10 Basic Woodworking Tools You Need to Start Building Projects

What are the basic woodworking tools you need to start Building projects? The list of tools you get from different websites can be wide and varied and choosing can be difficult. If you don’t have a place for a woodshop and your workspace and finances are limited, this list will help guide you. Let’s get started

1 Medium sized claw hammer (finishing)

The claw hammer is one of the most versatile and useful tools that you can have in your tool box. They are used for driving nails, used with chisels, and tapping pieces into place. The claw part of the hammer is used for light demolition, removing nails, and even straightening bent nails from miss hits.


The best weight to use is a 16oz hammer with a flat surface. Get one with either a wooden, fiberglass or composite handle. Here are some differences:

Wooden Handle

  • The wood handle hammer is the cheapest.
  • Handle breaks easily but, is easy to replace.

Fiberglass and Composite Handle

  • More expensive to buy than the wood handle.
  • It is comfortable to use.
  • Far more durable.

Whatever choice you get, make sure the hammer is comfortable to hold.

2 Hand Saw 

The handsaw will be used to cut your smaller wood stock when it is inconvenient to use power tools.

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Crosscut Hand Saw

There are two type of hand saws the Crosscut saw and the Ripping saw. For the purpose used for your basic woodworking projects the crosscut saw is needed. Here are the differences between the crosscut and the ripping saws:

Crosscut Saw

  • Used to cut against or across the wood grain.
  • Have teeth shaped more like knives.
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Crosscut Saw Cut

Ripping Saw

  • Used to cut with or along the wood grain.
  • Have teeth shaped like chisels.
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Ripping Saw Cut

Both saws cut during the pushing action. Because of this, your starting cut should be a slow pull back to make a guiding groove and your first few strokes need to be slow and smooth. Don’t try to force your push if the blade gets stuck. Just make a slight back draw and the blade will come loose.

3 Retractable Tape Measure 25’

The tape measure is a must have for any woodworker and is one of the most important tools in your box. Every piece of your project needs to be measured.

Get a retractable steel tape measure for its durability.

Here are a couple of handy guides for reading the marking lines on your tape measure and a fraction to decimal guide.

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Tape Measure Line Guide











When working on your simple wood projects remember this proverb,

“Measure twice and cut once.”

It is better and costs less to measure and remeasure than it is to cut at the wrong point. Once the wood is cut, the mistake is permanent.

4 Steel Combination Square 12”

The 12” steel combination square is very handy tool to have.

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12″ Marking Square

Here are some of its uses:

  • Measure 90° and 45° angles reliably.
  • Used as a level or plumb.
  • Set blade Heights.
  • Depth gauge.
  • Finding the center of round work.
  • Marking cutting lines.

This tool will be very helpful with your projects.

5 Wood Chisel Set (Beveled Edge)

Chisels might not be used that often but, you will be glad to have them when you do need them.

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Wood Chisel Set

Here are uses of the beveled edge chisel:

  • Carving
  • Cutting
  • Gouging
  • Shaving
  • Cleaning waste from joints and mortises

The sizes in the set you want are: ¼”, ½”, ¾”, and 1”

6 Jigsaw (Orbital-Action)

The jigsaw will allow you to cut a wide variety of materials and shapes.

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The jigsaw can:

  • Cut shapes, curves, and circles.
  • Cuts other materials.
  • Cut beveled edges.
  • Splinter free cuts.
  • Cuts a straight line using a straight edge.

With the right blade, the jigsaw will cut most projects.

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Jigsaw Cutting

Basic jigsaw blade types, as seen in the image there are blades for different materials.

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Jigsaw Blade Types

This quick guide will help you choose the right wood blade for your project.

  • TPI Teeth Per Inch

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Woodworking Jigsaw Blade TPI

7 Power Hand Held Drill (Corded)

The two reasons why the corded drill is suggested:

  • Cost Less
  • Versatility

The cordless drill is handy and portable but, not sufficient for your needs.

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Corded Power Drill

Corded drills will allow you to work for longer periods of time without running out of power.

Use a variety of drill bits and attachments.

I suggest a 3/8” drill for woodworking. It will fulfill your requirements.

The three different types of wood drill bits you will use most are:

  • Spade Drill Bit 
  • Brad Point Bit 
  • Auger Bit 

You can make different jigs for your drill that will allow you to:

  • Wood Turning
  • Drill Press
  • Grinder
  • Buffer and Polisher
  • Disk Sander

As you can see the corded power drill has many uses and is not just for drilling holes.

8 Random Orbital Sander

The orbital sander is a general use sander and will be used to put a smooth finish on your project. It is also used to sand in between paint and varnish coats.

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Random Orbital Sander

A chart about sandpaper grit:

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Sandpaper Grit Chart

9 Fixed Base Router (1/4” collet)

There are two types of routers and two different collet sizes to choose from. The fixed base router and the plunge router and the collet sizes are ¼” and ½”. Here is a comparison of each:

Fixed Base Router:  

When you set the blade in a fixed based router the bit protrudes out of the bottom. An example is, if you set the bit for a ¾” cut the bit will come out the bottom ¾” and will not change. This makes it possible to make the same cut repeatedly. The fixed base router works best with table jigs.

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Fixed Base Router

This tool is very versatile not just because of the different bits you can use. When you start to make and use different jigs, the possibilities of what you can make are…

Limited to your imagination.

Plunge Router:

The plunge router, you set the blade and then you plunge the bit into the work piece. The example here is, you set the blade at ½” and then push down the bit into the cut until it reaches ½”. The plunging action of the bit will sometimes vary slightly making the same identical cut difficult. It is also not the best choice to use with a table jig because, the depth is a little harder to control.

¼” collet vs ½” collet:

This topic can cause some controversy among woodworkers. There are advantages and disadvantages to both depending on the project.

¼” collet:

  • They are smaller and lighter weight.
  • Possibility of blade wobble.
  • Suitable for smaller jobs


½” collet:

  • Larger, heavier and have more mass to hold the bit.
  • Less possibility of bit wobble.
  • Suitable for larger jobs

When working on basic woodworking projects the fixed base router with a ¼” collet will serve your needs. The fixed base router with a ¼” collet has served my needs for over ten years of wood projects.

10 Hand Held Circular Saw

This tool is not just for the carpenter. You will find that this tool will come in very handy for larger projects.

The circular saw, when used with a straight edge can can cut almost as accurate as a table saw. It can be used on jobs that you would never be able to do with a table saw. With different blades that ability to cut other types of materials, like plastics, metals, and stone.


These tools can be very dangerous if not handled properly. Read and follow all the safety guidelines that come with these tools and treat them with care.

In addition, you should wear hearing and eye protection when operating the power tools.

Final Thoughts:

The 10 basic woodworking tools you need to start Building projects was made from the way I purchased and started woodworking. They are my main go to tools and are capable of handling most wood projects.

If you are looking for woodworking projects and plans be sure to:

>>>Read my full review of Ted’s Woodworking.<<<