When I built my shop I opted to buy a much higher quality miter saw and table saw than I truly needed at the time.  It ate up a ton of my budget and forced me to put off adding the tools that would allow me to buy cheaper stock for 2-3 years.  During that time my savings buying rough cut lumber would have probably paid for the upgraded equipment I started out with.  


Pocket holes may get a bad rap from “fine” woodworkers, but they are the most accessible and versatile form of joinery for any woodworker. You will find tons of pocket holes in the highest end custom cabinetry kitchens, so I don’t hesitate to use them when needed. They are great for quick DIY furniture projects like my pub table here. I actually own bow the low and medium budget options below because they both have their place in my shop and I can choose which to use depending on the application. If you’re not sure what size pocket hole screws you will need to start out with, here is the variety pack that I first purchased.
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.

Steely blue walls and a few intricately placed wood slices will give your bathroom a great rustic look. You will need several wood slices to go all the way around the room and then just place them in geometric patterns or however you want. Thin wood slices will affix to the walls easily with wallpaper glue or you can use a hot glue gun if you prefer.


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.
Not many YouTube woodworking channels are run by guys who also happen to have PhD’s in medicinal chemistry, but this one is. Brian Grella’s channel offers a mix between more atmospheric videos that aren’t heavy on explanations (as the one shown above), and ones that are firmly in how-to territory, like this one for making a beautiful wooden bowl using nothing but a router and a drill press (no lathe required):
One purchase that did work out in my favor this year was a bandsaw. I found an old, built in 1946, 14" Delta bandsaw w/ riser block in good condition for a steal at $150. I had a couple months of free spend saved up, and my wife threw in the rest of the money and considered it my birthday gift. Attached to the saw's base was an old Stanley 77 dowel maker the seller gave me with the saw since it was attached to the base when he got the saw. I was able to sell it on ebay for just shy of $300. I actually made money on that deal, and the money from the sale has allowed me to buy blades and upgrades for the bandsaw, as well as the parts and materials I need to build the router table I'm in the process of building. Was nice to get that - otherwise it would be months before I'd be able to purchase some of those things!
Carl Jacobson has created over 350 videos to overwhelm you with project ideas, some of which you can complete in less than an hour. He takes you through the entire process from preparing the wood to the sanding and finishing of the project. Carl releases a new video every Friday with a follow-up video every Monday to answer questions based on the feedback he received over the weekend.
I ONLY use water as a lubricant on all my stones. When they get clogged I take a nail brush and hand dish detergent to them to clean them. When a carborundum stone gets worn I do figure 8s on a flat piece of concrete with lots of water to reflatten it. I don’t like oil because it gums up over time and is then harder to clean. I keep a carborundum and a Quachita stone by the kitchen sink for knives. I probably haven’t used the carborundum stone in several years. I scrub the Quachita stone at roughly 18-24 month intervals. It’s white, so it’s easy to see the steel accumulating. I can feel a noticeable difference after scrubbing the stone. This has been my standard practice for almost 50 years, so I’m not inclined to change it.
We think you’re going to find our newsletter and blogs useful and entertaining to read. Because we’re all woodworkers here at Popular Woodworking, we generate a huge amount of valuable woodworking information that we cannot possibly cram into the printed magazine. So the newsletter and community are both great places for us to share what we know with you.
Mitre Block/Box for Cutting Coving Skirting Boards Polypropylene mitre box for accurate cutting of mitres and butt joints. Colours may vary from image shown. Stock No: 633731 EAN: 5055058172877 External Size: LxWxD = 300x140x75mm Internal Size : LxWxD = 300x105x58mm Colour: May Vary: Image is for illustration purposes only. Manufacturer: Silverline.
The router—The router is the master when it comes to flexibility. Its potential far exceeds trimming and decorative edge treatments. A router will cut mortises, rabbets, and dadoes, and adding a router table builds in even more versatility, including biscuit joinery and raised-panel doors. But where the router distinguishes itself from all other tools is in its ability to produce identical parts using a pattern.
We think you’re going to find our newsletter and blogs useful and entertaining to read. Because we’re all woodworkers here at Popular Woodworking, we generate a huge amount of valuable woodworking information that we cannot possibly cram into the printed magazine. So the newsletter and community are both great places for us to share what we know with you.
This style of saw will provide more power than a contractor-type saw and have the high-quality rip fence you need to do good work. However, because they are favored by professionals and serious amateurs, cabinet saws are harder to find on the used market. Scour the classifieds and online sales (be sure to check industrial auction sites as well), and do some networking. Check the bulletin board at your hardwood supplier and ask the proprietors if they know of anyone selling a saw. Also call local cabinet shops. They sometimes have a surplus tool sitting idle that they’d be willing to sell. Take your time in this step. A careful investment will pay dividends in the long run, but a well-intentioned compromise can cause long-term frustration.
Sadly, that’s most of my power tools and shop accessories, but it’s a growing collection. Compared to all the money I’ve wasted on small electronics and computer junk in the past, I’d say this has been, and will continue to be, a much better investment. I just wish I had come to that realization back in college, when I was probably spending $500-$1000+ a year upgrading my computer.
​Buying rough cut lumber saves a ton of money.  Buying lumber that has had all four sides surfaced (s4s) will cost roughly 4 times as much as buying rough cut lumber.  Let's look at an example: I'm going to build a table that will require 50 board feet of oak.  If I buy finished oak it will cost around $5.5 / bf or $275.  Alternatively, I can buy rough cut oak at $1.25/bf or ~$65.  In this one project I've saved $210.  That's enough for a new power tool.
Whatever your dream for a rustic look, you are sure to find something in this collection that will help you along. Many of these projects are so easy to do and you can complete them in less than a day. Some make wonderful gifts as well so if you know someone else who just loves the country, rustic look, make them something to brighten their own décor. The projects use all sorts of materials, many of which are really inexpensive or even cheap in some cases.
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.

Not many YouTube woodworking channels are run by guys who also happen to have PhD’s in medicinal chemistry, but this one is. Brian Grella’s channel offers a mix between more atmospheric videos that aren’t heavy on explanations (as the one shown above), and ones that are firmly in how-to territory, like this one for making a beautiful wooden bowl using nothing but a router and a drill press (no lathe required):


What better way to continue our #2x4andMore week on the 4th of July than with 4x4s! 4×4 wood posts are good for more than just fences and beams. We’ve rounded up 15 of our favorite 4×4 wood crafts to inspire your DIY creativity. You can buy brand new 4×4 posts at your local hardware store or find 4×4 scrap wood. Either way you’ll only need to a few more materials to make your 4×4 wood crafts into a reality.
The second big tool you need is a saw. There are many types of saws, and this can be the trickiest part of setting up a shop on a budget. As a beginner, you'll likely be using woodworking books, magazines and websites for instruction and inspiration. Unfortunately, most of these sources consider a table saw a beginner tool. For those of us on a budget, or with little space, a table saw may not be an option. They cost several hundred dollars to start, and take up several square feet of floor space. Instead, look for a good circular saw that allows you to adjust the depth and angle of cut. It's also nice to have a laser to help guide the cuts. You can get a decent circular saw for around $100.

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.


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.
While there are certainly tools beyond this list that would make certain tasks easier, I feel confident that you can build pretty much anything you could possible want using this beginner woodworking tool set. Everything on this list is also purposefully portable and does not take up much space at all. The goal here was to compile a list of the best beginner tools that would allow you to build almost anything, anywhere, and only take up a small cabinet in your house or garage.
Check with Habitat for Humanity.  If they have a store you may find several good items such as a bench, bandsaw or etc.  When I retired and moved I donated  a complete shop full of woodworking power tools and hand tools to Habitat.  They sold them, I deducted them from my income tax.  Unfortunately I could not retire my desire to woodwork and at age 78 I built a shop and use only hand tools and a bandsaw.  Good exercise pushing  a LN #7.   Build yourself a solid bench with some southern pine with a moxon vise that can be built by hand.  Get some holddowns!
One of the most heavily used tools in your shop will be your table saw.  It is absolutely essential for ripping stock to size, working with composite material (like plywood and MDF), and venturing into the world of wood working jigs.  Budget is a limiting factor in a $500 build, but at $150 it is hard to pass up adding this Craftsman saw to your shop - even with limited funds.  

I cannot think of a project that the orbital sander was not used. Whether painting, staining, or just applying a clear finish, you will want to sand to some level to smooth out the wood. Even when using barn-wood or reclaimed wood, I often at least sand the edges to get rid of sharp edges and revel some of the underlying fresh wood. I usually have about 4 or 5 different grit sandpaper on hand for my orbital sander, here is my favorite brand.

When I was just getting started with woodworking, I didn’t know anything about saws. The standard push saw was the only hand saw that I had any experience with. So naturally this was the type of saw I bought. It works fine for making cross cuts, and can even be used to rip, if you don’t have a table saw or circular saw. However, I quickly realized that I needed something for more precision cuts.

The router—The router is the master when it comes to flexibility. Its potential far exceeds trimming and decorative edge treatments. A router will cut mortises, rabbets, and dadoes, and adding a router table builds in even more versatility, including biscuit joinery and raised-panel doors. But where the router distinguishes itself from all other tools is in its ability to produce identical parts using a pattern.


Not many YouTube woodworking channels are run by guys who also happen to have PhD’s in medicinal chemistry, but this one is. Brian Grella’s channel offers a mix between more atmospheric videos that aren’t heavy on explanations (as the one shown above), and ones that are firmly in how-to territory, like this one for making a beautiful wooden bowl using nothing but a router and a drill press (no lathe required):
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