Deciding on the so-called “best tool for woodworking” largely depends on the projects you plan to undertake. Relatively small projects such as Adirondack chairs for the front porch typically need handheld power tools, a secure clamp system, and an assortment of others.
Quality woodworking starts with a designated space to ensure accurate measuring, cutting, and assembly.
A sturdy workbench can be constructed using 2×4 lumber for the base and surface area. There are also solid pre-fabricated workbenches available. It’s usually a good idea to install a pegboard backing to hang readily available hand tools. Although the best tool for woodworking is relative, the following list covers the essential needs of a DIY woodworker.
Must Have Tools for Woodworking
- Circular Saw: When choosing a circular saw, selecting one designed for quality cuts is essential. There are excellent saws on the market primarily designed for rough carpentry, such as house framing. A woodworker will need a comfortable grip, reasonable weight, adequate blade depth, a wealth of adjustments, a solid bevel edge, and enough power to slice through hardwoods.
- Clamp System: Old school woodworkers once swore by wooden Jorgensen clamps as the end-all-be-all in hand-screw models. These days, new materials and technologies are being employed in wide-reaching types of clamp brands. Jorgensen still makes excellent clamp products, but a woodworker would be well-served to select an assortment of clamp styles. Outfits such as Irwin, Bessey, and Powertec produce quality clamp products worth considering.
- Chisels: A set of quality chisels ranks among the indispensable tools for carpentry, masonry, and woodworking. Comprised of a hardened steel bar and handle made from wood or durable material, each chisel is named after the shape of its sharp edge. When choosing a chisel set for woodworking, think long-term. A well-made set can last for generations.
- Sanders: Woodworking projects typically require sanding and varnishing. A practical woodworker will need a band-sander for large, rough projects and palm sanders for refined ones. Orbital sanders appear to be all the rage these days, and they certainly get the job done. Black & Decker, DeWalt, and Milwaukee offer cost-effective models for DIYers.
- Miter Saw: Few tools deliver precision cuts through hardwood lumber quite like a miter saw. When choosing a miter saw, higher amp models provide more power. That’s important if you plan to work with oak, walnut, hickory, and other hardwoods. This woodworking tool usually offers saw depths of 8-12 inches. But perhaps the most important element is angle versatility.
- Jigsaw: Intricate and rounded cuts need a robust jigsaw. When choosing a model, consider things such as amps, strokes per minute ratings, and blade depth. These are among the keys to refined cutting. Remember to select an assortment of blades that will effectively cut through hardwoods, composite materials, and others (see also ‘How To Cut Gutters‘).
- Router: The ability to produce round-overs and fancy ogee edges separates amateurish woodworking projects from select ones. A reliable model will need quality bits to create sleek edges and possess the ability to plunge material. DeWalt, Makita, and Bosch make cost-effective routers for DIY projects.
- Hammers: Sometimes, the best tool for woodworking is the most obvious. The value of a high-quality set of hammers cannot be understated. A complete set that ranges from ball pein to a 16-ounce Estwing steel claw hammer belongs in a serious woodworker’s cache.
Additional Tools Once You Gain Some Experience
Along with these essential items, tools such as counter-sinkers, measuring tapes, levels, screwdrivers, drills, and others will come into play. But if someone were to really drill down, the “best tool for woodworking” is a pencil and a creative mind.