There are dozens of popular tools used when working with wood, and for a beginner, it may be a daunting task to figure out which ones are needed to begin any project. Rather than buying dozens of expensive items that may never be used, it is best to start with a smaller array of necessary tools, and the following is a good start for any woodworker.
A tape measure of about 25 feet in length is necessary in just about every project. A retractable one is best, with a tab on the end that is quite strong and attached well. If the tab is loose, measurements will not be accurate, which may cause problems after cutting.
The claw hammer is a basic item already found in most households. The most common size is 20 ounces, with a rounded finish head perfectly counterbalanced by the claw on the opposite side. A steel or fiberglass handle is much stronger when the claw end is needed to pull out a large amount of nails, but a wooden handle absorbs more of the vibrations when hammering a lot of nails in.
A wide variety of utility knives are on the market, but the most popular kind comes with disposable blades that can retract into the grip when not in use. These knives have many uses in woodworking, and are a must in any toolbox.
Because of the variety of uses for chisels, it is important to have a variety of sizes, to be sure that the proper one is used for each job. The best kinds are made from chromium-vanadium alloyed steel or high-alloy carbon steel. A grip of hardwood with a metal cap is also an asset, in case it is used along with a hammer, and it must be large enough to fit the hand.
Also needed are levels with lengths of 48 inches and 8 inches. Metal or brass-edged varieties are the highest quality. There are two types of bubble readings in each level, one for level readings, meaning horizontal, and one for plumb, or vertical, readings. Laser or string levels are also available, but not as common.
Being the heaviest item on this list, the table saw is not as portable, and not technically part of the tool box, but it is a large part of woodworking. Its uses are abundant, including to square, shape, join, and miter. It must have a durable work surface, with handles to raise, lower, and adjust the angle of the saw blade. A smooth motor and enough power to handle deeper cuts and hard woods is also necessary on a table saw. A safety guard on the blade is best, as is a power switch within reach when working.
There is a wide variety of screwdrivers for sale, and a good supply of them is necessary. Any toolbox should include Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, of various lengths, as well as Torx and star drivers. A ratcheting screwdriver is also good to have. Be sure they are made of high-quality metals, as softer ones will strip when used with too much pressure.
This tool is perfect for smoothing joints, flattening or adding a curve to wood, or even squaring it off. There are a few different sizes, with smaller blades for finer work, and larger blades for a more general project.
Random Orbital Sander
This sander is a larger version of the palm sander, and uses Velcro to secure the sanding disks onto the pad. The disk has a more random movement when is spins to minimize sanding patterns on the wood. The discs come in different grits, for different levels of sanding.
Though cordless drills are popular, they do not have the capabilities of a corded power drill, and are not as reliable for extended use. Power drills have 2 speeds, and come with chuck sizes of ½ inch for larger drill bits, and 3/8 inch for smaller ones. The chucks also come keyless or keyed, depending on the preference of the user.