Best Woodworking Tools For Your Shop

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The right woodworking tools make any job easier, from constructing a bookcase to carving a wooden bowl by hand. As a beginning woodworker, it can be challenging to know what to buy because you are probably starting from scratch. Invest in these items to stock your workbench with the right tools for most woodworking projects:

Circular saw:

These are versatile and vital tools for the workroom. A circular saw can make a clean cut in a block of wood at a clean right angle of your choice. Many also feature cutting guides that make your work easier and top guards to prevent accidents.

Hand saw:

Basic handsaws allow you to make simple cuts to alter the size of your wood. Look for models that have a friction-resistant coating on the blade, which increases the saw's speed and cleanliness of cuts. As blades wear out over time, have them professionally sharpened or replace them with fresh blades. Invest in a variety of handsaws, from back saws or dovetails used to create dovetail joints to coping saws used to clean out the excess between pins and tails.

Card scraper:

This inexpensive tool proves its merit when you've got a rough patch of wood grain. Simple scrape back and forth to smooth out the rough grain of a tiger maple or wear down a rough patch on an otherwise clean piece of wood.

Set of chisels:

With a basic set of wood chisels, you can carve designs and letters into the wood. Look for a set that offers straight and angled chisels, as well as the popular V-shaped tool; and one that covers diameters of 1/4-inch up to 3/4-inch. Avoid chisels marked in millimeters as these may not equate to the U.S. measurements and this can be frustrating when tying to clean out grooves. You'll also want a mallet on hand for diving chisels into wood.


While classic handheld tools are a great choice for simple projects or beginning woodworkers, more advanced projects might benefit from powerful machines such as lathes. Bench top lathes are robust enough to support a wide range of projects. Thy may feature variable speeds and adjustable angles that make advanced and precision work achievable.

Cutting gauge:

This tool makes a delicate knife mark, which you then follow to cut wood. Essential and inexpensive.


For detail work, you'll need to hold the wood still and a set of clamps becomes essential. Look for a selection of spring, locking, quick-release and C-clamps. You may find that these come in handy for common household chores, not just woodworking.


Choose from a variety of sanders, including belt sanders, orbital sanders, oscillating sanders or drum sanders. If you perform carpentry as well as woodwork, you may prefer a battery-operated sander; otherwise, an electric sander should suffice. While you'll be able to use a sander for most jobs, always keep a variety of sandpaper on hand to clean out tight corners and perform finish work.

Keep an eye out for estate sales or yard sales featuring tools, as these are often great places to score woodworking equipment on the cheap. Start with the basic tools and build up your workbench staples over time until you've got a robust selection of woodworking equipment to meet your needs.

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