Welcome to woodworking for mere mortals. I’m Steve and it’s my mission to teach you how to build cool stuff out of wood without a huge space or a bazillion dollars. Over time every woodworker will develop their own sense of what tools they believe are essential but when you’re just starting out, knowing what you really need can seem overwhelming. On YouTube you’ll see lots and lots of people with shops the size of aircraft hangars, equipped with a mind-boggling array of expensive tools. These days the $100,000 workshop is not uncommon.
Don’t worry. Take a deep breath, we got this. woodworking can still be an affordable hobby and I want to help you get started. I also want to point out the niche of woodworkers who find it very satisfying and rewarding to build with hand tools only. It’s challenging, but if going full Neanderthal is a root you might be interested in exploring, search for hand tool woodworking on YouTube for some great resources for getting started. My show and this list is focused on woodworking using affordable modern power tools to get you up and building stuff right away with a very short learning curve.
For all these tools I have separate articles showing you how to use them. Be sure to check out my basic series. There’s a link in the description finally this list will not cover items that need to be restocked such as glue and sandpaper. Or essential accessories such as clamps, squares, measuring tape, etc. I’ll only be talking about the most essential power tools you need to start building stuff right away. Waiting for the plane to fly over. And don’t forget to download my free guide to setting up a woodworking shop for under $1000 at my to list com this guide contains links to actual brand-new tools I recommend as well as those essential accessories and as always check Craigslist garage sales estate sales and flea markets for second hand tools sometimes you can pick up tools that are actually better than new ones for half the price I want to lead off with the miter saw because I think it’s the best tool you can start with to get you building amazing things fast in fact I think it’s such a great way to start woodworking the first three projects in my week woodworker course use only a miter saw jigsaw and a circular saw even after you start working with a table saw you’ll probably still keep using a miter saw for all kinds of tasks because it’s such a quick and simple way to make cross cuts and of course miter cuts it’s also a great tool to have for all kinds of home repairs and other DIY projects.
Try to find a 10-inch compound miter saw I don’t see any advantage to spending more on a sliding saw or a 12-inch miter saw especially if you own a table saw a circular saw is probably the most common saw used on construction sites as well as homeowners working on their DIY projects but it also has a strong place in the woodworking shop aside from its more expensive cousin the track saw a circular saw is the best tool for breaking down large bulky sheet goods like plywood it’s lightweight and portable and simple to use and adjust get a seven and a quarter inch circular saw if you have a little extra budget you might want to spring for a battery-powered version a jig saw is really one of the most versatile and most affordable tools you can own hey once you start woodworking it won’t be long before you’re going to want to cut some curves while it’s possible to kind of sort of cut curves with a circular saw I know there’s always that one guy who likes to point this out it’s not very practical as for stationary tools a bandsaw would be a method for cutting curbs but it has its limitations for one you can’t cut a hole with a bandsaw plus if you have a very large board you might not be able to fit it on the table and maneuver it so I don’t consider a bandsaw an essential power tool for new woodworkers.
jig saw can make all your curved cuts at a fraction of the price. The more and more woodworking I do the more I use my jigsaw and the less I use my bandsaw. Get a variable-speed jigsaw that accepts t shank blades. You can pick up a new corded saw for under 30 bucks. ok ask any woodworker what the most essential tool in their shop is and they’ll say the CNC machine. No wait. The table saw! And well, I agree. Sure you can make amazing projects without the table saw, but how one opens up a world of possibilities and allows you to make things you never thought possible. Probably the two biggest advantages to a table saw are workflow and precision. You can make cross cuts like you can with a miter saw but now you can make rip cuts cuts along the length of a board and resaw cuts along the edge of a board, allowing you to dimension wood to almost any size that you need. Plus you can trick out your table saw with all kinds of shop made jigs and fixtures to perform specific tasks and refine your woodworking.
Honestly I don’t recommend woodworking without a table saw. I think the main thing to look for when purchasing a table saw is to get one that has a decent rip fence. Or by an aftermarket rip fence and also make sure that this saw has standard 3/4 by 3/8 inch deep miter slots not those t slots that are on some of the cheaper saws. You can get by with a drill alone, but trust me on this one once you get an impact driver you’re gonna wonder why you waited. So I’m lumping these two tools together because they’re often sold in pairs and I recommend buying them that way so that the batteries can easily be swapped out. You’ll need a drill for well drilling holes. You’ll actually be surprised how often you need to drill holes in woodworking and you can use a drill to drive screws but an impact driver is so much better. In addition to twisting like a drill it also taps in the same direction that it drives the screw in.
It makes sense to buy both tools at the same time because they use the same battery system. If you can, get a third battery so you always have one charged and ready to swap out. Also be sure to buy a drill bit and Driver kit that comes with drill bits and drivers for all types of screw heads. So much of woodworking involves sanding. If you don’t really do a good job smoothing out your projects, any imperfections are going to be frustratingly visible when you apply a finish. There are all kinds of specialty in benchtop sanders that will speed up the process but a random orbit sander is the most versatile and most affordable way to get the job done. A random orbit sander spins but it also has a random oscillating motion to prevent circular scratch marks. there are some things you won’t be able to sand with a random orbit sander such as the inside of curves or really tight corners and some times the height of the sander prevents it from getting into tight spaces but in general you’ll be able to sand about ninety percent of what you want with a random orbit sander.
The rest you can use hand sandpaper. I think it’s better to get a corded sander rather than a battery-powered one just because some sanding sessions can last a long time and being able to plug it into the wall will save you any downtime. Make sure you get one that accepts the eight hole hook and loop sanding discs not the adhesive back discs. Hey I hope you found this list helpful! Be sure to check out my basic series four Quick Start guides to using all of these tools, and don’t forget to download my free guide to setting up a shop for under a thousand dollars at my tool list.com.
Thanks for reading everybody..