Essential woodworking tools for a beginner to have.

Woodworking is the art of making items from wood. It is an exciting art that converts ugly pieces of wood into beautiful furniture. Woodworking involves woodturning, joinery, making of cabinets, carpentry, and the carving of wood.

Well, just like a doctor has a stethoscope, you as a woodworker needs tools too. Since we are beginners in this class, I will advise you on the essential woodworking tools that you might require as well as try to give you an estimated budget where possible.

What basic tools does a carpenter need?

basic tools for carpenterAs a beginner, it is essential for you to be in a position to different the means from different categories.

Some of the tools that you can buy include: chisels, claw hammers, tape measures, work benches, jigsaws, routers, and sliding bevels as discussed below. Generally speaking, tools used by beginners are more accessible to acquire as compared to tools used by professional woodworkers.

Professional woodworkers require machine tools such as the table saw, drill press, band saw, radial arm saw, and the surface planner. These tools are quite expensive when compared to the hand tools and the power tools.

It is not a must for you to purchase these tools for woodworking all at the same time. Note that, these tools vary in urgency. Consequently, I will highlight the essential tools while others you can purchase later as time progresses.

Basic Woodworking Hand tools List

These tools for woodworking are operated using hands. So those soft hands of yours will soon feel like the sandpaper once they get hold of these.

Advancements in technology, however, led to many of the hand tools being replaced by power tools (to be discussed later).

Some of the hand tools have not yet been replaced and are still used today by woodworkers. Some of these hand tools are;

Claw Hammer

This is an essential hand tool in woodworking used for pulling and driving nails. Woodworking involves joining pieces of wood with pins. Therefore, you need to have a claw hammer.

Be relieved because a claw hammer ranges from $ 5 to $ 130. At this stage, you do not require a very expensive claw hammer so go for the cheapest as long it suits your specifications.



It is a tool with a blade cutting edge on its end. It is used for cleaning cuts from saws and joints, carving wood, and cutting stone, metal, and wood by use of hands. There are different types of chisels namely paring chisels, mortise chisels, and bench chisels.

Paring chisels are used for slicing the wood carefully as well as paring.

These chisels are only used my hands and cannot, in any case, strike using a mallet. Mortise chisels are used where there is massive slicing of mortises. On the other hand, bench chisels are considered to be multi-purpose whereby they are used for paring as well as chopping the wood.

When buying a chisel, there are considerations to be made. For instance, we have both socket and tang attached chisels. The pointed metal tang in a tanged chisel is usually fastened inside the wooden chisel handle while the socket chisel has a chisel handle that is cone-shaped which is fitted into the chisel’s metal socket.

For beginners, it advisable to have the socket chisels because they are more durable as compared to the tang chisels.

Also, consider buying a wooden handled chisel rather than a plastic handled chisel. Wooden handled blades have a fantastic look and feel. I mean, who does not like feeling fantastic working with cool stuff? Regarding durability, wooden handled chisels are more durable than a plastic dealt with a blade.

If possible, buy a set. Prices differ due to different brands available in the market.

Tape Measure

Woodworking requires taking a lot of measurements. Therefore, a tape measure is a tool that will immensely help you out will be taking measurements. A tape measure should be one that is retractable. It is made up of a metal strip with linear measure markings on it, a glass made of fiber, a cloth ribbon, and plastic.

What is important is for you to be in possession of a tape measure and at the same time be conversant with how it is used to take distance measurements.


This hand tool is also essential because it is used to determine if the piece of wood that you are working on is perfectly horizontal or not.

None of us here would like to make crooked furniture. Right? Can you imagine how a table that is imperfectly flat would look? It would be a comic scene for some of us. To avoid such instances, you need to be equipped with a level.

There are different types of levels in the market such as the cross-check level, laser level, digital level, line level, post level, plumb bob, standard level, and a torpedo level. This types should not scare you away.

Just have a cross check level, and that will be all for now. Do not stress yourself over the others. At least not at this time.


Craftsman 9-31794 Slotted Phillips Screwdriver

It is a hand tool used for driving screws. Screws and screwdrivers vary in types and sizes. Therefore, it is essential for you to have all kinds of screwdrivers because we will be dealing with different sizes of screws.

The screwdrivers types are slot head, Phillips head, Robertson, Allen wrench, and torx drive. These types can be easily differentiated pictorially. With that insight, a typical set of screwdrivers will cost you not less than $10.

A set of nails

Qualihome Hardware Nail

Woodworking involves joining pieces of wood using nails with the help of a claw hammer. Without nails, then you cannot practice carpentry. A nail is a metallic pin shaped used for fastening pieces of wood together.

It can be used with both concrete and wood. You can use a pneumatic nail gun or a claw hammer to drive nails into wood or concrete.

The commonly used types of nails in woodworking are bullet head, timber grip, weathertex, and flathead. Once you visit this link, you will notice that the pins majorly differ in the shapes and appearance of their heads.

The cost of nails ranges from $ 30 to $ 35 depending on their type and quality. However, while shopping for pins, you might realize that the price is slightly higher depending on their reputation. Thus use this range for your budget.

If possible, have each of the highlighted types of nails to be at a better position.

A Utility Knife

A utility knife is a hand tool device in woodworking that is used to make marks on the wood you are working on. For instance, while using a tape measure, you might need to mark the extent of a certain distance. Well, this is where the utility knife comes hand in hand.

Utility knives should be taken care of after use to avoid bluntness and rust. They should, therefore, be washed after use, cleansed, sanitized using ethyl alcohol, dry it off and store it in a dry place.

It should also be filled frequently to suit your needs.

A Sliding Bevel

It used for measuring angles while woodworking. It consists of a slotted blade which balances itself on pin steel on one of the body’s ends and a stock. It also has a thin opening along the body that takes the blade.

You can efficiently use a sliding bevel to measure angles by balancing the blade, and then you can either adjust it to the angles between zero degrees and one hundred and eighty degrees inside or outside.

It is straightforward to change the blade to any distance due to its sliding nature. Just acquire a sliding angle that you can afford. Whether cheap or expensive, they all serve the same purpose.

A Block Plane

It is a hand tool used for shaving pieces of wood. The choice of a block plane affects the appearance of the end product. A perfect block plane cuts precise bevels on both the long grain and the end grain, tackles end grain cuts, curves and eases edges, and perfectly levels cornered joints.

Therefore, it is essential for any woodworker beginner to be in possession of a block plane. I know most of us to worry about the cost, but I assure you it is not as expensive as you think.

If you have as low as $ 11.95, be happy because you can easily purchase for yourself a fantastic block plane.

A Layout Square

Layout Square

This is a hand tool used for making square lines as well as marking angles that do not exceed forty-five degrees. Most carpenters call it the speed square.

It looks similar to the set squares that we used during our geometry lessons while in high school.

They available layout square models are 6 inches and 12 inches. However, the 6-inch model is more common than the 12-inch model.

Layout square models are available are either plastic or aluminum. It is advisable to choose the aluminum model which is more durable. The plastic model might occur cheaper, but it will cost you a lot more in the long run.

Before you go shopping, keep in mind that the aluminum layout squares are the best regarding their durability.

The latter discussed, are the essential woodworking hand tools that a beginner woodworker needs to be possessive of. Later as you advance in woodworking, you will realize that they form the basics of woodworking.

A Workbench

This is a table used by the woodworkers to hold the pieces of wood they are working on. Woodworkers use other tools such as the screwdriver to drive onto a piece of wood which is placed on a workbench.

It is very essential for a newbie woodworker to have a workbench because he/she needs it to place his/her work pieces while working with other tools. It is usually made of wood thus easy to acquire costing just $ 50. However, you can quickly create one for yourself.


It is a hand tool that is used as a fastening tool for holding items together tightly to avoid movement or instances of separation. It is used by applying pressure inwardly. A clamp may be temporary or fixed.

A temporary clamp is used for positioning items while fixing them altogether. On the other hand, a permanent brace is cemented to a particular place and is used while at that position. Both the temporary and permanent pairs are used as fastening tools.

As a newbie woodworker, you need to have at least one clamp. At this stage, you only need the temporarily clamp to aid while fastening things together.

There are different types of temporary braces namely; bench clamp, flooring clamp, pipe clamp, bar clamp, and the wooden cam clamp.

The other category of tools is the power tools as discussed below.

Basic Woodworking Power tools List

As the name suggests, these are tools which are operated using power or electricity.

Electricity acts as the power source to drive them into achieving woodworking tasks in a fast and efficient way. I know some of us are already scratching their heads. Well, you are right. These tools, are quite expensive.

However, you do not have to purchase all of them at the same time. For this reason, I have highlighted for you the most essential to you as a beginner. I hope that makes you feel better.

Enjoy for now for a time will come when you will be a professional woodworker, and you will have no other choice than to purchase all of them.

You have no reason to worry whatsoever. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Well, my dear beginners, this is your single step, and I am cocksure that you will someday get to your thousand miles.

Do not stop until you become a professional woodworker just like me. Sometimes it is good to brag. If not, why else are we here?


It is a powerful tool that is used for cutting curved and circular patterns efficiently on thin pieces of wood. A puzzle is a power tool consisting of a reciprocating saw cutting edge and an electric motor.

Sometimes, it is referred to as a saber saw or a bayonet saw by some manufacturers. These terminologies with greatly aid you while you are purchasing one.

The jigsaw’s blades are small and weak due to their lack of support at the jigsaw’s lower end. Thus, it should be used under good cut regulated control which requires rollers to ensure that the blade stays aligned above the sole plate.

Also, always ensure that the edges are sharp enough for faster and smooth cutting of wood.

When buying a jigsaw, the following considerations have to be made;

  • Ensure that the jigsaw brand you are buying is reputable for you to get a quality jigsaw.
  • Price is another consideration. Do not rush to buy a cheap puzzle. First, look into its features and know what you are looking for. Let this features guide you into the type of jigsaw you would want to possess and not the lowest price available.
  • You should also consider the power consumption of the puzzle. Remember, you are the one to pay your power bills. Therefore choose a problem with power consumption that you can afford.
  • Do not at any time buy a jigsaw without considering its power settings. Are you able to adjust the jigsaw’s speed power settings?
  • Buy a puzzle that can perform on wood, plastics, and metals alike. This element gives you an advantage over a range of materials that you can operate on with your jigsaw.

Circular Saw

It is another powerful tool used for crossing cutting, ripping, and cutting a variety of non-wood and wood materials.

As the name suggests, it uses an abrasive blade (disk) for cutting different elements in a rotational motion revolving around an arbor (used to grip the rough edge).

It cuts using its teeth at the edge of a metallic blade in a straight and accurate manner. When cutting, the circular saw should be set in a regular position.

There are different types of circular saws namely; abrasive saws, panel saws, table saws, and concrete saws among others but we will concentrate on the multi-tool saw. A multi-tool circular saw is a power tool thus fits our discussion.

Power Drill

Earlier on, we talked about screws and screwdrivers. My query is, have ever wondered which tool drills the holes onto which the screws are driven?

A power drill is correctly used to drill holes matching the screws that will be driven into wood, metal, or plastic. It comprises an electric-driven motor which revolves an interchangeable drill bit to make holes in plastic, metal, or wood.

There are corded and cordless power drills. The corded power drills use 110 volts of electricity to work. On the other hand, a cordless power drill is powered using a battery located in the drill’s handle.

Always use the right drill tip to avoid causing damage to the power drill. Also, always disconnect it from the power source after use and store it in a safe and dry place.


It is used for routing (hollowing out) a piece of wood into different shapes. The router has an electric motor driven spindle. Most woodworkers like a power router due to its high level of versatility.

It consists of an electric-driven motor, a guiding template, and a router bit. Routing involves high speed to cut, trim, and shape materials such as plastic, wood, and metal among others. The elements are shaped into different beautiful shapes that your eyes would love.

Always wear protective glasses and protection for the ears while using a router. Also, do not use a router without supervision or when lacking the skills. For instance, at this level, no one has the right to use the router except me.

If you want to know how to use one, be patient until we get there. It is very possible to buy yourself a router but do not use it without training.

Compound Miter Saw

It is a power tool used for cutting multiple angles on the materials’ ends. It is most useful in the molding of crowns and making picture frames. Always unplug the compound miter saw from the source of power after use and before servicing it.

Radial Arm Saw

It is used for crosscutting, ripping, cutting miters, and making moldings. It is made up of a circular saw which is mounted on a horizontally sliding arm. It can also be used for making lengths in wood.

This is a very dangerous tool. Most woodworkers have had their fingers cut by the radial arm saw so caution should be taken while using it.

Having all this knowledge, in conclusion, it is advisable for you to differentiate between the different types of wood (basswood, beech, and pine), wood properties, woodcuts, joints, and tools.

Also, be in a position to differentiate the different types of woodworking tools and ensure that you use them for their right purpose.

Woodworking practices are exciting because they involve the creation of new things from the integration of different ideas. To this effect, be open-minded, and you will enjoy the fun of being a woodworker.


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