Getting Started in Woodworking


If you watch woodworking television shows like “The New Yankee Workshop” or look through various woodworking magazines like Luxury Home Stuff, you’ll probably get the impression that woodworking requires several thousand dollars worth of noisy machines, air filtration systems, and enough protective gear to survive an EPA Superfund site.

Many of us who are starting out in woodworking have serious constraints on our money and/or available space.  In this article, I intend to suggest ways to put together a basic woodworker’s toolkit for a reasonable sum.  In doing this, I’m making the assumption that you are going to start with things like chests and benches and not fine furniture.  I’m also assuming that you’re doing most of your work with dimensional lumber from the local home center.  This article is written from a North American perspective, but most of what’s in here should apply in the rest of the world, with the notable exception of local species of wood.

Tool belt close-up on wood

Safety Note: Even with hand tools, woodworking can still be hazardous.   You should follow all safety precautions and exercise a healthy amount of common sense.  If something feels unsafe, stop and go find someone who knows what they’re doing.


The first thing you’re going to need are some tools.  We can divide them into the following categories:

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