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.
In the rough is referring to the wood at its earliest stage in the woodworking process. When the wood is initially milled from very large logs into more workable slabs, it is then kiln-dried to reduce the moisture content. At this point, the wood is able to be machine planed to a finer finish or left in its more natural state. The wood, in its more natural state, reveals the unique tooth and saw marks from the mill, creating a more rustic look and feel in the wood.
Other important power tools—A good jigsaw will help get you through many tasks, particularly cutting curves, that would otherwise require a bandsaw. Look for one with blade guides that keep blade deflection to a minimum. A handheld drill is also essential. A quality corded drill is much less expensive than a cordless one, and will never leave you without a charge. Also look for a quality random-orbit sander with a provision for dust collection.
Clamps are absolutely essential for most woodworking projects. This is why I’ve included clamps in the list of tools that beginners need when starting woodworking on a budget. However, I often run into situations where I don’t have enough or the right kinds of clamps. Today I’m going to share a few ways that I’ve gotten by without just going out and buying more clamps.
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.
Improving an item with a Resin increases the effective item level by 3. For example, a white quality Oak Bow at level 16 will, once improved with Pitch, have an effective item level of 19. Improving it again with Turpen, will make the effective item level 22. You will notice in the Weapon and Armor tables that the Superior value at level 16 is the same as Normal at level 22. This is important to note, since several Crafted Sets have break points where their bonuses increase based upon "effective level".
Many beginners trying to get started in woodworking take one look at their budget and worry how they can afford to buy a whole shop full of power tools to get started. Fortunately, one doesn't have to spend a fortune to get started. There are really only seven woodworking tools that I would recommend any beginning woodworker have on hand from the start, and most are relatively inexpensive. However, with these seven tools, a beginner can tackle quite a number of projects.
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.