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Exploring the Woodworker’s Basic Tool Kit

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If you want to assemble a basic woodworker’s tool kit, then you need to know what is included. When most people think about woodworking, they often think about fancy power tools such as drills presses, and table saws. These are tools that are meant to be used by professionals. Therefore, they shouldn’t go into your basic tool kit.

Instead, you need to equip your shop using a few tools at a time. Then, as your skills get better, your inventory can expand as well. In your basic kit, you need to include tools that are absolutely indispensable. These are the items that you are likely to:

  • Use the most
  • Not be able to work without
  • Are safe and straightforward to learn

Therefore, these are the items that you need to think about purchasing first.

What About Other Steps?

You might be thinking about handling other steps if you don’t have the tools for the job. Is this possible? How are you going to get the job done?

You can take the item to a wood outlet. These outlets will handle planing, ripping, jointing, and crosscutting the wood to meet your needs. While you would have to pay for this service, the alternative involves buying fancy, advanced tools on your own. Then, you have to use them. Unless you are planning on using these tools on a regular basis, it is cheaper to take it to a wood outlet and ask them to handle the job.

Therefore, when you budget for your next project, you need to figure out which tools are needed, how much they cost, and whether or not they are worth it. Then, you can enjoy learning a new skill as you tackle each new project.

You Can Make High-Quality Projects with a Few Simple Tools

As you go through the process of building your woodworking kit, you will realize that you can make exceptional pieces with only a few hand tools and a little bit of hard work. While you might be enticed by the fancy power tools that you see on TV, you can still create amazing works of art without them. Then, as you get better at your craft, you can invest in these tools later, as you see fit.

When you get ready to shop for the tools for your kit, it is critical to think carefully. Take the time to check out more than one store. Then, read the catalogs carefully, as you want to compare both quality and price. You shouldn’t be in a rush as sales and specials will come up from time to time.

You can also check out mail-order catalogs in certain magazines, as they will often offer significant discounts on certain tools. Furthermore, tool sales are a normal practice at numerous retail outlets. As long as you are willing to be patient, you might never have to pay full-price for a single tool!

Finding the Right Tools for the Job

Lots of manufacturers offer two separate product lines for the same set of tools. They are:

  • The cheaper type of tool is for people who are woodworkers as a hobby
  • The second, more expensive line is for commercial and professional woodworkers

How can you find the right tools for your needs? In general, you should invest in the best tools you can afford. This is particularly true for tools that you are going to use by hand. For example, if you invest in a good plane or a good saw, it is unlikely that this will ever go obsolete. As long as you take care of your tools with the right type of maintenance, they should last forever. Think about your grandchildren using the same set of tools down the road. Every dollar you spend should be viewed as an investment.

On the other hand, if you are looking at power tools, you might end up spending more money than you have to. For example, if you are looking for a router for a 1-hp project, then you don’t need to spend the money for a more powerful option.

The fact remains that good tools will never go out of style. There are chisels that will last for a hundred years. Some professionals even state that old tools have higher levels of quality because they have proven their worth. That is why some old tools are more expensive than new ones.

With this in mind, what tools do you need for your toolkit? There are a few items that you should not go without.

Measuring Tools

WoodWorkers measuring tools

When it comes to measuring tools for your toolkit, it should include a few items. These include:

  • Combination Square: This tool is used for checking angles and distances before you make cuts
  • Compass: A compass is an invaluable tool that will help you measure angles my hand
  • Steel Tape: A durable measuring tape is critical, just make sure you invest in a measuring tape that is long enough for the task
  • Folding Rule: A folding rule is a measuring tool that usually folds into multiple segments that will help you save space in your woodworking kit
  • Framing Square: This square is used for measuring large, right angles
  • Sliding Bevel: This will help you recreate transfer patterns and existing angles
  • Marking Gauge: This will help you measure twice while cutting once
  • Scratch Awl: This is used to scribe a line, ensuring you don’t lose your place

These are a few of the most important measuring tools that you should have in your woodworking toolkit. They are among the most important hand tools for woodworkers.

Cutting Tools

Of course, you want to make sure that you invest in great cutting tools as well. Some of the most important items you need include:

  • Backsaw: A backsaw uses rectangular blades that have braced backs that make miter cuts
  • Crosscut Saw: A crosscut saw is used to cut across the grain of the wood
  • Dovetail Saw: A dovetail saw is used to handle fine, dovetail joint work
  • Coping Saw: A coping saw is functions like a bandsaw or a jigsaw only for curved cuts
  • Rip Saw: A ripping handsaw is used to cut with the grain of the wood
  • Keyhole Handsaws: A keyhole handsaw is used to cut interior holes
  • Slip-joint Pliers: These pliers are used to grip and bend certain types of hardware
  • Needle-nose Pliers: These pliers are used to hold and cut during various phases of projects

These cutting tools will help you tailor your projects to meet your exact needs.

Shaping Tools

Wood Workers Shaping Tools

In addition to cutting tools, you need to have the right shaping tools as well. A few critical items for your woodworking kit include:

  • Wood Chisels: Wood chisels are designed to work with a mallet to smoothly slice through wood with consistent degrees of pressure without shocking or damaging the piece with a dramatic strike
  • Hand Scrapers: These are meant to scrape fine amounts of wood from the surface to ensure a smooth finish
  • Smooth Plane: A smooth plane is used to remove material in a single pass and will deliver certain types of cuts depending on the edges
  • Round Rasp: A round rasp is used to remove large amounts of wood for shaping purposes
  • Flat Rasp: A flat rasp will function in a similar way; however, they will lead to flat surfaces
  • Utility Knife: A utility knife is a “jack of all trades” tool that can be used to handle a wide variety of tasks
  • Low-Angle Block Plane: This tool is used to handle work in tight quarters, where smooth joints are necessary

These shaping tools are critical in nearly all phases of your project. They can be used to get a project started or to put the finishing curves and edges on your work.

Joining Tools

A few of the most important joining tools that you will need for your kit include:

  • Claw Hammer: A claw hammer is a one-size-fits-all hammer that will be good for nearly any task
  • Finish Hammer: This is another all-purpose hammer that will be used in countless projects
  • Screwdrivers: Screwdrivers come in multiple types; however, the two most common options are Phillips head screwdrivers (which have a cross point) and flathead screwdrivers (which have a flat point)
  • Nail Set: You should have a set of nails in various sizes that will work well in different situations
  • Bar or Pipe Clamps: A pipe clamp is used to distribute pressure from two separate clamps across an edge or face while also allowing for a higher degree of clamping pressure without damaging the item
  • Handscrews: The name says it all; this is a tool that makes it easy for you to screw by hand in one, continuous motion
  • C-Clamps: These are used to hold certain items in place while your hands are free to do the work
  • Doweling Jig: A doweling jig is used to fashion a quick joint into your work without removing too much of the surface
  • Wooden Mallet: This is a handy tool that delivers a lighter shock than a hammer and absorbs pressure instead of delivering it

Make sure you find the right joining tools for your specific needs.

Safety Equipment and Maintenance Tools

Of course, when you are working on a project, safety always has to come first. Some of the most important safety equipment that you need includes:

  • Safety Glasses: You need to protect your eyes with the right safety glasses. Find glasses that not only cover the front of your eyes but also the sides as well.
  • Hearing Protection: Over time, you might get used to loud noises; however, this can also damage your hearing. Protect it with soundproof ear muffs.
  • Dust Mask: You also need to protect your lungs. Fine dust can pollute your lungs, damaging your air sacs while leading to inflammation. Find a mask with the right filtration capabilities to protect your lungs from harm.
  • Sharpening Stone: You should find a sharpening stone with both coarse and fine options that will help you keep your tools in perfect condition, preserving their quality and longevity.

Safety should always come first when it comes to woodworking. While maintenance is often overlooked, investing in routine maintenance will help your tools for woodworking last longer, saving you time and money.

Portable Power Tools

Finally, you also need to think about portable power tools. These include:

  • A Power Drill: A power drill should come with a variety of drill bits, allowing you to swap them out to handle different tasks throughout the project.
  • Twist Drills: These are rotary cutting tools that have two cutting edges as well as two flutes that act as grooves, permitting the removal of chips along the way
  • Random-Orbit Sander: This tool oscillates in a random motion, creating a smooth, silky wooden surface that doesn’t leave any marks behind
  • A Router: This is a basic power tool that is used to hollow out an area of hard material and is common in the early stages of woodworking projects
  • A Circular Saw: As one of the most important woodworking materials, they use a blade full of sharp teeth to tear through the wood; however, there are three different blades which include ripping blades (cut with the grain), crosscut blades (cut against the grain), and combination blades (which do both)
  • A Belt Sander: Also called a strip sander, this is used to shape and finish wood via an electric motor that turns a pair of drums on a continuous loop of sandpaper

These are the most important power tools for woodworkers. They belong in every basic woodworking kit.

Find the Right Tools for Woodworking

If you are looking to build a basic woodworking kit, then you need to invest in the right equipment. These basic tools for woodworking will help you get started. Then, as you get better at your craft, you can upgrade to more advanced, specialized tools. Even with a few simple hand tools for woodworkers, you can make some amazing works of art come to life!

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