Essential woodworking tools

There are thousands of different types of really cool and handy tools out there.  Some you may only need to use a handful of times, and some may be the most essential tools in your shop.  If you are trying to get a collection of just the essentials woodworking tools, it may be overwhelming trying to sort through all the tools that are available and pick just the ones you need.  Here is a list of some essential woodworking tools that you will need for just about any project.

 First, let’s cover the basics:

Every shop should have a really good hammer, a 25’ tape measure, and a level.  Be sure to buy a hammer that has a comfortable weight and feel to it, as it will probably be one of the most used tools in your entire shop.Woodpeckers Precision square

Another tool you may always want to keep in close reach is a layout square or carpenter square.  layout squares are handy for measuring, and marking square ends for an end cut.  We like Woodpeckers Precision Square and Woodpeckers Triangle sets.  Both are great tools that are practically indeispensable for having around your shop and the quality in these tools is incredible.  Woodpeckers Layout squares are precision to .001” accuracy. 


A chisel is a handy little tool and has many great uses including squaring up those round corners left behind when routing hinge mortises. Just hold the chisel in mortise corner and strike with hammer or mallet. We like Whiteside’s Chisel which has a sharp 3/8 square hardened steel cutting blade and is made in USA.  You may also want to get a mallet to use with the chisel instead of a hammer.


Keeping a utility knife in close reach can also prove to be pretty handy.  They are great for making scribes in pieces of stock, cleaning up a hinge mortise, slicing veneer before cutting, and dozens of other uses.  KDS offers a large variety of different styles of Utility knives and replacement blades.

A quality screwdriver set with several different types and sizes of screwdrivers is essential for every shop, and will probably get uses almost as much as it gets borrowed for projects in the house.  We suggest choosing a set with a few flat head sizes (we suggest 4.5, 5.5, 6.5, 8) and Philips screwdrivers (in sizes #0, #1, #2, #3).  It may also be a good idea to keep a few Torx screwdrivers, square head screw drivers, and star drivers on hand.  These may not get used quite as much, but when you need them, there is really no substitute.  Wiha sells many screwdriver sets with varying styles and sizes and are well known for consistently producing quality parts.

Woodpeckers Box Clamp

If you ever have to glue anything while completing a project, then a clamp set is a must have.  They are relatively inexpensive, and necessary for many projects.  Woodpeckers makes a great clamp set and a  4” clamp that is designed to create an enormous amount of clamping force while not taking up a lot of surface area on your project. 


Whiteside Essential Router Bits Set

For the most versatility in cutting for your projects we recommend Whiteside’s 10 essential Router bit set.  Whiteside’s 10 essential router bit set comes with 2 different cutting diameter straight bits, a rabbeting bit, a 45 deg chamfer bit, Roundover, Cove, and Flush trim bits, spiral bits, dovetail bits, and a slotting cutter.  It’s a great way to get all the router bits you need and will use the most in one package. 


Last, we recommend a General purpose or a combination blade as you can use them to make several types of cuts.  Depending on what you are cutting and the type of cut you need to make, it may be necessary to get different types of blades, but having a good quality General Purpose or combination blade is a good place to start.  To see what other types of saw blades you may need based on the material you are cutting or the cut you are making, see more information on how to choose a saw blade.   

 The most important thing to remember when collecting some essential tools for your shop is that quality is important.  Buying cheap tools is not only dangerous, but is usually more expensive in the end.  Cheap tools can ruin a prjects, and need to be replaced much more often than a quality tool. The cost of replacing a lot of cheap tool will actually cost you more than if you purchased a quality tool in the first place.


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