Tools are not required to be expensive.

Although woodworking is a challenging hobby or profession, getting started doesn’t have to be expensive! With just a few hundred dollars’ worth of quality tools, you can get started. Those tools will last you for years.

Beginning your woodworking journey with the proper set of basic tools for beginners will not only enhance your experience with the craft, it will also save you a lot of money in the long run.

This list is for true beginners. It does not include thousands of dollars’ worth of machinery that would fill up a two-car garage. Instead, it focuses on the basics that every beginner (or intermediate) woodworker must have.

Getting started with woodworking can be a challenging hobby or profession, but it doesn’t have to be costly! You can begin with a few hundred dollars’ worth of quality tools that will last you for years.

1. Power drill

Which one is the best to buy?

Neither of the two recommended choices is expensive. The Bosch 12-volt cordless drill is simple and lightweight, and it will fulfill virtually any woodworking requirement.

The brushless motor on the Dewalt 20V Max cordless drill provides it with more power than its competitors as well as longer battery life. It’s not cheap, but it’s an excellent investment for people who frequently do DIY jobs around the house in addition to woodworking.

Why you should get one

You must have a power drill if you ever do any DIY work or home repairs.

Picture frames can be hung with ease using a power drill if you’re assembling IKEA furniture, drilling holes, or sanding rounded surfaces.

When choosing a vacuum cleaner, the main consideration is whether to pick up a corded or cordless model. Corded models are typically cheaper and more powerful, but cordless models are much more convenient.

Hand tool sets, gimlet tools, and hand drills are all you need if you want to avoid using power drills. Despite this, you still won’t be able to finish the same jobs.

Recommended:

BOSCH PS312A 12V Max DrillDriver Kit with 2 2 Ah Batteries (#CommissionsEarned)

Our Professional Pick

DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Drill Driver Kit Brushless DCD791D2 (#CommissionsEarned)

2. Orbital Sander

woodworking sander

Why are they important?

No matter how clean your woodworking work is, you will need to sand before applying a finish. Sanding is one of the most tedious parts, and it is one of the last things you should do.

Your lungs will thank you as you grow older if you use a good random orbital sander, thanks to excellent dust filters and a mask. Having a mask will make each build’s penultimate step much faster and more enjoyable.

Although random orbital sanders are somewhat more costly than belt sanders or other sanders, the extra expense is well worth it. Random orbital sanders provide a superior finish without the swirling patterns that other sanders leave behind.

Which one is the best to buy

My first choice is a versatile random orbital sander from Makita. It has a comfortable handle for long sanding sessions as well as the option to hook it directly to your dust collection system if you have one. It isn’t too expensive, but you can save a few more dollars by not purchasing the carrying case.

The Black+Decker BDERO100 is an excellent budget option if you want a real one. It is significantly cheaper than the already low-cost Makita above, but it is not as feature-rich.

BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch (BDERO100) (#CommissionsEarned)

or

Makita BO5041 5″ Random Orbit Sander, Variable Speed (#CommissionsEarned)

3. Sharpening stones

Why they are important to you

They are necessary for you.

No matter how well you treat cutting tools, they will eventually dull. Fortunately, quality tools such as the ones previously mentioned are simple to sharpen with the proper sharpening stones.

Whetstones (or water stones) and diamond plates are the two major types of woodworking tools.

A water stone is a type of sharpening stone that requires only water to work. As you use them, they will naturally develop a concave in the middle of the stone, so you must flatten them.

Diamond plates are the best tool for flattening water stones. They are more expensive, but they can also be used on your tools themselves and last for decades without any maintenance.

Personally, I would suggest purchasing a set of diamond plates if you can afford it, but those on a budget can make do with a nice set of water stones. Both are listed below.

Which one to buy?

A beginning woodworking tool may not seem like a good value for the set of three diamond plates, but it will soon become an indispensable part of your procedure.

An investment up front, these are not cheap, but they will ensure that your chisels and other cutting tools stay sharp for years and don’t deteriorate.

In case you can’t afford to spend that much, a double-sided whetstone like the second option below is another decent option. It comes with everything you need to get started, including a guide for sharpening kitchen knives, which might help justify the purchase in some households.

Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone 2 Side Grit 1000 6000 Waterstone Whetstone Knife Sharpener NonSlip Bamboo Base Angle Guide (#CommissionsEarned)

Our Professional Pick

Ultra Sharp Diamond Sharpening Stone Set 8 x 3 Coarse Medium Extra Fine (#CommissionsEarned)

4. Chisels

chisel

They are necessary because…

It’s worth putting some thought into before buying chisels, if there is one woodworking beginner tool that is. There are so many junk chisels on the market (even from reputable brands!) that can make your early woodworking experience a living hell.

Purchasing a good set of six chisels and learning how to use and sharpen them will significantly improve your work quality. They can be used for joinery, shaping, paring, and carving, among other things.

These bevel edge chisels are the perfect woodworking tools for beginners. They’re economical and versatile, and other types such as mortise chisels or bench chisels are too specialized to benefit from.

Choose wisely.

The six-piece set from Narex is the best choice for beginners when it comes to woodworking chisels. These Czech-made chisels are made from excellent quality steel, and they will last a lifetime if cared for properly. The beech handles are also lovely, and they come with a display case.

The Irwin Marples six-piece chisel set is also an excellent choice if you want to save a bit of money or prefer plastic handles for whatever reason. You don’t have to worry too much about your inexperience causing irreparable damage to the handles or edge thanks to their durability.

IRWIN Marples Chisel Set for Woodworking 6 Piece M444SB6N (#CommissionsEarned)

Our Professional Pick

Narex 6 pc Set Woodworking Chisels in Wooden Presentation Box 853053 (#CommissionsEarned)

Perfect Gift! For Any woodworker

5. Hand saw

hand saw

Why you need one

These simple tools (in many varieties) were once used for everything from rip cuts down the length of a board to delicate joinery.

Many hand tool purists would recommend buying anywhere from 2 to 5 hand saws, but for the beginner doing everything with hand tools is simply too time-consuming, labor-intensive, and outright expensive.

While there are still some manufacturers making beautiful premium hand saws, the truth is most cheap traditional saws simply aren’t worth your time.

Thankfully, there is an exception, and it comes from the other side of the planet. Japanese pull saws are fantastic tools that are cheap to buy and provide excellent results. Plus, they’re versatile and very easy to use for beginners, and the blades are simple and cheap to replace.

Which ones to buy

I’m recommending a Kataba, which is a backless blade that can be used for rip cuts, cross cuts, and diagonal cuts. It’s perfect for cutting to length and sawing to precise layout lines for joinery, but I wouldn’t use it for long rip cuts (although it’s capable of doing so). That task is best covered by a circular saw later in this guide.

If you’re looking for even more versatility, consider getting a double-sided Ryoba. These have two sets of teeth — one for crosscuts and one for rip cuts. They’re more comfortable for long rip cuts, but a bit more difficult to manage in smaller joinery work.

SUIZAN Japanese Hand Saw 10 and a Half Inch Kataba Single Edge Pull Saw for Woodworking (#CommissionsEarned)

Double Sided Version Here

SUIZAN Japanese Pull Saw Hand Saw 9 and a half Inch Ryoba Double Edge Flush Cut Saw Woodworking tools (#CommissionsEarned)

6. Clamps

wood clamps


You need reasons why.

In the beginning, you require clamps for everything when woodworking. Holding your work, gluing panels, final assembly, and a third hand are just a few of the things you always need a third hand for.

Instead of purchasing a pack of 24 or more clamps from the nearest big box store, you should be aware that a beginner can get by with about eight specific clamps.

Pipe clamps are available in sets, and are the workhorses of this rig. You may purchase galvanized pipe at any home improvement store, and then attach the fixtures to it. Because you may use pipe of different lengths, woods workers will benefit from them.

Despite their substantial size and heaviness, pipe clamps are fairly effective at gripping objects, and so bar clamps should be your next purchase. These clamps will cover most daily tasks in the woodshop, particularly until you have a decent workbench and vise.

Which one should I purchase?

There are certain clamps that you will inevitably build a small stockpile of as you work throughout the years, but you can save yourself a lot of headaches by purchasing the right clamps from the beginning.

I would suggest beginning big projects like furniture with four Bessey pipe clamps of either 3/4- or 1/2-inch size. You can use these clamps from your first build to your hundredth, and you can expand with them by simply changing the pipe. Sash clamps are available in the UK, but if you are there, you might prefer them as they are easier to locate.

The Bessey bar clamps are the ones you are probably most familiar with, and the set of two 6-inch and two 12-inch clamps linked below will never become outdated. Avoid purchasing lower-quality, more breakable quick-release models, as these are normally of lower quality and more prone to break.

SET CLUTCH ST BAR CLAMPS 2 X 6 IN 2 X 12 IN (#CommissionsEarned)

Our Professional Pick

Bessey BPC-H34 3 and one forth 4Inch H Style Pipe Clamp red Pack of 4 (#CommissionsEarned)

7. Mallet

Why do you need one?

You may have a regular claw hammer in your house, and you may be tempted to use it as a woodworking mallet instead. Please don’t do this if you want your tools to last and have any respect for them.

Save your claw hammer for driving nails, and pick up a nice nylon-headed mallet for everything else in the woodshop.

It’s immensely satisfying to use a mallet whether tapping joinery into its final position during assembly or smashing chisels into hardwood. After your first use, you’ll be addicted to the tactile feedback and the sound.

Which one is the best to buy.

Even though not all woodworkers concur with using nylon head mallets with chisels, they make for a great beginner purchase because of their versatility.

My preferred mallet is made by trustworthy Thor, and it has two replaceable nylon heads and a 900g weight (2 lb). Other options have lighter weights or alternative handles to suit your specific needs, but I like the 900g model the most.

If you don’t have the time or means to make your own wooden mallet (and must have one), I recommend a Crown model that is inexpensive and comes in at 4.5 inches long. Beech wood is used (it must be sanded prior to use), but this is a great buy.

CROWN 106 4 and one half inch Beechwood Mallet (#CommissionsEarned)

Our Professional Pick

Thor 714 Nylon Hammer 2Lb White (#CommissionsEarned)

8. Combination square

combination square

There are four reasons why you should get one.

It allows you to mark and cut at both 90 and 45 degrees, which are the most important angles in woodworking.

Since everything from cutting a board to size to producing mortise and tenon joints requires perfect ninety-degree angles, 45-degree angles are equally significant for corner joints and countless other cuts. Even if you prefer to go the power tool route, you must have a good combination square.

You can certainly line up your combination square with a sharp pencil, but I suggest buying a decent marking knife as well. I’d recommend the Stanley 10-049 locking pocket knife. It produces precise lines, requires little room, and provides great value for the money. I’ve relied on mine for nearly a decade and it has never let me down.

Which ones should I purchase?

While most combination squares look identical, don’t be fooled into thinking they were all created equal. The problem with a combination square that is off by just 1 or 2 degrees is that it can cause absolute chaos in finer woodworking tasks!

The first option linked below should get the job done, but there may be some quality differences between products, so be sure to check your device is straight when you open the box. Just register it up to a straight edge, mark a line, turn it over, and mark another line. If the two lines match up, your device is square! If not, try to adjust it or swap it for another model.

The first choice might be a better choice if this sounds like too much work. It’s costly, but it’s also a professional-quality square that will last for years.

Cheaper Version

IRWIN Combination Square MetalBody 12inch Degree Marking Stainless Steel (#CommissionsEarned)

Our Professional Pick

Starrett Steel Combination Square with Square Head 12inch Blade Length Cast Iron Head Hardened Steel Reversible Lock Bolt Scriber 4R Graduation Type (#CommissionsEarned)

9. Marking gauge

Why do you need one?

The benefit of marking gauges is not just how effective they are at joinery, but also how simple they are to operate.

Mortise-and-tenon joints, dovetails, rabbets, and other woodworking tasks require one of these. Beginners should learn the basics of joinery with one of these tools, which is an essential woodworking tool.

Besides being super cheap, they’re also super convenient.

Which ones should I purchase?

A quality combination gauge is the best option for beginners, although woodworkers who are experienced may want several marking gauges. It combines the functions of a mortise gauge and a standard marking gauge.

Here are two recommended buys. Both will last for years and get the job done, but the second is a more premium choice for those who can spend a bit more.

ROBERT LARSON Beechwood Mortise Marking Gauge (#CommissionsEarned)

Our Professional Pick

WoodRiver Wheel Marking Gauge (#CommissionsEarned)

10. Circular saw

Circular saw


Why do you need one?

Buying guides for beginner woodworkers will recommend a table saw as one of your first purchases, but a circular saw is a much better choice. Here’s why:

A decent table saw can cost you a thousand dollars or more, but a good circular saw can be purchased for a few hundred dollars.

Small workshop table saws are either too small to handle large projects or too large to fit in a small workshop, so don’t obsess about getting a good one if you’re just starting out. If you want to make repeatable cuts and process material quickly, a good table saw can be a wonderful asset, but you shouldn’t focus on that with a new enterprise.

The best investment you can make as a beginner woodworker is a nice circular saw with a track. Crosscuts and rip cuts are guaranteed to be perfect—no matter how long the workpiece is.

I assure you, you won’t miss the table saw if you buy one when you’re ready to dedicate more money and space to woodworking.

Which one is the best to purchase?

The type of circular saw that is best for you will be largely determined by what you plan on constructing. If you intend to stick to smaller projects, you may cut some corners here.

The Skil 5180-01 is a great value for a basic circular saw. Despite being small and lightweight, it has enough power to handle even the most difficult jobs.

The Makita SP600J is a great track saw if you need to cut sheet materials or want to ensure your toolbox is future-proof. It can be more expensive than the option above, but it comes with a track that guarantees perfect cuts every time. You may buy the saw alone before investing in a track later on if you want to save some money.

Beginners should avoid the more expensive cordless models because both options are corded.

Skil 508001 13Amp 7 and one fourth inch Circular Saw (#CommissionsEarned)

Our Professional Pick

Makita SP6000J1 Six and One Half Inch Plunge Circular Saw Kit with Stackable Tool case and 55inch Guide Rail Blue (#CommissionsEarned)

Grab your tools and get to work! If you want to check out more beginner woodworking guides check out How to Setup a Woodworking Shop Your Garage: Everything You Need to Know or 5 Tips for beginner woodworkers

Or check out 10 Woodworking Products to Make and sell Vol.1 and put your new skills to work!

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4 thoughts on “10 Woodworking Tools that beginners need!

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