Basic Tools To Fit Any Budget – New To Woodworking? Here’s Where To Start

Basic Tools To Fit Any Budget - New To Woodworking? Here’s Where To Start

Look at the most experienced woodworkers and you’ll probably run for the hills when you see their vast collection of tools ‘I’ll never be able to pull all of that together’ I can hear you thinking, right now. But don’t be intimidated, these people have built up a collection of impressive woodworking tools over many years.

But just like you, they were once beginners and since we all have to start somewhere, let’s start at the beginning.

If you are new to woodworking, then I want to show you some of the most basic tools that are essential to this DIY hobby. While they may seem simple, without these tools, you won’t be able to tackle even the simplest project. Once you’ve got to grips with the basics, you will be able to move on to more advanced tools.

Do I Need To Spend A Lot Of Money?

One of the most intimidating things about starting any new hobby is that you may need to spend a significant amount of money. Now, when it comes to woodworking tools, there are a ridiculous number of brands and levels of quality.

If you are working on a low budget, you will be able to pick up some pretty decent tools that will provide you with an entry-level experience. However, if you have your heart set on woodworking and want to start out with the best then you might go for something more high end.

In short, you don’t have to break the bank, but you can if you want to.

What Are The Most Essential Woodworking Tools For Beginners?

Regardless of whether you have a very high budget or are looking to be a little more thrifty, there are some tools that you absolutely MUST have in your tool kit from the off. Let’s take a look at some of these and what makes them so important.

Hand Tools

Manual hand tools are among some of the most important in any workshop but there are so many different types. In the early days, you don’t need to go crazy but there are some tools that we would highly recommend.

Layout Tools

Layout tools help you to create the foundations of your project and there are two essential types that should be in your tool kit from day one; the combination square and the marking gauge.

The combination square helps you to make accurate 45º or 90º cuts and this is a skill that you’ll need to get to grips with pretty quickly. Cheaper squares may not be as accurate as the more expensive ones. For this reason, we would suggest going high end even if you’re on a low budget. While you may spend more, this is a tool that will be with you for life.

Your marking gauge is used for thicknessing, rabbets, dovetails and many other things. You’ll use this alongside your square so again, it is important to buy one that is good quality and will stand the test of time.

Hand Saw

There are so many powered saws out there that it can be easy to forget that hand saws exist but they still have a place in the workshop, and it’s an important one. They are versatile tools that can be used for intricate sawing just as much as they can for rip cuts.

It will be better to buy a small selection of hand saws, to begin with; perhaps between three and five. This should give you enough versatility without overwhelming you. As your skills grow, so can your collection.


Much like hand saws, you should invest in a decent set of chisels rather than a single one, at the beginning. They come in various shapes and sizes, each one suitable for a different application. However, the market is littered with low budget chisels that aren’t incredibly effective.

That said, there are some affordable products such as the Irwin Marples Chisels which come in at a little over £80. You may think that sounds like a lot but when you break it down, that’s only about £13 per chisel.

Hand Plane

A hand plane is used to shave away wood fibres leaving a smoother and more even finish. These would typically be used in conjunction with other tools like sanders and files but are important as a standalone tool as well.

There are various different types of hand planes that can be used for different applications and come in at different prices. Some examples are the rabbet plane, the jack plane and the block plane.

Hand File

Later, we will talk about the power sander which is used for large sanding jobs. However, when it comes to filing wood in a more intricate manner, a hand file is essential. It will smooth and shape your wood but can also be used to sharpen up other tools.

Hammers And Mallets

Many people confuse the hammer and mallet since they do look like very similar tools and they are both used for similar applications.

The main difference is that mallets are made with a wooden head whereas a hammer features a metal head with a claw on one side to help you prize things apart.

While both are used for knocking things together, a mallet will often create a softer blow and leave fewer marks. You might also find that some medium budget or high-end mallets have interchangeable heads, making them suitable for a wider range of jobs.

Power Tools

With many hand tools to choose from, power tools are those that are operated by either electricity or batteries and typically get the job done more quickly, but arguably less acurately. Many of the most essential woodworking tools are powered so you’ll want to include a few of these when you begin your collection.

With most power tools you will have a choice between corded and cordless. In short, a corded model will typically have a little more power and will be lightweight, but will limit where you can use the tool as you will need to be hooked up to the mains socket. On the other hand, a cordless tool provides you with greater freedom, but the power will run out and you’ll either need a replacement battery or time to charge.


A jigsaw is one of the most basic types of saw that gives woodworkers the opportunity to create curved lines and circular patterns. Many people would assume that a bandsaw is the best option for this type of intricate work but they aren’t as easy on newcomers to woodworking.

You will want to look out for jigsaws that have an easy to change blade system as well as being comfortable to hold and control.


There are a huge number of drill types (we’ve written a detailed guide here, for your reference) but when you are just starting out, you want to choose something versatile. A combi drill will give you endless options including driving, drilling and mixing so, is the perfect beginner tool.

What’s more, there are so many products on the market that you’re sure to find something to fit your budget. Look at the Makita DHP481RTJ-2 which is a superior tool for those on a high budget. But then, you can just as easily pick up a very basic combi drill for under £20!

Orbital Sander

An electric sander is a must-have in any workshop. You could use good old sandpaper and elbow grease but let’s face it, that’s a hell of a lot of hard work, especially on larger pieces. An orbital sander provides you with a smooth finish and unlike other types of sander won’t leave scratches or blemishes on the wood.


A wood router is another of the most essential power tools for beginners and we’ve created a rundown of some of the best that will suit any budget, here.

A router allows you to create decorative contours on your workpieces as well as for cutting dados and rabbets. There is the option to attach your router to a router table which makes using the tool a lot faster and easier than when operated without one.


We could have discussed a huge range of woodworking tools in this guide but we wanted to simplify things and allow you to discover some of the most important basic tools to get your new hobby off to a flying start.

No matter what your budget, there will be tools that suit it but there are some things that we wouldn’t suggest scrimping on. Once you’ve got your basic tool kit, you’ll be able to start some exciting projects and as your skills grow, you can move on to purchasing more advanced tools.

Basic Tools To Fit Any Budget – New To Woodworking? Here’s Where To Start

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