Six tools every woodworker needs for simple projects. Whether you are a beginner or a more experienced carpenter, you will need these tools for most projects.
You’ve started your woodworking hobby and have decided to invest in your own set of tools. But what are the must-haves for every woodworker’s toolkit?
In this article I will share my list of the six tools that should be the core of your toolkit. You’ll need to use them for each project that you complete. Without them you’ll either have to carry out some serious improvisation or you’ll struggle to finish.
These are the basic hand tools that will allow you to grow your knowledge and your ability. Once you’ve mastered using these basic tools you can expand your skills. Do that and you will be able to tackle tougher projects.
Use the following list as a checkpoint for your toolbox. Get used to them, practise with them and learn their uses. Once you’ve done this you’ll be ready to tackle simple projects easily!
Pencil, knife and tape measure
I’ve lumped these together as they’ll be used hand-in-hand. They might seem obvious and not essentially tools as such but you’ll still need them. Rely on memory and you’ll quickly see inaccuracies and flaws in the finished product.
Measure twice, cut once. Combine these with combination squares, marking gauges and bevel gauges for perfect accuracy.
These little tools are powerful in the right hands. You’ll use them for cutting boards to final length, straightening edges and cross-cutting. Combine with a router and some router bits (straight cut and flush finishing) for accurate work.
There are two key handsaws to get; dovetail saws and coping saws.
For dovetails you have two options, a Japanese pullsaw or a western backsaw.
If you’re just starting out I recommend the Japanese versions as they are inexpensive and are usually very sharp straight out the box.
Coping saws are great for getting into waste between your dovetail joins. Trust me, you’ll be thankful not to have to chisel all of it away piece by piece.
There are dozens on the market but you’ll easily be able to find a miter saw to suit your needs and budgets.
These electric saws will make quick work on lumber of various sizes.
Most will enable you to make both miter and bevel cuts at various angles too. A 10” saw is the best starting point.
Rasps, files, sanders and planes
Again, these finishing tools are lumped together as they’ll usually be used together. You’ll need a combination of them to get a good finish and smoothness on your projects. Vital if you want to be efficient. Look around at the different styles, consider your needs, pick the right ones for you.
A special mention because they are cheap, incredibly easy to sharpen and last forever and a day. You’ll want these for when you have a perfectly clean board except one small tearout. Excellent for smoothing out.
Chisels and Mallets
Every toolbox needs a set of chisels. Start with the four basic 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2″ and 3/4″. Be wary of mixing inches and millimetres when you’re planning. Some chisels and tools can be off and even the smallest of fractions can cause headaches.
Where to buy woodworking tools
You could easily pop down to your local hardware store, the Home Depot or a number of other stores to buy your tools and supplies. Some people even do well with buying their equipment from auctions.
I have been ordering the majority of my tools and machines online in recent years. I like Amazon’s extensive catalog of products.
Your toolkit and you
This list isn’t exhaustive and each woodworker will develop their toolkits in different ways. Each toolkit is as unique as the user. This list is a great start point, learn to use these tools and before you know it you’ll be tackling even more complicated projects.