Getting Started with Woodworking

Working with wood can be enjoyable as well as profitable; woodworking –turning your hobby into a profession – can result in a good bit of pocket money. However, there are a lot of things one needs to know or obtain in order to get started. Woodworking can be dangerous without knowledge of safety measures, so caution and the proper tools are necessary.


Somewhere to create a workspace is required. This could be as small as a single table or as big as a whole garage, but a place to do the woodworking is necessary. A space that is large enough for tools and work is best; a bit of movement space is necessary for such tools as hand saws, files or sanders, and hammers.

It is important to remember that wood shavings, bits, and sawdust will be left behind and can be quite messy. This makes a dedicated space a good idea so these wood particles will be less likely to end up in areas that are hard to clean.


There are many different types of wood. These range from hardwood to plywood and have a variety of factors including density and appearance. It can seem complicated. Beginners can choose simple, inexpensive options that are easier to work with for the first few projects, at least. Harder woods may last better but are more difficult to work with and those who are starting out without a table saw will find it difficult to get good cuts in harder wood types.

Required Tools

While there are a variety of tools that can be used when working with wood, some are fairly universal. These include such things as saws, hammers, screwdrivers,and sandpaper. Measuring tools such as a square or tape measure will be imperative, and a level will help keep things high quality. A couple sawhorses and a board can take the place of a table, if necessary.

Where to Buy
CRAFTSMAN Hand Saw, 15-Inch (CMHT20880)
Best Choice 8-oz. Stubby Claw Hammer with Magnetic Nail Starter
Magnetic Screwdriver Set 57 PCS Includes Slotted/Phillips/Torx Mini Precision Screwdriver, CREMAX Non-Slip Repair Tool Kit with Replaceable Screwdriver Bits for Repair Home Improvement Craft
120 To 3000 Assorted Grit Sandpaper for Wood Furniture Finishing, Metal Sanding and Automotive Polishing, Dry or Wet Sanding, 9 x 3.6 Inch, 36-Sheet

Craftsman 15-inch Hand Saw

This basic hand saw is sufficient to cut all kinds of wood. It is designed ergonomically to provide comfort while using and excellent control. It also includes a feature that shows 45 degrees and 90 degrees in the handle. Craftsman offers a full lifetime warranty.

8 Ounce Claw Hammer

Steel alloy is drop forged and heat treated. The claw end is curved and sharpened to pull nails efficiently. The finish is coated with a rust prevention to extend life and add durability. A nail holder that is magnetic makes starting a nail one-handed very simple.

Magnetic Screwdriver Set

This 57-piece kit includes all sorts of screwdrivers and precision tools in a handy plastic carrying case. Nearly any screwdriver that might be needed is included in this kit, including a variety of screwdriver bits.

Assorted Sandpaper

Grit ranging from 120 to 3000 are included in the 36 sheets of sandpaper which will cover needs of all sorts. The back of each sheet is printed with the grit of the sandpaper for easy identification. Each piece is 9” x 3.6”.

Recommended Tools

While those are the basic tools that are necessary to work with wood, there are a variety of other tools that one would find useful when creating things with wood. These may not be essential, but they will improve the project creation process.

Where to Buy
BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Drill / Driver with 30-Piece Accessories (LD120VA)
DEWALT (DWE7491RS) 10-Inch Table Saw, 32-1/2-Inch Rip Capacity
Stanley 12-220 Block Plane,Black/Red
Mophorn Thickness Planer 12.5Inch Thickness Planer Woodworking 1500W Double Cutter Benchtop Thickness Planer 15 AMP With Stand Heavy Duty Dust Exhaust for Woodworking
BLACK+DECKER Mouse Detail Sander, Compact Detail (BDEMS600)
TACKLIFE Belt Sander 3×18-Inch with 13Pcs Sanding Belts, Bench Sander with Variable-speed Control, Fixed Screw Clamps, Dust Box, Vacuum Adapters, 10Feet (3 meters) Length Power Cord PSFS1A
WEN 3421 3.2-Amp 8

Cordless Drill

Making holes or setting screws are both easier with this power drill. 30 accessory pieces are included to handle nearly any project.

Table Saw

A hand saw can cut the boards, but it is so much easier with a table saw. This portable version can be set up wherever it is needed. Its adjustable fence aids in getting the smooth and accurate cuts desired. It works well on hardwoods and lumber that is pressure treated.

Hand Plane

This general-purposeplane is adjustable to get the desired cut. It sits at a 21-degree angle and is created to be comfortable to use.

Electric Plane

This benchtop planer has a stand and a dust exhaust. It includes a scale ruler and an automatic feeding design. The double cutter blades work conveniently; a handle allows the cutter head height to be easily adjusted with a crank or two.

Electric Sander

This detail sander is compact and fits easily into tight corners. The grip has three positions and provides good control and is easy to use. The 1.2-amp motor provides 14,000 orbits per minute.

Belt Sander

This variable speed belt sander includes a dust box and vacuum adapters. Its long power cord allows it to be used on a large piece without switching outlets. Alternately, it can be flipped over and attached to a table, making it a handy bench sander. Two sanding grits are provided by the thirteen included belts: 6 are 120 grit and 7 are 80 grit.

Small Lathe

This smaller benchtop lathe is 8” x 12” and can be used to create small pieces like bowls and cups, pens, and other small items. It includes a 2.3” face plate and two tool rests that can be switched out.

Large Lathe

This 40-inch lathe is large enough to create items such as table legs or other larger items. Heavy steel tubing is used for the bed and the tool rest is made of cast iron. The adjustable tailstock can clamp at whatever distance is required.

Safety Equipment

Because tools can be dangerous – particularly power tools – it is a good idea to plan to use safety equipment to protect eyes, ears, fingers, etc.

Where to Buy
Fulton Safety Woodworking Push Block and Push Stick Package 5 Piece Set In Safety Orange Color, Ideal for Woodworkers and Use On Table Saws, Router Tables, Jointers and Band Saws
Dewalt DPG82-11C Concealer Clear Anti-Fog Dual Mold Safety Goggle, Clear Lens, 1 Pair
4 PCS (M+L) Cut Resistant Gloves Level 5 Protection for Kitchen, Upgrade Safety Anti Cutting Gloves for Meat Cutting, Wood Carving, Mandolin Slicing and More, THOMEN
Woodworking Apron, Heavy Duty Waxed Canvas Work Apron With Pockets - M-XL Shop Apron for Men with Double Stitching, and Comfy Design - Brown, Adjustable Back Straps Texas Canvas Wares
Mpow 035 Noise Reduction Safety Ear Muffs, Shooters Hearing Protection Ear Muffs, Adjustable Shooting Ear Muffs, NRR 28dB Ear Defenders for Shooting Hunting Season, with a Carrying Bag- Black
Reusable Washable Dust Sport Covers for Prevent Air Pollution,Unisex Breathable Windproof Face Veils with 4 Replaceable Filters for Drive Woodworking Running and Outdoor Activities,1 pcs

Push Blocks and Sticks

Five different orange items provide protection from saws, routers, and cutters to get the wood through the tool without endangering fingers.

Safety Goggles

Eyes are kept safe by covering them with these clear polycarbonate goggles. They are coated with an anti-fog substance to keep it from fogging. The rubber is soft and fits the face comfortably but tightly to keep debris from getting to the eyes, while ventilation channels allow air to reach the eyes.

Cut Resistant Gloves

Four gloves offer protection from cuts. Made of polyethylene, glass fiber and spandex, these grey gloves protect hands from injury most of the time. The knit provides grip and the gloves can be washed by hand or machine.

Woodworking Apron

This canvas shop apron is heavy duty and has pockets to hold whatever needs to be kept close when working in the shop.

Ear Protection

These earmuffs are made to protect hearing from loud noises. When working with wood, using any machines that have noise should be accompanied by wearing hearing protection such as these.

Face Veil with Filters

Keep from breathing tiny wood particles by wearing one of these filtered face masks when working with sanders, lathes, saws, and other tools that fling particles about.

Basic Knowledge

Things one needs to know before beginning a project include reading a pattern, reading a tape measure, understanding how lumber is sized, how to choose straight boards, how to use basic tools, and how to sand the surfaces.

Where to Buy
Woodworking Basics - Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship - An Integrated Approach With Hand and Power tools Paperback – Illustrated, October 1, 2003
Woodworking for Beginners: A Practical Guide to Understanding Woodworking Basics and Starting Simple Woodworking Projects Paperback – July 5, 2020
Woodworking: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Skills, Techniques, and Projects (Fox Chapel Publishing) Over 1,200 Photos & Illustrations, 41 Complete Plans, Easy-to-Follow Diagrams & Expert Guidance

Woodworking Basics

This book explains how to master the craftsmanship involved in woodworking, including the use of hand tools and power tools. This encourages proper techniques.

Woodworking for Beginners

Learn to create with wood using this essential guide to understand the basics of working with wood. Simple projects are included.


This step-by-step book offers information about skills and techniques as well as 41 project plans.

Tips and Tricks

If you need to trace a piece to make a pattern, use a pencil cut or ground into half, lengthwise. Set the flat side against the original and the line will be directly against the piece. (Tim Reese)

Cut each side of a cube to a different height with the saw blade, using the four most often used heights. This makes it simple to set the blade to the desired height.

If a curve needs to be sanded, use a small notepad to hold the sandpaper and bend it to fit the curve.

A layer of painter’s tape makes a handy surface for mixing epoxy. Be sure the tape overlaps to keep the surface beneath clean. When finished, peel off the tape and discard.

When staining a project, use a cheap spray bottle to apply the stain. The spray will aid in getting into crevices and joints.

To easily divide boards that are odd sizes into even divisions, tilt the ruler to get to an even number at the higher end, while keeping the “0” end at the original edge, then mark the divisions. Even prime number width boards can be divided evenly this way. For example, to divide a 7” wide board into four parts, tilt the ruler until it reads 8 inches, then mark at each even number (2, 4, 6).

Plans and Patterns

Many woodworking books include patterns. Additionally, the internet is a vast source of so many different plans and patterns that a specific one is likely to be available somewhere. There are some books available that are full of neat ideas and how to create them.

Where to Buy
Woodworking Plans and Projects: The Ultimate Guide to Learn the Basics of Woodworking + tips, techniques and 100+ illustrations of Amazing DIY Projects
Great Book of Woodworking Projects: 50 Projects for Indoor Improvements and Outdoor Living from the Experts at American Woodworker (Fox Chapel Publishing) Plans & Instructions to Improve Every Room

Woodworking Plans and Projects

This illustrated guide includes tips and tricks as well as project plans for all sorts of gifts and useful products.

Great Book of Woodworking Projects

50 projects and plans for indoors and out in this book include kitchen drawers, racks, and shelves, storage options, furniture and benches, gifts, and easy weekend projects.