What Woodworking Tools Should You Buy First?


The greatest woodworkers had to start somewhere. They did not begin as master craftsmen; it took them time, dedication, failure, and understanding the tools that were going to make them so great. If you are new to the woodworking game, you might be wondering where to start.

What woodworking tools should you buy first? Every woodworker will never forget his first set of tools, even more, the tools that helped him do what he loves best. Start with a drill and bits, a miter saw, a jigsaw, random orbital sander, chisels, and a circular saw. After that, add your bandsaw, drill press, router, and table saw.

This list may sound like a lot, but at the end of the day, you will need these tools to accomplish your woodworking goals. It is not a matter of if you will need them, but a matter of when.

Keep in mind, this collection can be built over several months to years, and there is no requirement to purchase them all at once. To understand the why behind these tools, continue reading to figure out what each tool’s function is and how it will benefit you in your shop.

10 Woodworking Tools You Should Buy First

Whether you recently stumbled onto a nice pile of cash (teach me your ways), or you have been saving up for quite some time, it is looking like the perfect opportunity to begin investing in your woodworking tools.

But, with so many projects in mind and a seemingly endless supply of woodworking tools, where should you start?

Below is a nice and clean list of the top ten tools you need to get your woodworking goals into action. A few of these are pretty easy to identify, but there may be a few that could eave you scratching your head- especially if you are new to this.

Fear not, I will get into their functions and what exactly they do to make your job a bit easier, a little more time-savvy, and ultimately more enjoyable. You can then get to work on your woodworking project rather than spending so much time in the researching phase.

So, the 10 woodworking tools that you should buy first include the following: Drill and bits, miter saw, jigsaw, random orbital sander, chisels, circular saw, bandsaw, drill press, router, and a table saw.

Let’s take a closer look. 

1. Drill and Bits

If you are new to the game and truly have no idea what you are doing, it is likely even you have heard of a drill and the bits that come with it. If you are sitting there thinking, “Ok, no, this still means nothing to me,” do not get self-conscience. I’ll explain.

For any woodworker, you are going to have to have a drill and bits. This little contraption is the glue that is going to hold all of your projects together. No, not the drill itself, but the drill is what installs your hardware.

A drill is a tool that effortlessly removes material and creates holes in place of that material. Along with your drill, you have drill bits that attach to the drill and subsequently what you are drilling. Drill bits come in many different shapes and sizes designed for all kinds of different materials. Make sure to check your drill bit to make sure it is appropriate for the job you are about to tackle. Once you get the hang of each drill bit’s purpose, it will be a much more natural selection for each job.

You can find many different types of drill bit variety packsOpens in a new tab., which is a great place to start if you are unsure what projects you will end up working on. Then, you can add to your collection along the way. I have an article on which drill bits you need for woodworking if you want more information(Link Here)

2. Miter Saw

If you are doing your woodworking projects by yourself, a miter saw is a great addition to your shop. These are great for making quick and accurate miter cuts (an angular cut for projects like framing and trim work) and are super-efficient when needing to cross-cut small pieces of material.

For quick and easy jobs with clean edges, this guy will get the job done right. Think of how impressed everyone will be with your handcrafted trim and crown molding. While you can use a table saw to make miter cuts, using a miter saw will give you much more precision, accuracy, and safety. For those smaller jobs that you need to be done in a jiffy, a miter saw will be your new best friend. I have a good article on Miter saws with more information here. (Link Here)

3. Jigsaw

A jigsaw is great because it is portable. It is a true treasure that any woodworker will tell you that you must have in the tool world. A jigsaw can cut curves, make bevel cuts, are easy to handle, and sometimes even go cordless if need be.

It is a beautiful precision cutter when you need something other than a horizontal line at the end of your workpiece. Jigsaws help get your projects from “Ehh, it’s ok” to “How much do you want for it?”

4. Random Orbital Sander

A random orbital sander isn’t very mysterious in its name. This tool does exactly as it says: it sands in random, rotating circles. With the vibrations of these tiny circles, the sander can create an ultra-smooth surface that will allow for either a smooth finish or a great base for painting or staining.

Instead of vigorously sanding, it takes each space little by little so that no part of the material covers the same section twice. When completing a woodworking project, you will have to sand down the surface- especially if you want to apply a finish or stain. So, owning a random orbital sander for your woodworking projects is key.

5. Chisels

Chisels are a bit different than the three tools that I have described thus far. Instead of a power tool, chisels are a woodworking tool that gets to work through your own hands. These are a type of cutting tool with a sharp edge at the end of a metal blade driven through force to shape different solid materials.

There are many different types of chisels, so I have included another article on which type of chisels you should look into buying first here. Check this out to get a more precise idea of the chisels you should add to your woodworking shop.

6. Circular Saw

Circular saws are actually quite versatile when it comes to your woodworking needs. They can cut larger pieces of wood with a great 90-degree angle and even an accurate miter.

You can rip boards with a circular saw as well as make bevel cuts. The possibilities are pretty endless with this saw, and thus this tool speaks for itself. If you want something that can essentially do it all, a circular saw needs to be in your workspace.

7. Bandsaw

If you need to make a wacky shape, the bandsaw is for you. This saw is actually super versatile and can do anything from crosscut to cut curves, to even create cabriole legs. However, it really shines when you need something that’s shape is a bit unusual. Along with cutting irregular shapes, it can also resaw lumber into thinner slabs when you only have the thick stuff on hand. Talk about being resourceful!

8. Drill Press

A drill press is one of those tools that will save you some serious time – really, they all do, but this one is at the top of the list. A drill press essentially takes all the work out of having to drill various holes into a project.

Instead of having to readjust your body and angle with every drill, you simply move your piece and the drill press remains stationary. This helps to make your drilling sessions much smoother which then saves you heaps of time.

9. Router

A router can be used for more functional type projects, but it can also be used to put a little (or a lot) of beauty into something. What is great about a router is that it can give your wood a smooth, clean edge, but it also can make nice and even cuts on straight and curved edges.

If you want to add a little detail, routers can create different cabinet designs and do an incredible job with decorative molding. Who doesn’t love a nice Roman ogee? To add detail and creativity to your woodworking projects, you will need to add a router to your collection.

10. Table Saw

Last on this list of “must-haves,” you have the good ole’ table saw. We know it, we love it, and you need it. A table saw is quite simplistic, but it can make essential cuts super-fast without sacrificing quality.

Table saws can rip, crosscut, bevel cut, create grooves, and cut various joints. This saw is the crown jewel of woodworking tools, and it will get the job done without causing a big scene.

How to Keep Your Woodworking Tools Clean

Now that you know all the basics there are to choose from and why you need them in your woodworking shop, you need to start thinking about how you will take care of them. I know this sounds like it’s going to turn into some lecture, but sit tight and hear me out.

To keep your woodworking tools clean, be sure to remove scrap pieces, keep the dust at bay with regular sweeping and cleaning (or covering when not using) of all your equipment pieces, and put away any tools that are small enough to be stored.

If you are working with wood, you are creating dust – a ton of it. I would imagine that you do not have a separate room for each piece of equipment, so here is what you need to do.

Plain and simple: keep your working area clean. No, I don’t mean only pick up your rag you use to brush off all your projects with, I mean really keep it clean. Dust is enemy number one when it comes to your tools and it will get them working poorly in no time flat.

Odds are, you will be investing a significant amount of time, money, and energy into your woodworking projects. To maintain this, you will need to keep your woodworking tools clean.

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