Woodworking Tools for Beginners

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Published: 04th July 2012
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The world of power tools can be daunting and somewhat dangerous for a new adventurer. There are so many different tools, and so many different models of each tool, that performing your own research can be very hard to do. This article aims to be a rough guide for anyone interested in woodworking and woodworking tools. We will cover drills, saws, planers, routers, and sanders.

Drills

This type of tool offers a bewildering range of tools all on its own, but for woodworking purposes many of these can be excluded. A lot of drills such as combi drills and SDS machines have hammer action that is totally unnecessary for woodworking applications, so these can be ignored. You can of course buy a drill with hammer action in case you need it in future, but if you are on a budget or only interested in woodworking then there are better options available. The best tool for woodworking is a simple drill, either a mains powered rotary drill or a cordless drill driver. These tools can be used as both a drill and a screwdriver, as both a drill bit and screwdriver attachment can be used and these tools are generally both forward and reverse operational.

Saws

There are many different types of saw available - jigsaws, circular saws, mitre saws, table saws and reciprocating saws. They all have strengths and weaknesses: jigsaws are good for curve cutting, circular saws are good for portability when straight cutting, mitre saws are good for making mitre/bevel (angle) cuts in long pieces of wood, table saws are good for making large cuts in large pieces of wood, and reciprocating saws (also called sabre saws) are good for rough cutting of timber and general demolition usage.

Planers

These tools are used to even out wooden surfaces. Power hand planers are good for small areas, and planing machines are better for larger pieces. Planer thicknessers are also available - the thicknesser element works in a similar way to a planer but ensures that a board is kept at an even thickness from one end to the other. The user makes repeated passes of a workpiece, each time lowering the cutting apparatus by a small amount, until the entire surface is level.

Wood Routers

A router works a little like a drill in that it makes holes in wooden surfaces, but it is much more than that. Routers are good for making holes that do not go all the way through the surface of the wood, and they can also extend these round holes into long lines. With specific attachments a router can be used to make aesthetic improvements to the edges of surfaces such as desktops and bookcases.

Sanders

These are key tools for any avid woodworker as they are used to improve the surface of the wood, either in preparation for an application such as painting or as part of the final finish. There are several different types of sander: belt sanders are good for high stock removal rates, orbital sanders are finishing sanders, random orbit sanders combine high stock removal rate with high surface quality, and delta sanders have a pointed sanding pad that is good for sanding small areas and into corners.
These are the basic woodworking tools available, and the chances are that you will need at least two of these for any project that you are planning. Safety should always be a top priority when working with power tools, so we also recommend the use of safety boots, gloves and glasses. Dust extraction should also be considered - this is sometimes integrated with tools that produce a lot of dust such as circular saws, otherwise you can buy specific dust extraction accessories from all the top woodworking manufacturers such as Festool.

So there is your basic introduction to the world of woodworking power tools now get out there and craft something!

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