Basic Woodworking Tools – Your Complete Guide


Woodworking tools is a creative and rewarding craft requiring specialized tools to produce beautiful pieces. Whether an amateur woodworker or a professional carpenter, having the right tools for the job can make all the difference.

This guide will provide an overview of the tools you need for woodworking, including power tools, hand tools, and other accessories. You’ll learn which tools are best for different projects and the basics of using each one correctly.

Table of Contents

Protective Equipment

A female carpenter is wearing protective goggles. 

A female carpenter is wearing protective goggles. 

Safety Goggles

Safety glasses help protect your eyes from dust and any pieces of flying debris in the workshop. 

Hearing Protection

A pair of earmuffs or earplugs can help avoid Possible hearing impairment or permanent hearing loss. 

Dust Mask

You must wear a dust mask (respirator) when handling dusty projects in your workshop. That applies to the following scenarios and more:

  • When working with acetone or mineral spirits
  • When using a saw or sander
  • When praying or hand-applying VOC finishes

Long-term exposure to the dust in your workshop may result in different respiratory conditions, including asthma and bronchitis. 

Measurement Equipment

A carpenter is measuring the length of wood planks.

A carpenter is measuring the length of wood planks.


A carpenter’s pencil will help you make quick marks, create notches, and draw lines in your wood pieces. Yet, you want spare pencils in your workshop, as these are easy to lose. Pencils are very affordable, even for the budget-conscious carpenter.

Marking Gauge

A marking gauge (scratch gauge) uses a small pin or spur to mark out lines for cutting on your wood pieces.

Combination Square

A combination square is useful when calibrating your table saw or checking an angle on your wood board. Of course, there are different types of combination squares, but a 12” one should do the trick if you are a beginner.

Tape Measure

While there are several tape measures in the market, ensure your tape is accurate and marked appropriately. Of course, tape measures aren’t expensive, and you can buy a good-quality one even if you are on a budget.

Metal Rulers

A metal ruler will help you to measure small distances and draw straight lines on wood surfaces. For your information, a layout square is a special type of ruler in carpentry – it helps make 90-degree angles around corners.


You want to use a level to ensure your wood surface is level. I recommend having three different levels, at least based on size. When using a level, use one that matches the actual distance of the surface you’re measuring. 

Digital Level

A digital level will help you do different tasks, including basic construction work, automatic height calculations, and advanced leveling work. A digital level gives very accurate readings using bar-coded scales.


A bar clamp is clamping pieces of wood.

A bar clamp is clamping pieces of wood.

Bar Clamps

If you are a beginner, you want to start with fewer than two 4ft bar clamps and an equal number of 2ft bar clamps. Of course, that will be enough to handle any woodwork project. 

Quick Clamps

True to their name, quick clamps are quick to set and release. In addition, quick clamps are smaller than bar clamps and have a reliable price tag. For beginners, get started with about four quick clamps. However, experienced carpenters might want to have eight quick clamps or so.

Hand Screw Clamps

These clamps are handy when you want to create vertical support. For your information, hand screw clamps are bulky and have two threaded handles. Getting yourself one or two of these clamps would be ideal.

Hand Tools

Hand tools are in a box.

Hand tools are in a box.

The Claw Hammer

The claw hammer will help you drive and pull out nails from wood surfaces. Additionally, it can act as a pry bar for wood boards. I recommend buying a claw hammer with a medium head (between 16 and 25 Oz). Also, ensure the handle is rubber- or plastic-coated for an excellent grip.


If you are a serious carpenter, you want to possess an entire set of chisels with different blades. It’s just that chisels are great carving tools, and you can use them to shave away wood material. Also, you can drive chisels with a mallet to break parts of the wood. Finally, maintain your chisels regularly, as they are prone to dulling.

A Set of Screwdrivers

Screwdrivers of various sizes will help you in almost everyday projects – they’ll help you to drive screws into wood pieces. Make sure to use matching screws for different screwdrivers.

Hand Saw

A hand saw is ideal for making quick precision cuts. While there are different hand saws, a universal hand saw will help you make crosscuts and rips hassle-free.


A mallet resembles a hammer but has a wooden head, which absorbs part of the striking force. Besides, you can add leather straps to the head to cushion it a bit. Then, you can use your mallet to strike wooden pieces and drive chisels with increased control.

Power Tools

Woodworking power tools. 

Woodworking power tools. 

Power Drill

You want to know that you will drill several holes when dealing with wood. Therefore, you should have a reliable power drill in your workshop. Ensure you have a set of drill bits of different shapes and sizes.


A nailer (nail gun) will help you drive nails into the wood under pressure. Plus, there are two different types of nail guns. For instance, the framing nailer is ideal for heavy-duty tasks, and the finishing nailer will help tackle lighter projects.

Miter Saw

A miter saw is helpful for different basic projects. In line with that, it will help you make angle cuts and crosscuts. Moreover, if you have a compound miter saw, you can easily make beveled and compound angle cuts.

Circular Saw

A circular saw can be an alternative to a table saw, especially if you want to work with sheet materials, including plywood. On top of that, a circular saw can rip large sheets; a table saw might not be able to. On the same note, if you have more money, you might opt for a track saw for cleaner and more accurate cuts. Also, a track saw has fewer blade-pinching and kick-back issues.


Of course, you should make a curved cut, and that’s where a jigsaw comes in handy. While a band saw can do a similar job, it is not as maneuverable. Besides, band saws are more expensive. Jig saws, on the other hand, are affordable and versatile. You can even opt for a cordless one if you intend to use it outdoors.


A router will help you dig out holes, cut out fancy edges, make decorative patterns, and more. For your information, there are two forms of routers – stationary and plunge routers. Additionally, you might find some options with both the bases (plunge and stationary). I recommend buying both types of routers. Of course, you may not use both, but you’ll likely need the pair.

Table Saw

While other power tools might fail when making precise cuts, a table saw excels in this area. Moreover, you can make rip cuts with a table saw. If you’re unsure about the right table, or saw, buy one with a reliable fence system.

Next, the rip capacity of the table saw should be enough to tackle your projects appropriately. For example, if you want to work with large sheets of wood, ensure enough space between the blade and the fence.

Price-wise, a great table saw can go for approximately $300. Also, the portable options might be a good fit if you don’t have enough space in your workshop.

Band Saw

A band saw excels in cutting curves and irregular shapes, even in a thick wood. Again, a band saw will help you to saw lumber into thin slabs with smooth cuts.

Drill Press

A drill press (pedestal drill) is suitable for making wide, deep, and straight holes. For your information, a typical drill press has a swing of at least 15 inches and can drill deep holes in lumber.

Shaping and Finishing Tools

A carpenter is sanding wood with an orbital sander. 

A carpenter is sanding wood with an orbital sander. 

Hand Plane

You’ll want to use a plane to smoothen or reduce the thickness of the wood by pushing the blade over the surface of the wood. Of course, there are different planes available. Still, you want to get started with a jack plane, which you can use as a jointing and smoothing tool. Later, you might want to advance to planes that do jobs of smoothing or jointing.

Random Orbital Sander

Ideally, you’ll spend a lot of time sanding in your workshop. Consequently, have a reliable random orbital sander in your workshop. It will help you save more time than doing sanding manually. On the same note, a corded orbital sander is better than a battery-powered one, especially when your sanding sessions are longer. Power interruptions can compromise your sanding sessions unless you have spare batteries.

Sanding Discs

It’s convenient to have enough packages of sanding discs in your workshop. After all, sanding pads are affordable. Just so you know, there are different grit sizes, and you should start with a 120-grit disc before progressing to a 220-grit one. Of course, after sanding, make sure to apply a finish.

Sandpaper Sheets

You’ll use an orbital sander for 90% of your sanding processes. However, sandpaper sheets will help you reach surfaces you can’t access using an orbital sander. 

Surface Planer

Use this sanding machine to smooth large wood surfaces, especially if you want a fine finish. Also, a surface planer can help reduce the thickness of a wood board. In other words, it functions like a hand planer on a large-scale basis.

Cleaning Tools

 A sawdust vacuum is at work.

 A sawdust vacuum is at work.

Sawdust Vacuum

Use a sawdust vacuum to keep your workshop and the surrounding air clean. Unlike a regular vacuum, a saw dust vacuum has special filters and is unlikely to get clogged.

Finishing Tools

A carpenter is using masking tape.

A carpenter is using masking tape.

Mineral Spirit

Before you apply a finish to your sanded wood, apply mineral spirit to it and wipe it clean. That will make it ready for the application of the finish.

Lacquer Thinner

Use lacquer thinner to dissolve oil, vanishes, paints, and other substances off brushes, wood surfaces, and other tools.

Masking Tape

Use masking tape to mask off areas you don’t want to paint or coat with a finish. In addition, masking tape helps avoid tear-outs when cutting across the grain of the wood.


You can tackle your projects confidently with the right tools and a bit of practice. For more information, contact us today.

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