Today I want to talk about some of the basic tools of woodworking, some of these tools you will have some you will want and some are necessary for successful projects.
Lets focus on small and medium sized projects:
If you are working on smaller projects you may not need a table saw or other “advanced” tools to complete the project. Take for example the Coffee Table featured here:
I completed this table using only a Compound Miter Saw, a biscuit jointer, a Kreg Pocket Hole Jig, Clamps and a Random Orbital Sander sometimes referred to as a ROS. In this scenario the the biscuit jointer is not necessary however it does make life a lot easier. The one thing to note on this table is you want to get very straight boards. If you get boards that are bowed or cupped meaning that there is a bend in the board and it looks like it arcs or has the beginnings of a U shape you will not get a clean joints. There are ways to fix those issues in the wood but those required additional skills and tools which I will not get into at this time. To build this table with the tools mentioned earlier you would use the Miter saw to cut your 2x4’s to length. The biscuit jointer will allow you easily join the boards together, the pocket hole jig will allow you to attach the top to the base with ease and the sander is there, well to sand and prepare the wood for the stain or paint that you will be using.
As far as purchasing your tools you have many options you can get most of these tools at the big box stores or a Woodcraft and online. If you are budget minded and you can order from Harbor Freight, I don’t believe you can get the pocket hole jig there but that is available at Lowes or Woodcraft. Harbor Freight sells tools for a fair price and typically they are good quality. You do have to be careful with what you get from them. My biscuit jointer is one of theirs and I have had great luck with it. My father has one of their miter saws and he loves it. One other option if you are looking to possibly get brand names is Craigslist. I have had real good luck with buying from Craigslist. I purchased a Jointer and a Planer from craigslist and got both of them for less a either one of them would be now, both are brand names however both are probably 15 years old or better. Each of those tools work great. If you do decide to buy from Craigslist make sure you do some research on the tools ask for the model numbers if available before committing to the purchase always go look at the tools and ask to see them work. One thing I forgot to mention is that I used was a band saw to create the taper on the legs. You could also use a jigsaw to create the same taper and save some money on the tool.
Well to wrap it up. If you are beginning to woodwork I would suggest the following tools to get you started, a Jigsaw, Miter saw, Biscuit Jointer, some kind of Sander. I briefly mentioned clamps. These can get expensive, for a cheap alternative for the time being you could purchase some ratchet straps and use those to pull the wood together. If you don’t already have them for around the house work I also suggest a power drill either cordless or corded. That should get you building and allow you to tackle several projects.