home wood-workshop

can anyone list items and tools that are a must for a basic wood-shop at home?

I am beginning a small workshop of my own and I am also curious as to what other tools people have found important in the beginning.

This list is composed of what I have needed over the last few years, and excludes the obvious, such as hammers, wrenches, band-aids…etc.

Also, I think more than any other product, you get what you pay for with tools.

Here we go…

Work Table or two
Table Saw with Push Stick!
Router with Base
Cordless Drill
Wet/Dry Vac
Can’t get enough Clamps
Random Orbital and Compact Belt Sanders
Circular Saw
Drill Press
Dowel Centers

Without a doubt I am missing things, but someone will add to the list.

bench grinder
disk sander
Drill bit sets: regular, forstner and taper w countersink
Low-angle block plane
Good mix of chisel sets
Wet or diamond stones
Marking/measuring and angle guages of all types - see Starrett
Good mix of file and rasp sets
dust masks, face protection, latex gloves, large window fan

I absolutely agree with the you get what you pay for ideal, except in two cases. First, you can often get last years tool for cheaper that this years tool, and in this case, an 18volt cordless is an 18volt cordless year to year. Unless you can obviously see vast improvements. Another area that you can save money is buying an extension cord. It has been my experience that batteries are expensive and if the tool you are buying doesn’t have them it is cheaper without sacrificing quality. you probably don’t need a cordless circular saw, so save yourself the money and get the cord. Just be realistic with yourself as to when you will need a cord. A drill can be more of a tossup. I was convinced that there was no way I could go corded. but a year later, I am glad I opted for the cheaper corded version and have been generally ok with the cord.

I would also opt to stock your home shop with very nice small hand tools, like files, rasps, mill bastards, pliers, screwdrivers etc. Your college shop probably was light on those because they are light items that tend to wander away over time. The lengths I had to go through to keep the drill bit set together were astounding. Maybe I could have been nicer about it at times, but at least I could always find the size I needed. I do remember the sculpture shop never having a problem like my ID shop did, probably completely unrelated.

Finally shop safety is probably more important at home, where it may be less likely for someone to stumble upon your lifeless body in a timely fashion, unless your sig other is around. wear the mask, and the glasses, and use the appropriate guards because driving YOURSELF to the hospital is much more difficult that being driven. especially when passing out from blood loss, even if its only a little. I don’t even remember being driven to the hospital when I nicked (removed about a quarter inch of) my index finger in the jointer at work once.

I was a custom furniture maker for years before doing what I do now. Came upon this somewhat enigmatic at first “machine” out of England in the mid 90’s. The WoodRat. In my world view, I would not have a shop without one. With a little forethought it can produce most joints you can think of. One of t’s big strength is the ability to cut very slender, handcut looking dovetails in solid wood using HSS router bits. All other dovetail jigs are set up to use the clunkier and clumsier looking tungsten bits to produce a very unelegant joint.
Contrary to the website, it’s not a substitute for a router table but rather the router table compliments what the WoodRat sort of struggles with.

The user forum, although slow has good information and people willing to share if asked.


nobody mentioned Tylenol yet…


If I had a hammer, I’d hammer all day…


another one to add to the list-particularly if you are adding power tools:
a dust collector.

Maybe a band saw too?

the only two peices of advice I got regarding getting tools were:

Don’t buy anything untill you need it.
If you borrow something twice, you need to get one yourself.

Don’t buy anything untill you need it.
If you borrow something twice, you need to get one yourself.

Unless you find a good deal…

wood glue- lots of toxic glue. as well as many clamps in every size, eye protection and a first aid kit.

and maybe a pair of steel toed boots to go nicely with your flannel shirt and jorts.