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New to woodworking–need advice

gathering opinions on the topic discussed

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Adam Clapton01/02/2019 08:56:57
2 forum posts

I’m new to woodworking, and want to set up my own beginner’s woodshop. I have built one table so far through the California College of Arts and Crafts–and LOVED it. Now I want to start practicing on my own, but I don’t know where to begin. Do I need to have power tools? If so, what should I start with? What hand tools do I need? Any advice is appreciated!

Edited By Derek Lane on 01/02/2019 13:48:45

Brian Barber03/02/2019 18:41:58
158 forum posts
244 photos

Hi Adam,

Well I was a beginner many years ago and it does take a long time to get to know what you need, I tend to buy anything and every that I fancy. Being serious the main thing is to become proficient in using and sharpening hand tools. The main tools you will need are good quality hand planes ( ideally Lie Nielsen or Clifton) and a good set of chisels ( Lie Nielsen are about the best you can get, although very expensive) and some hand saws. Yes power tools are very important, in order of preference I would suggest, Impact drill driver, Band Saw, Router, Table Saw, then Morticing machine.

At the cheaper end of the market you will of course need a variety of tools such as rulers, squares gauges etc.

Hope this helps


Julian05/02/2019 12:53:23
542 forum posts
28 photos

Hi Adam and welcome to the forum - I echo Brian but will also say that you don't need any power tools if you want to be a hand tool only woodworker, it all depends on your enjoyment level. Probably my most used power tool is the bandsaw, I don't own any Lie Nielson planes or chisels but I do have a number of old Stanley planes from No4 to No6 as well as shoulder planes and rebate planes. All of these are second hand but work extremely well, the same for my chisels. The other very important thing is your sharpening system, using sharp tools is so important. I have some very cheap chisels (costing about £1:50 each) but they have a keen edge and work beautifully although the backs did take a bit of flattening. I think you should decide which area of woodworking you want to get into and choose the tools carefully and if you need a special tool for a purpose then get it. Have a look at Paul Sellers website and YouTube channel you will find a wealth of good information on here Hope this helps -- Julian

Wilf.T16/02/2019 21:20:49
17 forum posts
2 photos
Hi Adam. Unable to decide if you are UK or USA based. Anyway, tools are very much of a muchness, the quality is consistent across continents.
Your question is do you need power tools? Well, I'd say not really but some power tools do make repetitious jobs much easier.
I'm sure you have some ideas on what tools you need to start with but my suggestions are as follows, firstly what to buy new ?
Hand tools, 20/22 inch saw, 10TPI (a.k.a 2nd fix),
Hammer, 12 or 16 oz claw,
Square, - a Combination Square is a good start - buy the best you can afford,
Drill 'index' (a set of twist drills) 1/16" to 3/8" (1.5-10mm).
Screwdrivers, 8"'x 5/16", & No 2 Posidrive (or Phillips) (best the very best you can afford to ensure it will last a long time.
Honing Guide and Sharpening stone initially 300 or 400 grit.
Buy second hand - try garage sales or Car boots markets,
Hand plane - 'Bailey No4 or No5' almost any make earlier than 1980?s. Don't worry about the state of the 'Iron' new ones are easily available - best are Lei Neilson...
Chisels ? 1/2'', 3/4'' and 1'' - anything from Stanley, Marples or Footprint makes.
Mortise gauge.
Hand Drill - 1/16 to 3/8
Jennings pattern 'Bits' (wood twist drills) 3/8", 1/2", 3/4" and 1" initially.
Hand Brace.
'Workmate' - with a suitable height saw horse and length of kitchen worktop will make a useable bench to start with.
Cramps - 'G' (or 'C') clamps, Sash Cramps, a pair of 48" or 50" will start you off. As many Squeezy clamps as you can find/afford.

Lastly a new tool - a rechargeable 1/2" drill/driver, you have 3 choices/decisions; battery voltage, and is the battery common across a range of power tools.

Once you are used to those tools you should then start to widen your selection.

Edited By Wilf.T on 16/02/2019 21:25:21

Adam Clapton03/04/2019 04:13:53
2 forum posts

wow, thanks for all the advice and contribution guys)

here below how my workshop currently looks, I know it's far from perfect and needs some improvement, I plan to add some shells for tools and add some better light sets - what are you currently using?

Edited By Adam Clapton on 03/04/2019 04:21:31

Big Al05/04/2019 06:35:29
1592 forum posts
73 photos

Hi Adam

Before you fill up your wall space it might be a good idea to paint your walls and ceiling white. I have found that this helps with the lighting.


David A. Moody04/05/2019 02:48:45
117 forum posts
18 photos

You're doing well with what you have

I've been in the same predicament. I've had to start with little and work up from there. I was even invited to write a set of articles for Good Woodworking Magazine a couple of years ago to give suggestions. I've also posted those articles to my blog, if you are interested: **LINK**

Diaz Jona16/05/2019 06:22:05
1 forum posts

From my point of view there are 6 things that I think are essential to know for how to start woodworking

1) you have to setup simple woodwork space.

2) Learn How to Read a Tape Measure.

3) Understanding Actual vs. Nominal Sizes in Lumber

4) Always use straight wood boards.

5) Basic tool you can use in your woodworking space.

6) Sand you wood

Just keep in mind these point You may just fall in love with woodworking and become hooked like me smiley

check my woodworking space


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