Since the days of using a sharpened stick for hunting prey and defending themselves, humans have always required some form of tooling to help them fashion a piece of wood into a distinctive shape. Today is no different, and if you plan on making carpentry a hobby (hint: you should because it is a fantastic hobby), you will need a few essential tools to get started. This post will cover some of the main tools you need, and while some may look obvious on the face of it, you will realize that it is often the most basic tool that provide the most value.

A Wide Selection Of Saws

Saws are a woodworker’s best friend; after all, how will you turn big bits of wood into smaller ones! However, a dizzying array of saws is available for almost every scenario possible, making it essential to choose the correct saw for the job. Fortuitously, if you are just starting out, you only need a couple of options, and you can save the more esoteric ones for later. So, what saws do you need in your toolbox, to begin with?

  • Hand Saw: The good old-fashioned hand saw will be one of your most-used tools in your shop. You can use it to rip wood quickly and effectively, and you should always have one on hand.
  • Circular saw: A good electric circular saw will change your life. Most of the time, you will use your handsaw, but if you are cutting through thick wood or doing relative cuts, a circular saw is what you need.
  • Jigsaw: A jigsaw is an excellent tool for cutting shapes in most types and thicknesses of wood. Extremely valuable to have on hand.
  • Hacksaw: Even woodworkers sometimes have to cut metal, which is why they require a hacksaw.
  • Coping saw: This is a handheld tool similar to a jigsaw but has more finesse for fine detailed work.
  • Miter saw: Making miters is one of the most common cuts you will make. Therefore, having a good miter saw can simplify your life and make your miters more accurate.


Just like the humble saw, there are many variations of a hammer that you will need to purchase to get the most out of your new hobby. To get you started, the following should suffice:

  • Claw hammer: The claw hammer will be your go-to option as it has a range of uses. Spend a bit of money and get a high-quality one, you won’t regret it.
  • Wooden Mallet: These are essential for making strikes that require force with some give. They can be used with chisels or to tap in wooden joints.
  • Dead blow hammer: A dead blow is a great tool that you might not often use but is valuable when required.
  • Rubber mallet: Same as a mallet but made from rubber rather than wood. Rubber is soft enough not to damage the surface of the material you’re working with.

Drills And Impact Drivers

Unless you enjoy aching wrists, you should look to buy at least one electric drill and one electric impact driver. A drill is required for drilling holes, whether for screws or other types of holes, and an impact driver is needed to drive screws deeply into the wood. You can and should use hand drills and screwdrivers when finesse is necessary, but you will end up using power drills for most of the work.


No carpenters toolbox is complete without a set of chisels. However, not all chisels are created equal, and you will have to spend a bit of money getting an excellent set. In fact, you should get one quality set and one cheap set. You will use the quality ones when you need to make clean, precise cysts and shaping, and the cheaper ones when you don’t care if you damage them (like in wood containing nails, etc.).

Tape Measure

This tool, along with the next one, is absolutely indispensable. You cannot engage in any form of trade, let alone woodworking if you cannot accurately measure things. As with all options in this post, you should get the high-quality one you can afford as it will be more robust and provide you with accurate measurements for longer. If possible, you should look for one that has both metric and imperial measurements as this will offer you the most flexibility.

Speed Square (Roofers Square)

The speed square is one of the most underrated tools a carpenter can have. In fact, if you ask any woodworker what their most valuable tool is, most will tell you it’s a speed square. These are used to measure angles, guide cuts, and a whole range of other valuable uses.


At one point or another, you will need a vice. So that you don’t damage your wood, you should invest in a table-mounted option that comes with protective jaws. You can make your own jaw protectors, but it is always nice to have them included in the box.

Honorable Mentions

  • Different sized clamps
  • Hand plane
  • Set of files
  • Sanders
  • Shop vacuum

So there you have it, arguably some of the most valuable tools that you need to get started in the wonderful world of woodworking! In addition to those listed in this post, there are plenty of other tools you might need and may wish to accumulate over time, and your skills increase.

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