More than a decade ago I spent 2 weeks in Maine aspiring to learn furniture making. On my return home I started enthusiastically planning to turn my basement into a proper shop – with all the “essential” tools I had learned to use. My list reflected my engineer’s preference for buying quality and quickly exceeded $25k in power tools alone (table saw, band saw, joiner, thickness planer, drill press…) even before solving the power, lighting and dust challenges.

I dedicate several chapters in this book to exploring the exciting world of tools. From age-old hand tools to the most modern machine for milling wood, Chapters 5, 6, and 7 cover them all (well, not all of them, that would be insane, not to mention take up the entire book). Not only do you get to see what tools are what, you also get a glimpse into how to use each of them safely and effectively.
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Great book to dip your toe before you invest several hundred or thousand dollars in tools and equipment. The author does a great job breaking down such things as growth rings, seasonal movement, wants vs. needs as far as tools and equipment and what it takes to get started in woodworking as a hobby or potential source of income. A great and easy read that has come in handy time and again for reference as well as a recommended reading for others interested in this hobby.
Second, my table saw. I would love to have one of the big cabinet table saws that start in the four digit range, but, really, my Dewalt Job Site saw has done a mighty fine job for the three or so years we have owned it. The alignment continues to be right on, even after being toted around, and like every other Dewalt tool I have owned, it is an absolute work horse.

You need tools to work with wood. And most woodworkers think tools are great. I know I love buying and using tools. Heck, I’m the first to admit I have a problem. (Does anyone know of a 12-step program for tool addicts?) I buy tools like candy (well, more than I buy candy, actually). I have special tools for almost any imaginable task and I can’t ever seem to get enough. Such is the life of a woodworker.


As Chief Creative Officer and Founding Partner at Brit + Co, Anjelika Temple brings her voracious consumption of all things creative and colorful to DIY projects, geeky gadgetry finds and more. When she's not DIY-ing her heart out, you'll find her throwing dinner parties with friends or adventuring with her husband David, their daughter Anokhi, and their silly dog Turkey.
The final step in any woodworking project is protecting the wood from moisture and damage. Chapter 18 includes lots of information about the most common types of topcoats. Because not all of them provide the same degree of beauty and protection, you get a chance to compare the pros and cons of each topcoat so that you can choose the best option for you and your project.
2 small Japanese pull saws, a western push saw, fret saw, set of chisels, bit brace with a roll of arbor bits, rabbet plane, side rabbet (trim) plane, 2 shoulder planes, 3 set of diamond stones, slip stone, multiple files, a rasp or two, 2 small bar clamps, a mini vise, hand scrapers, scratch beader with cutters, combination plane with cutters, smoothing plane, jack plane, block plane, combination square, steel straight rule, 12′ tape measure, small bottle of glue, a few short dowels, 2 marking gauges, and a few different marking instruments (awl, pencils, marking knife).
If your wallet still cringes at the totals above, fear not, for the totals above are for all brand new tools. The one luxury we have in our modern day of hand tools is the large secondhand market where you might be able to scoop up some great tools – possibly even some of the actual tools that once inhabited these cabinets – for the original price in today’s dollars, or less. So before you break out the barbeque, give some thought to how you can free yourself from a mountain of modern tools and invest in a modest set of traditional hand tools that will get you started on the path to more enjoyable woodworking.
We recommend buying quality, age-appropriate tools. Even if you purchase professional class tools, your investment can still be modest, as demonstrated by our 24-piece Highland Woodworking Tool Kit for Kids. It contains real tools of a quality that will serve any woodworker, and we've selected them based on what is needed for the kind of woodworking projects that kids are likely to undertake.
After you have smoothed the wood, you can then decide whether you want to add any color and, if so, what type. You can choose from stain or paint and from water-based, oil-based, or lacquer-based products. You have many options and I’m sure you can find one that works for you. Chapter 17 helps you make sense out of all the choices and shows you how to apply these products.

Dan, I’m worried about you. The stress must be getting to you. Somehow you’ve lost your ability to count. By my estimation, your list has at least 29 items, some of which are actually “sets” of items, like chisels or crayons, which I only counted as one item. Perhaps you need a break from all that blogging, and time to get back to basics, like counting. I can help. Come over to my shop and we can count things like parts, items on the honey-do list, and for extra credit, screw holes. Don’t worry about making mistakes, I’ll guide you through it, and we can round up if necessary. Ha!
Part III gets into the nuts and bolts of joining wood together (you don’t use actual nuts and bolts, though). Chapter 9 is all about adhesives (glues). This chapter demystifies all the different glue choices you have to contend with. After reading this chapter, you’ll be able to walk into a woodworking store and get the right glue for you. Chapter 10 shows you how to make all the wood joints you’ll encounter in this book. Wood joints are the basis for almost all woodworking, and making them well is the difference between a project that lasts for a few years (at most) and one than is still solid after generations. Chapter 11 offers your wood joints some assistance with mechanical fasteners such as screws and nails. This chapter shows you when adding a nail or screw to your project can help and when it’s a waste of effort.
We will suggest you select the simple Birdhouse if you are new at woodworking but be sure to select its design with respect to the place where you are going to hang/place it. One of our simple Birdhouse tutorials will help you building one. We have managed to include a source tutorial below that will help you to understand illustrates and the instruction to building a simple Birdhouse.
“Basic,” on the other hand, is a word that allows for growth – and that’s exactly what you want in your woodworking tool kit. You want to be able to take the same kit with you through many years in the craft. With my basic woodworking tools list, I wanted to provide a core set of tools that will serve you well from project to project. I’m especially concerned these days with the transition to hardwood furniture making, as opposed to plywood boxes of various sizes. That’s the transition I’m making right now in my own work!
Jeff Strong, of Lamy, New Mexico is not only an accomplished craftsman and woodworker, but is also author of Drums For Dummies and Home Recording For Dummies.  Jeff began creating sawdust at a very early age while assisting his father, a master craftsman, build fine furniture.  He has designed and build countless pieces of furniture and has recently completed the designs for a commercial line of furniture blending Arts and Crafts and Asian infuences which has already secured representation with a gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Begin by cutting off a 10-in. length of the board and setting it aside. Rip the remaining 38-in. board to 6 in. wide and cut five evenly spaced saw kerfs 5/8 in. deep along one face. Crosscut the slotted board into four 9-in. pieces and glue them into a block, being careful not to slop glue into the saw kerfs (you can clean them out with a knife before the glue dries). Saw a 15-degree angle on one end and screw the plywood piece under the angled end of the block.
Your first backsaws should be (1) a dovetail saw, with fine rip teeth, used for cutting joinery along the grain (like dovetails), (2) a “carcass saw” used for cutting across the grain (fine cross cut teeth), and (3) a larger tenon saw used for cutting deeper cuts, like tenon cheeks, along the grain (rip teeth). All three saws are used very, very often in my workshop. You could certainly get by with just a larger dovetail saw and a carcass saw at first, if you don’t plan on immediately cutting large tenons. Buying backsaws can be very confusing because there is no standardized naming system, and a dovetail saw can be turned into a carcass saw (and vice-a-versa) by sharpening it differently. And practically everybody that’s selling antique saws mixes the names up. My buyer’s guide really clears this confusion up and will help you know what to look for.
I have used a Workmate successfully for years and I am in the process of building an upgraded replacement for the work surfaces. My replacement bench top will be a little longer, much thicker and it will have and extended apron between the two halves to greatly improve holding wood vertically for dovetailing. With this simple upgrade it turns the little Workmate into a very capable portable woodworking bench.
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