7 Essential Woodworking Tools
7 Essential Woodworking Tools
So you’re at a crossroad: One road leads you to a garage filled with mistakes and the other road to a garage filled with the 7 essential woodworking tools we chose for you. Hmmm, which way to go…?
Luckily, we don’t want you going down a road that’s fruitless, we want you going down our isles with the correct knowledge and intuition to have a quintessential garage setup. Let’s get this garage setup going:
The circular saw is one of the most useful woodworking tools, without question. It’s versatile, it’s portable and you will use it for many more years to come. Its primary use will be to rip wood into the lengths you require for your specific project at hand. You may also find yourself building jigs for your circular saw to help you accomplish even more. Until you graduate to a table saw your circular saw will most likely be your go-to tool.
If you go cordless, which if you can you should because it’s cool (and has other benefits) you should probably do some research on which brands allow you to interchange the batteries between the tools. This will then be the absolute beginning of your cordless tool collection. Fortunately, most of the brands we stock allow you to do exactly this, namely: Metabo, Makita, Festool and DeWalt.
Router: No, not for WI-FI
A cornerstone tool in every avid woodworker’s collection and for good reason! A router fitted with the right bit can do a TON of jobs in your mini-workshop. Cutting dados and rabbets, adding roundovers or chamfers, routing mortises, and flattening large pieces, a router can do a lot of work.
There are different types of routers, however, and for the sake of utilizing your budget, we suggest a plunge router over a fixed base router. Why? Well, it will allow you to achieve much more. Being able to plunge allows you to better dictate cutting depths and it allows you to do mortices amongst many other cuts. Looking for a cost-effective plunge router with various collet sizes? Take a look at this awesome Ferm Router. Another good option is a Trim router with a plunge base. It’s smaller, less powerful and can only utilize 1/4″ bits but it will most likely get most jobs done for the time being.
We’re not going to talk about router bits because that’s an article on its own, however, if we can make one recommendation: Buy quality over quantity.
This tool doesn’t need any introduction. Although it will probably be used on almost every single project you choose to tackle in one way or the other. Try to get a powerful drill from a reputable brand, it’s going to be worth the investment. Another aspect to bear in mind is a drilling mode called “Hammer Mode”. It’s a useful feature for those of you who might want to drill into masonry like concrete and brick.
Again, if you decide to go the cordless route (because it’s awesome) then remember to choose a brand that allows you to interchange your batteries. Aside from that, cordless drills really are nice. They’re generally jam-packed with great features, brushless motors and accessories. They also become more portable because they’re cordless so it won’t be workshop bound either.
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Jigsaw: A Handheld Bandsaw
The heading says it all, although it might not nearly be as versatile as a bandsaw it definitely has its place in your workshop. Jigsaws will help you cut through wood with minimum effort. They’re excellent at cutting complicated shapes and with the right blade, you unlock a world of opportunity. In addition to this, you aren’t limited to cutting simply wood you are also able to cut various materials with a jigsaw. This allows you to be creative with your projects.
Nice features to look for in a jigsaw include a splinter guard to prevent the chipouts from always being sent your way and some sort of dust collection system/port. As far as accessories go, as we mentioned above, a good blade is your best friend!
Random Orbital Sander: Your Unwanted Bestie
One of the most essential tools in woodworking (if you don’t choose to hand plane) and unfortunately a tool you are going to hate being good friends with.
Sanding is a necessary evil in woodworking, and investing in a good quality sander will save you time and keep all the bones in your hands from being vibrated to dust. This obviously means you should search for a sander that has great vibration control, that has variable speed and good dust extraction features. Remember though, when using any sanders to allow the machine to do the work, not your body. Do not always exert yourself onto the machine, this wears out backing pads rather quickly and damages the machine in totality.
So what do you buy with your sander? Sandpaper! Just make sure when buying sandpaper that you buy it going up in ascending order with minimal jumps between grits. For example: Buy 60 grit paper, buy 80 grit paper, buy 120 grit paper etc. Don’t buy 60 grit paper, 180 grit paper and 320 grit paper. Your finish will be awful!
Speed Square: Accuracy Matters
Moving on to tools that aren’t powered, a speed square is definitely a great addition to your arsenal. Built for Woodworkers, speed squares make your life a whole lot easier once you get to understand them. Speed squares are by nature 45 degrees so that’s already a great start for drawing your mitres perfectly, they will help you calculate angles more accurately and because of their design, you can use speed squares as a fence.
Set of Bench Chisels
The first chisels that we recommend you purchase are a set of five to 10 bevel-edge bench chisels. Bench chisels are the most common type of chisels because you use them for so many woodworking tasks. They’re called bench chisels because they’re usually on your workbench. Just like “bench planes”. The “bevel-edge” means that the sides move up at an angle to allow the chisel to fit more easily into joints (especially dovetail joints). We recommend that you purchase a whole wood chisel set so that you always have the correct size chisel to fit into any space.
Don’t Forget Safety
This list is about tools, not someone being a tool. Safety comes first so please make sure you practice as many safety precautions as possible. We suggest investing in a good pair of safety glasses, a dust mask and a few other necessities when working with certain tools.
Want help setting up your very own Garage Workshop? Join us on the 13th of April 2019 at our Garage Workshop setup Day at Hardware Centre Randburg!
Let us know if you have any suggestions and we will try to add it to the blog post.