Tools For A New Woodworker?

Article - July 14, 2008

This week’s question comes from Allan who writes: I am interested in woodworking but scared of buying a crap ton of tools and sucking at it. Can you please tell me what I should buy to get started Thanks.

And here is my response:

When you are getting started, tool-buying decisions can be very daunting. To make matters worse, this is the worst possible time to buy your tools. You are just now learning about different aspects of the craft and your personal preferences, how can you be expected to know which tools to buy?!?! Not to mention if you decide you don’t really like woodworking, you don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling all of these recently purchased tools (although I have gotten some great deals this way, haha). So there are a few things I recommend doing. The first is to take classes. In a class setting, you will get some hands on time. This will not only tell you what tools you will need/want, but will also tell you what aspects of woodworking you really enjoy. Some folks like making big cabinets, so they need bigger tools to get the job done. Other folks fall in love with turning, scrolling, or intarsia, all of which require a smaller set of tools. And still others decide they want to go the non-power tool route and use hand planes and chisels for all of their work. So purchasing anything real expensive at this point would probably be inadvisable. Find a local woodworking store, or better yet a college or institution that gives woodworking classes. Knowing what you want to make and what tools are required to make them is the first step in coming up with a purchase plan that is appropriate for you.

I know that advice is a little abstract, but its advice I wish I had when I first started. Could have saved me lots of money. I would be more than happy to help you with specific tool choices as you progress.

***** Now I know you guys have some concrete suggestions for someone just starting out. Let’s hear ’em! *****


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