Woodworking CAN be an expensive hobby, but it can also be a profitable business if you are wise with just the right tools.
There are many things in my wood shop that I have, but don’t use on a daily basis. Don’t get caught up with trying to keep up with the cool kids and buy every tool you see. If you watch “youtubers” you will see the latest and greatest tool that they are trying to sell you. But, be smart and ask yourself if you’ll really use it.
When deciding on what tools to buy for your woodshop, know what you want to be making.
For example, if you won’t be cutting out shapes, then you don’t need a scroll saw.
If you’ll buy all of your wood from a lumber yard, then you really don’t need a planer.
Basically, you need to be able to cut, connect and sand.
Let’s go over some tools that everyone should have in their shop!
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Miter saws (what I call a chop saw) make straight crosscuts to cut boards to length and they make angled cuts for boards, trim, and other carpentry applications.
- A miter cut is an angled cut made across the face, or width, of a board.
- A bevel is an angled cut made through the thickness of a board.
- Any miter saw can cut a miter and a bevel, depending on how the board is placed onto the saw.
Compound miter saws can do both types of angles with a single cut.
Sliding miter saws have a sliding arm that allows the blade to extend, giving you the ability to cut boards that are wider than the miter saw blade. A stationary arm limits a cut to the diameter of the blade.
A sliding miter saw takes up a little more room but is superior to a stationary arm.
I have had a Dewalt for years and will buy another one again in a heartbeat. I recommend the DEWALT 12-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw, Double Bevel (DWS780).
A cordless power drill allows you to fasten screws easily. They are super versatile and can be used in many ways. I really don’t need to explain a drill since most people know what they can do.
You probably already have one, but if you don’t have one and are looking to buy, I like my Milwaukee drill.
Random orbital sanders can be used for a variety of sanding needs. They are lightweight, easy to use and offer a swirl-free finish.
A random orbital sander rotates and shifts its position in a random elliptical manner. This produces a smooth surface not requiring you to follow the grain of the wood.
A belt sander is also a good tool to have to take off a lot of material such as rough cut wood. Add a belt sander later to your shop after you get the hang of the orbital sander. The orbital will always be used to finish after a belt sander, but you won’t always use a belt sander.
My favorite sander is the Dewalt Random Orbital variable sander. It is easy to grip and doesn’t have a bad vibration that cheap sanders have. Plus, it is durable. I use mine everyday!
Brad Nailer or Crown stapler
Crown staplers are great for woodworking projects and also for cabinet building, installing trim and furniture making. A crown stapler uses large staples instead of nails.
A brad nailer is typically used for smaller projects.
Staples have a better hold, which is why I recommend a stapler over a brad nailer. Brad nails are good to help hold pieces in place while the glue dries, but the hold just isn’t as secure as a stapled one.
If you’re deciding between pneumatic and battery powered, go with pneumatic if you plan to use it a lot. Battery powered tools are great, but they are heavy and not ideal for all day use. Plus, air powered has more power, in my opinion.
My crown stapler that I’ve used for YEARS is the PORTER-CABLE Narrow Crown Stapler.
Once you have the basics and want to expand your tool arsenal, you can think about a table saw, router, band saw, scroll saw, jointer, stationary sander plus more.
Get serious about what exactly you want to build and go from there. Don’t buy a router just because you think all woodshops need a router!
If you are looking for projects to sell for your business, check out the Wood Blueprints membership for monthly tutorials. I keep the tutorials easy to understand and NO specialty equipment or tools are required, just the basic ones I mentioned above.