These how to videos and articles of information are dedicated to my woodworking instructor who trained me during my apprenticeship. This body of work is also in honor of the journeyman who were generous in sharing their woodworking knowledge and skills with me throughout my long career. All of you have helped me to make a wonderful living  in a great craft. My hat is off to all of you.

Another staple in the beginner woodworkers tool kit has to be the cordless drill. Used for either drilling holes or driving fasteners, this tool gets used on almost every project. There a tons of options here regarding size of batteries, aka power, but something around the 18-20 volt range is a good all-around size that will not leave you constantly wishing you had something larger or smaller. Here is a large accessory kit at a good price that should give you most of the drivers a bits you will need.


Then there are the “practical” woodworkers that enjoy weekend projects and things that don’t require a ton of expensive tools, time, and expertise (HELLO, THAT’S ME).  I will be in the latter category.  Sure, you can invest in hand tools, but in the words of one of my favorite internet sensations, “ain’t nobody got time fo that.”  Let’s be practical here.
Add a little rustic décor to your walls by building a wooden mail sorter. Not only does this give you beautiful rustic décor, it also serves a very handy function by keeping mail neatly organized. You just need a few pieces of wood and some small coat hooks at the bottom to hang your keys. Stain it in any color you want and you have a very functional and very beautiful sorter.
Through my cabinet-shop connections, I managed a snappy deal ($200) on a used cabinet saw with a 54-in. commercial rip fence. That price would be hard to match, but it is possible to find a hybrid or used cabinet saw with a high-quality fence for $600 to $1,200. Some of them will run on 120v household current, meaning you won’t have to rewire your shop for 240v service, but be sure to check for compatibility before you buy.
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But until then, I’ve been thinking of other ways to use my hands and create things.  (Even though many of our saws and tools have been stolen.) But I’m feeling a little antsy to make some quick projects, because creating makes me extremely happy…..so we’re calling this surge in me to create something simple, THERAPY.  In fact, I need to call up a few friends and have them make some with me because friends and creating is a favorite combo of mine!  (Any out of town-ers want to fly in?! ;) )
I Like to Make Stuff is the perfect channel for beginners who want comprehensive teaching on woodworking. It has a show called Maker 101 that goes into the basic skills you need to start making stuff. I Like to Make Stuff is not intimidating to the beginner because it isn’t afraid of showing woodworkers making mistakes on their project rather than always doing everything perfectly.
I was attracted to this page by the headboard. It looks great and it’s unique. I must disagree with the first sentence, that rustic is ‘in’ right now. I’m thinking, ‘It’s the great recession’. Any money I spend better get me the most refined thing I can afford. Kind of like how I believe that new store bought jeans with holes in them are going out of style like a cold cup of coffee.
Now, I’m not crazy rich or anything. I know that’s still a lot of money, but you will be able to make SO many things with just these five tools you seriously won’t believe it.  And if you are just starting out, just buy one tool and try it out. You’ll be surprised how much you can make with just a jigsaw,  hammer, nails and a screwdriver.  I made tons of stuff!  All you have to do is get started…where there is a will there is a way. 🙂
In each case, we shuffled the bench, jointer, table saw, and band saw across to the top of the stairs, and then tied a rope around each to act as a safety while sliding the machines down the strapping on the stairs. Yeah, the table saw hit the wall, and the promise of a good mud and paint job saved my bacon. The rope worked well, and we were able to get everything down the stairs nice and slowly with­out any major issues.
The fourth most important basic handheld power tool every beginner should buy is a random orbital sander. While palm sanders are less expensive and can use plain sandpaper (cut into one-fourth sections), the random orbital version uses hook-and-loop fastened sanding disks, and doesn't sand in patterns, using instead a random sanding motion. This will motion will serve to reduce the chance that any sanding marks may appear on the stock due to the sanding. Of course, be certain that your local woodworking supplier has sanding disks readily available in a number of grits to fit the model that you choose, as the key to proper sanding is to use progressively finer grits as you sand to reduce or remove any marks that are left behind from the previous sanding.

Tung oil is derived from the nuts of trees that are native to Asia but have been cultivated in other parts of the world. This is a durable finish that has a rather quick drying time and is very moisture resistant. Tung oil penetrates the woods surface, soaking deep into the wood grain for a fine finish. Tung oil is great for exterior furniture, tabletops and countertops.

The circular saw is pretty much the first tool I grab for any project. You can use it for both rough cutting your lumber to get started on a project or making finish cuts before final assembly of your project. You can use it to make half lap joints and a variety of other joinery methods. While a table saw or stationary miter saw might make a certain task easier, it is hard to beat the cost, portability, and versatility of a circular saw. While most of these come with a blade, here is a good all-around blade that I use.


Danish Oil is an oil-based finish that soaks deep into wood pores to provide protection from the inside out. Generally made from a unique blend of penetrating oil and varnish that stains, seals and protects all at the same time, it enhances the natural look and feel of the wood, and creates the rich, warm glow. This finish is ideal for furniture, trim, molding or any other bare wood interior surface that calls for an accentuated look.
Saws (I'm not a fan of Japanese saws, but you can buy good new ones pretty cheap.  ) - 1 crosscut handsaw (can be a Stanley "Sharktooth" toolbox saw from Home Depot or Lowes $15).  1 rip handsaw (used ones can be found at Antique stores for $20 or less.  Try to find one that is fairly sharp to start with).  Dovetail saw (Crown has a decent gent's saw for around $25 or get the Lee Valley Veritas Dovetail saw for around $70, Highland Woodworking carries both).  A crosscut backsaw and small miterbox is also handy to have, I can't give you a recoomendation for inexpensive ones though.
That's it. That's all you really need to begin woodworking. Over time you will add more tools to your collection, like chisels, drill bits, a sander and, more clamps; but for right now you should be able to get started on most beginner projects. Don't be afraid to look online for second- hand tools. Old drills and circular saws work well when given proper care. With some ingenuity you can figure out how to adapt most plans to the tools you have available. People have been making wooden items throughout human history, and they didn't need expensive planers, biscuit joiners or fancy jigs. Start learning the craft, see if you like it, and have fun.
The next important hand tool for the woodworker is an accurate tape measure. Get a retractable one that is at least 25 feet long. Any longer than that, and you start having problems getting it to roll back up. Since measurements on large scale projects can be very susceptible to even the most minute measurement variations, you’ll want to make sure the “hook” or tab at the end of the is firmly attached, with no give. When they get loose, you’ll have as much as 1/8” variation in your measurements. This can add up to some severe accuracy problems in the long run.
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