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Tool List for Working with Hardwood: Your Basic Needs

If you’re looking to get into woodworking, you’ve probably read countless lists telling you to put together a $10,000 workshop, and they claim you can’t do anything worthwhile without doing that first.

Well, that’s nonsense.

Woodworking isn’t a hobby that is exclusive to those taking out second mortgages or cashing in their 401k early. You can get started fairly cheaply, and if you focus on developing skills instead of relying on fancy machines, you can make a lot of the tools you need with scraps.

Here are the tools that can handle all the basic tasks a beginner needs to pull off.


You can’t get into woodworking without wood. That’s obvious. However, you don’t want to grab just any old wood to work with. You want to source some premium hardwood.

You don’t need to buy a lot when you’re first getting started. Do your research, learn how much you need to build a workbench (your first real project), and buy double that amount. You’ll be able to build a workbench and do a lot of projects that way.



Eventually, you’ll want a variety of high-powered electric saws to make precise cuts very quickly. However, that will cost you thousands just to get the basics. Luckily, you can get every handsaw you really need for less than $100. Yeah, you might get winded and take longer, but you’ll save a ton, develop some old-fashioned skills, and improve your health a bit with the workout.

We recommend a pull-cut wood saw, a flush-cut saw, and a turning saw.

Those three saws will let you make rough cross cuts and rip cuts, fine detailing cuts, and round cuts in the middle of material respectively. That’s all you really have to do first.


Next, focus on two hammers. A normal claw hammer you can buy cheaply at any big box store, and a wood or rubber mallet. The claw hammer will be used for setting fasteners like nails, and the mallet will be used to strike wood and tools without damaging them.


Chisels are underappreciated, nowadays. However, they can be some of your most-used tools.

A good chisel set will be fairly costly, but you can start out with a cheap set while you save for something better. These are used for cutting mortices, shaping edges without a router jig, removing material at odd angles, and more.


You can buy a manual bit and brace, plus a bunch of screwdrivers, and enjoy a traditional experience. However, it’s easier to just buy a good, affordable power drill and a bit set. This will speed up your work, and it will save you money since you can just buy bits for new techniques instead of entirely new tools. The number of bits on the market is also staggering. A power drill can do much more than set screws or drill small holes, nowadays.


Make sure you build a nice collection of fasteners. These are things like various types of nails, screws, nuts, bolts, etc. If you have them on hand, you won’t have to run off to the store. Oh, and grab a bunch of wood glue. Almost every project benefits from it.

Get Started Cheap

Those are the most basic tools you need. You can easily make a lot of the other tools you’ll benefit from, and you can save up for tools that make things easier for you. If you take this approach, you can get good at woodworking on a practical budget easily.

Infographic created by FCA Floor Covering Associates, Top-of-the-Line Flooring Store Serving the Chicago Area