Many woodworking novices take a look at their budget and wonder how they can purchase a shop’s worth of power tools to get started. Thankfully, one doesn’t have to spend a large sum to start. In this article, we’ll discuss seven woodworking tools that a budding woodworker should have on hand from the beginning. Most of them are fairly inexpensive too. These seven tools allow the beginner to take on a decent number of projects.
Circular Saw- When most people think of a circular saw they don’t think fine woodworking tool. In fact, most people consider circular saws to be more of a carpentry tool. However, this tool is one of the most versatile basic handheld power tools you can purchase. You can use a circular saw with a clamp on a straight edge and it is about as accurate as a table saw. It can also handle many tasks that one can attempt with a table saw like cutting sheet items like medium-density fiberboard and plywood. If you are woodworking on a budget, the circular saw should be the very first handheld power tool to purchase. It will get plenty of use.
Power Drill- Most people would expect to see a cordless drill on this list. However, we are talking about basic power woodworking tools for a shop. A chorded drill is versatile and powerful. Yes, a cordless drill is more portable but a chord drill is less expensive and you can perform more tasks with it. Consider the options like whether you want a keyed or keyless chuck, straight drill or hammer drill, and whether a 3/8 or ½ inch chuck. Make sure to do some research to get a solid idea of all the options available to you.
Jigsaw- A jigsaw allows the user to cut curves or circular patterns into wood. A band saw is usually more accurate and can cut thicker wood but for beginning purposes a sabre saw may be all you need. To keep it versatile, choose an orbital action, corded jigsaw. Get one that feels good in your hand and has an easy bland changing system.
Random Orbital Sander- Palm sanders are less expensive and can use plain sandpaper but we think that this basic handheld power tool is essential for every beginner. Random orbital sanders use hook and loop fastened sanding disks and do not sand it patterns. It uses a random sanding motion. This motion reduces the chance that sanding marks appear on the wood due to the sanding motion. Before purchasing the random orbital sander make sure the local woodworking supply store carries the sanding disks for the model in various grits. The key to proper sanding is to use finer grits in a progressive manner. This reduces or removes any markings left behind from the previous sanding.
Table Saw- Once you have purchased the tools mentioned above and had plenty of time to get used to them pick up your first major woodworking tool purchase. The table saw is the primary tool of every woodworking shop. It is the centerpiece from which all other tools get used and organized. Make sure to purchase the best table saw your budget can afford. Do solid research and take the time to learn what features you really want and fits within your budget.
Compound Miter Saw- After you have purchased a good table saw it is time for this tool. This is your next major purchase. It is not as expensive as a quality table saw but it comes in quite handy when cutting compound angles like beveled, mitered, and combination cuts on the ends of a piece of stock. When you develop skill on the compound miter saw you will discover that your circular saw spends a bit more time in the closet than it did before.
Router- A quality router rounds out the essential tools that every beginning woodworker should own. We recommend a quality stationary base model router. This handles plenty of tasks and can be mounted to a router table at a later time. Get a router with at least 2 HP and electronic variable speed controls (larger cutting bits should use slower speed settings), a soft start mechanism, and is easy to make bit changes. Pick one up with noth ½ and ¼ inch shank router bits.
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