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Essential Woodworking Tools Every Woodworker Should Have

TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects

woodworking tools

Getting started on a DIY woodworking project is an exciting endeavor until you start to consider all of the tools involved. Tools can be expensive and power tools are especially costly.

If you’re a woodworking beginner, the list of essential woodworking tools can seem so daunting it’ll make you want to throw in the towel before you even get started.

To make things easier on you, we’ve created a list of basic woodworking tools. These tools will take you from project to project without requiring a major financial investment.

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The following list is neither exhaustive nor limited. We’ve tried to touch on each of the most useful tools that will save you time and energy.

There are many ways to make beginner mistakes when getting started as a woodworker. Spending a fortune on unnecessary tools doesn’t have to be one of them.

Essential Hand Woodworking Tools

Let’s start with some of the most basic hand tools required for woodworking. You’ll likely want to include each of these in your woodworking toolbox.

You can get started with a small collection of tools. If you are starting out with small projects like making a kitchen cutting board, you will require very few tools.

If you want to be able to take on a range of projects, you’ll want to avoid wasting time and energy creating a jig to do the work of a common tool. That’s where this list will come in very handy.


A chisel is a long-bladed hand tool that you can use to cut or shape wood. It has a beveled cutting edge and a plain handle. To use it, you strike it with a hammer or mallet.

There are many different types of chisels. When getting started, the best type of chisel to purchase is a bench chisel. They are the most ubiquitous chisels when it comes to woodworking projects.


You’ll use a jointer to create flat edges on boards before joining them edge-to-edge to create wider boards.

A jointer is also a great tool for flattening out cupped boards, removing twists, and preparing board edges before gluing them together.

Although traditionally a hand tool, there are also electric jointers. Depending on your skill, a hand jointer can be more accurate, but a power jointer is more efficient.


You can use a wood planer to make sure a jointed board has an equal thickness from end to end. A planer reduces the thickness of all kinds of wood. It can be used on everything from a wood slap to a timber deck board.

Planers can also flatten and smooth wood, depending on the type of project. Like jointers, wood planers can also be electric.

Files and Rasps

Files and rasps get used for many purposes in woodworking. They can erase tool marks, refine curves, and fitting metal parts. You can even use files and rasps to repair other tools.

A rasp is a steel hand tool with prominent triangular teeth. You can use rasps to make deep, coarse cuts in wood. You can also use them for shaping.

Rasps scrape away wood and can shape it quickly.

Files refine rasped wood surfaces. They are coarse metal tools with sharp, pointed teeth. They can also work as standalone shaping tools.

Once you learn how to use them, files and rasps are quick and efficient to use.

Woodworking Tools  Essential Power Tools For Wood Workers

The majority of the tools you’ll need to get started in woodworking are power tools.

Keep in mind that you do not need to buy all of these tools upfront. Focus on what you will need for the project at hand, and then collect the rest as needed.

Here is a comprehensive list of the most important woodworking power tools to consider.


Saws are key when it comes to cutting wood. There are a few different types of saws that will come in handy for any woodworking project.

Circular Saw

If you’re woodworking on a budget, the first handheld power tool you purchase should be a circular saw. It is the most versatile power tool in your woodworking arsenal.

When you use it with a clamp-on straight edge, a circular saw is just as precise as a table saw. You can use it for many of the same tasks as a table saw as well, such as cutting sheet materials like plywood or fiberboard.

Table Saw

Table saws are used for making rip cuts along the length of a slab of wood. They are versatile in that they can do crosscuts and rip cuts along the wood grain.

If you already have a circular saw, you may not need a table saw. A circular saw will allow you to do a wider range of cuts. A table saw offers more precision.

When it comes to mobility, the circular saw is superior. But if you are working in a single place a table saw can be a better option.

Many experts recommend DeWalt table saws as the best option for beginners.

Miter Saw

Miter saws are more specialized saws that allow you to make angled cuts. Mounted on a swing arm, the saw blade is able to pivot left and right to create a variety of angled cuts.

You can use a miter saw for crown molding, door frames, window casings, and other projects that require detailed cuts.


A jigsaw is a great beginner’s tool for making curved and intricate cuts. Although a bandsaw is more accurate, a jigsaw is effective for beginner woodworkers.

If you want more versatility, your best option is an orbital-action, corded jigsaw with an easy blade-changing system.


A router is a useful tool for cutting patterns and grooves. It is great for creating a design that needs to extend to across multiple pieces of wood.

Common projects you’ll use a router for include shaping stylized molding, making clean edges, and recreating patterns.

For most projects, a fixed-base router will suffice. If you want to create intricate joinery you’ll want to get a plunge-base router.

Orbital Sander

Formally known as a random orbital sander, these handheld power tools are for smoothing wood. Orbital sanders create ultra-smooth wood surfaces.

Orbital sanders rotate an elliptical sanding disk. That means the direction of the wood grain is irrelevant. No matter what, an orbital sander will smooth the surface of the wood without leaving marks.

You can even sand two pieces of wood with different grains at the same time.

Dust Collector

A dust collector can be a single unit or a collection of devices. Dust collectors are air pollution control devices. They separate particles from clean air.

Dust collectors draw the dust and particles from the air and process them through a filter that captures and separates them out. Then the dust collector sends the purified air back into your workspace.

Dust collectors are very important in woodworking because of all the sawdust that collects when cutting and sanding wood. They are extremely useful when working in confined spaces like workshops or garages.

If you’re working outdoors, you won’t need a dust collector. The fresh air and wind will take care of it for you.

Other Handy Woodworking Tools

There are a few other basic tools and pieces of equipment that will come in handy when you get started with woodworking.

You’ll want to have a hammer and a mallet on hand at all times. You’ll need these for various reasons. For one thing, your chisels won’t work without them.

Other power tools you’ll want to keep at the ready include a power drill and a screw gun.

You may want to have a workbench to work on, but if that seems like overkill for the kinds of projects you’re planning, you can create a work surface using a couple of sawhorses and a piece of thick plywood.

You’ll also need a good quality tape measure for pretty much any project you undertake.

Finally, a square is an essential woodworking tool for checking 90-degree angles.

Getting Started

If you’ve gotten this far, you now have a very good sense of the basic woodworking tools to consider including in your tool kit.

Once you determine which of these tools you’ll need for your first project, you’ll be well on your way to developing your skills as a woodworker.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about the craft of woodworking, use this contact form to get in touch with expert woodworkers.

TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects