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Woodworking Tool List For Beginners
           ...and all woodworkers!

With Highland Woodworking's Starter Woodworking Tool List, becoming a woodworker is easier than you might think. This starter tool list includes a wide variety of tools used for general-purpose "straight-line" woodworking—that is, tools and machines for turning are not represented. This is not intended to slight woodturning, which is not only an integral part of much classic furnituremaking, but a fine sport unto itself. The focus of this beginner woodworking tool list, however, is on the tools and machines most often used for basic woodworking: cabinets, shelving, tables, boxes and other common projects. While this is a great woodworking tool list for beginners, it is also helpful for more experienced woodworkers to prioritize tool purchases. You can also browse our complete selection of woodworking tools for more tool options.

The choice of the woodworking hand tools and woodworking power tools herein naturally reflects personal predilections, and there's doubtless plenty of room to debate the merits of any specific item. These are our favorites, tools we've learned about, used and enjoyed during the past thirty years. Occasionally two or more similar tools are listed, marked with a *red asterisk*, to offer a choice of features or price. You'll get what you pay for, but the less expensive alternatives are nonetheless good, functional tools. Please consult the actual product listing for specifications, additional options, related items and current prices.

The starter tool list begins with our favorite, traditional woodworking hand tools and highlights the variety of hands tools available to build a great hand tool collection. We make recommendations on power tool options a woodworker needs to cover the basic power tool needs of a woodworking shop. We also provide links to safety products which we strongly suggest a woodworker use on a regular basis. Lastly, we have included key woodworking books covering the range of skills a beginner needs to learn, good resources for even skilled woodworkers to have on hand.

Our catalog numbers are shown (where applicable) to help you identify the tools precisely. The tools are labeled to indicate their usefulness in most shops and includes a range of tools from the "Must Have Woodworking Tools" to "Convenient Woodworking Tools":
•••• Critical; Must have woodworking tools you can't do without.
•••   Essential in virtually any shop; their lack will always limit what you can do.
••    Almost essential; you can get by without them, but they'll pay for themselves quickly.
•     Very useful; significant convenience. Substitutes can often accomplish the same functions.


Woodworking Hand Tools

Hand Planes

*434249 ••• Lie Nielsen No. 7 jointer plane
*434235 ••• Lie-Nielsen No. 4 smooth plane
431201 •••• Stanley 60-1/2 low angle block plane
*134180 ••• Lie-Nielsen 60-1/2R low angle rabbet block plane
*434237 ••• Lie-Nielsen low angle adjustable mouth block plane
477018 •• Veritas low angle spokeshave

Hand Tools For Joinery

146012 •••• Narex bevel-edged chisels, set of 6
146605 ••• Octagonal Japanese hammer
146086 22-oz. deadblow mallet
169313 •••• 6" steel square
465008 ••• Woodworker's dial caliper
*467010 •••• Veritas marking gauge
*455201 Tite-mark marking gauge
461116 •• Marking and mortise gauge
461521 ••• Starrett 12" combination square
461202 •• Sliding bevel
466401 ••• Japanese marking knife
*463020 6" steel rule
*463021 ••• 12" steel rule
*461513 •• Starrett 24" rule
167215 •••• 16' left and right reading tape rule
461528 •• Starrett 24" straightedge
*126435 •••• Silky dozuki saw
*456406 •••• Dozuki back saw
456423 •••• Japanese dovetail saw
451901 ••• Coping saw
456427 Flexible flush-trim saw

Clamping And Workholding

*171831 ••• Eclipse 7" quick release bench vise
*171832 ••• Eclipse 9" quick release bench vise
*168042 ••• Patternmaker's vise
419714 •• Pair of round bench dogs
417004 •• Veritas Wonder Dog
165539 •••• Six 6" Bessey light-duty bar clamps
169162 Six 24" Dual Function Bar Clamp & Spreader
165598 •••• Four sets 3/4" pipe clamp heads (plus several lengths of threaded pipe)
167201 Glue spreader
185101 Bench brush

426445 •••• Standard Waterstone 3 Stone Set: Green, 1000, 6000
426446 ••• Standard Waterstone 5 Stone Set: Green, 800, 1200, 4000, 8000, Nagura
426425 •• Nagura stone
426461 Waterstone holder
425331 Set of 4 diamond paddles

Wood Finishing
720301 ••• Festool Random Orbit Sander
431509 ••• Bahco 474 scraper
435306 ••• Round burnisher
433903 Kunz #80 scraper

Woodworking Power Tools

Woodworking Machinery
SawStop ••• Any SawStop Table Saw
191087 ••• Rikon 10" Planer-Jointer
191167 ••• Rikon Portable Thickness Planer
191176 ••• Rikon 14" bandsaw
191089 Rikon 17"" drill press
191086 Rikon 13" bench drill press
191080 Rikon 4" belt / 6" disc sander
115122 ••• Shop Fox 1 HP dust collector

Hand Power Tools
561556 •••
Festool TS 55 REQ Plunge Cut Track Saw
* ••• 3/8" electric drill
722912 ••• Festool Compact Driver Cordless drill
722916 ••• Festool Lithium-Ion Cordless drill
301005 ••• Triton 3-1/4 HP plunge router
Ceros ••• Mirka CEROS Compact Electric Random Orbit Sander
720153 ••• Festool Domino XL DF 700 Joiner

Woodworking Safety & Learning

Personal Safety

117301 •••• Elipse P100 Dust Mask
156553 ••• Peltor hearing protectors
485072 ••• Safety glasses
485009 ••• Clear goggles
487009 ••• Face shield
196033 ••• Nitrile disposable gloves


201037 ••• Complete Manual of Woodworking
201281 ••• Understanding Wood
202299 ••• Complete Illustrated Guide to Sharpening
203621 ••• Understanding Wood Finishing, Revised
201260 ••• Great Wood Finishes
203681 •• Band Saw Handbook
202377 •• Router Fundamentals - The Complete Guide
202241 •• The Table Saw Book
200504 •• Cabinetmaker's Notebook

Other helpful articles on getting started as a woodworker and the best tools for your woodworking shop:

  • How To Start Woodworking
  • What Woodworking Tools would I Buy Next?
  • Woodworking Tool List For Professionals
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