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What tools should I have in the shop?

There are so many different methods of work out their it is hard to say exactly what type of tools you should have in your shop.  In this guide, I lay out the most common wish list that many woodworkers strive to add to their shops complement of tools.  By having these tools available will also make it easier to build the woodworking project plans sold through this website.

The links to the tools in this article are not an endorsement for the quality or brand of tool you should buy.  We are simply giving an example of what the tool looks like.  It is recommended that you do some research before buying your tools; to be sure, the brand and quality level of the tool will meet your needs and methods of work.

Thickness material
It is nice to have a thickness planer in the shop to bring wood to its final size.  The lunch  box style planers  work great for a small home workshop.  Power is not the only way to thickness board, if you are in for a little workout a jack plane can make quick work when thicknessing a board and flattening a side.

Edge Jointing

A power jointer is a great way to go, and makes quick work for jointing an edge straight and flattening the face of a board.  The most common question is, should I get a 6” wide or an 8” wide?  As soon as you get a 6” wide jointer you will want to face joint an 8” wide board, so get the widest one you can afford.  The lunch box size jointers do not have a long enough table to joint long boards straight so keep that in mind when shopping for one.  As an alternative to power tools a hand plane is a great alternative.

Ripping, cross cutting boards, and cutting dados.

A table saw is often times the central powerhouse of the workshop.  There are many jigs, blade types, and accessories that make it a versatile tool.  It will rip, cross cut, and cut dadoes all in one machine.

There are other alternatives.

There is a wide range of handsaws that are specifically sharpened to do either crosscutting, or rip cuts.  You can also use a circular saw to accomplish many of these type of cuts.

If you are looking for another versatile tool that will do a wide variety of task, including cutting dadoes, look into getting a router.  There is a wide range of bits, jigs, and accessories available to get the most potential out of your router.

For a hand plane option to cut dadoes or rabbits consider getting a few specialty planes such as a rabbit plane or a dado plane.


Cutting curves

Any band saw will make quick work of cutting gentle curves.  The band saw also excels at re-sawing lumber when making veneers or book-match panels.

If you are looking to make more intricate or tighter curves consider a scroll saw, these are great for many smaller projects that require detailed curves.  For a hand tool version not much beats a good coping saw.

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