Top 6 Tools to Start Your Woodworking Shop
By Ted Leger
It took one time working with lumber and wood stock and I was hooked. From then on I loved to eat, sleep and talk about woodworking to everyone. And within a short period, I built my first shop and grabbed my tools and organized them. That was my “man cave.”
It normally doesn’t take long for someone that is going to have an interest in woodworking to grow hungry to set up his or her own shop or “allotted space” so they can satisfy their craving for building projects with wood. Especially if they can afford it, (and sometimes even if not), even the novice woodworker will start to check out the tools of this awesome hobby and skill set.
The issue that most will run into is the cost, especially if you want to fill a shop to the brim with a vast array of tools. This can be very pricey. So you have to start slow, and add as you go. But there are six indispensable tools that are needed when you begin.
The table saw is essential to any woodworker’s arsenal of tools. Even if it is a bench-top table saw, that’s fine. You have to have one. When you start ripping lumber over and over, doing so with only a handheld circular saw, or what is more commonly known as a “skill saw”, just won’t cut it.
When used with a rip fence, a table saw is more accurate and more powerful than a circular saw. Due to this your cuts will be straight and your arms won’t be so tired from the circular saw and straight-edge jig that you would constantly be setting up. And don’t forget the time factor. Table saws cut much, much faster than any circular saw.
Corded Electric Drill
If you can only afford one drill, this is the choice to make. And be sure it has a 1/2-inch chuck to hold the larger bits. A corded drill tends to be more powerful than a battery-operated one, unless you can afford a high-end battery operated drill.
If you can somehow get two drills onto your tool list, that would make a large difference as well. One battery-operated and one corded drill with a 1/2-in. chuck on both tools is best if you can possibly make it happen. Don’t skimp on a low-cost cordless. If you do, you will learn why it was so cheap. With a cordless drill, you normally get what you pay for.
The ideal wood shop would have both a jigsaw and a band-saw. If you cannot afford both at first, then go with the less expensive jigsaw. A good band-saw will set you back about 500 dollars or more.
The jigsaw and bandsaw are great for cutting curves in wood. Unless you want all of your projects to feature hard angles on every part, then you’ll really have a hard time without such a tool. Large bandsaws can also re-saw big pieces of lumber with irregular shapes. For any large scrollwork you have to have a jigsaw or bandsaw. There is no way around it.