Basic Woodworking Tools To Start With


Basic Woodworking ToolsBack saw:

Some people have a lot of handsaws, but the one that gets used most is the backsaw. A good backsaw gives you years of service and makes detailed cuts quickly and easily. Expect to pay between $30 and $60 for a good one.

Carpenter’s framing square:

A carpenter’s framing square is an inexpensive ($10 to $20) tool that helps make the process of squaring up cabinets and other right angle (90 degree) joints quick and easy.


Even if you don’t think you’ll be working without power, a set of four chisels will help you to clean up joints, and many other uses. Expect to spend around $50 for a basic set.

Circular saw:

A circular saw is a must if you work in sheet stock such as plywood and MDF.


Without enough clamps, assembling your projects becomes much more difficult. Get a variety of sizes. Plan on spending a couple hundred dollars for your first round of clamps. You are going to need a lot of them.


If you don’t have a good hammer, go get one as well as a wooden mallet too. You’ll use it all the time with your chisels. Don’t use the metal hammer on the chisels. Expect to pay $25 to $50 for both.

Hand drill:

By “hand drill” its meant a basic power drill. If you can afford it, get one with a 1/2-inch chuck (the part that holds the drill bit). A 1/2-inch drill costs between $50 and $75.


For curves on a budget, a jigsaw does quite a bit for you. Even if you do end up with a scroll saw or band saw later on, you’ll still find use for a jigsaw. Consider it $50 or so well spent.


A good jointer is a necessity if you want to work with less-than-perfect wood (this covers all solid wood) or if you want to edge-glue boards (tabletops, for instance). A decent 6-inch jointer runs about $500.

Marking knife or gauge:

These are much more accurate than a pencil and they don’t cost very much — usually between $10 and $20.

Plunge router:

A router is one of your more versatile tools, and a decent plunge router makes life a lot easier. A 1.5 horsepower router is powerful enough for most applications. Name brand routers run about $150 to $200.

Random orbit sander:

A random orbit sander can be used for a lot of things, and if you don’t have any other sanders, this one will work fine. A good random orbit sander can be purchased for under $100.


Sawhorses are portable stands that have a ton of uses around the shop. You can use them to hold large sheet goods while you cut them with a circular saw. You can put a piece of plywood over them and use this setup as an assembly or finishing table. You should have about 2 of these in your shop.

Table saw:

This is the most versatile tool in the shop. You can find many table saws on the market from simple tabletop saws ($300) to basic contractor models ($500 to $800) to full-blown cabinet saws, so your budget dictates which category you’re in. At the very least, look for a saw with a cast-iron table and wings.Tape measure: A regular metal tape measure ($10) is fine for most applications. You can also try a combination square ($15) and a carpenter’s wooden ruler ($10) for more accurate measuring.

Thickness planer:

A 12-inch thickness planer is useful for dimension boards and cleaning up rough faces on boards. You have a lot of choices, because nearly every tool manufacturer makes a planer. Expect to pay around $300 for one.

Wet/dry vacuum:

If you cannot purchase a dust collector, a good dry/wet vac might do the trick. These machines are essential to keep the air clean from saw dust. A dry/wet vac is needed anyway to clean up the rest of the workshop each day.


You need a large flat surface to work on. You don’t have to buy one of the expensive handmade workbenches, but you do need something solid and flat. Most people start with a homemade table with a large plywood top. If you do this, make sure the top is two layers thick and the base very solid. You can make your own workbench for around $150 in wood and a couple weekends of your time.This list will cost you about $2500. You do not have to buy it all at once and you can further save money by buying used tools and equipment.

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