Our Woodworking Tool index (LEFT) includes a listing of all our Woodworking Tools and materials. Woodworking Hand Tools are one of our passions and we sell the very best hand tool brands in production today. Selecting the best woodworking tools for your woodworking shop and individual specialities can be overwhelming if you don't know the facts. At Highland Woodworking we not only carry a great selection of top rated tools but we also provide top notch information on woodworking tools and techniques like our starter woodworking tool list for beginners. We've been offering fine woodworking tools and education since 1978, keeping woodworkers informed about the best woodworking tools, tips & techniques along the way. Purchases are backed by Highland Woodworking's 60-day money back guarantee, so you can shop us with confidence for high quality woodworking tools.
Assume that there aren’t any decent tools on craigslist or at garage sales, and keep in mind that I have absolutely no tools, dust collection, shop-vac, clamps, sanding & painting accessories, tables, materials to build my own tables/stands/jigs, or anything else—not even safety gear (you’re such a good buddy that you even let me borrow your extra set of goggles and your earmuffs when I used to come over).
I find, as others have noted, that braces are pretty easy to find, and bits for them in decent condition harder. I too tend to buy them whenever I see them. There are a number of varieties of brace, and some meaningful differences in them. Pay attention to the design of the chuck, and to whether the brace is ratcheting, or not. They're all good, but some differences in best application.
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.