Starting my woodshop what do I need

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Forum topic by Jordan posted 02-15-2011 06:02 AM 13613 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jordan's profile


2 posts in 2900 days

02-15-2011 06:02 AM

I want to start a basic woodshop in my garage. I am wondering what I will need tool wise. I will be wanting to make cabinets, shelves, and i am really interested in making a steamer trunk. If I could get a list of tools to start out with I would be greatfull.

7 replies so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3914 days

#1 posted 02-15-2011 06:05 AM

The first tools I would get is a circular saw, jig saw, drill, router, and a sander.

View Blakep's profile


232 posts in 3043 days

#2 posted 02-15-2011 03:12 PM

Jordan it all depends on your budget. If your like most of us that do it for a hobby then it will take a while to accumulate tools and I don’t think I will ever have everything I need/want. For cabinets you will probably be dealing with plywood so I think the circular saw is a definite because I don’t like trying to man handle a full sheet of 3/4” ply on my table saw. I cut it down to size with my circular saw using a $20 home depot guide. That being said I would have a table saw as it is probably the backbone of most shops and I couldn’t get by without it. My first large tool purchase when I started woodworking was my table saw but I already had a circular saw and other varius tools. As mentioned about a jig saw will probably be another good investment when dealing with cabinets. Some kind of sander is a definite and I have several different ones but the one I reach for the most is my Porter Cable random orbital sander. You will also need a drill for attaching and pre drilling for hardware if nothing else. A router is also high on any list if your planning on making your own doors. I personally like my dewalt router but Porter Cable are some of the best made in most peoples opinions. Now I will give you a small list of some of the other things that you will find in most shops but but their is so much more that could be added to this list i’m going to give you. Thickness Planer, Miter Saw, Bandsaw, Jointer, Belt Sander, Spindle Sander, Finish Sander, an assortment of chisels, a wide variety of measuring and layout tools, router table with a high horsepower router, an assortment of router bits (which are expensive), Scroll Saw for some people, Buscuit joiner, Pocket hole jig, Drill Press, Nail Guns, and the list goes on and on. Don’t think I have everything on this list because I am nowhere close, I am just giving you a list of different woodworking tools. As I said before I am building my shop one piece at a time and am far from being done but we have to start somewhere. In my opinion a table saw would be my first big purchase (thats considering circular saw, jig saw, drill, sanders and such as smaller purchases). If you need any help in anything specific just ask me or anyone else on here as most are more than willing to help. I will give you a warning though before I go, its addictive so watch out :)

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3281 days

#3 posted 02-15-2011 03:51 PM

Don’t forget you can never have enough Clamps !!!

Most Importantly – PATIENCE !!!

Welcome to LJ’s

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Blakep's profile


232 posts in 3043 days

#4 posted 02-15-2011 04:00 PM

Good job DaddyZ, how could I forget clamps haha I never seem to have enough. Everytime I glue something up it seems like I never have enough clamps so I buy some more and then the next time i’m short again.

View eaglebkh's profile


6 posts in 2911 days

#5 posted 02-15-2011 10:38 PM

Yes, circular saw, jig saw, router, and sander are first, along with clamps and a shop vac. You can do quite a bit with these. Ditch the supplied circular saw blade and buy a good freud blade for mirror-edged cuts. Be sure to get a router with a plunging base. Trust me, my first was a fixed base and it isn’t fun trying to line up a router while it’s spinning…

Welcome to LJ!

-- Brandon

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3107 days

#6 posted 02-15-2011 11:28 PM

I’m sure that this question has been asked a lot on Lumberjocks and that is perfectly OK. I posted a forum topic on “what is a good set of hand tools for a beginning woodworker”. You can see the discussion here.

Don’t neglect the hand tools. You’d be surprised at what you can build with just hand tools.

You can build a work bench and you need some sort of vice on the workbench.

Don’t forget that you will need a few clamps.

A good set of power tools might be:

1. a 1/2 inch electric powered drill. (might want to get a Kregs jig)
2. a 3/8 inch cordless drill
3. a circular saw
4. an orbital sander
5. a jig saw
6. a laminate trimmer (useful for all kinds of light routing jobs)
7. a biscuit joiner
8. a miter saw
9. a small air compressor
10. a couple or 3 nail and staple guns

Since you can cut accurately with a circular saw and a straight edge you can build all kinds of nice things with just hand tools and these power tools.

So far as stationary power tools go, you can add to these tools the following:

1. a table saw
2. a band saw
3. a drill press
4. a joiner

With these and the other two lists you are loaded for bear and can build most anything that you want to.

Since you will probably want to build something involving turnings you will probably want to add a lathe at some point.

At some point you can start adding to this basic shop.

For convienience you will probably want a planer at some point.

After this the sky is the limit. However, if you’re just a beginner and don’t have a lot of money. Start thinking about the hand tools and add a power tool here and there. You really would be surprised at what you can do with a basic set of hand tools and several power tools. My first set of tools I bought was 40 years ago and cost me $1000. It was a very basic set of hand tools and I still have every one of them. About 10 or 15 years later my first power tool was a hand drill. I slowly added all the rest.

I kept all of my tools in an antique wardrobe on my carport and my carport was my shop. So you start where you are not where you want to be.

God Bless and welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View AaronK's profile


1507 posts in 3705 days

#7 posted 02-15-2011 11:49 PM

to say there is more than one way to do any given task in woodworking is an understatement.

the tools you need will vary on whether you want to work mostly by hand, power tools, or a healthy mix. they also depend on what you want to buy and what you want to make on you own (jigs and such). so dont feel like you need to go out and buy a bunch of crap right away.

most importantly you need good references. that means something that is verifyably flat and another thing that is verifyably square. my #1 tool is my combination square :-)

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