My son loves to work on anything my husband does. And something my husband loves to do is woodwork. The two have built several things around out house, including side tables, a sofa table, and some ramps for their remote control cars. My husband has always had a knack for building, and has fond memories of watching his grandpa build when he was a little boy. We both love our oldest son woodworking because it has taught him skills important in engineering. Besides the obvious lessons about building, he’s also learned important safety practices needed around tools, and personal protection equipment (PPE) practices, such as wearing safety glasses and gloves. He has also learned the importance of communication on a construction site to ensure everyone’s safety.
8 Essential Woodworking Tools for Beginners
Around 10 years ago my husband wanted to start his own wood shop, and buy the essential woodworking tools. Here are the 7 woodworking tools he bought to start:
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1. Safety glasses and gloves
My husband has used his miter saw for almost every project he has worked on, including our 24 ft by 20 ft pergola to our 8ft long sofa table. He’s used it to cut 8 inch by 8 inch posts, and 2 inch by 1 inch slats of wood. A miter saw makes cutting pieces of wood the same length a quick part of building, verses using a hand held tool.
3. Table Saw
A table saw is essential for cutting long strips of wood. Without one, making a long, straight cut is impossible! With a table saw the saw stays in place, while you push the wood against the guide, and into the saw. This table saw can be used on a work table or saw horse, or your can use this table saw that includes a stand.
Your only alternative to using an electric drill is using hand tools like screwdrivers and ratchets. While hand tools are fine in car maintenance, they are extremely inefficient for woodworking projects. Everything my husband has made would have taken 10 times longer if he had not had an electric drill. He also chose a cordless drill so he did not need to attach his drill to an extension cord when he was already on a ladder building our first pergola. Imagine standing on a ladder 15 feet in the air, and having to worry about where a cord is! Definitely a safety concern. This drill includes a spare battery and charger, so a project does not need to stop once a battery runs out. Just pull one off the charger and get back to work, while the other battery recharges!
Most projects require perpendicular cuts from an edge of the wood you’re cutting. A square makes sure you are perfectly perpendicular, instead of approximating. This square also has a ruler on one edge, which helps to mark the wood at the exact same spot going down a piece of wood, which ensures a straight line down the piece of wood.
When my husband started woodworking, he didn’t have very many tools. His first time making a table, he hand sanded the surface to make sure it was smooth. It took him a long and tiring 2 hours. After that he bought an electric sander. Sanding all his projects after that was much quicker, and much less tiring for him!
Some cuts in a woodworking project cannot be made on a flat surface that a table saw and miter saw require. Like at the end of building our pergolas, my husband used his reciprocating saw to make sure all the thin pieces of wood were the same length. He’s also used it to trim down trees, and to demo our closets before redesigning them.
An often overlooked must-have woodworking tool is a level. After all, no one wants a table that isn’t flat, or a pergola that leans to one side. My husband now has several levels, some long, some short, but the one I find the neatest is his post level. The post level helps my husband ensure the posts for the pergolas he builds are straight up and down, and are square.
I’m going to be honest with you. When my husband said he needed all these tools to get started, I didn’t really believe him. I saw the huge price tag on some of them, and thought “yeah right!”. But as I’ve watched him and my son build together, I know understand what he means by “There’s a right tool for every job”. While some alternatives to these tools are cheaper, they will take a lot longer, and will not produce the same quality. So if you or someone you know wants to start woodworking, consider buying them one of the 8 woodworking tools my husband used to start his hobby. Maybe you’ll be on the receiving end on some of the fabulous things they build!
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