Woodworking Tools: Right Selection And Care Will Save You
Money, Part 1
Woodworking: Tools Of The Trade, Part 1 - A Place To
A civilization's maturity and intelligence is judged, in part,
by the diversity and sophistication of its tools. When it comes
to woodworking, the human race is quite advanced. There are
general tools that work well in many situations, and there are
specialty tools made for one specific purpose. There are tools
that require only manpower and a rudimentary knowledge, and
others that utilize computer programs, a wide range of knowledge,
and a powerful motor. We have even learned how to harness power
for our tools and package it in a small battery component, giving
us the freedom to take our tools wherever we need them.
It is truly amazing and wonderful to contemplate the vast
number of tools and all that woodworkers are capable of doing and
creating with the help of these tools. And for many people,
working with tools is one of the thrills, or even obsessions, of
Woodworking and related tools have become so popular that
there are numerous companies that manufacture these tools and
thousands of places to purchase them. Combine that with the vast
numbers of different types of tools and it can get overwhelming,
especially if you are new to woodworking. Our experts helped us
focus on the basics to develop an overview of those tools needed
to get a good start in woodworking.
In the most basic terms, a woodworker needs four kinds of
tools. They need a place to work, tools for cutting and shaping,
tools for assembly, and finishing equipment. This simple
statement provides the basis for the following discussion of
The tools listed and described here represent just the tip of
the iceberg. In keeping with the philosophy that it is best to
learn the basics first, and to not invest large sums of money
until a person is certain that they have an ongoing interest in
woodworking, the emphasis is on hand tools, with a few basic
power tools thrown in. These tools should prepare you for a
variety of beginner projects and give you a solid foundation of
equipment and knowledge to build upon.
A Place To Work
Although it might not seem like a tool to some people, your
workspace is important to the overall success and enjoyment of
your projects, as well as to your safety. Having said that, it
doesn't mean that a workspace has to be large or sophisticated.
Adequate ventilation, good lighting and an uncluttered area are
But the main focus of your workspace will be your bench or
table - wherever you place your materials to work them. Depending
on the type of work you plan to do, you may not need a large
space. It could be a workbench in your basement or some sawhorses
on the front lawn.
The ideal workstation will be large enough to accommodate the
pieces of wood you have, sitting on a stable, level foundation,
and clear of other tools and materials that you are not using.
Many people like to have easy access to electrical outlets so
that they don't have to use an extension cord. And adequate
lighting is important as well.
Many woodworkers choose their bench for their first project.
You can use a design of your own or one of many patterns or
precut kits that you assemble following the instructions
provided. A solid, bench kit can be purchased for around $100 to
$200, including wood and hardware. More expensive models are also
available and often include drawers, and other features.
Woodworking supply companies sell sturdy metal worktable
frames that allow you to create workbenches of whatever size you
choose, simply by assembling them and adding the tabletop. You
can also add shelves, drawers, and cupboards if you choose. A set
of four frame legs and stretcher supports costs around $60.
Generally, as you expand your skills and project scope, one
workbench is not enough and you will likely have several,
including those for specific equipment such as a saw or router
table. So it is not necessary that your first worktable be
all-inclusive or anything fancy. Just go with something safe and
sufficient for the first few projects you have in mind.
This completes part 1 of the condensed overview of some of the
tools that are commonly used in beginning woodworking projects.
As you can see, this topic could and has provided the content for
entire volumes of books and in order to fully understand the
possibilities in woodworking and create quality projects, it is
critical that you develop a more in-depth knowledge of the tools
you plan to use.
It is also important to note again that each type of tool has
its own care and maintenance needs that are often more specific
than what has been touched on here. The details have been left
out of this book to avoid overwhelming someone who is brand new
to woodworking. However, their omission does not mean they aren't
"Failing to care for your tools is ridiculous from a financial
standpoint," stated shop teacher, Kevin Warner. "Why spend $20 on
a good quality handsaw or clamp and then allow it to go dull or
rust? Not only will you loose money, your work will suffer
because your tools won't perform as intended. And it will take
you more time in the long run. Taking good care of your tools is
one of the first steps in becoming a serious woodworker."
Copyright © 2005 by Ferhat Gul. All rights reserved. You
may redistribute this article in its unedited entirety, including
this resource box, with all hyperlinked URLs kept intact.
Ferhat Gul is the publisher of the brand-new "Woodworking
Beginner's Guide - Tips From Experienced Woodworkers to Help You
Get Started", made just for people who love woodworking.
This comprehensive, yet compact woodworking introduction for
beginners is easy to read and helps to save time, money and
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