31 Essential Woodworking Tools Found in Most Workshops
If you are considering building a woodworking shop, it can be useful to have a list of tools you will need to plan for the future and decide which device to buy next. We’ve created the most complete list we could, and it lists 31 pieces. Every type of tool is mentioned, from hand tools to power tools to safety equipment. We cover it all to help you build the workshop of your dreams.
Here is our list of 31 vital tools for the woodworking workshop.
Woodworking Hand Tools
The first thing we’ll cover is hand tools that should be in any woodworking workshop.
Chisels are one of the original tools for cutting and shaping wood. Chisels are still an essential part of any woodworking workshop, and you should have at least one general-purpose set in your workshop. They can take the place of several other tools in your workshop if you haven’t acquired them yet, including a router. There are several types of chisels, including bench chisels, mortise chisels, paring chisels, and more, but we recommend a good set of bench chisels to get you started.
Every wood shop needs a large supply of wood glue to bind boards together for cutting. When applied properly, it creates a bond stronger than the wood itself. It’s inexpensive and cleans up with water. You can also loosen the bond created by wood glue by applying heat and moisture.
The hammer is another ancient tool used by woodworkers for millennia, and you will have one in your shop. It’s a simple device used for driving nails, but there are a great many varieties, and you will likely have several hammers for different purposes.
4. Hand Saw
The hand saw is likely to be one of the first woodworking tools you own. It’s inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to use. For many beginner woodworkers, it’s the only way they can cut boards, but experienced woodworkers use them quite often for many tasks, and there are a great many types. We recommend the standard handsaw for most beginner woodworkers.
The level is a very useful tool in the workshop and can tell you when items are flat as well as if they are at the correct angle depending on the type of level. Most levels work using an air bubble in a colored liquid. The current levels are becoming more digital and allow for a wider range of readings.
A mallet is a type of hammer with a rubber head worth mentioning because you don’t use it to drive nails. You use the mallet to knock wooden pieces together or apart and to drive dowels or chisels when detailing wood. You use this type of hammer because it does not damage the wood or cause scuffs or marks.
7. Masking Tape
Masking tape has countless uses in the woodworking woodshop, and you’ll want to have several rolls on hand at all times. Masking tape keeps things together, you can write on it, it doesn’t leave any residue, and it’s easy to remove, making it one of the most useful woodworking tools.
8. Mineral Spirits
Mineral spirits are of many uses in the workshop, including removing paint and cleaning the wood surface. It’s perfect for removing dirt, polish, wax, sanding dust, and oil from wood, but you need to remember that it’s flammable and can easily create a fire hazard.
9. Nail Setter
Nail setters are essential for jobs like decorative molding because they help the nail disappear into the wood without damaging the nail. It uses a hollow shaft that fits over the nail and rests against the wood. You strike an inner pin that presses the nail into the wood. Nail setters are essential for getting consistently flush nails, so they need to be in every woodshop.
As a woodworker, you will likely be amazed at how many pencils you go through each day in the workshop. Measuring and notetaking are constant and probably done without thinking. Nothing is worse than needing to write something down and not having a pencil. Pens and markers will not work in a woodworker’s workshop.
A plane is responsible for smoothing and flattening a rough or curved board. It’s similar to a razor and shaves off small wood bits until the board is straight and smooth. There are many types of planers available, some costing hundreds of dollars, but every workshop should have at least one’s bench plane to do the basic straightening and smoothing work.
Sandpaper is another tool you will use a lot of, and there are many grits available. A lower number grip will be rougher and remove material quicker while higher numbers are smoother and are for finishing work and polishing. You should have a large assortment of sandpaper in many grits available at all times.
The square is essential for making straight lines and finding angles. It’s one of the first tools most woodworkers purchase, and you will use it constantly on every project. You may want to get several squares of different sizes to make some measurements easier.
14. Tape Measure
A tape measure is a basic tool in the woodworking workshop. Measure twice and cut once means this is one of the most-used tools in your workshop. Plus, having a high-quality tape that you can read is essential. Most tape measures extend out to 25 feet, but modern digital devices can extend the range even further.
15. Wood Finish
Wood finish can be any number of products you use to apply a finish a wood project when you’re finished. Finish products include items like lacquer, stain, tung oil, varnish, paint, etc. You will need to keep a supply of many of these products on hand to apply when you finish your projects.
Woodworking Power Tools
Now let’s take a look at some essential woodworking power tools.
16. Circular Saw
A circular saw is a handheld power tool that’s extremely versatile and can cut several materials and is perfect for the woodshop. It’s extremely powerful and attaches to guards that can create straight lines. After the handsaw, a circular saw is the most important saw in the workshop.
No workshop is complete without a drill, whether handheld or attached to a press. The drill is one of the most used tools and is required to insert screws without splitting the wood. You can also use several attachments like sanders and routing bits with a drill increasing its versatility. There are several types, so take your time to choose the kind best for you.
18. Impact Driver
The impact driver is a type of electric screwdriver that’s very similar to the drill. It’s useful for driving a large number of long screws into harder woods or concrete. While the impact driver is useful for some projects, it’s not one of the more critical woodworking tools.
The jigsaw is a type of handsaw that’s useful for making curved cuts in thin wood. This type of size is an essential tool in the woodshop, and you should purchase one after you have a circular saw. There are countless uses for the jigsaw, and the sooner you have one, the better.
20. Miter Saw
The miter saw is a type of circular saw mounted on a device that allows you to pull it down to make cuts in the wood. Miter saws are perfect for cutting wood to a specific length or angle and are typically used for molding trim in picture frames.
21. Orbital Sander
Once you get tired of hand sanding with sandpaper, you’ll need to pick up an orbital sander. These tools allow you to sand a surface smooth quickly, and they help when removing paint. We use an orbital sander anytime the surface is large enough because it saves lots of time.
A router will help you produce a finished edge, and it can make even and level cuts in straight and curved wood. It can also duplicate the cuts on multiple pieces of wood. You will use it to cut grooves, profile edges, drill holes, recessed hinges, and cut joints, and more. Some routers are handheld while others attach to a table.
23. Table Saw
When you attach a circular saw to a table, you essentially have a table saw. These devices are perfect for cutting large boards straight, and there are some tasks in the woodworking workshop you can only do with a table saw. We recommend purchasing a table saw as soon as you have some experience.
Here are some accessories that are important to have in the workshop.
Sawhorses hold your boards so you can make cuts. They are also often useful for keeping a project upright and for painting. You usually use sawhorses in pairs, so we recommend purchasing at least two for your workshop.
Clamps are required to hold pieces of wood together while the glue dries. There are several different types of clamps, and they come in all sizes. You will want to have a good assortment of clamps at your disposal so you can find the right one for any task.
As you start to acquire more and more tools, you’ll need a place to store them, and the toolbox is the perfect place. Toolboxes come in all shapes and sizes, but you’ll want to plan ahead so you get one that can hold your tools.
27. Peg Board
Pegboards are another great way to store your tools, especially power tools that won’t fit in a toolbox. Pegboards make it easy to apply hooks to keep your tools neat and out of the way.
28. Cleaning Supplies
Woodworking can be a messy hobby, and you can often find sawdust, paint spills, and other messes around the workshop that need cleaning. A good size broom and other cleaning supplies will help you keep your workshop from getting out of hand.
Let’s look at some of the items you should purchase to protect your health while you’re working in your workshop.
29. Safety Glasses
The woodshop may not seem like a dangerous place for the eyes, but there’s plenty of sawdust in the air, drill bits can break, and woodchips can fly, so it’s best to protect your eyes at all costs. We recommend a high-quality pair of safety glasses with side protection to minimize risk.
30. Hearing Protection
A few of the power tools you might use, including the table saw, can get quite loud and could damage your hearing if you listen to them long term. A pair of earplugs or earmuffs are inexpensive and will save your hearing through the years.
31. Dust Mask
One last piece of safety gear you might want to wear when working in the woodshop is a dust mask. The sawdust in the air, along with several other chemicals, can seriously damage your lungs, especially after years of working in your shop. Vigilant use of a dust mask can go a long way towards keeping you healthy and avoiding the dangers associated with breathing in the air inside a woodshop. Always make sure there is plenty of ventilation as well, especially when working with paint thinner or other dangerous chemicals.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over this list and found a few tools you didn’t think about before. Most of them are not essential to get started. A hand saw, tape measure, pencil, masking tape, drill, and sandpaper will get you well on your way to completing your first projects. Once you have gained some experience, you can move on to the circular saw, router, orbital sander, and any other tools you need to finish a project. The important thing is to keep working and then purchasing new tools to allow you to complete bigger, more complex projects.
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