In my experience, the best saws are the Japanese styles. They are very economical (less than $60 for a very high quality saw), easy to use because the cut on the pull stroke, and stay sharp for a long time. If I had to pick one, and only one saw, it would be a ryoba saw, which has rip teeth on one side and crosscut on the other, so its two saws in one.
This is known as the “Scary Sharp” method and I first learned of it on Usenet back in the day. I’ve had pretty good luck only going up to 2000 grit automotive paper. That stuff is commonly available near the spraypaint at Wally-world. At this grit, I can easily shave the hair on my forearm. For a plate, I use a single 12×12 tile from a Big Box store.
My Husband is Shane’s Hobby Shop and he already is on your list, so you see, even tho I do have other diy items attached, woodworking is most definitely an ongoing part of my show. I only have one official episode out, but this week I will be posting episode number 2…this will feature PART 2 Of my Cracker Platter that I built with Shane, as well as my OWN Version of a Wood Conditioner that I have created that I will be using on Shanes Potato Bin that he built and I will be going over the ingredients used, the why behind each ingredient, and WHY it was chosen to be used on wood to begin with. Should be an interesting show. I will also be doing a show on Homemade Southern Gumbo…so you see, a good combination, but definitely woodworking centered. Thanks for adding my Channel. 

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.
By the way, before you yell at me about the fact that the price on the links for the nail gun is more than $200, listen up I have a handy tip:  There are sales throughout the year on this exact package for $200.  That’s how I bought mine.  Just keep checking back.  And be sure to follow me on social media.  I keep checking it, too and if I see it’s on sale, I will post it to let you all know!
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.

That headline struck me as discouraging. As an entry fee, $5,000 seems high enough to exclude a number of potential woodworkers, myself included. Christiana softened the blow by saying that used tools could cut the cost roughly in half. That figure seemed much closer to my experience, which involved buying a mix of new and used tools. Having said that, buying the right used tools is much more difficult than buying from a catalog or dealer who stocks everything needed to build a great shop. It requires a bit of guile and a good plan, but the payoff is worth it. Through careful choices and good fortune, I was able to outfit my shop with a blend of new and used tools for around $2,000.
Raw material is a concept. A concept that we describe as any material that has yet to find its final home. It is a material that is en route to becoming something interesting, creative and more permanent in the world. If it has yet to be worked and transformed to create a unique piece of woodworking or artisan craftsmanship, then it is still raw to us.
The owners, webmasters, administrators, authors and editors, expressly disclaim all and any liability to any person, whether a user of this website or not, in respect of anything and of the consequences of anything done or omitted to be done by any such person in reliance, whether whole or partial, upon the whole or any part of the contents of this website. Please exercise caution when working with any tools or machinery. Follow common safety rules and precautions as outlined in any manuals related to the equipment being used. If advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.
While the router isn’t exactly necessary to build the most basic projects, it will really allow you to put that extra level of detail on a project so it isn’t quite so bland looking. Routers are also an extremely versatile tool that can be used in lieu of a jointer to get a straight edge on rough lumber, put a nice detail edge on a table top or piece of furniture, cut mortise and tenon joinery, cut dadoes and rabbets, mount in a table, or a countless number of other uses. Router bits can be pricey, so my advice would be to add bits as you need them for specific uses and projects. There are some variety pack kits available if you want a set to get started though. Also, there are smaller (trim) routers and full-size routers available. For the purpose of a beginner woodworking tool set, I recommend starting out with the small router and seeing just how much you can accomplish with that.
You need an out-feed table to support work exiting the table saw and band saw. By placing the tools close together, I was able to make one out-feed table that works for both tools. I put four pivoting wheels on the table, allowing me to shift the table in any direction. By placing a shelf below the table, I gained some much needed storage space for portable power tools. Finally, since this is a large work surface, the table also serves as a true, flat assembly table.
The first word that comes to mind for describing Jay’s work: Accessible. Even if you are brand-new to woodworking and don’t have many tools, you can follow many of Jay’s projects. It’s not just the choice of tools and techniques, but also his straightforward and friendly presentation style. Here is a video that’ll be handy for anyone just shopping for a new kitchen:
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.
By completing a form on this website, you will be able to receive email correspondence from Canadian Woodworking.   These emails may include information on upcoming events or special offers for subscribers. If you do not wish to receive email correspondence please email orderdesk@canadianwoodworking.com  and ask to be removed from our email list. Every email that we send to you will include an "opt-out" from receiving future email correspondence. 

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.


I wanted to have numerous outlets, and have enough elec­trical service that I did not have to worry about overloading circuits. There was already some lighting, so I simply picked off that line and added additional lights to keep things bright and cozy. I ran a 240V line for the table saw and jointer with a dedicated breaker. For wall outlets, I ran 14-3 wire, and split all the plugs, so that I can run one machine on the upper plug, and another on the lower plug of any outlet.
I went out and bought a dovetail pull saw for some of the finer cuts that I needed to make. I’m sure I’ve used this a few times on previous blog posts. It is great for the smaller cuts, and I’ve even used it to cut some larger pieces when my bigger saw didn’t fit. The combination of the dovetail pull saw and the push saw works fine, and isn’t too terribly expensive, but I’ve found something even cheaper that works just as well.
The solution to potentially wedged boards on a jointer is to add a planer to the mix.  A planer has a flat surface with a cutting edge that is exactly 180 degrees to the surface.  This allows you to position the jointed edge flat on the planers surface and make a cut to the opposite side of the board that is perfectly square.  As an added bonus, the planer allows you incredible control over the thickness of the boards you're planing.  ​
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.
That's it. That's all you really need to begin woodworking. Over time you will add more tools to your collection, like chisels, drill bits, a sander and, more clamps; but for right now you should be able to get started on most beginner projects. Don't be afraid to look online for second- hand tools. Old drills and circular saws work well when given proper care. With some ingenuity you can figure out how to adapt most plans to the tools you have available. People have been making wooden items throughout human history, and they didn't need expensive planers, biscuit joiners or fancy jigs. Start learning the craft, see if you like it, and have fun.

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.
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.
That's it. That's all you really need to begin woodworking. Over time you will add more tools to your collection, like chisels, drill bits, a sander and, more clamps; but for right now you should be able to get started on most beginner projects. Don't be afraid to look online for second- hand tools. Old drills and circular saws work well when given proper care. With some ingenuity you can figure out how to adapt most plans to the tools you have available. People have been making wooden items throughout human history, and they didn't need expensive planers, biscuit joiners or fancy jigs. Start learning the craft, see if you like it, and have fun.
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.
For woodworking entertainment and inspiration be sure to checkout our Woodworking Video Series "The Highland Woodworker". Improve your woodworking skills and learn more about the use of woodworking tools with free online woodworking materials in the Woodworking Library. At Highland Woodworking you get more than fine woodworking tools...you get fine tool tips too! 

My final suggestion is to use tape. I know this might seem crazy at first, but when gluing corners, tape comes in very handy. The secret is to tape up the outside of the corner when the boards are sitting flat, and then to apply the glue and bend the wood into the proper position. Then you simply use tape to hold the piece in place. This strategy works exceptionally well when gluing a box.
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.
My Husband is Shane’s Hobby Shop and he already is on your list, so you see, even tho I do have other diy items attached, woodworking is most definitely an ongoing part of my show. I only have one official episode out, but this week I will be posting episode number 2…this will feature PART 2 Of my Cracker Platter that I built with Shane, as well as my OWN Version of a Wood Conditioner that I have created that I will be using on Shanes Potato Bin that he built and I will be going over the ingredients used, the why behind each ingredient, and WHY it was chosen to be used on wood to begin with. Should be an interesting show. I will also be doing a show on Homemade Southern Gumbo…so you see, a good combination, but definitely woodworking centered. Thanks for adding my Channel.
The level of sophistication in a $250 shop is significantly less than a $2,500 shop.  But keep in mind even a $2,500 budget is entry level.  Acquiring a shop full of the perfect tools for each and every job takes a life time.  But that doesn't mean that producing quality work takes a lifetime.  One of the most enjoyable aspects of this hobby is the constant need to solve problems in order to produce good work.
Some DIY woodworking projects are too intimidating to even attempt because you don't think of yourself as a master woodworker. Backyard Woodworking dubs itself as the YouTube channel for the average guy. The channel takes you through simple projects you can do today, projects like a piggy bank, a birdhouse and a heart box—which is apparently the perfect gift for your sweetie!
Assume that there aren’t any decent tools on craigslist or at garage sales, and keep in mind that I have absolutely no tools, dust collection, shop-vac, clamps, sanding & painting accessories, tables, materials to build my own tables/stands/jigs, or anything else—not even safety gear (you’re such a good buddy that you even let me borrow your extra set of goggles and your earmuffs when I used to come over).
Frank is an architect/woodworker who creates videos with stunning visuals that are intended to inspire you. Frank uses his top-notch filmmaking skills to fast-forward himself as he works on a project. He even uses stop motion—an animation technique that enables him to manipulate objects (such as chisels and clamps and block planes) to make it appear they are moving on their own.

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.

Steve Ramsey.  He's an energetic, fast-talking eccentric whose built his channel based on projects that can be done without investing in fancy tools.  He trudges out a banged-up table saw from his garage, chops stuff up on the bed of his truck, and generally produces well-structured projects - even if I can't agree with his design aesthetic and color choices.  Lots of good stuff to learn and a great channel for someone starting out.  
×