I used to think that you need to have lots of tools to be a woodworker. While woodworkers do accumulate many tools over the years, in the beginning you can actually get along with less than you might think. Here is how you can save tool costs, and still get into woodworking as a beginner.
Woodworking and Tools
Woodworking requires tools. That’s just a given. The tools are how you shape the wood, and bend it to become what you want to make.
If you take a look at the tools that are available in the marketplace, you will soon notice that many of them are designed to do the same thing.
For example, a hand saw, circular saw, jig saw, band saw, and table saw can all be used to cut boards to length. They can also be used to some extent to cut boards to width. This depends on the capacity of each tool.
Depending on what you are making, you might already have the tools that you need to do the job. You might also not need as many tools if you buy one that is more versatile from the beginning.
Look at the following tips, and incorporate some of them into your thought process. If you do, you will find that you need a lot less tools than you think to get into woodworking.
See Also: How to Power All Your Tools in a Small Shop
Look for Projects that Require Less Tools
The easiest and fastest way in the beginning to start woodworking without a lot of tools is to look for projects that require less tools. There is such a wide range of projects available that you can easily find some that require less.
Some projects are very simple, and others more complex. If you actively look for easier and less tool intensive projects from the beginning, you will have an easier time starting. You will also find that you can progress in woodworking more naturally.
A natural progression simply means starting out with a couple tools, then slowly adding more as you need them. This forces you to do more with what you have, and builds an appreciation for the new tools that you do end up getting, because you knew what it was like without them.
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Find Projects that Match the Tools You Have
If you already have some tools, then you have a bit of an advantage. You can simply pick out projects that are made with the tools that are already in the shop. In a case like this, you may not even need anything new at all.
For example, if you have a band saw, you can start making small boxes and smaller to medium sized projects right away. The band saw can make straight as well as curved cuts, and even a small saw is a big help.
Also, if you have certain hand tools, pick out projects that you can accomplish with them. When you rely on what you already have, the need for new tools lessens, and you end up spending less in the long run.
See Also: 13 Myths About Getting Into Woodworking
Learn What Your Existing Tools Can Do
Another way to start woodworking without needing a shop full of tools is to make sure you know what your existing tools can do before buying more. The last thing you want to do is waste money on a new tool that does something one of your old tools does.
For example, if you have a router, then you also have a basic jointer. A router with a flush cutting bit and a nice straight template can be just as good as a jointer. If you are just cleaning up your edges for some basic joints, the router is more than enough.
Also, if you have a band saw, and you can joint your wood afterwards to clean up the saw marks, then you might be able to hold off on another saw for a while. A band saw with a fence can be used to cut boards like a table saw, just not as wide. If you use the band saw, then joint the edges, you can have the same result without buying another tool.
See Also: 13 Woodworking Ideas to Help Any Beginner
Buy Only What You Need
A great way to do woodworking as a hobby without having to buy a lot of tools is to buy only the tools that you need. This means if the tool you are looking at does not advance your current projects, leave it on the shelf.
I fell for this once before. I really wanted to get a lathe, and I had been looking at them for a while. Even though a lathe was zero help to a guitar maker, I really wanted one. So, I spent the money, and ended up setting back my guitar making because I should have bought something to make that project easier.
I did have a lot of fun with the lathe, and I still do. However, at that time I would have done a lot better with a thickness sander, or more materials to make guitars. Those would have been a more profitable purchase than a lathe.
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Buy Middle of the Road Tools
There is nothing wrong with middle of the road tools. You don’t need anything fancy in order to make a project, and sometimes fancy is harder to use. To save a little money, which can help you get more tools, buy from the middle.
Typically the really cheap side of the price spectrum is garbage, and the really high end is not worth it. There are exceptions of course, but in general you can do really well by purchasing tools from the middle price ranges.
Rather than buying one really high end tool, you might be able to get two or three middle of the road tools. Not only does this get you more tools, but it gives you more weapons in the shop when it comes time to make a project.
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Find Tools Second Hand
Another great way to save money and be able to get more of the tools you need is to buy them second hand. The internet is full of quitters, and they are super happy to sell their last hobby to you for a deal.
My brother was able to completely furnish a shop, sell it off, furnish it again, and sell it again, all online, and he ended up breaking even. This is not a statement about sticking to things, because that was obviously not the case.
However, he was able to get into and out of woodworking with a complete shop, all online, and all second hand.
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Your homework is to not let the myth that you need a lot of tools to get into woodworking stop you from getting started. The truth is that there are a lot of ways you can do more with less, and still have fun as a woodworker.
I recommend that you take a look in a second hand marketplace for tools. Also, look at your current tools and make sure you know everything they can do before buying more. This way, you avoid double buying for the same process.
Finally, before you buy your first tools, make a list of the projects that you want to make. Then, pick out a tool that will help the most. For example, if you only have a couple projects that require a table saw, you might be able to get away with a jig saw or small band saw for a long time.
See Also: 15 Great Places to Get Woodworking Wood
The Myth That You Need Lots of Tools to Get Started in Woodworking Wrap-Up
It’s a myth that you need a lot of tools to be a woodworker. There are many happy and successful woodworkers that have very few tools. In fact, one of the marks of a good woodworker is the ability to do more with less.
If you are new to woodworking, and you want to get into the craft, don’t let this idea stop you from looking. There are many great projects that can be done with only a few tools, and some with only one.
Finally, any time you hear something about woodworking that you don’t know about, do a little research. Most horror stories are not true, and it only takes a little time and reading to find out the real story.
See Also: Where to Take Woodworking Classes
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