Woodworking Tools For Beginners – What You Need To Start Your DIY Project

High angle closeup of a large group of tools

There are countless people out there that have no idea where to begin from if they want to get into woodworking and DIY projects. I’ve seen a lot of friends that have tried dealing with large scale projects without having many of the needed tools and I’ve also seen people who hire workers to complete a rather simple task.

Whether you want to make small furniture, or fix something on your roof, there is a list of instruments every woodworker should have. This is why I created this article on some of the most important woodworking tools for beginners which will surely help you with anything your mind can think of. 

To start things off, I want to separate the things I am going to list here into two different groups:

  • Electrical tools
  • Other non-electrical tools & accessories

You don’t have to have it all but make sure that you always check for which tools are going to be needed in your incoming project. Nothing is worse than having to cut off your progress simply because you don’t have the needed tool around you. Always plan ahead, and never ignore safety. Now, let’s jump into this!

Electrical (Power) Woodworking Tools

Man cutting wood

Here is my full list of power tools that every DIY workshop should have (if the budget allows it, of course):

  • Power Drill/Driver combo
  • Miter saw
  • Circular saw
  • Jig saw
  • Table saw
  • Nail gun
  • Sander (any type)
  • Paint sprayer

Now, let’s take a look at each of those tools individually and see why exactly you need one of those in your tool shed…

Power Drill/Driver combo

If you don’t want to use your manual screwdriver all the time, then it might be a good idea to invest in a power one. Of course, having the good ol’ screwdriver will still be helpful in some clutch situations (battery died or tight spot) but nothing beats the speed and efficiency of this particular power tool. Most modern power drivers can also drill so you will have a perfect two-in-one tool that will make the hopes and screw things in them at the same time. When you get your first drill don’t forget to add a good drill bit set to your purchase too, as some models don’t come with one!

Miter saw

The fastest way to cut wood into smaller board pieces is via a miter saw. It can cut both angled and straight boards and is the go-to choice for anyone who wants to start a DIY project that involves a lot of 2×4’s. It is extremely useful in installing baseboards or any other type of trim.

Circular saw

Miter saws are good at what they do but as soon as you have to cut a wider piece of wood they are practically useless. For that job, you will need a circular saw. It is excellent for cutting wood planks and excel at cutting things that can’t be moved around or picked up.

Jig saw

Electric jigsaw

Jig saws are used to cut non-linear lines in the wood you are working with. They are rarely used but boy are they handy when you need them! They are also great at cutting circular holes or any other shapes out of the middle of a wood plank. Any countertops that need a hole in them will require a jig saw basically. If you want to create a certain shape (square, triangle) of wood, then a jig saw is your safest and easiest way to do it too.

Table saw

And lastly, the king to rule them all – the table saw. Table saws are the more sophisticated and advanced brother of circular saws. They are used when you need to cut through wide pieces of wood but you also need the cut to be perfectly straight. It only works when you work with a wood chunk that is light enough to be lifted, though. There are also many types of table saws. If you want to learn more about portable table saws and check out some of the best models for this year, head over to my full Buyer’s Guide on the topic!

Nail gun

The tool that made the hammer jobless is the nail gun. It saves you so much time and effort and is basically every woodworker’s best friend. Rather than hitting each nail individually, you can just pull a trigger and the nail gun will do all the work for you. The tool works with different nail sizes and they can be either pneumatic or electric. Nail guns are essential when installing a plank wall or doing roofing work.

Sander (any type)

Sanding furniture by hand isn’t fun and nobody likes it. An electric sander (either orbital or belt) will do a much better job at a fraction of the time needed to sand it by hand. They also come in handy when you have to do paint work and require perfectly smooth surfaces. These sanders can also be pneumatic or electrically powered and there are plenty of good ones out in the market.

Paint sprayer

Even if you weren’t someone who wanted to get into woodworking or DIY projects, a Paint Sprayer is an absolute must for anyone who wants to keep his household in a fresh shape. It can be used for anything from a good craigslist find to painting furniture or even your walls.

One important advice regarding all the electric tools that you might need is to keep things simple. It is always good to invest in proper well-known brands but there are tools that don’t require you to go overboard with your budget. Sanders are one good example for that. They all work fairly well, and if the sand filter is good, then the rest isn’t really important.

Other Tools & Accessories You Might Need

Carpenter tools

Apart from the regular items that pop up in your mind right now such as hammers, paint brushes, screwdrivers, tape measures, leveler tool, pencils, and others, there are two specific items that I want you to check out:

  • Kreg Jigs
  • Clamps

These two have saved me so much time and energy that I cannot even imagine working without them anymore.

Kreg jigs are essential if you want to make better, and stronger joints. They provide you with a clean way of assembling joints that don’t even flinch after you’re done with them. Clamps serve a slightly different purpose. They are basically the woodworker’s third hand and the first thing you will learn about them is that you can never have enough clamps sadly.

Go for 6 and 12 inch sets as they are the most common ones and get longer ones only if you need them. These little helpers are ideal for when you need to drill more than a single board and have to make two aligning holes. If you are into cabinetry, then corner clamps are also a must.

Pro Tip: Kreg jigs also work perfectly with kreg face clamps.

Now, let’s go through some of the basic safety equipment you will need at first…

Safety Items

The very first thing you need to get and never work without are your safety glasses. They are essential and a must for any woodworker who values his health and his eyes. When working with wood, you will find that more often than never there are tiny bits flying around the place with insane speeds. If you don’t want those to meet your eyes, take the necessary precautions.

Another important safety aspect is ear protection. Since you will be working around very powerful (and loud) electrical tools, you will need to protect your ears from the constant loud hum of those tools. If you don’t wear ear protection, you might start to experience hearing loss after some time in the workshop.

Every other tool has a different safety protocol that you can familiarize yourself with by reading its instructions and warnings.

You can learn more about table saw safety and what you need to know before you start working with one by reading my full article on the topic.

Related Questions

How much does it cost to start a woodworking business?

Starting such a business isn’t going to cost you as much as starting some other ones simply because you can begin by working in your backyard or own garage/workshop. The only initial cost will be the one of the instruments that you will need for the job.

What is the difference between woodworking and carpentry?

Woodworking means creating furniture or cabinets by using wood. The simplest way to remember the difference between woodworking and carpentry is to remember this sentence “The woodworker makes the cabinet, but is the carpenter the one who installs it”.

Final Words

As a conclusion, I should point out that you shouldn’t hurry or rush into getting all the tools I listed here. Start by getting the essential ones or check which tools you will need for every project you embark on. Some of the most important woodworking tools for beginners are usually the ones used in every single project, such as a driver/drill combo, a saw, and maybe a paint sprayer. Getting those, on top of your safety equipment, should guarantee that you have at least the base items you need to finish your first wooden project!