of saws, such as a handsaw, circular saw, or jigsaw, to cut the wood into the desired shape and size.

3. Joinery

Joinery is the process of joining two or more pieces of wood together. A woodworker should be familiar with various joinery techniques, such as dovetail joints, mortise and tenon joints, and biscuit joints.

4. Finishing

The finishing process involves sanding, staining, and applying a protective finish to the wood. A woodworker should know how to sand the wood properly, choose the right type of stain, and apply the finish evenly to achieve a professional-looking result.

3. What is the most useful tool for woodworking?

There are many useful tools for woodworking, but one of the most essential is the table saw. A table saw is a versatile and powerful tool that allows you to make precise cuts on large pieces of wood. You can rip boards to width, crosscut them to length, and even make angled cuts with a table saw.

It’s a fundamental tool in any woodworking shop and can be used for various projects, from building furniture to making cabinetry. Of course, the usefulness of a tool depends on the specific project you’re working on, so other tools like a circular saw, miter saw, or hand planes may also be essential for certain woodworking tasks.

4. What is the most common wood used in woodworking?

Several types of wood are commonly used in woodworking, but the most common is probably softwood. Softwoods come from coniferous trees such as pine, cedar, and spruce. They are widely used in construction, furniture-making, and woodworking in general due to their availability, affordability, and ease of use.

Hardwoods, such as oak, maple, and walnut, are also popular in woodworking due to their durability and attractive appearance, but they tend to be more expensive and harder to work with than softwoods. Other types of wood commonly used in woodworking include cherry, birch, ash, and mahogany. Ultimately, the choice of wood will depend on the specific project, the desired aesthetics, and the woodworker’s personal preferences and skills.

5. What are the two types of woodworking?

The two main types of woodworking are:

1. Carpentry

Carpentry is woodworking involving structures like houses, bridges, and other large structures. Carpenters work with larger pieces of wood and use tools such as saws, hammers, and drills to cut, shape, and join the pieces together.

2. Fine Woodworking

Fine woodworking, also known as cabinet making or furniture making, involves creating smaller, more intricate pieces of furniture, such as tables, chairs, cabinets, and other decorative items.

Fine woodworkers use specialized tools such as chisels, planes, and routers to create intricate designs and joinery techniques to connect the pieces of wood together. This type of woodworking often requires more skill and precision than carpentry.

Final Thoughts

Woodworking is very fulfilling as every workpiece starts from a brilliant idea and is made into a beautiful object through your efforts. And it’s not an expensive profession or hobby as you can start with inexpensive tools and upgrade to better and more expensive ones as you become more experienced and skilled. It is also important to take care of the tools to make them last longer.

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About the author

Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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