Woodworking is an endless craft which requires skill and practice, but which also relies on having the right tools. Traditional woodworkers prefer to use mostly hand tools in their work, and it is entirely possible to carry out all aspects of carpentry without ever touching a power tool.
However, woodwork professionals and the more keen hobbyists will notice the ease and accuracy that modern tools can bring to any project, and may choose to incorporate any number of them into their collection.
Either way, without a well equipped supply of woodworking tools you won't get very far. Here is a complete list. Do not be intimidated by its size. A hobbyist is unlikely to own all of these tools, and even a professional may make sacrifices.
There is a lot of joy in building up your collection as you need it, from saws, hammers and chisels, to more advanced tools like the shoulder planer and carcass saw. With the tools listed below you will have everything you need for any project; whether it be making a cabinet, or building the frame for a house.
List Of Hand Tools For Woodworking
This is perhaps the most important and well used woodwork tool in every carpenters tool box, and trying to do woodwork without it would be like trying to bake a cake without flour. It features a rubber or vinyl grip handle, solid hammer head, and claw for removing nails. The most common size for woodwork is 20 ounce.
A chisel is another tool that it would be impossible to work without, and most carpenters start out with at least 4 different sizes. They are used to refine edges, and clean out mortices, cuts, and joints, as well as for carving wood.
These are a special kind of chisel used for chopping mortices into your piece, for the insertion of a tenon. You will use a mortice and tenon joint very often in woodwork, so a ¼ inch mortice chisel makes a crucial addition to your standard set.
You should never use a metal hammer to work with your chisels. Mallets are used for hitting chisels while using them to cut joints.
You won't get very with your woodwork without the ability to cut through grain, and the hand saw is the most commonly used tool that will help you to make rough dimensions of your wood. The blades make short work of most wood, and sawing by hand gives the extra benefit of being able to feel the response of the wood.
There are many different types, shapes, and sizes of hand saw, and your collection will grow as and when different needs arise. A fretwood saw is a good choice for beginner's. Rip saws cut along the grain, and cross-cut saws cut across it.
Backsaws are used for more accurate work while making wood joints. It is recommended that you consider a dovetail for cutting along the grain, a carcass saw for cutting across it, and tenon saw for making deeper cuts along the grain.
These saws allow for much more intricate work than larger, straight handsaws. The coping saw can be used for rough cutting of awkward shapes in your lumber, but is most often used for removing waste from dovetail joints.
Sooner or later you will come to realize that a block plane is nearly as crucial as a hammer and saw when it comes to woodworking to any level of quality. With a block plane you can flatten and trim lumber, add curve and shape, level joints, square your work, chamfer your stock, take the sharpness out of a piece, and more. Just make sure the blade is sharp!
A useful planer that will rarely be left to gather dust, the Jack Plane can be used for rough stock removal, jointing edges and smoothing board. Other useful planers include the shoulder planer, which is great for cleaning up tenons, and the smoothing planer, which when used well can produce a finish as fine as sandpaper.
You can build your own saw horse, but they are available at a decent price, and professionally made ones can be tougher and more sturdy. They are used for support while you saw and drill, and can also be used as work surface extensions.
Workbenches are crucial for holding lumber in place, maneuvering, and effectively working on your wood. If you are on a budget you can start by building your own, but it is recommended that you buy a sturdy professional bench at some point; either a simple model, or one that has the extra features for you to take your work to the next level.
A useful power tool for woodworking is the router (mentioned further below). They are used to create perfect edges and slots. A router table secures the router face up, so you can work the wood over the tool, rather than the tool over the wood. This makes the work much easier and more accurate. Router tables can come with a variety of features, and some even double up as workbenches. Our router table reviews should help you make an informed decision if you're looking to buy one.
Accuracy is the name of the game when it comes to woodwork, and a spirit level will help you to achieve this by ensuring everything is perfectly horizontal, and perfectly plumb (vertical), usually using bubbles as indicators. Levels are available in many sizes, with smaller torpedo levels available too.
LEssential for marking lines and cuts at 90˚ and 45˚ angles, and for measuring existing angles. An accurate tool that combines a ruler with a spirit measure, and even allows you to set a specific measurement as a guide. Other handy squares include the Try Square for 90˚ angle work, the framing square for roofing, and the sliding bevel square, which can scribe and repeat angles.
Marking Knife Or Pencil
A carpenter’s pencil is his best friend, and allows them to mark cuts and joints prior to working the wood. A marking knife is a great alternative to a pencil, and may provide more accuracy.
Cuts a marking line parallel to the edge of the board, allowing you to accurately mark out dovetail joints, mortices, and tenons.
Used to ensure the utmost of accuracy, calipers help you to measure slot and hole diameters, dado widths, the depths of holes, the thickness of pieces attached to flat surfaces, and much more. They are an extremely versatile tool for that allow you to trim wood to within 1/1000th of an inch.
Clamps hold together freshly glued joints while they set, and you can really never have too many of them. It can sometimes take several clamps to hold one joint, as pressure must be applied to relevant areas. You will need a selection of shapes and sizes, and clamps to cover both 45˚ and 90˚ angles.
List Of Power Tools For Woodworking
The first power tool that most people opt for, is the circular saw, a great choice for carpentry and other woodwork. With it, you can make light work of many different types of cuts, to pretty much any wood, making the circular saw one of the most versatile tools around. Use it for anything from cutting wall openings, to beams, fence posts, or holes. Be sure to stock up on different types of blades for different functions.
Used to drill holes, and to quickly fit screws, the power drill is crucial for woodworking. The main decision to make it whether to choose the cordless or corded drill. Cordless is easier when it comes to maneuverability, but is more expensive for the amount of power, and can lose charge quickly. The corded provides a bigger kick for your dollar.
Compound Milter Saw
It's big, it's mean, and it sure is useful. You can use a milter saw to to chop lumber across the grain, helping you to tackle moldings, trim, baseboards, and more. This bad boy can create accurate cross cuts, angle and bevel cuts. To put it mildly you can frame a house with this tool.
In a lot of ways the table saw is the heart and soul of your workshop, and a major purchase for any woodworker looking to take it to the next level. The compound milter saw chops would across the grain, whereas a table saw rips wood lengthways along the grain. They can also cross and angle cut. The tables feature a heavy duty work surface and a handle to raise and lower the saw blade, but can also come with an array of features.
Sabre Saw (Jigsaw)
A jigsaw is highly maneuverable, and can be used to make curvy cuts and intricate patterns in your lumber, as well as plunge cuts. This gives it a wide range of uses, from cutting counters, to shaping designs, to making small holes in cabinets for plugs.
The band saw serves much the same purpose as the jigsaw, but can deal with much thicker pieces of wood. It can help you to cut shapes and curves with effortless ease, by pushing the wood against the adjustable blade. You can even stack wood and cut several pieces at a time. The band saw is also useful for cutting rabbets and tenons, and for making straight cuts and bevel cuts.
A planer shaves wood off the surface of your lumber, and is used to trim down or flatten out work, among other reasons. It is useful for when sanding is not enough, but sawing is too much. A power planer makes much for lighter work than planing by hand. You can also use the planer for removing layers of paint or varnish.
This planer makes extremely short work of the planing process, which can sometimes be painstaking. This is more of a tool for the professional, who needs to plane many pieces in a short space of time. The table can be set to the appropriate height, and the stock fed onto the surface for accurate planing.
Random Orbital Sander
This sander is an innovative tool that helps you to avoid unwanted patterns and flaws when sanding. It uses sanding disks, which rotate in a random sanding motion. This basically reduces marks, while having the same effect as the less expensive, and still very popular palm sander. The palm sander uses sandpaper in a regular motion, simplifying and speeding up the process, when compared with using a sandblock.
Routers are an extremely versatile power tool, and are a highly recommended investment for anyone serious about woodwork. A spinning bit can be used to shape, finish or round edges, and to make holes, contours, slots and grooves for mortices, dados, rabbets, and bevels. It all depends on the bit used. Fixed-base are available, as are plunge routers which allow you to make plunge cuts and vary the depth. Routers can also be mounted to router tables, for even safer and more accurate work. There are many models and features available for wood routers. Check our reviews to find out which one we think is the best wood router on the market.
There you have it, nothing stopping you now to build your first woodworking project!