It is said that a tool is only as good as the person using it. The truth, however, is that the tools that you use can make quite a bit of difference. Using the right toolset will not only help you hone your craft, but also help you reduce your expenses in the long run.
Remember that, since this guide is titled, ‘what tools are needed for woodworking’, we will be covering the most basic and essential equipment that you need to have to get your woodworking business underway. In other words, we will not be talking about sophisticated machineries that cost several thousand dollars and will take up your entire garage and then some. Woodworking might be tough, but it does not have to be costly.
So, without further ado, let us get right down to (woodworking) business:
What Tools Are Needed for Woodworking?
Chisel was one of the very first tools used for shaping and cutting wood. Even today, chisels are a crucial presence in any woodwork workshop, and it is important that you have a general-purpose chisel set at your disposal. Chisels’ versatility is also what makes them so valuable – they can easily replace several other workshop tools, including routers.
Some of the most common types of chisels include bench chisels, pairing chisels, and mortise chisels. However, if you are just starting off, you are best off with a set of bench chisels.
2) Marking Gauge:
Marking gauges have been used in woodworking for several centuries, and are one of the fundamental tools in joinery (both rough and fine) works.
Alongside being useful for both all kinds of joinery works, marking gauges are also extremely simple to use. A single marking gauge can help you with mortise joints, thickening, rabbets, dovetails, and so many other tasks. It is one of the most crucial woodworking tools, and should be towards the top end of your purchase list.
All woodwork shops need to have plenty of glue in order to bind the wooden boards together. If applied correctly, wood glue can help create an adhesion that is stronger than even the wood itself. Glue can be cleaned off using only water, and is also fairly inexpensive.
Also, if you use wood glue and need to loosen the adhesion, you can easily do so with the help of mere moisture and heat.
4) Combination Square:
A combination square is versatile and simple-to-use, which makes it a better choice than pretty much any other kind of square.
Using a combination square, you can easily cut and mark at the two most important woodworking angles – 90-degrees and 45-degrees. 90-degree angles are crucial for cutting boards, making mortise joints, and joining edges. 45-degree angles, meanwhile, are also vital for numerous cuts including the corner joints.
Even if your plan is to take the power tool approach, a combination square is still something that you should not ignore.
Hammer is another tool that has been handy for several millennia now, and has certainly stood the test of time. As you are aware, a hammer is generally used to drive nails. In reality, though, there are many different types of hammers that serve different purposes. Some of the most common kinds of hammers are:
- Claw hammer
- Engineering hammer
- Hatchet hammer
- Rip hammer
- Mechanic’s hammer
If you are only just starting off with woodworking, you should buy a claw hammer for the nails, and a decent nylon-headed mallet for any other woodworking purpose. A mallet will help you knock apart (or knock together) pieces of wood, and you can also use it for driving chisels or dowels while detailing wood. We recommend using the mallet because it does not create marks or scuffs, nor will it damage the wood.
6) Smoothing Plane:
Smoothing plane has a special place in woodworking, and not without reason.
You will come across guides that recommend you to go for power planer/joiner, but we do not agree with this suggestion. Not only do they cost an arm and a leg and take up a lot of space, but are also over-the-top for anyone still getting a feel for the craft.
As long as you have a one good smoothing plane, you are good to go.
In addition, honing your skills on a smoothing plane can significantly reduce the sanding time, which is arguably the most undesirable aspect of woodworking.
7) Masking Tape:
Masking tape is another vital tool that has numerous woodwork uses, and you should keep multiple rolls handy at all times. Not only does masking tape help with keeping stuff together, but it is easy to remove, does not leave any residues, and can even be written upon.
All in all, it is a highly important and incredibly underappreciated woodworking item.
8) Sharpening Stones:
Brand new chisels and smoothing planes will serve you well for a while, but you will need something to keep them sharp and useful for many years to come – and this is where a sharpening stone comes into play.
Every cutting tool, no matter how carefully used and treated, will lose its edge over time. Thankfully, all you need is a simple sharpening stone to reverse the bluntness.
You can either go for a water stone sharpener or a diamond plate. A diamond plate is the best sharpening tool, since it lasts several decades, does not require any maintenance, and can be used directly on the tools. However, it is more expensive compared to water stones, which is why it might not be the best choice for those on a tight budget. But, even if you cannot afford a diamond plate, even a nice water stone set is likely to do nicely for you.
Our Final Thoughts:
As a woodworking beginner, you do not require the most expensive or powerful tools out there. Start practicing with the tools discussed in this guide; once you feel more comfortable, you can always expand your tool collection.