Must-Have Woodworking Tools for Beginners

When you have just started out woodworking you need some tools to get started with. Most people start with Plywood and then later jump into real woodwork. You all know already that Plywood is cheaper than solid wood and also needs very less finishing. Before you start out I suggest you read a full-length article on Plywood vs Solidwood for Beginners. Here in this article, I have listed the basic tools every woodworker needs. If you haven’t owned these, sooner or later you find a place for these tools in your arsenal.

Miter Box

If you have some small thin solid wood to work with, you should own this miter box. The reason is that it makes your work very much easier than manually measuring and sawing. Basically in this miter box, you can cut standard angles on the wood just by placing wood on this miter box and sawing in the slot already provided. You can also DIY it from Solid Wood. Or, you can buy these Plastic Reliable miter boxes from Black&Decker or Stanley.

Hand Saw

Hand saw has been a basic hand tool since the invention of woodworking. There are various types and lengths which depend on the type of wood you need to cut. Even if you own a Circular Saw, you still need a decent quality Hand Saw to cut intricate shapes inside tight spaces. I also suggest you buy an HSS Haxo blade which will be also useful along with Hand Saw. Because Haxo Blades are very thin and flexible, unlike Hand Saws.

Chisel Set

Chisels are very basic woodworking tools. They are mostly used for Solid Woodworks only. Plywood works don’t demand a chisel since most work is done by the saw itself. When in case you need to remove some material in between the wood where no machines can enter, the chisel is the only option. The basic sizes are 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″, 1.25″ and 1.5″. The only trick here is that you also need to know the right procedure to sharpen them.

Woodworking Vice

If you have your own workshop, then you must use a vice because it makes your work a lot easier. This tool has been used for ages. It can be for metalwork or woodwork. Woodworking vices are much broader so that they can support heavy wood logs. You also need a super strong and heavy work table to be able to mount the vice to the table.

Drill Machine

Drill machines just entered the market in India very recently due to mass productions in China and became very affordable. Before 20 years, you could probably find a woodworker with a drilling machine. Until then woodworkers were using the manual hand tool to make holes. Owning a drill makes drilling holes for dowel pin and nuts/ bolts so much easier. A drill must be in your arsenal because it’s a multipurpose tool. You can use it to drill metal, concrete too. Woodworkers should also know how to use drills on metal and concrete.

Drill Bit Set

In modern designs, people prefer unique cool looking architecture. For example, Floating Shelves. Here a woodworker should be able to drill holes in concrete in order to mount the shelf on the wall. So a drilling machine is always compulsory. And so do its drill bits. You should be always ready whether the surface is a wall, wood, or metal.

Flat Drill Bit Set

The round shank wood drill bits arrive only up to 10mm. For drilling more than 10mm deeper than 10cm, you need a Flat Bit. Flat bits can be purchased either in a single or kit. The kit comes with Flat bits only up to 25mm (1 inch). So you might think what will be the necessity for more than 1-inch? Below is the answer. Well, Flat bits are also known as Spade Bits.

Hinge Bit/ Forstner Bit Set

If you want to install cabinet hinges, you need hole sizes of 25mm, 35mm, and 42mm (widely used). Flat bits are also available in large sizes. But there is a problem. Flat bits always cost less than other types of bits. Flat bits are not always straight. They wobble once you mount it to the drill chuck. And by the way, while drilling large holes for Cabinet Hinges, you just need a short depth and the hole should be of the right dimension and should be clean and precise. Hence you need to buy these Hinge Bits. They are also available loose or in Kit. I recommend buying loose only those you require like 25mm, 35mm, and 42mm. Using Forstner bits results in a perfectly finished hole.

Hole Saw Set

If you want to drill extra-large holes up to 4 inches (100mm) you must use a hole saw. If you are building a Desktop Table, Office Meeting Table you need a hole saw. Hole saws are very cheap just like flat bits. A kit will last you longer if operated properly. Most of the Hole saws are made of normal carbon steel and high-speed steel. FYI, High-Speed Steel is for metal. You can also use it on wood. They will last longer than cheaper ones. Always remember to use a small quantity of WD40/ Zorrik to avoid rusting.

Bar Clamps

If you are joining two pieces of wood either Solid Wood or Plywood, you use Glue. The strength of the joint depends on how evenly the glue was distributed between the surfaces and the amount of strength used initially till the glue dries out. This is where the Clamps come in. There are various types of clamps. For Plywood bar clamps work the best. People rarely use Glue for Solid wood. You can also use your woodworking vice for clamping. You can also use screws for clamping, once the glue is dried, you can remove them.

Countersink Bit Set

If you use a lot of screws in your furniture, you always find a way to hide them. Hiding screws make the furniture look classic. The best idea is to use countersink screws. But before you finally drive them to the fullest, you need to give them extra space to bury its head. Hence you need to use a countersink bit. This creates the space required to fully drive the screw in. Once the screw is in, you can use some wood power with glue or some wood filler on the top which will hide the screw. Once everything is finished, it will be hard to identify that you even used screw fasteners.

Assorted Screws

If you are a beginner you must keep multiple sizes of screws. Generally, screws arrive in sizes #6, #8, and #10. 6 and 8 are widely used. The number is nothing but the size of the screw body. You can find that on the internet. Overall, since you use a drill machine, you should use Philips head screws instead of Slotted types (Star and Minus in local language). You can buy Black ones which are marketed as Drywall screws and you should also keep a set of Stainless Steel Screws. If you also drive them into Wall, then you must also keep some wall plugs of standard sizes.

Claw Hammer

While working on old furniture, probably driven with nails instead of screws, you need a way to remove them. In that case, you can use a Claw hammer to guide the screws out. You can also use a claw hammer just like a hammer for driving nails for some PVC edge bandings to look plywood ends clean and neatly finished.

Screwdriver Set

Having a screwdriver set ready in hand is always a good idea. Because you may not have individual screwdrivers for each and every type. You will always buy individual screwdrivers for only the sizes you mostly use. Rest type of screwdrivers you can purchase with the kit at less cost.

File Set

Having a set of decent-quality hand files is also important. Finishing off sharp edges on tree branches is a breeze. Trimming the extra laminate on plywood is easy. Chamfering edges is easy. Overall Hand Files are as important as Sand Papers.

Putty Blade

If you work with Plywood, In India the problem with Plywood is that the Brand imprints their logo on the whole sheet. Hence Indian plywood cannot be raw finished. You should be using Laminates to hide company branding. Hence you will use glue to join the laminate sheet to plywood. In order to spread the glue to their surface, you need to use a Putty Blade/ Puddy Blade or even Patti Blade in the local language. Some have handles and some don’t. Pulling the glue with the putty blade to spread evenly is not an easy task. The viscosity of wood glue is too high. Always buy a putty blade with a handle to ease the job.

Wood Glue

Of course, this is basic. You already know. If you want to join two pieces of wood, it can be Solid wood or Plywood, you must use wood glue along with joineries like mortise type or Dowel Pins. Whatever you use glue is a must to prevent a leakproof joint to avoid moisture from coming in. Always remember to buy the easy glue applicators. Because each and every time you don’t wish to touch the glue with bare hands because to remove, it is a tedious task. If you buy the glue in large quantities, always remember the right ways to preserve it for long-term use.

Laminate Cutter

When you use Laminate (also called Sunmica, which is the first brand to become famous among woodworkers and carpenters) breaking/ cutting it in the right dimensions is only possible with the laminate cutters. Blades can be used but laminate cutters work well.

The problem with Indian Plywood brands is that there are ‘n’ number of them in the market. To differentiate themselves and to avoid counterfeit materials, they use huge amounts of ink to print their brand information on the plywood. It looks very ugly and cannot be left as it is because it looks unfinished. So you must use laminate. If you think the other way, over-branding on plywood also leads to more laminate sales.

Tip: If you don’t wish to use Laminates and want to buy clean plywood, you can go for Birch Wood. But finding it is very hard and moreover, it’s expensive.

Speed Square

If you haven’t used it, you should be at least now. Whether you work with metal or wood, your job becomes very easy since you can save time marking and measuring, drawing cutting lines, 45° markings. I use it extensively in every project related to metal and wood. If you watch my DIY YT videos, you can have a look.

Cheaper ones are not accurate. Premium brands like Baker, Insize should start manufacturing these asap.

Measuring Tape

Spring-loaded measuring tapes come in 3 sizes, 3 meters, 5 meters, and 7 meters. Always a good idea to have all these ready. Wood and logs arrive in different sizes. If you have the largest tape ready, you can save time by avoiding marking twice. The front-end steel part of the tape should not be twisted. If maintained properly will last a lifetime.

Corner Clamps

In general, clamps work for face-to-face gluing. What if you are gluing corner to corner joints? Those clamps will not work. You need corner clamps. Using them you can easily assemble a box before screwing or gluing. Even welders can use these clamps too. There are two vices in each corner clamp. You have to buy at least 4 of these in order to assemble boxes in one go.

Rubber Mallet

Working with wood is a gentle job. Using Metal hammers on wood may deform them. Using hammers on plywood is completely dangerous due to the imperfections inside, the surface finish will be damaged and there is no solution other than to use wood filler. Rubber Mallets will be perfect for hammering on Wooden Surfaces with minimal or no damage at all. Once bought they will last longer if used frequently.

Carpenter Plane

You can’t call yourself a Carpenter if you don’t own one of these. Reducing the size/ thickness of woodblocks all started with this tool. This was a basic tool in every carpenter’s arsenal back in the day. Even today professional carpenters still use it. There are various types and sizes. The reason why some people avoid these tools is that it requires a lot of patience and energy to use them. Once the blade gets dull, you need to manually remove it and sharpen. A time-consuming job when you already have sophisticated electric planer machinery. Both Hand-Held and Heavy Duty Bench Type.

And this is it. You can start your Woodworking Journey. If there is something we missed, please let us know in the comments.