This is The Woodworking Power Tools List, your guide to the standard power tools that just about any woodworker will need when they get started. I’ll also show you why each of these tools is important to have. Enjoy.
Power Tools List
Though power tools are not 100% necessary to be successful at woodworking, they sure are convenient, and they do make many processes easier. Instead of doing things by hand, the motors and machines do the heavy lifting.
While I have no idea what exact type of woodworking you do, for woodworkers in general, this is a really good power tools list that can take you a long way. You may have to fill in a couple specialty items down the road, but this will get you a fantastic start.
With this group of tools, you can make nearly any woodworking project. That’s amazing to think of, because there’s only six tools on the list. That means not only are these tools helpful, they’re also very versatile.
Here is the list, and I will go into each one of them in full detail farther down in the post. I’ll also show you what they do, and why they are useful.
- The Table Saw
- The Miter Saw
- The Drill Press
- The Jointer
- The Thickness Planer
- The Band Saw
See Also: A Beginners Guide to Woodworking
The Table Saw
The tablesaw is the bread-and-butter of any woodworking shop. This is an extremely helpful tool that allows you to cut wood to width. It uses a spinning blade, and a movable fence to assist in making straight cuts.
Table saws come in a number of different sizes. They range from small bench top models, all the way up to very large freestanding units that take several people to lift. Depending on your needs, you may be able to get away with a smaller version.
That being said, even the benchtop versions are pretty useful. The only limitation you’ll run into is the maximum width of your cut. And a smaller saw, you won’t be able to run as wide of material through the blade.
Once you have an idea of what you want to make, look for a saw that gives you that capacity plus a little bit more. You may also find a saw that’s expandable down the road, and that can be good too in case things change.
It’s best when the boards are ran parallel to the fence, but you can carefully do some cutting to length as well. There are also jigs that you can make that will allow you to crosscut.
If you don’t mind making a few jigs, your table saw it can do almost every cut that you would need in woodworking as long as it straight. That’s awesome, because it can save you money in the long run.
See Also: Woodworking Tips Cards – Making Jigs
The Miter Saw
As the table saw is designed for cutting pieces of wood to width, the miter saw is tasked with cutting them to length. This is a cross cut saw, and you can cut boards to nearly any length that you choose.
Miter saws come in a number of different configurations. The most basic is a fixed head that just goes up and down, which has a limited capacity. However, for most pieces of wood up to around 6 inches wide, it’s plenty.
Fancier models will allow you to tilt the blade left and right to create bevels. This is in addition to being able to rotate the entire head to cut different angles. Also, sometimes the saw blade and head will slide forward and backward, increasing the capacity.
In the beginning, if you’re just concerned with cutting things to length and creating angled miters at the end of your boards, a base model is just fine. If you need increased cutting capacity, or the ability to do compound angles, then you may need a nicer version.
The miter saw shines right after the table saw. For example, if you cut a bunch of pieces of wood to width to make panels for a drawer, you’ll then take them to the miter saw to cut them to length.
Once the pieces are all cut to size, you’ll then go to the next steps in the construction process to finish them. The table saw does half of the work, and the miter saw does the other half.
See Also: Where to Buy Woodworking Tools
The Drill Press
When it’s time to drill holes in your project, nothing beats a good drill press. While you can create drill holes by hand, using any number of hand drills, it’s much more reliable and much more accurate to use a machine.
The problem with drilling is that the drill itself is a very lazy tool. It likes to go where it likes to go, and that’s going to be the path of least resistance. When you’re drilling by hand, it can be difficult to counteract that tendency.
Also, when drilling by hand it’s difficult to see if you are truly going perpendicular to the surface of the wood. On a drill press, all of those variables for the most part are handled. The only thing you really need to get right is where you’re drilling the hole itself.
Any time you need to make holes in a project, whether for assembling parts, adding dowels, or eventually setting screws, a drill press shines. There are bench top models that have a little smaller capacity, and larger models too.
The big thing to look for in a drill press is how far the spindle will go down when you turn the crank. Some very small drill presses will only go a couple inches. In contrast, some of the larger ones will go several inches.
The Band Saw
Back to saws for a minute, the band saw is one of my absolute favorite tools and all of woodworking. This is a tall saw with a long looped blade with sharp teeth. As the loop turns, you can make both straight and curved cuts.
The main advantage to a band saw is that you can make curved cuts in wood, which breaks you away from the straight cuts that are offered by the table saw and miter saw. If you’re making woodworking projects that require curves, this is your tool.
While you can make curved cuts with other tools, like a coping saw, or a jigsaw, they will not be as clean, as fast, or as convenient as when working with a band saw. For those reasons, I definitely recommend at least a bench top version for your shop.
Another thing that’s really nice about the band saw is that you can use it to temporarily get you through a few projects before you get your table saw. Though the band saw doesn’t cut quite as cleanly as a table saw, it can do the job fairly well.
For this reason, you can pick up a band saw first, and while you’re using it, you can save up to get the table saw. You’ll still be able to make excellent projects, you’ll just have a pinch more work to do cleaning up the wood after the saw.
The Thickness Planer
The thickness planer is one of the most under appreciated tools by new woodworkers. It’s one of those tools where the usefulness isn’t overtly visible, but once you see what it can do it becomes really obvious.
The purpose of a thickness planer is to create flat and uniform surfaces on wood. It can also be used to thin pieces of wood to a desired height, which is also useful. The main function though is creating nice clean surfaces.
So what do you do with a nice flat surface on your boards? You glue them together. Anytime you are creating a joint between one piece of wood and another, the two surfaces need to be as flat and clean as possible.
The nicer the surfaces, the better the glue joint. For this reason, a thickness planner can take a lot of time sanding away from you, and replace it with a few seconds of work on the tool. Your glue joints will be a lot better, and your woodworking will be a lot stronger.
The final tool in this series of six tools on the list is the jointer. While the thickness planer is good for the faces of the board, or the large surfaces, the jointer works on the edges. It’s the edges that typically join to other boards, and they need to be flat too.
The jointer is simply a flat table with a turning blade, or set of blades, that evenly remove material from the edges of your boards. In doing so, the machine creates a flat surface that’s perfect for gluing one board to another board.
Anytime you need to glue pieces of wood together for a project, the jointer will make the surfaces very flat and clean. This means the pieces will glue together much more firmly, and your project will be more stable.
Finding Deals on Used Power Tools
Now that I’ve loaded you down with the power tools list of things that you need to buy, it’s time to show you the bright side. First of all, you don’t need to get all of these things at once, second of all, you can find deals when you buy them.
A used tool that is well cared for is almost no different from a new tool. For that reason, you can look at the used market and save yourself quite a bit of money when you are setting up your woodworking shop for the first time.
You can even use this strategy over time to add to your shop while still conserving resources for further purchases down the road. All you need to do is be patient, and carefully go through your options before picking out a used tool.
You can start with online marketplaces that specialize in secondhand items. Then, you can even look at stores that sell second hand tools. Take your time, wait for the right deal, and add to your shop without breaking the bank.
Your Action Assignment
Now that you’ve been introduced to these six different power tools that are helpful for new woodworkers, it’s time to get out into the shop and take action. Perhaps you need only a couple of these, or perhaps you need them all.
Either way, start with the tool that’s going to make the biggest difference for you. Look at the type of projects that you plan on making, or that you currently make. Then, decide which tool will further them the most.
Once you know that, take a look at what’s available in the market, and make some decisions on what size of a tool you need. Don’t concern yourself too much with every last feature, just get something down the middle that will work for you.
If you have any questions on the woodworking power tools list, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer it for you. Happy building.
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