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Forum topic by AJswoodshop posted 09-15-2012 06:18 PM 1558 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1057 posts in 2271 days

09-15-2012 06:18 PM

The problem with starting woodworkers, they don’t know what to buy. So I’ve come up with list of tools for beginning woodworkers.

Getting into basic tools,

A jigsaw is a great starter tool. They can do curved, and straight cuts. You can pick up a jigsaw for about $30.00-$120.

A power drill is also a great tool, you really need a drill to do woodworking. Drills retail from $30.00-$250, a good drill cost about $60.00.

A circular saw is really just a hand-held table saw. It does everything that a table saw can do. The prices range from $39.99-$200.00 dollars.

Getting into stationary machines,

Table Saw
You really need to think about stationary machines. You don’t want to buy stationary tools that you’ll never use. Buy tools that your actually going to use. A table saw would be my choice, out of all of the tools in my shop, I use my Table saw the most. Table saw’s under $200 dollars are awful. A starting woodworker should get a jobsite/contractors table saw. I have a contractors table saw, and it is perfect for the small shop.

Drill Press,

The second most used tool in my shop is my drill press. They are great tools, that you’ll find handy in the shop. They make huge drill presses, but to start out, all you really need is a bench top drill press. A decent drill press retails for about $200 dollars. You also need lot of drill bits for it, and a nice drill press table is nice to have too.

Band saw,
Bandsaw’s are great tools, I use my bandsaw every day. Don’t buy benchtop bandsaws, they have a lot of problems with the blade cutting straight. A bandsaw on a stand cost about $300 dollars. But a bandsaw that will last a long time. Will cost about $500 dollars, I would get at least a 14’’ bandsaw.

Tools you shouldn’t buy,

Miter saw,

Down the road, a miter saw is handy to have. But for new woodworkers, a Table saw comes with a miter gauge. Which makes crosscuts nicely, you can also do miter cuts with a miter gauge.

Radial arm saw,

RAS take up a lot of room. And again, a good table saw miter gauge will make crosscuts perfectly.

Nail Guns,

You can just use screws, a nail gun is not needed for most woodworking projects.

Again, think of tools that you will actually use.

Basic projects that you can build with these tools,
Bluebird birdhouse,

Easy to build, desk clock,

Kids table,

Hopefully this helped, for more information about these projects, and tools. Visit my project list, for more information.

9 replies so far

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1707 posts in 2183 days

#1 posted 09-15-2012 07:08 PM


You might find this video Steve Ramsey entertaining and informative.

That video makes this one that much funnier.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10094 posts in 4047 days

#2 posted 09-15-2012 07:52 PM


Good list… for Starters…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View sedcokid's profile


2731 posts in 3593 days

#3 posted 09-16-2012 11:55 PM

Good starter list!!

Thanks for sharing~

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2790 posts in 3432 days

#4 posted 09-17-2012 12:04 AM

thanks AJ.. a couple of those you mention have been on my to have list. Someday I will.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View Roadster280's profile


31 posts in 2114 days

#5 posted 09-17-2012 01:06 AM

A bandsaw, a drill and a handplane. Done.

Once you get to that stage, buy a dust collector next.

I’d add a RAS, a jointer (before a planer), a planer, table saw, power sanders, a miter saw if you feel the need, a lathe likewise. But along the way you’ll buy all the peripheral crap like a router. A dovetail jig for the router. Another router so you don’t have to swap bits. Another router so you don’t have to trash your dovetail setup for a roundover. Another router to go in a table, and still have a freehand one. Swap all your 1/4” shank bits for 1/2” ones, and only buy a quarter of the number. You never used the other ones anyway.

Then you can buy a couple of clamps. They might not be big enough, so get some bigger ones. Just the right size, but not enough. Buy some more. A one handed clamp would be handy. Buy a couple of those. Wow, they’re really great, but I only have the small ones. Buy some bigger ones. Buy some beefier ones.

Don’t get me started on sanders.

But yes, a bandsaw, a drill and a handplane.

View Woodknack's profile (online now)


11606 posts in 2374 days

#6 posted 09-17-2012 06:12 AM

Jig saws are overrated as beginner tools, wait until you need one then buy the best Bosch you can afford, used is even better. No mention of a workbench, clamps, router, or squares. It’s an okay list but keep working on it.

-- Rick M,

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3238 days

#7 posted 09-17-2012 10:39 PM

A beginner’s first tool should be the one he needs to do the current project. It is hard to list what tools you will ever need. The best approach is to get it when you need it. No sense in buying a whole bunch of tools you may never use. Some tools can serve a multi purpose, so pre-buying can result in duplication. Sanders are a good example of this.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2243 days

#8 posted 09-17-2012 11:43 PM

What tools you need should be dictated by what you plan on doing. For example, if I wanted to make pens and bowls, a circular saw and jig saw would be useless to me. To that effect, I personally feel the jig saw is a “nice to have” but by no means one of your first tools.

A circular saw is by no means a hand held table saw. You would be an exceptionally frustrated woodworker trying to make furniture with a circular saw (and may be less a few digits).

A miter saw is more than a “nice to have”. The ability to make square cross cuts and perfect miter cuts is key. In general, a miter saw is just plan handy – even for a non-woodworker/home owner.

I would also not recommend a jobsite table saw to anyone but a contractor. They can be dangerous if you try to rip down large sheet goods. In addition anyone into making medium to large pieces, or requiring the utmost of accuracy will want to upgrade almost immediately. That means you just wasted money on a jobsite saw you could have put toward a cabinet or hybrid saw.

A drill press is subjective. Before I needed to drill pen blanks, I did just fine without one. Now that I have one I find a lot more uses for it. I would not put this on the list of beginners tools.

Being fairly new to woodworking, I am still expanding my tool collection. Here is my list of “must haves”

First decide if you are a hand tool guy or power tool guy. If you are a hand tool guy, look elsewhere, I am a total “Normite”

If money is no object, start with the holy trinity – cabinet saw, jointer, planer. If money is an object, buy used. In addition the following are things I could not do without:

A router and a decent assortment of straight and common profile bits (bonus, if you are crafty a router and some plywood can take the place of a jointer and planer)
Random orbit sander
A basic set of quality chisels – 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2” will get you started
Something to sharpen chisels/plane irons
Some sort of hand plane (you will need one)
LOTS of clamps
A tri-square or a good speed square
A 12” Combination square (my most used tool)
A drill and an indexed set of brad point drill bits
A long straight edge or edge guide (at least 3 feet)

I’m sure there is a lot I missed, but if you removed any of those items from my shop, I would be looking everywhere for them.

Also you mentioned a nail gun is of no use. I disagree completely. A 23awg pin nailer is a life saver for tacking on banding to hide end grain or plywood edges, it also is great for indexing pieces for complicated glue-ups, and temporarily holding pieces to patterns or jigs. I very seldom use screws in any of my projects


View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3238 days

#9 posted 09-18-2012 06:42 PM

One point I haven’t mentioned is to buy the best you can afford. Obviously you cannot buy all the best at one time, but you can if you buy one or two at a time when you need them. That’s how I built up my collection of tools. With limited resources at my disposal, I just bought what I needed, but it was the best available. Best equates to quality, not necessarily price.

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