Basic Set of Tools for the Woodworking Beginner

So what I want to show you is what I consider to be a basic toolkit for a beginning woodworker.

Someone who is interested in power tools but you’re not necessarily ready to commit to the big power tools, the table saws, the band saws.

So what do you need to get work done? It’s really not that much, right?

Look across the board, I’ve got a couple of hand tools here, all hand power tools.

Of course, I am a big fan of Festool. I love the quality, I do this for a living so for me Festool is absolutely worth the investment.

It may not be for you.

There are tons of brands out there that will give you quality results and last a very long time that aren’t green and black, or dark blue, as the case may be.

First of all, a router. A router is really one of the best multitaskers in your shop. You can do jointing with a router, you could do flush trimming, of course joinery.

A lot of people just think of the router, they think of edge treatments, you know, ogees and roundovers. But it can be so much more useful than that. And if you build jigs to support the router you’re really gonna exponentially increase the amount of things that you can do with it.

So a good quality router, preferably a plunge router. A fixed base router is okay, but a plunge router is really gonna allow you to do a lot more in terms of mortising and things like that. It makes it easier to use. It’s more multifunctional that way.

I do recommend a random-orbit sander. If you’re gonna get one, get a six inch. I think the extra real estate saves you time. You’ve got more sandpaper on the surface so it actually will be a time saver for you. But, random-orbit sanders, I like them better than quarter-sheet sanders because they sort of sand in a random orbital pattern which isn’t noticeable to the eye.

You get a lot less of those little pig-tail squiggly lines. So random-orbit sander, I think, is essential.

A good drill, all right.

You don’t necessarily to get all different types of drills, just the standard drill driver like this for drilling holes and driving screws will do the trick. Okay, a good quality circular saw. Even if you don’t have a good quality circular saw, even a medium quality is gonna work.

Or if you have a low budget circular saw, just put a better blade in there. The blade will make all the difference in the world. And I’m gonna show you a way to get better results out of this that are very similar to what I get from my Festool setup with a track.

You’re gonna like that. All right, by the way, you’ll be using this to cut sheet goods. You can use it to cut solid wood if you have a wide enough platform to work with. But if you want to work with plywood, MDF, things like that, circular saw is gonna be your best friend.

Now, you’re also gonna need to cut curves at some point. I do a lot of this with a band saw. But you can do most of that curve cutting with a jigsaw. It doesn’t really have to be a high quality jigsaw because a lot of times those curves, you’re gonna sand them afterwards. Or maybe use a file, or something, to clean them up.

All right, so this is it for the power tools but if you get into woodworking you absolutely, I believe, you can’t ignore hand tools. They’re essential to doing good work. And to really increase your versatility on what you can do, as well as your skills. So, a good set of chisels is essential.

Quarter inch, half inch, three quarters, and one inch. If you have those in your collection you pretty much have your bases covered, for the most part. But chisels are going to be, I don’t know, I use them on every single project. Something gets touched with a chisel at some point.

And a good multipurpose saw, okay?

Now a lot of people, with all these other sort of cutting implements and things, don’t necessarily think that a hand saw is all that useful. But you’d be surprised how many binds this will get you out of.

All right, and that is, what I consider to be the basic tool kit.

Now you can step this up. You could upgrade from a jigsaw and get yourself a band saw. You could stop relying so much on your circular saw and get yourself a table saw. I mean, you could take the router, flip it upside down and put it in a table, and now you’ve got even more functionality.

So there’s upgrades, you know, up the wazoo. But, for now, if you’re just getting started and you want to do some of those things, like that instructables link that I put in there, these are tools that are gonna allow you to do that.

And if you shop carefully and maybe look at the used market, you can get all this for a pretty low price.

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