Woodworking Tools: Right Selection And Care Will Save You Money, Part 1

Woodworking: Tools Of The Trade, Part 1 - A Place To Work

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.

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 woodworking tools.

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 most important.

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.

Tool Summary
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 important.

"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 effort.


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