Apprentice Visitor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎11-18-2009

Things That Are A Must For Wood Shop?

I am new to this..I have just recently built a loft bed out of scratch for my son. It wasn't exactly what I wanted since not all of it was squared, etc... The thing is I really enjoyed doing this. So I think I might take on other projects. Now I have a circular saw, router w/table, drills, but what do I need to be a good wood worker. What types of tools (power)? If I want to build a shop in my garage what would I need? Do you need a planer, table saw, miter saw? What is it? Do you need a vacuum system? We are building a new house and I want ideas and must haves for the garage so please can you help?

Senior Contributor
Posts: 162
Registered: ‎10-23-2009

Re: Things That Are A Must For Wood Shop?

In my opinion 1. Table Saw 2. Dust collection 3. Good Square. 3. Sander. Stop there for now. How many cars do you have? Add  one more garage than you have cars if you can.If not extra deep  Good Lighting. 200 Amp electric service. Insulation in garage with walls. If possible enough height to lift a 8' sheet.  Where do you live ? maybe heat.

Start wih these basics. Good Luck Marvin.

Veteran Advisor
Posts: 1,862
Registered: ‎10-25-2009

Re: Things That Are A Must For Wood Shop?

Yep, it sure is satisfying to build something useful, huh?  When I look around at the the things I have made and then think of the different operations to accomplish them, I would say that I use my table saw for at least 70% of my work. The center of my woodworking world is my Unisaw.

    You might want to think of utilizing wheels for under some of your bigger tools. I have never had a garage shop but we will be moving in the near future and there will be no basement in our new home. (a first for us)

  Looks like I'll be sharing my space with LOML's automobile.


Good luck and have fun,



" Anyone who isn't confused here, doesn't really know what's going on."

I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure. People tell me I'm argumentative, but I beg to differ. All I know is it's bad luck to be superstitious.

Senior Contributor
Posts: 369
Registered: ‎10-23-2009

Re: Things That Are A Must For Wood Shop?

I'd invest in the 5 disc complete Wood magazine CD set.  I have literally hundreds of woodworking related books and magazines, all of which contain tool tests, shop organization hints, storage, planning, projects etc. etc. etc.  I think every person on this forum would say if they had it to do over again they'd do something different.  Here and oz. of planning will save you a pound later.  You can really hone in on what you want to build and the space and money constraints that are unique to you.  That being said, I think a table saw, jointer and planer would be my first (aside from the hand tools you already have) then shortly down the road get a good bandsaw.  And if you can swing it, I'd get the best tablesaw I could possibly afford.  I'm 26 years old and on my third one, If I'd have just bought a good one to begin with I'd have a lot fewer headaches and wouldn't have spent so much time and money jazzing each one up.  And, if you ever change your mind on woodworking (just the thought makes me laugh, this stuff is more addictive than meth) you can always get good resale value out of a quality table saw. 


The photo gallery just showed an awesome mobile table saw setup.  I'd emulate that.  In fact, I'm planning to with my lastest tablesaw (finally a cabinet saw). 


best of luck, and keep reading the forums, they are stuffed with some great wisdom.





Community Manager
Posts: 6,363
Registered: ‎10-23-2009

Re: Things That Are A Must For Wood Shop?

[ Edited ]

A lot of the tool buying decisions will depend on the kind of work that you'd like to do.  It sounds like you'd like to build a few pieces of furniture, so we're talking about bigger tools.   So IMHO, the tool stable needs to be populated with:


  • a good first aid kit
  • a fire extinguisher

AND THEN start investigating....

  • a table saw
  • a band saw
  • a spindle sander to clean up curved cuts from the band saw
  • a jointer
  • a planer
  • a good selection of hand tools (planes, rasps, chisles, scrapers, etc)
  • a handheld router and a router mounted in a decent table
  • a shop vac or central DC system
  • a thicknessing drum sander

And as an aside, if you're not already familiar, visit LEE VALLEY.   It's a candy store.    And their products can make woodworking life soooo much easier. 


Matt Seiler
Forum Moderator

Senior Advisor
Posts: 1,105
Registered: ‎10-23-2009

Re: Things That Are A Must For Wood Shop?

Brian -


Really good advice here - and take Matt's suggestion/requirement for a fire ext and first aid kit seriously - it's a good starting place.


You'll notice that most everyone will put a table saw up at the top of the list. I agree. After that it'll be a free for all as to what's next. A lot depends on what you'll be focusing your efffort on and the type of stock (wood) that you'll be using.


If you have a local source of good wood (dry & rough sawn) you can save a lot on material. But you'll definately need a planer and a jointer. You can find sources asking friends, looking on Craig's List or even checking out the local "Shopper's Guide". Absent that, you'll need a "Big Box" store. You can probably get away without the planer for a while going that route.


And don't think it's necessary to buy the biggest or newest power tools to start out. Buying a quality "previously owned" (read used) power tool is a real coup here. Again, think eBay, Craig's List or the want ads.


Good luck, come back and share pics - we love pics!

Ted in Michigan
Go Buckeyes!
Posts: 729
Registered: ‎10-24-2009

Re: Things That Are A Must For Wood Shop?

 One last item on the list:  LIGHTS.    lots of good lighting helps alot in a shop.   Whatever tools you get, make sure there is a light either over it, or shining on the tool.   

smarter than a doorknob, meaner than concrete

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 64
Registered: ‎10-24-2009

Re: Things That Are A Must For Wood Shop?

I was going to say wood dust, but that comes with the territory. 


I started with dedicated space.  In my case, it is a separate building, 20 x 28.  I expanded this to 20 x 52 this past summer.  20 ft wide is too narrow, if you have options in this regard.  24' wide should be minimum.


For small tools, I started with several hand drills, a skill saw, a few squares, and belt sander.


Depending on what you plan may effect what tools you need.  I wanted to get into building cabinets and there is a good source of rough cut hardwood near by at wholesale prices, so the jointer and planer were near top on my list.


As far as tools and equipment, this was the order that I chose:


Dust Collector  Jet DC 1100

Table Saw



Router Table and dedicated router 3 1/4 hp

2 1/4 hp router

Drill Press

Bosch Colt Router

Compound Miter Saw

Dust Collector - Replaced Jet DC1100 with Clearvue Cylcone

Spindle/Belt Sander

Band Saw


Future:  Lathe


To do this all over again I would prefer to go with the Clearvue at the start, but it is a hefty investment when you are just getting started.  The planer and jointer could be interchanged.


That is just my $0.02.

Rich (The Yooper)

"To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world."

" To a pessimist, the glass is half empty; to an optimist, the glass is half full; to an engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be" Unknown author
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎11-16-2009

Re: Things That Are A Must For Wood Shop?

First, let me say Good luck on your house building. Double the gragage! I found if you get to know local woodworkers, they can steer you to some good deals. My table saw fell off a truck on the freeway. Got it free! So far only spent 60 bucks for a new trunion. Works great now. Found a drill press for less than 100 bucks, a 1952 Walker Turner. Take your time and read all you can fron these woodworker mags and you can learn a lot. I'm new myself at this. Right now my shop is called the Wood Torture Chamber. but that is slowly changing. But like some said, it is more addictive than meth. Hope you are having as much fun as I am. Best wishes.

Everyone brings joy to my home, a few when they come, the rest when they leave.
Honored Advisor
Posts: 12,549
Registered: ‎10-23-2009

Re: Things That Are A Must For Wood Shop?

Think about and decide where your interest is... what you like to make, and then build your tool collection around that.


Later on, as you gain experience, and knowledge, you will be able to determine what you should add to your collection of tolls.


When it comes to tools, it's very easy to be compulsive buyer. Do some research and shopping but without wallet. That way you can think about it some more.


Good luck.



"Why worry about things you can't control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you."