So you’re thinking of taking up Woodworking as your relaxing hobby. You know you need a variety of woodworking tools to get started but which ones should you buy first. Well you don’t need to spend a fortune to get started. Try purchasing what you can, used, from someone upgrading. And shop for discounts and build your collection as you have need and money.
The most basic tools are:
– 16 ounce claw hammer (I prefer and “Estwing” for balance and comfort)
– tape measure (depending on what you’re doing choose one that works for you)
– safety glasses (and wear them, better safe than sorry)
– screwdrivers (buy a set you’ll always be taking something apart and need one)
– hand saw (though we don’t use these as much today they always come in handy)
– level (good for a straight edge as well as installing things level and plumb)
– hack saw (good for shortening bolts etc.)
– sand paper (have a selection 80 grit, 120 grit, 220 grit always available)
– pliers (you will always need these for pulling something)
Other tools you will want to include:
Chisels: Look for high quality, durable chisels, as these will get a lot of use. You will need a variety of chisels in sizes from ¼ to 2 inches wide, depending on the project. Chisels can be used by hand or you can tap them with a wood mallet.
Clamps are needed for gluing projects together. A wide variety of sizes and types are available (bar claps, pipe clams, C clamps). These are generally inexpensive, so pick them up whenever you find them. These can often be found used and in good condition.
Squares are important for accurate measuring. You will need a framing square or a carpenter square. A try square is often used in furniture making. These come in sizes from three to twelve inches. Look for squares that are marked in inches and metric. A combination square has two pieces: a head on a steel blade. These are a great tool for measuring 45 or 90 degree angles.
Drills come in corded or cordless models. Corded drills work well and are less expensive though the convenience of cordless is nice. Almost all feature forward and reverse and variable speed controls, these are a must. If you want a cordless drill, look for high voltage batteries to be sure it will have adequate power. Look for a model with two batteries, so one can be charging while you work with the other. You will also need a variety of drill bits for drilling and for driving screws in your woodworking projects.
Hand planes are used for a variety of purposes. A block plane is used for trimming and is the smallest. Smoothing planes are good for fine cuts and are eight or nine inches long. A jack plane is used for rough shaping and comes in twelve to fifteen inch sizes.
Where to Find Woodworking Tools
Don’t rush out to buy the cheapest tools you can find to supply your workshop. Buying cheap tools is a decision you could well live to regret. Wait until you can afford quality items that will last. A good set will last for years, unlike cheap tools which will have to be replaced several times over the same time period.
The internet is a good place to search for discount woodworking tools. Look for well known names, such as Rockwell tools, Sears hand tools (not power), Hitachi tools and Ridgid tools. There are also many special woodworking tool shops that are well known for quality. By purchasing major brands that are known for quality, you are more likely to end up with a product that will give you years of dependable use.
You can also find quality tools at an affordable price, used. These can be found at flea markets, yard sales, antique auctions or your local classifieds. These tools are often in good shape, particularly if they have been used only a little. But be careful sometimes they are asking almost new prices. Hand tools are almost always a good bet when purchased used.
Be careful when purchasing used power tools. They are generally ok if they haven’t been used a lot. Check them out thoroughly thou, and try them to be sure they are in good condition. Be careful; when I say try them I don’t just mean turn them on. They may run but under load do they work properly? Ask about how often they were used and when they were first purchased to get a better idea of the overall condition.
Now go have some fun making projects for your home and garden.