Choosing the Right Woodworking Tools

When you first start woodworking, you have to take particular care when you are buying your first set of tools. It is important to make sure that your new tools match both your skills and your budget. More advanced tools will allow for faster and more intricate work but are often quite unforgiving in the hands of a beginner. Lets take a look at what kinds of tools you will need to look at for your first kit.

Chisels and Chisel Sets

Woodworking Tools - Chisels
The chisel has been a core part of the woodworker’s arsenal for centuries. Useful in all aspects of woodworking, chisels are used for a wide variety of woodworking techniques. Whether you are carving, detailing, shaping, shaving, chunking, or engraving, chances are that a good chisel will be useful in your work. The first thing to take note of when choosing a new chisel is the thickness of the blade and whether it will be suitable for the task in mind. Following that, the handle and quality of the blade are both very important things to keep an eye out for, there shouldn’t be any substantial chips, cracks or splits in both the handle and the blade as this can reduce the lifetime of the tool.

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Woodworking Tools - Planes
A plane is a very important woodworking tool when you come to work with any projects that need to be fitted together, straightened, or sanded down. The quality of a plane and its blade will have a massive impact on the quality of your piece. If the plane has warped or the blade has dulled, you can do far more damage than good to your work. A plane works by holding a sharp blade, the ‘cutter’ at a specific angle, using a frog adjustment screw to hold the cutter in place. The cutter sticks out from the bottom of the plane, the ‘sole’ and when you run the plane down a wooden surface, it will shave off the surface of the wood, leaving behind an even surface.

Work Bench

Woodworking Tools - Work Bench
The work bench is the centerpiece for all woodworking facilities. This is where the handyman builds his/her crafts, so it is a must for the table to be of the highest quality. While there are many variations of the bench available depending on the person’s working style, there are some traits that must be present in all work benches. The bench should be rigid and sturdy enough to stay still while you work and its position and height should be optimized for the worker’s comfort and efficiency of motion.


Woodworking Tools - Sharpener
A lot of hand tools that woodworkers use require periodic sharpening to maintain their effectiveness. The sharper your tools, the better they will perform. As such, it is a must that you have a sharpener available at your workshop. There are manually operated sharpeners and there are machine-driven sharpeners. Both forms of tool sharpeners have significantly improved over the years, prolonging the life of both tool and sharpener.

Hand Saw

Woodworking Tools - Hand Saw
The hand saw is the most basic cutting tool for woodworking. As one of the fundamental woodworking tools, you can see this tool virtually anywhere. The saw has a minimalist design: a long thin blade with a handle comfortable enough to accommodate most hands. Hand saws are typically available in 2 teeth designs. The cross cut saw is designed for cutting across the wood grain, while the rip saw cuts along the grain. Both types of saws are must-haves for woodworkers.

Coping Saw

Woodworking Tools - Coping Saw
The coping saw has a very narrow blade stretched across a U-shaped frame. This is used for cutting curves, external shapes, and interior cut-outs. The handle is designed in such a way that it allows for making turning cuts. This saw is relatively affordable and can prove valuable for a number of woodworking projects that require making fine cuts. Replacing the blade is simple, and there are multiple blades designed for different woodworking tasks.

Wooden Mallet

Woodworking Tools - Wooden Mallet
Using a chisel sometimes means that you have to hit it. However, it is not a very good idea to hit your chisel with a metal hammer. Not only can it damage either your hammer or your chisel, but it is also a highly accident-prone exercise. For such situations, the best tool to use is the very old-school wooden mallet. It is light enough to be used for most jobs, and it has a large head for accurate hits. It is recommended that your mallet is made using hard wood. It should also have the right weight balance for better accuracy.

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Woodworking Tools - Clamps
The clamp is a basic tool that you use for holding 2 items together. This is a highly valuable tool to have in a workshop because you are bound to do a lot of clamping when building wooden items. For example, if you will be gluing 2 joints together, you will need the clamp to hold these parts together while the glue hardens. It is recommended that you get multiple clamps, as you’ll never know how many of them will you need for a specific project. There are also different types of clamps that are useful for specific scenarios.

Marking Knife

Woodworking Tools - Marking Knife
The marking knife is the tool of choice when you are planning your cuts. While you can use other markers such as pencils, the marking knife should still be your weapon of choice because it can create finer lines for cutting and it can access tight spaces. Finding the right marking knife can be tricky, and not all knives can actually fit the role well. It is recommended that you purchase a high-quality marking knife, as it’s a tool that you will likely be using for a very long time.

Folding Rule

Woodworking Tools - Folding Rule

It may seem like a tool designed for kiddie art classes, but the folding rule is very valuable for woodworkers of all levels. Whether you are working on beginner woodworking plans or you are performing some advanced building jobs, the folding rule is one reliable item that will always find a place in your workshop. It will help you get proper measurements on a straight line every single time. As a bonus, it is folding, so you can easily stash it in your pocket or toolbox. An alternative for this tool is the tape measure.


Woodworking Tools - Protractor

The protractor is the tool of choice for getting angle measurements. This very basic tool can help you get angles correct down to a single degree. While there are other high-precision tools that help you mark angles at very fine measurements, this tool gets the job done in almost all occasions. The protractor can be used together with other tools such as the compass and the bevel gauge to get all your angles correct before cutting.

Combination Square

Woodworking Tools - Combination Square

The combination square is a very useful measuring tool for all levels of woodworking. It can be used for a wide range of purposes such as; checking squareness, scribing joints, and measuring depth of mortises. Just like any measuring tool, it should be able to take precise measurements for high-quality work. Given the versatility of this tool, it is a must that you don’t skimp on quality when buying a combination square. Buy the best-quality combination square you can find; you can’t go wrong with it.

Bevel Gauge

Woodworking Tools - Bevel Gauge
The bevel gauge, also known as a bevel square, is a tool used for scribing angles. One of its sides is movable; you can set it up to create your desired angle. To use the bevel gauge, you measure your desired angle using a protractor or other guides you are comfortable with. You then adjust the blade to match your desired angle. The handle can also be moved along the blade to find your desired position. Once you have your preferred position, lock up the gauge using the screw or wing nut and you are ready to go.


Woodworking Tools - Compass
The compass, also known as a divider, can be used for taking and repeating a precise measurement over and over again. Traditional woodworkers use the compass instead of traditional measuring tools for a wide range of work, including fine joinery. You can also use this tool for drawing circles and arcs with ease. This is a great tool for beginner woodworking, but it is actually effective in all levels of the craft. With the right compass, you can get consistent measurements every single time.

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