Woodworking is a fun hobby, but can be expensive as well. With all the power tools, hand tools, shop setups and, of course, the wood, many people are turned off to woodworking because of the impact on their wallets. That doesn’t have to be the case though. With a little pre-planning and inside knowledge, you can set up a basic wood shop and start making your own items without breaking the bank.
What tools are needed to start woodworking? Well, this list can vary greatly depending on your budget. The best beginner woodworking tools are subjective but can vary largely depending on how much money you are willing or able to invest to start out in woodworking. It can also vary depending on if you are wanting to start out woodworking just as a hobby or as a side-hustle business. Most of the best beginner woodworking tools on this list are either tools I own, have owned, or at least have used in the past. 

I taught (teach) several aspects of "green woodworking" and related subjects, so I love your question. The buying and using of old tools is great...no matter the source. However, I have seen much frustration ensue over getting them adjusted, and "work ready." As often a beginner with limited budgets, also have limited traditional skill sets as well in understanding these tools and sharpening them. You must be patient with yourself, as tuning these old tools up will be very time consuming. Sharpening (and the proper tools of sharpening) should be your first acquisition. So many folks buy chickens before building a proper "chicken coop." Traditional tools are the same way, as there is no reason to own them, if you can't keep them properly honed.
The next hand tool every woodworker should have is a nail set. In fact, you should have several sizes. They look like awls, and you use them to drive nail heads into the wood so they are flush or right below the surface. This allows you to fill the holes and prepare for staining or painting. The nail setter will usually have either a convex or concave surface to grip the nail better and keep it from sliding off and marring the wood.
There are and they are considerably cheaper. I found a pair of glue brushes on Amazon for less than half the price of a singles dedicated glue brush. I tested them out on a recent gluing and they work well for spreading glue and getting it into dovetails and mortises. When you are done you can either run the brush underwater to clean it or wait until the glue dries the pluck it off the bristles with a few easy pulls. The glue comes right off the silicone bristles.
I use a 9″ x 12″ Chinese grade B surface plate and wet the back of the carborundum “sandpaper” to hold it in place. Obviously not the “budget” version, but I have the surface plate for other purposes. At about $17 from ENCO it wasn’t very expensive. And it *really* is flat to better than 0.001″. So the thickness of the paper is the biggest error. I also have a good assortment of Arkansas and other types of stones, though none of the Japanese waterstones. I generally don’t use the surface plate unless the edge is really bad e.g. an abused tool picked up at a yard sale.

When I bought my miter saw, I didn’t buy the cheapest, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I started out with a small Hitachi.  I LOVE my saw and it does a great job—I have no complaints.  However, I do kind of wish I had gotten a larger one.  Here’s the thing.  I can cut up to a 1×6 board in one pass on my miter saw.  But if I cut any larger than that, I have to flip the board over and cut again from the other side.  That means if I’m making something from 1x8s or wider, I have to make twice as many cuts.  Sometimes this is a pain.  But it’s obviously not a big enough pain for me to spend the extra money to go buy a bigger one haha.  Just something to consider. Either way, a miter saw of any size is guaranteed to be a good investment.  Also, watch out for sales on this saw…it’s often listed on sale for $100 (that’s how I got mine!).
Since I long ago lost the woodcarving tools I used to own as a youth, I figured I would focus on something larger. With my current ideas of doing a commercial greenhouse venture, I have considered making my first project one of a pergola for training plants up as a living shade-tent area. I have also considered trying to do an earth-sheltered greenhouse assuming I can figure out a loophole in city ordinances and/or coax the officials to sign off on it. I would love to do some hand-carved bowls and eventually make my own workbench and maybe even craft other things like a shaving horse. A foot-powered lathe is another one that I still find fascinating from the Foxfire books.
About Youtuber Woodworking is my passion and I there is nothing I won't try to build, fix, or improve on my own. I got into woodworking and the passion has completely consumed me. Becoming a great woodworker and do it yourself-er is about finding the right information and creative solutions with the materials and skill sets available to you. I eagerly look forward to showing you how I accomplish my projects.
By posting on this site and forum, the poster grants to Canadian Woodworking Magazine/Website the unrestricted rights to use of the content of the post for any purpose, including, but not limited to, publishing the posted material, including images, in print or electronic form in a future issue or issues of Canadian Woodworking magazine or related Canadian Woodworking products, and to use the post for promotional purposes without further compensation, as well as the right to use the poster's name in a credit along with the post.
About Youtuber Here you will find everything from money saving tips, woodworking projects, jigs and completely wild contraptions. I have been building and designing since I was old enough to swing a hammer. With a mind for out of the box thinking and an unusual mix of artfull design and engineering interest, you never know whats going to happen next.
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. 🙂
Once you have the four aforementioned handheld power tools in your arsenal and you've had time to get comfortable with using them, its time to make your first (and likely most important) major tool purchase. The table saw is the heart and soul of every woodworking shop, the centerpiece around which all of the other tools are used and organized, so you'll want to buy the best table saw that your budget can comfortably afford. Take the time to learn which features you really want and the table saw that best fits your budget and your needs. This article will show you the most common features, and how to determine what features you need and how to know if those features are really well built, or simply added on to the saw because they are selling features.
One of the great furniture woods, Mahogany has a reddish-brown to deep-red tint, a straight grain, medium texture and is moderately hard. It takes stain very well, but looks great with even just a few coats of oil on it. For an even more distinguished look, exotic African Ribbon-Striped Mahogany adds amazing grain and texture elements to this already beautiful species of wood.
Fine Woodworking Tools and Supplies at Highland Woodworking – make us your woodworking tool supply source. Woodworking Hand Tools are one of our passions at Highland Woodworking so we sell the very best hand tool brands in production today. Handmade, high quality hand tool lines such as Auriou Rasps, Barr Forged Tools, Gransfors Axes, Lie Nielsen Tool Works, Woodpeckers Precision Tools and numerous other fine hand tool makers. We love fine Woodworking Power Tools too, so we sell Festool Power Tools and SawStop - the best power tool brands for woodworking. 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, equipment & supplies.
×