Basic Tools

Basic tool kit for a beginning woodworker

Since this is a basic tool package no heavy-duty machinery is included below. You can purchase these, as you need them. Hopefully soon.

First, purchase a nice, basic toolbox. This provides a proper place to keep everything stored and it’s easy to take to the project. You will want to be organized and know where your tools are. “A place for everything and everything in its place”.

Stanley 016013R 16" Series 2000 Tool Box with Tray

Stanley 016013R 16″ Series 2000 Tool Box 


In the simple list below, the tools I have included are the most likely to be used by the novice. Many of you may already have some of these. In general, it does make sense to shop for the good-quality tools you can afford, specifically when you’re purchasing hand equipment. It’s unlikely that a very good hammer, square, handsaw or the like will become out of date, and with basic care, there’s no reason why they can’t last a lifetime. Many manufacturers provide at least two product types: inexpensive gear for “hobbyists,” and greater heavy-responsibility models for commercial/business and professional use. Which type will you need?

As you price range each tool on the list, don’t be afraid to shop around. Flyers, magazines, and online are good ways to pre-shop before you buy. Don’t get too crazy, as you will end up purchasing more items than you currently need. You can spread out the total cost each new additional tool with each and every project you undertake. I believe this is a curse of the woodworker. Tools are cool.

There are skilled woodworkers who make great items with simple hand tools and some perspiration if that is your desire. I am hooked on power equipment in most situations, however existence can go on with out them.

Be cautious when it comes to electric tool purchases. It is very simple to fall into the “overkill” trap. If a 1-hp router could be good enough on your wishes, don’t purchase a 3-hp version unless you see a future need.

A Basic, Commonsense Tool Kit (plus or minus)

  • Combination square
  • Sliding bevel
  • Framing square
  • Steel tape (10′ or 12′)
  • Crosscut saw (12 pt.)
  • Rip saw (6 1/2 or 7 1/2 pt.
  • Hacksaw
  • Utility knife
  • Claw hammer (16 oz.)
  • Finish hammer (8 oz.)
  • Nail set
  • Wooden mallet
  • Slip-joint pliers
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Diagonal cutters
  • Round rasp
  • Flat rasp
  • Screwdrivers (straight, Phillips)
  • Face shield or safety glasses
  • Hearing protection
  • Dust mask or respirator
  • Electric Circular saw (7 1/4″)
  • Electric Drill (3/8″ variable speed)
  • Electric Jigsaw


Maybe next time you can add:

  • Dual-action pad sander (straight-line and orbital)
  • Belt sander (3X21″ with dust collection)
  • Bar or pipe clamps (2-3′ and 2-5′ min.)
  • Doweling jig
  • Spade-shaped drill bits
  • Brad-point drill bits
  • Bench vise or clamping system
  • C-clamps
  • Sharpening stone (dual-purpose, coarse/fine)
  • Smooth plane
  • Low-angle block plane
  • Wood chisels (1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″)
  • Router (1 hp, 1/4″ collet) Purchase bits as needed; bead, chamfer, cove, straight, round-over, rabbet.