Have you ever thought about beginning woodworking as a hobby or pastime? It can be rewarding when you take on your own DIY projects around the home.
However, it can be intimidating when it comes to taking the first steps and buying woodworking tools without full understanding the basics.
While you don’t need to spend a fortune on the latest and greatest equipment, there are some woodworking tools for noobs that everyone should have and know how to use.
We will look at all you need to know about getting started in woodworking and some of the basic things you need to know before tackling some beginner woodworking projects.
Woodworking Basics – Wood Shop Space
When you first start to learn the basics of woodworking, one of the first things you’ll learn is you need space to work.
This can be one thing which puts a halt on many people efforts because they don’t have this space available.
However, you don’t need a ton of space for a wood shop in the beginning. What you need more than anything is an area where you are same to be banging around without disturbing anyone.
Garages are ideal areas as you can set up a workbench and hang all your tools, but if a garage isn’t viable, then a garden shed can be just the thing.
These are secluded and can be enough space when you choose the right sized shed.
Woodworking Requirements – Working Space
Before getting carried away and tossing out old things to clear your area. You must do some planning, not only do you need an area for your tools, but you’ll need an area where you can have your workbench where most of your work will be carried out.
Once you tackle your first basic woodworking projects, you will find you need space to move your wood around while giving you standing space.
Tools To get Started
Any person who wants to take up woodworking will have to invest a little money. The basic
woodworking tools doesn’t need to cost a fortune.
Many individuals have different opinions on what tools you need when you first look how to get into woodworking, but you can buy a balanced set that will allow you to tackle several projects before committing too much.
We will look at the tools you should buy first, but not all on this list are required to start with, and most of them will be available in most hardware stores.
There are many types of workbenches you can choose from, but a heavy wooden one is more than suitable. They are heavy and won’t move while if you drill or cut in the wrong place, you won’t damage your tools.
Many learn woodworking by building their own bench. This not only helps improve their skills, but it can be custom made to meet all your requirements.
2. Wood Planes
There are wood planes that cover a number of uses. Jack hand planes are used for stock removal, smoothing boards and others. Block planes are smaller and are often used to add chamfers or trim edges of end grain etc.
No matter what project you undertake, you will need a plane to help finish a surface or trim edges. A step up from this would be if you want to take it serious and purchase your lumber where you can cut your own from larger pieces. If this is how you plan your woodworking route, then you will need a thickness planer.
While quite a bit more expensive, they can make a difference to many larger projects, and a lot of woodworkers prefer to purchase their lumber rough cut and trim it down to size themselves.
3. Marking Out Equipment
You won’t be able to take on any woodworking project without marking onto your wood. You need to know where to cut, where to drill and where all your wood will meet in your joins.
There are so many things you can mark out, you will need a variety of tools to mark out and check angles with.
A good tape measure is essential. Measure twice and cut once is an old adage, and it is worth remembering. It can be worth spending a little extra because a quality one can last a lifetime, and there are many more times you’ll use these outsides of the woodwork.
When it comes to angles, you need something which is made for the job. Here, you have two options. First is a combination square.
This is basically a ruler who sits in an anvil. These are used to measure 45 or 90-degree angles.
To use these you unscrew the adjustable knob and slide the anvil down the length of the ruler. You lock it in position and then mark your wood.
If you have a woodworking project that has other angles, then you will need a sliding bevel. These work in the same way, but have the advantage of being able to measure any angle rather than just the two.
These comprise two parts. The stock is the name for the handle part while the beam is the steel blade which can be moved and rotated.
4. Rip Saws and Cross Cut
For rough cutting, you will need a good pair of hand saws. Rip saw are for when you are cutting down the length of the grain in the wood, while a crosscut saw is where you are cutting across the grain.
Both of these will be required because you will make both types of cuts. Comfortable handles are crucial as you can exert a bit of effort when cutting wood by hand. Both of these will be used before you get into the final detail cutting. (See our Top Circular Saw Guide)
5. Miter Saws
When you need to cut angles don the length of your wood, you will need a miter box and a miter saw. These come with various angles in the miter box where you place your wood and then place the saw at the desired angle.
This can be one of the hardest things for many new woodworkers to do, and it can be made easier by purchasing a compound miter saw that is powered by electric.
These are much quicker and can be locked in position for the desired angle. These can save hours and make things much easier when performing one of the harder woodworking techniques.
6. Back Saws
In this section, there will three you can end up using. These are dovetail saws, carcass saws and tenon saws.
These hand tools are for when you are cutting finer details for joints. These differ from other saws as they can’t cut through thick lumber because of the back that sits along their length to keep them rigid.
7. Coping Saws
These are very affordable but makes things easy when cutting your rough shapes around your dovetail joints. All you need are plenty of blades as these can easily snap when you first begin using them.
8. Chisel Sets
A good set of chisels can pay for themselves. When you are making joints, you need these to cut the last bits of wood from your joints. These come in a variety of sizes for different uses. Narrow ones are often used when clearing wood from inside holes that will be your mortice joints, or for smoothing off the last millimeter from your tenons.
It can be worth investing in a good set as these can last for a lifetime with correct sharpening and a little care.
Out of all your woodworking tools, these can be most of what you use by hand regularly. However, there are some tools which are heavy duty and come in the form of powered tools. We mentioned the electric planer and miter saw above, but the following power tools can save countless hours and work.
9. Electric Drills
When it comes to drilling holes, you need to be perfect or you can quickly ruin your woodworking project.
You have a wide choice of drills and bits to choose from, but for woodworking, you are better choosing cordless drills. These make it easier when working around your workbench without hanging wires.
They can also be far easier and safer if you need to screw or drill in positions where an extension cable would be required, or you are drilling upward rather than down.
When you drill holes, the drill needs to be capable, but the crucial part is using high-quality drill bits. (See our top drill press guide also)
You can set a jigsaw blade at an angle. While they are not much use for long cuts like circular saws, these are fantastic for cutting curves or odd shapes.
The blades on these are short so wood depth can only be thin, but replacements are very cheap and can be changed in a minute or two.
11. Electric Sanders
One thing you can never get away from in woodworking is sanding. Out of all the woodworking tools that can save lots of effort and help achieve the best finish are electric sanders.
Here, you have three basic types. Hand sanders are the most affordable and are good for smaller projects.
These are a plate where you fasten your sandpaper and then you press down on your wood. If you are beginning woodworking projects which are larger in size, you will be better using belt sanders.
These heavy-duty sanders use sandpaper which is in a belt and continually runs around.
You can cover large areas and when you choose finer levels of sandpaper, you can get an almost perfect finish. Orbital sanders are another that are ideal for smaller projects and using in tight spaces. These use sanding disks that stick to around wheel.
There are plenty of safety rules you can follow when woodworking, however, many of them are common sense. Tools can be sharp, and even more so with the electrically powered tools and saws you can use.
Most of all your work area should be clean while working, and when sanding, you need to take extra care and use some form of dust collection systems.
If your woodworking projects use MDF, you will find these sanded particles are harmful. At the bare minimum you should wear a facemask.
The best systems are an extraction unit which can pull dust away from you and the environment as you work. Many power tools actually come with dust bags, or you can connect a vacuum hose as you use them.
Aside from the dangers of electrical cords, you need to be careful with your hand tools. Saws and chisels can be, and should be very sharp.
This means keeping your fingers away from the cutting area, and not leaving your tools uncovered and laying around.
Woodworking can be therapeutic and lots of fun. It may appear daunting, but as soon as you begin, you will be keen on taking on more elaborate projects.
One of the good things with woodworking, there are lots of areas where you can find more information, but to get the best benefits, you can follow one of the many online woodworking classes.
These go in depth in all you need to know to make the best joints and how to mark out correctly. You can quickly learn new skills which you can put into practice.
The good thing with these types of courses and tutorials is they deliver detailed step by step sequences for each skill you need.
Most times, these courses follow making items of furniture rather than merely showing you how to make joints or how to cut, sand or use a chisel.
It won’t be long before you have learned all these new skills and have something to show for it at the end. You may build your own garden shed so you have a much larger woodwork shop to make larger creations.