Are you thinking a foray into the glorious realm of woodworking? Well, future woodworker, go ahead and commit. The benefits of woodworking are vast. Not only is it a good outlet for that creative component of yourself (an aspect of your nature that’s probably been dormant for way too long), it’s a great way to craft creative little pieces of inspired treasure that you and your family will likely cherish for years, perhaps generations.
So what does it take to get started? It’s understandable if you’re under the impression that you need a ton of costly equipment, that until you’ve doled out thousands of bucks on this and that power tool, you won’t be able to get to it.
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Oh contraire, woodworker, you hardly need more than your innate skill and a little gumption. Well, of course, a proper woodworking set won’t hurt either!
Let’s dive in and get you set with a collection of woodworking tools every craftsman needs in his woodshop.
The Woodworker’s Best Friend—A Proper Knife
If we had to pick the most essential tool in any woodworker’s shop, we’d have a tough time choosing anything but a woodworking knife versatile. A trusty knife will help you make cuts from the slashing kind of introductory cut you take to a board to the little bit of fine-tooth work you need to put the finishing touches on something elaborate.
You don’t need a high-tech power saw or a studio with all the bells and whistles, but you mostly certainly need to have a go-to knife. There’s no true woodworking craftsman out there who doesn’t have an ace-in-the-hole knife at his disposal.
So do yourself a favor and start there. Lock down a good knife, and chances are, you’ll be using it for years and years.
A Saw with a Different Approach
If you’re just getting into the woodworking game, you’ll absolutely need a saw. We aren’t about to recommend a power saw or your standard hack-back-and-forth rip cut saw. We are about to recommend something a little more elegant, a type of saw that’s unfortunately left off too many articles that direct woodworkers toward those must-have woodshop components.
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We are talking about your classic pull saw. Just like it sounds, this saw works with a pulling motion as opposed to your forward thrust. Often referred to as a Japanese saw, this type of cutter has been in the game for eons. And why exactly has it stuck around for so long? Because it’s damn near essential, which is something you’ll realize as soon as you put it to use.
Pull saws allow for a more precise cut, the motion and blade encouraging craftsmen to slow down and fully inhabit the cut. Not only does the saw allow for more precise cutting action, it’s a pleasure to use—that’s a lot of benefit.
We know this isn’t exactly the fun stuff, but if you don’t have proper safety gear, the fun won’t last all that long in the woodshop. When you’re cutting and whittling and sanding and shellacking, you need to protect yourself. So get yourself proper eye gear, some noise reduction earplugs (especially if you’ll be using power tools) and don’t forget about the mask.
We don’t celebrate the injuries we prevent. But as soon as we get hurt, we bemoan our lack of precaution. So don’t be that kind of woodworker—take steps to protect yourself on the front end.
A Nice Array of Hand Tools
Without public service announcement out of the way, let’s get back to the action. Perhaps this is a bit of cheating, as we are lumping a bunch of handy pieces together, but cheating or no, you won’t regret having a bevy of woodworking hand tools at the ready. From weeder hooks to carving gouges to sanding sticks and carving routers, when you’re in the woodshop, you want easy-to-grab pieces when you find yourself in a pinch.
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Gaining skill with hand tools is also the quickest way to elevate your woodworking game from starter to pro. Having a deft touch with hand tools helps you achieve a little bit of oneness with whatever piece of wood you have on the bench, and when you reach that kind of zen alignment, you can start crafting more intricate pieces, just the kind of thing that you and your family will cherish for the foreseeable future (and beyond).
Bring on the Table Saw
While you might derive a touch more pleasure from utilizing your trusty knife and your collection of hand tools, you really should have a proper table saw, too.
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Choosing the right table saw can feel overwhelming—you can spend anywhere from a near fortune to a bundle (yes, those are both a lot), so when you get to it, you want to make a decision with utmost confidence. Research is essential, and in our opinion, a great place to begin is with this piece from the pros at WoodCraft.com.