Alright, you’ve decided to take up woodworking and now it is time to decide what area of the craft you want to explore. Perhaps you like smaller crafts, cutting boards, serving trays, picture frames etc…. Or maybe you want to venture into furniture building like tables, chairs, nightstands etc… all good builds and so many styles and design choices ( but that’s for another article). It’s super easy to search the internet for larger tool choices ( table saws, band saws, sanders, and planers ), brands ( like Festool , Delta, Dewalt, or Craftsman ) styles ( corded, cordless, hand tools ) but let’s take a step back. You don’t need the largest most expensive brand tools you can find ( and most of us couldn’t afford them to start off ) and you don’t even need to own a ton of them to build great products.
You see, the art of woodworking is understanding the craft of the build, not the tools used to make it. You can build a beautiful side table with some basic tools ( circular saw, a jigsaw, and a sander ) Again, those tools do not need to be brand new and top-shelf brands. You can borrow some basics from a friend or family member if needed just get a feel for the craft and add tools as you go.
The craft of woodworking has a lot of support and great references to draw from. But there is also a lot of deception in some of its advertising and videos available that may lead you to think differently about what you NEED to have to be a woodworker. Once you get out there and start building you will get a feel of what you should look into in the future. Perhaps you’ve been cutting with a circular saw and feel a table saw is the right next step. But before you go out and buy one, first think of what you’re building and the type of saw you want. Should it be a compact job site saw or a contractor saw to start off? Then decide on the brand and price point that makes sense for you. I know I’ve made 3 steps in my table saw progression alone ( and I still don’t run a 3hp SawStop) but I am very happy with my saw and most importantly it cuts straight!
It’s easier to on course with the larger items but beware of the smaller things like your accessories for glue-ups, clamping, and fastening here is where there is a ton of deception in the actual need to have items. I have some woodpecker items that I think I’ve used once or twice, not saying it’s not a great item or doesn’t work because woodpecker is a great brand that makes quality tools that last, but some of them are more luxury items than items actually needed. You will get a feeling of what will work just from building things. Believe me, you will always be looking for new tools to buy ( it goes with the job) and as you grow in your skills your need will also change and along with that the type of tools will change as well.
Just get building and you will be in a happy place with your craft. Don’t get lost in the game of buying everything you see or feeling like all the videos you see all show the best of the best in the way of tools. Remember they were all once where you are right now and had the same troubles and evolved into where they are now. If you are reading this article then you already know that woodchoppin’ time and the furniture projects book by Chad Stanton (click here) are great real-world references for quality building and can be done with basic tools. If you have any additional questions about any of the topics please let me know.
Thanks for reading and go get building!