I need some advice on woodworking tools!

Created by Haggard on May 22, 2015, 1:36 p.m.
  • Just getting into woodworking and figuring out what tools are vital to making a decent looking piece? I don't plan on starting a factory or anything it's just a hobby so I plan on keeping it fairly cheep over time, adding tools as I need them. thanks in advance for the advice!

  • Good woodworking saws are the MUST, Adam has a collection I'm so envious of. From the lovely coping saws to the gorgeous Japanese hand saws.

    With a good saw half the work is already done ;)

  • @Haggard Are you leaning toward power tools or traditional hand tools? Or a hybrid workshop? If you're curious about building a good kit of traditional hand woodworking tools, check out Joshua Farnsworth's post on his blog Wood & Shop: http://woodandshop.com/which-hand-tools-do-you-need-for-traditional-woodworking/

    He provides a nice inventory with a detailed discussion about each tool. One of the (many) benefits of hand tools is that you can buy vintage, restore them and save a lot of money in the long run. If that piques your interest, you might consider checking out Patrick's Blood & Gore (http://www.supertool.com/StanleyBG/stan0a.html) for a super detailed description of vintage Stanley hand tools and a mailing list for monthly sales.

  • @Haggard:

    1)Get yourself a set of squares. Long square, speed square, and one of the little 6" squares that move along a metal ruler. These 3 tools are the backbone of everything else I use.

    2)A long straight-edge is good too, because they are so versatile. I mainly use mine as a fence for circular saw, router, any kind of work like that so I can just keep it butted against the straight edge and go.

    3) You can never have enough clamps. Ever.

    Hope this helps!

  • @mattpritchard: i will definitely look into that thanks , im not sure actually what i would enjoy the most so maybe get into them slowly or even one at a time with tool working and power tool working

    i have recently picked up a nice old Transpower band saw and now am looking for :


    drill press

    hand tools (basic)


    belt sander/ bench grinder

    and some other stuff i am most likely forgetting

  • @Haggard: Dont forget the official tested list ;)


  • it also really depends on what kind of work you'd want to do. just to outline the general idea:

    adam makes a box from plywood and staples. you need something to draw more or less accurate pieces, something to saw them out with, and a stapler. maybe a little glue for added bonding. and then, stuff to decorate the shit out of it.

    you could just as well screw together a box that works and is sturdy from simple cross-laminated timber pieces. you need something to draw more or less accurate pieces, something to saw them out with, screws and a drill. you'd probably want to paint it with something protective, too.

    you could want to build a box with all-wood joinery, like dovetails for example. you need something to draw up all the pieces very exactly, something to saw them out, and chisels (etc.) to do the joinery. probably a surface treatment that brings out the beauty of the material and your work, like wax, shellac etc.

    just these three different ideas of what constitutes a proper box influence the kinds of tools you need. there is no right and wrong, or better and worse between these. they are just very different.

    other factors: what kind of scale do you have in mind? would you cover your surfaces anyway or do you plan on working them to an exact finish (plane beats sandpaper by miles)? do you like a certain "school" of working, such as quaker, japanese or chinese joinery? is a here-and-now functioning piece good enough or do you plan for the coming generations (pure joinery beats glue and screws for longevity AND repairability)? do you work for money or is the acquisition and application of skill part of the goal (more power tools, quicker solutions vs more hand tools, maybe more complicated solutions)? do you want to do "general woodworking", i.e. a diverse set of things, or do you have your eyes set on certain niches and their specific requirements already (handling/glueing rice paper for japanese screens, precise removal of wood from organic forms for bowyery etc.)? where on the spectrum from rectangular, straight-lines furniture to all organic forms wood sculpting do you see your work? and so on.

    personally, i'd favour using hand tools over machines where possible. you are a bit more "hands-on" with the things you're working on, and learn to perform a skill with your hands first. if you later get a feeling for what kind of power tool could save you a lot of work in your workflow, you do so from a basis of thoroughly understanding the tasks you want to make it perform. never underestimate the difference between understanding something in your mind and understanding something with your hands! but that's from my position of valuing the learning of skills, of favouring elegant and durable solutions, of taking pride in my handiwork, of liking objects with visible joinery, and most importantly, of doing this for my own enjoyment. if i was looking at this from a commercial point of view, you bet i'd be considering how i can do more things in a simpler way in less time.

  • @gekitsu: To be honest I am not to sure yet of the direction i want to head.I'm thinking just making stuff that could be of use for my general life, and picking the tools I need for the job as i go. I seen some jewelry boxes made on the band saw by the name of "band saw box" so i was going to try my hand at that and see how it goes.I do plan on wanting to work with paints,wax's,stain,etc. and also wouldn't mind learning joinery, and everything else i can about woodworking its self. I get a sense of enjoyment learning new things.

    I am with you on hand tools over power tools , if its one thing I have learned it's that hand tools give you the ability to really dial in your work on a personal gratifying level. I'm hoping that once I have a full understanding of all the different methods to produce the same piece (stronger and better looking) then will i find what is best for the job required. I plan on keeping it a hobby but still putting hard work and pride into everything I make :)

    thanks!! I really value your opinions and your advice

    and if i missed anything you asked let me know!

  • @Haggard: I made a similar start to what you are talking about. I wanted to make things that were personally useful, so I began designing bookcases to build. None of them are ornate, but they are strong. I didn't want to use any nails except for the thin backplate, so I started looking into varying methods of joinery. Rabbits and dados have since become my method of choice, so I use a router and chisels to make a tight bond that glue will hold strong.

    The first couple iterations were made with the cheap pine shelving boards you get at any hardware store. The mistakes weren't debilitating to my morale or wallet since the materials were so cheap. Now that I am getting more comfortable with my skills, I have begun to find higher quality materials to work with. My next bookcase is being made from cherry that my father had harvested from our farm. Planning on a different kind of rabbit joining on this one and some tung oil to finish it off. Once you find the tools, the rest is trial and error. Good luck!

  • @andy.fancher: great minds think similar!..lol yeah I'm finding myself in the moment learning of different kinds of joints ,and i am wanting to also work with waxes and stains but really its all trail and error for now .then i plan on working with better wood .. but thanks Andy !

    i found a delta lathe for 300.00 in my state , im thinking of picking that up too !!

  • @Haggard

    I have a shop (garage) that is set up to take on small projects as well as big projects. I do a lot of woodworking and a lot of tinkering on props, replicas and fun movie related projects.

    Here are my personal recommendations.

    1. Don't buy new to start. Go on craigslist and find used tools. This applies to power tools and hand tools. Once you know what you like you can upgrade down the road.

    2. New blades on a used saw. Whether it is a jigsaw, miter saw, band saw, circular saw, etc. A new blade on a crappy saw can still make a decent cut.

    3. Bench top tools. I have a band saw, bench grinder and drill press that are no more that 2 feet tall each. You don't need a floor standing band saw to get started. Would it be nice? of course, but you can get a lot done and gain confidence with these tools using bench top models that cost a fraction of the price (especially when it's used).

    4. Bigger tools. I do have a nice table saw, a dual sliding compound miter saw and an assortment of powered hand tools. (sawzall, jigsaw, orbital sander, angle grinder, router, circular saw.) Don't think you need all this stuff to start. I started out with a jigsaw and a circular saw. Any cut you would make on a table saw can be made using a circular saw. Any cutting you would do on a bandsaw can be done using a jigsaw, and so on. Are the bigger and nicer tools easier to use...yes but there is more than one way to skin a cat. That being said, I do like having a chop saw or miter saw set up at all times. It comes in hand whenever you need to make a quick cut around the shop.

    5. Hand Tools. You will most likely want a decent set of socket wrenches, an 18v power drill, screwdrivers (Philips head and flat head), pliers, wrench, needle nose pliers, vice grips, etc.

    There are so many different tools out there, I would encourage you to start small and build a collection as you gain experience and knowledge.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions, I'm happy to help!

  • I also keep going to this for some reason, would love to know if it's any good.


  • @Haggard: My advice would be to do your research. See if you can have someone show you how to use the tools you are considering and see if you can try them before you buy them, like at a friends house. Go to wood working shows, they usually have a lot of good seminars on different tools and techniques. Don't buy cheep, every time I do I regret buying the cheaper tools over the one a few dollars more. A good tool will last a life time. Practice safety, respect the tool and let the tool do the work. PBS had a bunch of wood working shows a few years ago, also home improvement shows. I haven't seen much lately. But be aware that just because they have a tool for every little job does not mean you have to buy one too there are lots of ways to do the same thing, both with machines and by hand. Read books. There are a lot of books you can get from the library on woodworking that will explain a lot.

    Good luck on your adventure it is a lot of fun and very rewarding.

  • thanks for the advice everyone! you guys have some advice what i am going to take ,@rsiena i wish i had read your comment last night , i went and got a no.4 plane from lows made by Kobalt and this thing is junk and its going back the depth ajustment screw comes off the threads and the mouth is way larger than needed and the blade is junk. It is very poorly made and im just going to look for a nice used one i can put some tlc into!

  • I'm glad you found it helpful

    best of luck

    reach out any time

  • Buy a cheap set of chisels, while it is tempting to get nice ones, you will always need a cheap which isnt razor sharp to clean parts, remove glue, etc.. Eventually you can buy another (good) set to do joinery.

  • Hi


    I am use some tools for my Furniture Business like as routers, Drill machine/press, sanders, table saws, dust collectors, planing tools, and hand tools, Bosch, FastCap Glu-Bot Glue Bottle, JET, Powermatic, Rockler, Grizzly etc.



    Tools Inside http://www.toolsinside.com/