Perhaps you've just completed a beginning woodworking course, or maybe you've recently assembled your first kit project. You thoroughly enjoyed these tastes of woodworking, and now you're ready for bigger challenges. But one obstacle blocks your way; you don't own the proper tools.
What tools does a beginning woodworker need, and how should he or she acquire them? In an unscientific poll of WOOD staff members, we assembled a basic tool kit for woodworkers—tools we think should be a part of any woodworking shop. With this equipment-and skill-you can perform most woodworking operations.
As you read the list, you'll notice we don't mention stationary power tools—the table saws, drill presses, band saws, and jointers that profes¬sional woodworkers and serious amateurs swear by. We left them out because this is a basic tool kit.
In at least one case, we did so with great reluctance. All of us would have liked to include a table saw in the package, but we omitted it for reasons of economy.
Even without the table saw, if you walk into vour local tool shop and ask for everything on our list, the clerk might ask you for a $1,000 bill. How can you get a start in this hobby without robbing a bank? We believe the answer is to plan carefully and buy wisely.
Equip your shop a few tools at a time. As your skills improve, so will your tool inventory. In this basic kit, we list the tools that we find indispensable in bold-face type. They're the items you're likely to find most useful and use most often, so think about purchas¬ing them first.
Can you sidestep any processes for which you're not well equipped? Some retail wood outlets will joint, rip, thickness, and crosscut lumber to size, for example. You pay for this service, of course, but in the short run it's less expensive than buying the tools you'd need to do the work yourself.
As you budget each new project, try to figure in the purchase of one new and necessary tool. You'll spread out the cost of equipping your shop, and you'll be able to enjoy a new tool with each new project.
Finally, remember that there are woodworkers who make exceptional pieces with hand tools only. We are addicted to the power tools in our shop, but we know that life can KO on without them.