So you have decided that you are going to become a woodworker and build some woodworking projects, you have some idea of what tools you will need to get started but you are not sure which ones you should get first. An experienced woodworker will tell you every tool has its place in your woodworking shop, and for someone who has been a woodworker for a long time this is a true statement. But as a beginner it would be fool hardy to buy every woodworking tool out there until you are sure that woodworking is really for you. I am not going to include such things as claw hammers, grounded extension cords, flat and Phillips screwdrivers and tape measures because most people have these things lying around the house. The last thing you will need is a good set of woodworking plans so you can put your new woodworking tools to work. Woodworking is a wonderful hobby, so get out there and build something.
A circular saw should be the first tool you acquire. The first step in every woodworking project on earth requires you to cut stock to precise dimensions. There are others saws made for specific purposes, table saws, scroll saws and jigsaw, but the circular saw should be your first it allows you to do both crosscutting and ripping. Crosscutting is perpendicular to the grain and ripping is with the grain. The circular saw comes with a 7 1/4″ diameter blade and has adjustments for both depth of cut and bevel angle, which allows you to make angle cuts. I also suggest you spend the money and buy a carbide tipped, thin-kref blade, it stays sharp a lot longer than a normal blade and reduces the load on the motor, and because this type of blade is thinner it cuts down on the amount of stock wasted to sawdust. A good woodworking hint when using a circular saw is to make sure the finished side of your stock faces down, because the saw enters the bottom side of the stock which can lead to chip out on the top surface.
Most woodworking plans require you to drill holes so you are going to need a drill and a set of drill bits. The new 3/8 inch cordless drill is the way to go here. The new cordless drills have a longer battery life, are variable speed reversible, and the best thing is that annoying cord that always gets in the way is gone. Combine this drill with an assortment of high-speed drill bits ranging from 1/16″ to 1/2″ and you are ready to tackle almost any woodworking project that requires holes to be drilled.
You should have two planes a block plane and a No. 4 bench plane. A block plane is designed to trim the end grain of a piece of wood.
The bench plane is used to square and straighten the edges of boards to prepare them for gluing. It is also used to smooth the surfaces of boards or glued panels.
You will also need a combination square, which is used to mark lines for cutting and to check that all the cuts you have made are square.
A good straight edge is a must, all woodworking plans require you to set up a straight edge on each piece of stock used. Get a straight edge that comes with a clamp to secure it to the stock and that has gradations on both edges to allow for accurate measurements. I suggest that you get a clamp/straight edge at least 50″ long because this will allow you to mark full sheets of plywood.
An assortment of wood chisels ranging from 1/4″ to 1 inch should be adequate to get you started. Chisels are used to cut with the grain (pare) or across the grain (chop). Plastic handled chisels with a steel strike plate are the best to get because they can be hit with a hammer or used my hand, wood handed chisels can’t be struck with a hammer, they can only be used by hand.
The above tools will get you started so you can build most woodworking plans.The last thing you will need is a good set of woodworking plans so you can put your new woodworking tools to work. Woodworking is a wonderful hobby, so get out there and build something.