10 Essential Tools for Your Woodworking Projects

A young man wearing a flannel shirt, ear protection and work gloves, examining a wooden chair in his workshop

Although some argue that tools don't define a craftsman, the reality is that they do. Therefore, the appropriate selection of woodworking equipment can enhance your experience with the trade and save you money in the long run.

Starting a career in woodworking might be challenging, but it doesn't have to be costly. Getting started takes only a few hundred dollars worth of high-quality instruments that will serve you for years to come. To help you get started, we've put up a handy list of ten essential woodworking tools.

Hand Saw

A man using a Irwin hand saw to cut a 2x4 piece of lumber on a wooden deck

handsaw will always have a place in a woodworker's shop. This tool is a simple and efficient way to get the job done quickly or make precise cuts. You won't have to deal with heavy tools, fiddly wires, or dead batteries with a handsaw. It's a convenient and cost-effective alternative to an electric saw.


A lifestyle image of a Makita jigsaw sitting on a stack of lumber in a wood shop

A good jig saw is a must-have tool for every aspiring woodworker. They are sometimes known as saber saws because of their revolving blades. You can make intricate, straight, curved, or serpentine cuts with these electric power tools. In addition, there are different types of blades that allow you to cut through metal, plastic, and wood. Jig saws are used with one hand, allowing for a steady grip on your project. These tools do a great job cutting tiny, complex, and interior components.

Power Drill

A man using a corded SKIL drill to drill a hole through a piece of wood that is clamped down to a work table

Power drills might be a woodworker's closest buddy in the earliest stages of their career. Only a few traditional artisans continue to work using a brace and bit or a hand drill. Electric drills are often used in the workplace for a variety of purposes. They are not just for drilling holes. With various accessories, you can convert your electric drill into other equipment. If this is your first power drill, you should strongly consider purchasing a corded type. Drills powered by 110/120-volt currents produce far greater torque and last significantly longer than cordless drills. While some may find wires inconvenient, they will never slow you down with a low charge.


A Milwaukee M18 cordless power screwgun being used to hang up drywall

Screws are the greatest fasteners for woodworking in general. They are secure and may be removed during disassembly, temporary joint construction, or in the event of an error. You don't want to be without your basic hand screwdrivers, but a powered screwgun makes driving screws quicker and easier. There are times when using a screwgun is the best option.

The cordless design of most screw guns makes them handier. You can even insert hexagon or six-sided bit shanks into screw guns, eliminating slippage.

Angle Grinder

Milwaukee M18 cordless angle grinder hooked up to a vacuum suction intank to collect dusk while working

In addition to cutting and grinding, you may also use the portable power tool known as an angle grinder for deburring, polishing, and other forms of surface preparation. Corded or battery-powered angle grinders are the most prevalent kinds of angle grinders. You can replace many instruments with a single angle grinder with the correct CBN or diamond grinding wheels, making tiresome, time-consuming tasks simpler.

Even better, angle grinders are simple to use. Even a complete newbie can get started right away if they follow the proper safety measures.

Circular Saw

A close up image of a DEWALT circular saw being used to cut into a piece of lumber on a construction site

A circular saw is a must-have power-activated tool for any beginning woodworker. The majority are corded circular saws that operates on household power; however cordless circular saws have made significant advancements over the past years. Circular saws, some argue, are better suited to simple carpentry than to delicate woodworking. However, that is not the case—when used appropriately, circular saws cut straight, clean lines.

Orbital Sander

A homeowner useing a corded black and decker orbital sander with dust collection on a piece of stained wood

An orbital sander should be at the top of your shopping list for electric wood finishing tools. Aside from saving time, these high-speed tools eliminate the need for labor-intensive hand sanding. Regular orbital sanders spin a circular disk of abrasive sandpaper in a circle. While they remove material quickly, they often leave swirl markings that are difficult to erase. Your best bet is a random orbital sander, as they aren't circulating. These sanders vibrate randomly, leaving the wood surface velvety smooth and devoid of marks.


A handheld mallet sitting on a wooden table next to two wood chisels and wood shavings all around

Contrary to popular belief, mallets are not identical to hammers. Both are visually striking instruments, yet they serve very different purposes. Hammers are often made of steel; however, some are brass or plastic. Mallets include huge wooden or leather heads and removable handles that suit heads of varying sizes.

The striking shock and surface impact of hammers and mallets are what distinguishes them. Mallets are far softer than hammers and absorb rather than inflict shock. Additionally, they leave little hitting traces, making mallets ideal for tapping wood joints together.


DEWALT handheld wood chisel and hammer being used on a piece of wood

If there is one beginner woodworking tool worth considering before purchasing, it's chisels. Investing in a decent set of six chisels and being proficient in their usage and sharpening can significantly increase the quality of your work. They are used for joinery, shaping, paring, and carving, among other things.

Bevel-edge chisels, which are flexible and inexpensive, are better for beginners. On the other hand, mortise chisels and bench chisels are specialized tools and don't provide many benefits.


A lifestyle image of a man in a wood shop using Irwin Quick-Grip clamps to hold together two pieces of wood while making a dresser drawer

Clamps, oh my! Any woodworker would tell you that there is never enough of them. You'll need clamps for everything - from assembling panels to bonding them together, holding them in place, a third hand you always need, the list goes on.

Pipe clamps should be your primary workhorses. These fixtures are mounted on standard-size galvanized tubing. These clamps can be large and hefty, so you should invest in a few high-quality bar clamps. Bar clamps will do most everyday activities in the woodshop, particularly until you get a suitable workbench and vise.

One last woodworking recommendation is to invest in high-quality tools! Hopefully, you've discovered the appropriate equipment to begin your woodworking adventure!

While do-it-yourself projects can be fun and fulfilling, there is always a potential for personal injury or property damage. We strongly suggest that any project beyond your abilities be left to licensed professionals such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk, and we assume no responsibility or liability for the contents of this article.

Article Author

Terry Tateossian

Terry Tateossian, Founding Partner of Socialfix Media is a fourth-generation entrepreneur who is recognized as an Inc. 5000 America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies, Forbes’ Top Women in Business, Fastest Growing Women Presidents by WPO, and 40 Under 40 Business Leaders by NJBIZ. But her favorite and toughest earned title is being “Mom” to her 2 children.


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