Whether you are a professional earning a living from designing and creating fine wooden furniture, or just someone that loves working with their hands and building things out of wood, it is important that you select the right woodworking tool for the job. Most of us remember the very first time we became excited when we started our very first woodworking project. In many cases it was way back in our High School’s wood shop class. They had every imaginable woodworking tool you could ever need.
Let’s begin with what every woodworking person needs and that is a saw. It would be great if there was one saw that did everything but unfortunately that is not the case. There are as many different styles and kinds of saws that have specific uses as screw drivers. From powered table, jig, and miter saws to good old fashion hand saws, they all have their advantages.
When you are selecting either a powered or non powered saw keep in mind what you are planning on creating. I personally like the radial arm and table saws. Consider the space you have before making your purchase. Will you have to drag them out from some confined area every time you want to create something? If so, then consider purchasing one that is more mobile or one that can do the job but is lighter.
Hand saws can also be used for smaller and quicker jobs where dragging out a power saw may take more time than just cutting the board and being done with it. In addition, if you don’t have a generator and are working in an area that doesn’t have power the hand saws become the right woodworking tool for the job. Also, smaller hand saws can get into places where trying to use a bulky power saw would become very difficult. As an example a jab saw is a great smaller saw that is able to cut wood in smaller more confined spaces.
Power sanders are another woodworking tool that can save countless hours, but it is important to understand which one is right for your job. The power orbital sanders are a great all around sander that can do a number of jobs, but it can take a lot of time depending on how much wood you need to take off. On the other hand the belt sander can take a lot of wood off in a very short amount of time; however, if you are not skilled at using it the surface can very quickly become uneven.
Hand sanding can give a person more satisfaction if they have the time to invest in their project. Although it takes a lot more time you are able to gauge the results as you are sanding your project. The most common reason to sand something by hand is when you are working with unique pieces like spindles or smaller projects that just simply don’t lend themselves to power tools.
If you’re going to be gluing boards together to create fine furniture it is almost a requirement for you to purchase some type of power plainer. Again, a wood plainer can come in all types of sizes from a larger plainer you can run a wide thicker board through to a hand held one. The larger type of plainer is great for the professional that needs to get the job done quickly. On the other hand you may only need a smaller power hand plainer; however, much like the belt sander you can quickly ruin a great piece of wood if you are not skilled at operating it. If you don’t have a lot of experience it would be wise to practice on some scrap pieces before diving into your project. This woodworking tool is a must have for the serious woodworker.
For the serious woodworking person an amazing and fun woodworking tool is the wood lathe. The wood lathe opens up a whole new world in what you can create. Like all power woodworking tools it requires skill, but the results can be stunning. Whether you are creating small spindles for a rocking chair or something for your staircase it can be fun and rewarding. From a table top lathe to a huge professional computerized machine that can create anything the sky’s the limit.
No woodshop is complete without the right types of wood clamps. Just like all the other woodworking tools, clamps become extremely important, and knowing which one you need and how to use them is equally important. If you are not careful you can damage your fine woodworking project if you clamp them together too hard or use the wrong type of clamp. One size doesn’t fit all. In addition, if you use too few on a large project the boards can harden together unevenly. Once the glue has hardened it become impossible to repair unless you break it back down to its original starting point.
I suppose by now you are asking what about a hammer, which is an important and basic woodworking tool. The serious woodworker is going to require finishing hammers and good old fashion heavy duty nail driving hammers. My very first hammer was a twenty-two ounce hammer that I could drive a twenty-two penny nail in about two swings. In my case it was too much hammer for the job. The reason you want to be careful when selecting which hammer to use is so that you do not create that awful hammer mark on the wood that you will have to sand out later.
Other woodworking tools that can make your woodshop complete are wood files, wood chisels, tape measures, drills, routers, and many others. No matter what woodworking project you are tackling there is a woodworking tool to do the job. Every time I get started on a new project I get excited about what I am about to create. When I do run into a problem I get equally excited about visiting my local hardware store in search of that new woodworking tool that I can add to my woodshop.