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).
As the final stage of any project, the finish will define your piece for years to come. Whether you choose to leave the material unfinished, stained, painted, or rubbed with oils, there are many options to choose from when it comes to finishing. A finish is meant to protect the wood from water damage, dirt, stains, etc., so the benefits are obvious. At CZ Woodworking we will finish the material to your exact needs and determine what will work best for your specific piece. A piece that will endure everyday use, such as a countertop or tabletop, would need a more durable finish than a display shelf. An exterior table, if not made from a naturally weatherproof material, would have to be finished with moisture resistant materials to endure the outdoor elements such as rain and snow. Some materials – such as repurposed barn woods – would be better left unfinished in order to maintain the naturally aged look that defines it.
Through my cabinet-shop connections, I managed a snappy deal ($200) on a used cabinet saw with a 54-in. commercial rip fence. That price would be hard to match, but it is possible to find a hybrid or used cabinet saw with a high-quality fence for $600 to $1,200. Some of them will run on 120v household current, meaning you won’t have to rewire your shop for 240v service, but be sure to check for compatibility before you buy.

These basics are going to set you back about $180, leaving you with $320 left to work with.  We are going to be leaving behind two hand powered tools from the $250 shop and upgrading to powered alternatives.  This should lead to more consistent results, more enjoyable builds, and increased efficiency.  These are all goods things that only the biggest fans of The Woodwright's Shop would argue with.


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.
Ash is a white to pale brown wood with a straight grain. It’s pretty easy to work with, is a fairly hard and dense wood, and takes to stain quite nicely. Ash has a medium to coarse texture similar to oak. The grain is almost always straight and regular, though sometimes moderately curly or figured boards can be found. Ash is becoming harder and harder to find, so it ranks as an increasingly expensive material to use.

Flea markets and swap meets are great sources of old tools, but unless you are able to rehab and sharpen them, they aren't going to do you much good. You can always find lots of chisels and planes at these places, and they can be brought back to life. I wouldn't waste my time on any saws though, unless they are relatively rust-free. If a saw is rusty, you will have to re-file and re-set the teeth, which requires a good deal of expertise and some specialized tools.
John Heisz is a Canadian woodworker who makes many of his own tools to help him with his projects. His YouTube channel shows you how to also make your own tools. He has a video series on how to make homemade clamps, whether you're making hand screw clamps, wooden bar clamps or a deep c clamp. Another one of his video series takes you through the making of your own homemade vise.
We made the decision for my wife to be a stay at home mom - it was a decision we both felt was a good one before we ever even discussed it. Being a single income family does sometimes have financial drawbacks, but the blessings of my wife being a stay at home mom are blessings that money can't buy. Eventually, when our son (and any future children we may have) are in grade school, my wife will look at finding a job. She's also looking at the possibility of starting to do in-home daycare for 2 or 3 children in our home, which would bring in some extra money.
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.
After you have chosen the perfect table saw for your wood shop, the next major purchase one should consider would be a compound miter saw. While not as expensive as a quality table saw, a compound miter saw is invaluable for cutting compound angles (beveled, mitered and combination cuts) on the ends of a piece of stock. Once you develop your ability to make precise cuts with a compound miter saw, you'll find that your circular saw spends a little more time in the drawer than it used to. 

Let's talk about a few strategies for building out your shop below retail price.  There are the obvious ones like yard sales, craigslist, estate sales, and thrift stores, however, these can be hit or miss.  First of all, not everyone lives in an area where these avenues exist.  Second, when your brand new to woodworking, it can be hard to evaluate a tool that your buying second hand.  Because of this, I'm not going to focus on these channels in this post, but I will say, if your willing to do some hunting for second hand tools, you can easily save 50% to 75% on some perfectly fine equipment.
You really don’t have to do anything to get a great set of coffee tables. Well, you do have to gather a few tree trunks or stumps. Just sand them down a bit, and cut them off to make them flat. You can have a collection of different sizes sitting around the room and in different shapes. Stain them if you want but you can leave them natural for a really rustic look.
We've written about routers on the site before and my favorite is the Bosch 1617​.  It is light enough that you can control it when using it handheld, yet powerful enough that it won't have any problems when you mount it under a table.  On top of that, it comes with a plunge base which makes it significantly easier to use handheld.  The package clocks in at ~$190.
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!
If you are just getting started in woodworking and want to know what tools you’ll need to set up shop, you’ll want to download this free PDF from Popular Woodworking. We have put together a complete list of basic woodworking tools to kick-start your new hobby. In this free download, you’ll get our recommendations for the best hand and power tools for beginners. Buy these tools and you’ll have everything you need to make great woodworking projects. 

I have been around woodworking my entire life.  I have always been intrigued by how you can take something like lumber and turn it into a wonderful, beautiful piece of furniture.  Once I graduated high school, I kind of got out of woodworking.  I wanted to go a different route.  I was going to college and just trying to make ends meet on the bills.
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.
An assortment of chisels should be part of every workbench. Chisels are not just for wood carvers. Any woodworker will need chisels to clean out joints and saw cuts. Look for chisels made of high-alloy carbon steel or chromium-vanadium alloyed steel. Hardwood grips are best, especially if they have metal caps on them. This will keep the end of the handle from becoming malformed when you hammer on it.
Softwoods are often softer and more delicate woods in general, as the name would suggest, but aren’t necessarily always weaker than hardwoods. Although, they are generally less dense and not as durable as Hardwoods, which grow at a much slower rate than softwoods creating a denser and stronger grain in the wood. Softwoods come from coniferous (or gymnosperm) trees such as Cedar, Hemlock and Pine and lean towards a yellow to reddish tone by nature. Hardwoods come from angiosperm (seed producing) trees such as Oak, Cherry, Maple and Walnut and are generally darker toned woods. Softwoods tend to be less expensive than hardwoods, as they grow much more quickly and can be milled at a faster rate. While hardwoods are generally more expensive, the durability, strength and overall look is often worth the additional cost depending on your project needs.
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If you'd like to learn more about the differences between hardwood species, I can think of no better resource than R. Bruce Hoadley's 1980 masterpiece, Understanding Wood: A Craftsman's Guide to Wood Technology. Not only does Hoadley detail nearly every species used for woodworking, he does an exceptional job at describing how to prepare, work with and finish these hardwoods. This is an industry-standard resource, one that I'd highly recommend to every woodworker.
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.

Understand the pain. Retired, fixed income, bills to pay like anyone else. Most of the accumulated equipment is used, a few pieces bought new. Other detriment - WW is one hobby, home machining another, and welding/fabricating another, to say nothing of an electronics hobby. Add in no real shop, just enough garage space to house everything, and wheel each piece out on the drive to use. Bad weather = no work! Make a lot of my own stuff also, such as:
Do you enjoy woodworking?  Do you have a budget that you have set aside just for your woodworking?  If you are not a millionaire, than more than likely you will have some sort of a budget.  Let me give you a little insight into why you are here and what you will find on this site.  Do you enjoy woodworking as a hobby, part-time job or side job, or a full time job?  Or maybe you are wanting to turn your hobby into a full time job.  If that sounds like you than  your in the right place.

I can't really give a great answer to your question - I'm still learning how to deal with woodworking on a limited budget myself, but I'm getting there. It's not always easy, but when I want something I can't afford, I am starting to remind myself more and more that someday my day will come when hopefully there will be more room in the budget for my woodworking hobby. I'm also hoping to start selling the occasional item within the next year to help bring in some extra money for woodworking related expenses.
Paul Sellers’ videos cover a wide variety of woodworking topics. He has an active channel on YouTube where his most popular videos are on making a mortise and tenon joint and making a dovetail joint. He is also the presenter at Woodworking Masterclasses where he teaches members to make furniture using a minimum of tools and equipment. The list below is Paul’s latest videos on YouTube. We hope you will find them informative and helpful.
A long-established channel with Italian-American woodworking geek Marc Spagnoli and his sidekick Nicole.   It's filled with great tutorials, guides, reviews and generally high quality content.  I'd described as aimed at an improving, and committed, woodworker - he uses fairly lots of clamps and glue, and shows in professional how to build quality pieces, generally of furniture.  I learned a huge amount from here, and it's easy bedtime viewing.  
If you are just getting started in woodworking and want to know what tools you’ll need to set up shop, you’ll want to download this free PDF from Popular Woodworking. We have put together a complete list of basic woodworking tools to kick-start your new hobby. In this free download, you’ll get our recommendations for the best hand and power tools for beginners. Buy these tools and you’ll have everything you need to make great woodworking projects.
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