Introduction: 5 Woodworking Tools for Beginners

About: Weekly how-to project videos about #woodworking, metalworking, and more. #Maker. Created by Johnny Brooke.

Here’s a list of the 5 basic woodworking tools I’d recommend for beginners. These tools should enable you to build almost anything, and will still be useful even if you upgrade to larger stationary tools later on. These tools would also make great gifts for any of the woodworkers in your life. Enjoy, and let me know what your 5 picks would be in the comments below!


Step 1: The Circular Saw

The circular saw is one of the most useful woodworking tools, without question. It's versatile, portable, and will serve your woodworking for many, many years. From ripping sheet goods like plywood and MDF, to crosscutting lumber, to even cutting circles with the correct jig, the circular saw will be your go-to tool until you graduate to a table saw.

If you are going cordless (and you should, because cordless tools are awesome), I'd recommend buying a set like this one so that you can swap batteries between your tools.

Some accessories I'd recommend to go with your circular saw would include a straight line ripping jig, so that you can cut straight lines effectively. I've embedded a video above showing how to build one, or you could purchase a commercial version if you don't feel like building one.

Another must-have is a good quality blade that's meant for the materials you'll be cutting. I use a general all-purpose blade on my circular saw, and this allows me to cut almost anything with minimal tearout. If you're going to be cutting a lot of plywood or melamine, a higher tooth count blade would be a great addition to your kit.

Let's move on to the next tool in the lineup!

Step 2: The Drill (And Bonus Impact Driver!)

The next essential woodworking tool for beginners is a good quality drill. You'll use a drill on almost every single project, so I'd recommend investing in one with plenty of power and features.

One feature to look for is a hammer drill mode. This will allow you to drill holes in masonry like concrete and brick. If your shop walls are made of concrete, I'd highly recommend getting a hammer drill, since they'll allow you to install fasteners in your shop walls.

Again, if you go with a cordless tool kit, it will almost definitely come with a drill, but it might also come with aN impact driver. An impact driver is an incredibly useful tool to have in tandem with a drill, as it will allow you to effectively drive fasteners like screws and bolts without having to change the bit on your drill.

Some accessories I'd recommend for your drill include a countersink bit, which will not only make your screw holes look cleaner, but will also help to reduce cracking when driving screws.

Another great accessory to add would be some kind of drill-based joinery system like a dowel drilling jig or pocket hole jig. Either of these options will help you create strong joinery with hidden fasteners, something you can't do with a drill alone.

Step 3: The Jigsaw AKA the "Handheld Bandsaw"

The next tool on my list is the jigsaw. If you want to cut lines that aren't straight, the jigsaw is going to be your best bet. Once again, if you're going cordless, stick with the same battery platform as the rest of your tools.

A few nice features to look for in a jigsaw include some kind of splinter guard to help keep plywood and other sheet goods with thin veneers from chipping out, as well as some kind of dust removal mode.

As far as accessories, the key accessory for jigsaws is a good quality blade that's designed to cut the material you're working with. This set features multiple blades that are designed for different types of materials.

Step 4: The Random Orbit Sander

The fourth tool on my list is the random orbit sander, a tool you'll unfortunately be getting to know quite well over your woodworking career. Sanding is a necessary evil in woodworking, and investing in a good quality sander will save you time and keep your hands from being vibrated to death.

I'd look for a sander with good vibration control, good dust collection, and variable speed.

As far as accessories, I'd buy a good assortment of sanding discs, and plenty of them. The last thing you want to do is use a pad to death because you're out. This will waste your time and won't leave as good of a surface finish. As for which grits, I tend to use 80, 120, and 180 grit the most, with 320 reserved for between coats of finish.

Step 5: The Router

The last tool on my list is also one of the most versatile, and that's the router! This is really a cornerstone tool in any good woodworking shop, and for good reason. Fitted with the right bit, the router can do a TON of jobs in the woodshop. Cutting dados and rabbets, adding roundovers or chamfers, routing mortises, and flattening large pieces, the router can do a lot of work.

I'd recommend picking up a plunge router over a fixed-base router, since it will allow you to do a lot more with the router, including routing mortises and pockets. Another good option would be a trim router with a plunge base. While it likely won't be as powerful as a larger version, it will most likely be easier to handle and will get most jobs done.

For bits, I'd recommend picking up either a roundover bit or chamfer bit, depending on your taste, for edge profiles. It is really amazing how much of a difference a simple roundover or chamfer can add to a finished piece.

In addition, I'd also pick up a good flush trim bit, which is extremely useful when adding solid wood edge banding, template routing, etc.

I would recommend avoiding router bit sets, since they will most likely come with bits you don't need, and will usually be of a lower quality.

Step 6: Enjoy Your Woodworking Tools!

Hopefully you found this list helpful! Again, for more information, check out the video above. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I'll do my best to answer it.

If you'd like to check out more of my projects, check out my YouTube channel or follow me on Instagram. Thanks, and happy building!

- Johnny Brooke

Crafted Workshop