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Whether you’re just starting out and are wondering what essential woodworking tools a beginner needs or you’re an experienced carpenter who needs to replace a saw that ran out of juice, these are the essential tools every woodworker must have in their workshop.
Here, the best woodworking tools you need to create your next project.
Best Table Saw: DeWalt 15 Amp Corded 10 in. Job Site Table Saw with Rolling Stand
A table saw is arguably the most important tool in the workshop of any handyperson. Why? It not only cuts wood sheets with straight edges, but it also makes a variety of cuts including miters, bevels, dando rabbits, and more. As this piece is destined to become the workhorse of your woodshop, it follows that you’ll want to buy the best one that you can afford. This top-rated 15 amp version from DeWalt delivers a 32.5-inch rip capacity with a motor capable of up to 4800 rpm. With a 10-inch table saw blade, this cuts to a maximum depth of 3.125 inches at 90 degrees or 2.25 inches at 45. It comes with two 20-volt battery packs, a charger, and a tool bag.
Best Jigsaw: Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ Cordless Orbital Jig Saw
As the name suggests, a jigsaw is a power tool that’s designed to cut curves and circular patterns and also comes in handy for cutting holes and trimming lumber to length. This versatile jigsaw from Ryobi has both orbital and non-orbital settings and a speed range of 1,100 to 3,000 strokes per minute and can be used corded or cordless depending on your needs (a battery pack and charger is sold separately). It has a built-in light and a sight-line blower to clear away debris so you’ll always be able to see your work area. It works for right-handed and left-handed people alike.
Best Chisel Set: VonHaus 8 pc Craftsman Woodworking Wood Chisel Set
This set of six bench chisels ranging in size from 0.25 inches to 1.5 inches are a must-have for any furniture maker or other fine woodworker to the handyman who wants to shave lumber or cut wood joints. The blades with narrow side bevels are made of strong and powerful heat-treated chrome vanadium steel alloy that’s tougher than even carbon steel. The ergonomically shaped hard plastic handles are comfortable and easy to hold from the start to the finish of your task. When it’s time to sharpen them you’ll appreciate the included sharpening stone and honing guide and when you’re ready to pack them up, you’ll be happy to have the hard plastic case.
Best Wood Carving Knife: BeaverCraft Sloyd Knife C4s 3.14" Wood Carving Sloyd Knife
Not all woodworking tools are power operated—take this classic wood carving knife for example. Using your own strength, hand-eye coordination, and skill you can whittle, smooth rough wood, or carve nearly any type of wood. The thin pointed tip of the 3.15-inch high carbon steel blade is designed for precise detail work in small areas while the rounded part of the blade can be used to make larger rolled or slicing cuts. The economically shaped handle is made of oak that was processed with linseed oil. The knife measures about 8 inches in total and comes with a leather carrying case to persevere the blade.
Best Sander: BOSCH ROS20VSC 5-Inch Random Orbital Sander/Polisher Kit
There are a number of different types of sanders, but the most versatile from home projects is a random orbital sander, which can be safely used on everything from furniture making to finishing trims and baseboards. An orbital random sander works in a circular, yet eccentric motion, so it won’t leave scratches on your wood, even if you go against the grain. This 5-inch sander from Bosch fits easily into the palm of your hand to give you more control and power while the low vibration prevents your hand from getting tired quickly. The 2.5 amp motor offers variable speed control from 7,500 to 12,000, you’ll want to go slower as you’re putting the finishing touches on your project. The Hook-Tight hook-and-loop system holds the sander pads firmly in place.
"The sander made quick work of the rough surface typically found on raw lumber—although it almost felt too easy at first. But that perceived lack of energy transfer is integral to the design; in fact, I didn’t have to apply much pressure at all to get the desired results."—Nathan Borchelt, Product Tester
Best Drill: Metabo HPT Hitachi DS18DSAL 18-Volt Lithium Ion Compact Pro Driver Drill with Flashlight
When selecting a drill for woodwork, power and speed should be your main focus. The Hitachi delivers on both with 460 in-lbs of torque power and a 22-stage clutch that gives you ultimate control of its torque. As for speed, it has a range of 350 RPMs to a max of 1,500 RPMs using a rechargeable 18-volt lithium-ion battery (two batteries and a charger are included). You can use it for anything from large projects like building a new deck to smaller household tasks such as screwing in anchors to hold a picture frame. It comes with a LED job light and a hard plastic carrying case.
Best Workbench: Keter Folding Work Table
This folding workbench checks off all the boxes on everything you likely want in a workbench: it’s sturdy, large, lightweight, versatile, and inexpensive to boot. Specifically, it can hold up to 1,000 pounds on its 21 x 33 x 29 inches work surface. It weighs 27 pounds and folds and unfolds in just 30 seconds. It can be used as a sawhorse or a tall tabletop and offers several useful details including a section with holes on the tabletop so the two included 12-inch clamps can be used horizontally or vertically, a small built-in shelf to hold extra tools, and a compact carrying case.
Miter Saw: Craftsman 10-in 15-Amp Single Bevel Folding Compound Corded Miter Saw
A miter saw is another invaluable tool for intermediate to expert woodworkers. It makes everything from a cross to straight to double cuts and a compound one allows you to angle the motorhead in two directions to make compound cuts—a miter saw is a must when cutting crown molding or floorboards. This Craftsman miter saw offers a 15 Amp 4,500 RPM motor that can cut lumber up to 2 x 6-inch and 4 x 4-inch boards. As an added safety feature, it has a built-in electric brake that stops the blade as soon as you’re done cutting plus a laser guide to help you keep your cuts precise. The saw folds up for easy portability and it comes with a support base, carbide saw blade, blade wrench, material clamp, and dust bag.
Wood Soldering: WORX WX744L.9 20V MAKERX Wood & Metal Crafter
This versatile handheld tool from Worx MakerX line is perfect for part-time crafters and serious carpenters alike. It weighs less than an ounce so you’ll hardly notice it on your tool belt or work bag and it’s made for detail work such as wood branding and burning. It heats up in a mere 30 seconds to 400 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. The tool comes with a silicone sleeve so you can get a good grip without burning your fingers and six wood-burning and four soldering tips. In addition to wood, you can use this baby to craft metal and repair and splice wires in your car or on your computer. Note that the hub and battery required for use are sold separately.
What to Look for When Buying Woodworking Tools
While there is a wood-working tool for every purpose, not everyone has the budget or the storage space to buy a complete set of tools. Whenever possible, look for multipurpose woodworking tools that can do more than one job or can be used in a number of ways. Of all the sander types available, choose a random orbital sander for the most versatility when working on projects around the home from finishing baseboards to refinishing furniture. A handheld wood soldering tool used for detailed woodworking that can also work to craft metal and repair computer or car wiring will save you space and money.
When buying woodworking tools, look to established brands with long records of producing quality, long-lasting tools that are worth the money and will last for years. Well made tools are easier and help you work safely. Invest in trusted brands that stand behind their products with warranties and in some cases lifetime guarantees.
Ease of Use
Look for tools that are comfortable for you to use and that match your skill level. If you plan to use your tools at various worksites, consider portability such as folding workbenches and saws and cordless drills. Make sure that handheld tools are well made but lightweight enough so that you can comfortably use them for extended periods.
What are some must-have woodworking tools?
There is a whole universe of woodworking tools that are tailored to every facet and nuance of the woodworking process, which involves measuring, cutting, holding in place, assembling, and finishing pieces. Some vital tools used to complete this work include tape measurers, table saws, jigsaws, miter saws, chisel sets, wood carving knives, sanders, drills, wood soldering tools, hammers, and power drills. And, of course, every woodworker needs a quality woodworking bench.
What are some woodworking tools for beginners?
It can seem overwhelming for beginners to know which tools to purchase. Start with some basics and add as your skill level increases or the need arises to avoid overspending or ending up with tools that you don’t need. The essential woodworking tools for beginners include a circular saw, power drill, jigsaw, random orbital sander, table saw, compound miter saw, and a router.
How do you keep woodworking tools from rusting?
Rust is the number one enemy of woodworking tools, so keep rust at bay with some basic practices that will keep your tools in tip top shape. Use them frequently to prevent moisture and dust from sitting on the surface, which eventually causes rust. Keep them clean by wiping them down after use. Store them in a dry environment. If you live in a humid climate, reduce moisture with a fan, a dehumidifier, or by using gel packs in your toolbox that prevent rust on hand tools. You can also apply a thin coat of mineral oil to help protect surfaces.