One of the best deals on portable power tools, including routers and sometimes planers, comes in the form of factory-reconditioned tools. These are primarily tools that have been repaired at the factory after failing quality inspections or being returned by customers. While they cannot be sold as new, they are identical to new tools in quality and appearance and usually feature the same warranty (be sure to check). Typical savings are anywhere from 15% to 30%, though you sometimes can find even bigger bargains. These tools can be found at Amazon.com and other online tool sellers. It is also possible to buy them through retail stores and, in some cases, directly from the manufacturer’s Web site.

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.


A quality wood moisture meter is vital to the long-term success of any woodworking project you put together. Lumber mills try to dry their batches of lumber according to the intended end product destination. That is, if the wood is harvested in the wet Northeast, but is going to be shipped to the arid Southwest, it will be dried more than wood kept in the Northeast for use by woodworkers. The success of your woodworking project, from wood flooring to kitchen cabinets to fine furniture, depends on the correct moisture content levels of the woods you use for your area of the country.


However, sometimes I am able to make extra purchases. On rare occasions she'll approve me spending some extra money to make a special purchase, especially if it's something for a project for her or our home or a gift for family. I have had to pass on some really good deals on tools and wood that I've seen simply because I either didn't have enough free spend saved up or she wouldn't approve extra spending. It's tough to hear her say "No", but I've also come to the realization recently that if she never said "No", I'd probably spend just about everything I make on wood and tools, and that wouldn't be good.
Thanks for the feedback. We’re glad you found the list helpful. Please note that this page contains only 10 of the 40 top tools for woodworking, displaying only hand tools. You can find the next 10 here: https://www.wagnermeters.com/top-40-woodworking-tools-2/. There are links at the bottom of each article to the next group of tools so you can view the entire list. Hope this helps.
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.
If you’ve been reading my regular blog, unbrokenfurniture.com, then you already know that I’m a novice furniture upcycler. Up until now I’ve been repairing and refinishing existing furniture. Lately I’ve been picking up more and more reclaimed wood and other raw materials, so I’ve decided to learn to build some furniture from scratch. Because building furniture from scratch doesn’t really fit with the theme of unbrokenfurniture.com, I’ve decided to keep these projects on a separate space, hence woodworkingwednesdays.com was born. I’m planning to post one new project each week (hopefully Wednesday).
Just like a hammer and tape measure, a drill is something a lot of people already keep on hand for small household projects. Danny and I started out on a SUPER cheap drill when we first got married and quickly learned that this was not something to cheap out on.  If you plan to do much woodworking, invest in a quality drill.  It doesn’t have to be the best of the best, but do at least get a mid-grade drill.
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 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.
Being able to create and build a masterpiece from pieces of wood is more than a hobby -it’s a craft. Buying all the tools and supplies you need can start to add up to some serious money. But there are ways to enjoy building with wood without breaking your budget. Here’s a few woodworking tips that may get you started saving money and still being creative.
The Jay's Customs Creations YouTube channel releases weekly videos on shop projects and dimensional lumber projects. Jay's show can really help you if you want to do DIY woodworking projects on a budget. He sometimes shows viewers how to complete the project without electricity and using only hand tools. He goes over the prices he paid for materials to give people a realistic budget for the project before they get started.
Cherry is a very popular and an all-around great wood. Cherry stains and finishes beautifully, bringing out the natural figure in the grain of the wood. Cherry also ages beautifully, giving you a consistent look year after year. Cherry’s heartwood has a reddish-brown color to it, while the sapwood is almost white (we prefer to utilize mostly heartwood in our workshop). This is an excellent choice for almost any woodworking project, as Cherry is a solid wood choice all around.

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.
I set an initial budget of $10,000 to build the shop – everything from studs and drywall to hand tools and machinery. The final number was over by $1,000, but I’m still very happy with the result. The shop is now my haven, with a good sound sys­tem and good lighting. Every time I go back into the shop, it is exactly the way I left it, because it is my shop!

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.


If you’re woodworking as a hobby, you already know that it can get very expensive. Saving money by not buying redundant tools is one way to keep it slightly more affordable. If you’re doing this as a business like I am, then every dollar saved is another dollar you can invest in your business. If you have other money saving tips, please feel free to share them!

This post speaks right to the heart of frugal woodworking. The woodworker addresses how to make a dye from tea and alcohol that is fast drying and will not raise the grain of your wood. Technically I guess it is both a stain and a dye since since the tannins in the tea will actually change the color of the wood, and the other colors in the tea act more like a stain. Either way it is a great idea.
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.

I set an initial budget of $10,000 to build the shop – everything from studs and drywall to hand tools and machinery. The final number was over by $1,000, but I’m still very happy with the result. The shop is now my haven, with a good sound sys­tem and good lighting. Every time I go back into the shop, it is exactly the way I left it, because it is my shop!


Every woodworker needs a couple of levels. You probably won’t need one of the 6-foot levels used in construction, but 48” is a good length for many of the woodworking projects you’ll do. Usually, you’ll also need an 8” level too, usually known as a torpedo level. You’ll check the level and plum of your construction. Level means horizontal, and plumb is vertical.
Often referred to as Douglas Fir, this softwood has a rather straight, pronounced grain that has a reddish brown tint to it and is moderately strong and hard for a softwood. Fir is most often used for construction building materials, however it’s inexpensive and can be used for certain aspects of furniture-making as well. It doesn’t have the most interesting grain pattern and doesn’t take stain uniformly, so it’s best when used in projects that require a painted finish.

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.
Turn leftover wood or old pieces of furniture into DIY reclaimed wood projects! Wood is one of my favorite materials to work with. The possibilities are endless and they give such a homey and cozy feel to any rustic home. My husband, Dave, and I sometimes even go the extra mile and carve our initials on a little spot. It’s our own way of making our DIY project even more personal! Here’s a list of some of our favorite DIY reclaimed wood projects!   
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.
Cherry is a very popular and an all-around great wood. Cherry stains and finishes beautifully, bringing out the natural figure in the grain of the wood. Cherry also ages beautifully, giving you a consistent look year after year. Cherry’s heartwood has a reddish-brown color to it, while the sapwood is almost white (we prefer to utilize mostly heartwood in our workshop). This is an excellent choice for almost any woodworking project, as Cherry is a solid wood choice all around.
Your moisture meter should have settings on it that will account for different species of wood. For instance, oak is a hardwood, but ebony is an even harder density wood. If you are planning an inlay job using both types of wood, you will need to know the moisture content levels of each of the two species so that your inlay glue joints will stay intact. These different wood species have different specific gravities, which must be used or programmed into the moisture meter.
Non-Standard Miter Slots - This one is a downer.  One of the primary advantages of having a table saw is access to jigs that expand the saws functionality.  This is a major issue if you plan on buying after market jigs.  Given that we are limiting the cost of this buildout to $500, I am guessing that after market jigs are probably low on the priority list.  Your going to want jigs once you start researching what they enable you to do, my advice is to build your own - there are plenty of plans online.  
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.
All in all, for whatever reason it is that you enjoy woodworking, then you always need to follow that passion.  There is always going to be obstacles to overcome, whether that be not enough money to buy your tools, or space to put those tools, or time to enjoy woodworking.  That is something that every person has to overcome.  Everybody has there own unique obstacles.
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.
We us the ReStore also– What great finds–sometimes things we were even looking for–my other favorite place is the second hand stores–many times they have give away bends that I have reclaimed out of–and we have a neighborhood swap–my favorite of all is the FREE CYCLE– its is a community of people that just give things away– OH MY GOSH–when I need to get rid of things after a yard sale its the best– someone always comes and reclaims my curdside giveaways–I love–it stays out of the dump and someelse is using something they may need badly– I have found tons of great things,wood,tirers, paint–ect.
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.

here are thousands of wood species in the world, and hundreds of them are commonly used for woodworking. Additionally, there are dozens of "wood products" that are made from wood for construction and metal hardware designed specifically for woodworking projects. To make the wisest possible choices, you should know not only what is available to you, but how it is prepared.


Only comment would be to start with manual machines -once you have them mastered, then worry about CNC. I'm only 71 at this point, but I still have a lot of things left to master! Try to find even a HF mini-lathe and mill used, and get started. The sooner you start, the sooner you become experienced, Just a warning though - machining is just as addictive as wood working.
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.
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