Do you take pride in building your own furniture, like being covered in sawdust, and enjoy listening to good tunes in your shop? Me too! In the 5 years I’ve been professionally building reclaimed timber furniture I’ve definitely favored a few setups. I often get asked to share what my recommendations are for the hobbyist and small shop craftsman, so I’ve picked out some of my best.
For the beginner and hobbyist, you should know that the majority of woodworking is getting a good 90 degree cut either by using a blade, a bit, or by sanding. So it’s crucial to choose tools to improve the efficiency and quality of your cuts. The right tools will reduce human error and therefore reduce imperfections in your final product.
The goal is always to have perfect joints at glue up.
Woodworking is done in two ways. One is by moving wood over a stationary tool, the other is by moving a smaller portable tool over a piece of wood. I’m about to share 5 tools, some with additional attachments, that have completed a ton of projects in my shop with a high degree of efficiency. These are not the cheapest tools, nor the most expensive, and are great recommendations for a small shop with limited space. If you’re working out of a garage or basement then getting tools that are spacing saving and highly efficient is key.
Let’s take a look at my top 5.
1. Handheld PlanerThere are lots of options for planers out there, but for the beginner or small shop I definitely recommend a hand held planer like this Virutex www.virutextools.com/hand-planer-ce24e-pid329. I like that it has bigger shoes on the bottom which makes it easier to use to get my desired end result. My favorite part is the edge guide, which is quick to pop on plus it gives me extra security and precision.
2. Track Saw with extra tracks and clampsBeing able to take a blade across wood in a predicable manner plus setting depth and angle is invaluable. I have this Makita 6 1/2 “ Plunge Circular Saw https://amzn.to/3pOT2Px and often use mine with an 118” https://amzn.to/339cgps and/or 55” track. I love this kit https://amzn.to/3nYe8cp that attaches multiple tracks together for longer projects like table and beams. This system is amazing for sizing materials and I also use their clamps https://amzn.to/3lfnH4Y for added security and precision beyond the rubber stops on the underside of the tracks.
3. 18V Cordless RouterRouters are the most versatile tools to perform dados, rabbets, shaping, and more! They can be intimidating but once practiced they become very useful around the shop. This Makita router https://amzn.to/3fTe1Mv has tons of power and gets lots of work done. I use it for general router skills and also some slab stitching to stabilize cracks in the reclaimed wood.
4. Plunge Router with attachmentsStepping up the techniques a little, I use this Makita 1 ¼ HP Plunge Router https://amzn.to/2UOkEGe for a variety of projects, including attaching it to the saw track, mortising doors with this Milescraft Subcompact Base https://amzn.to/3frsmQ3, and even adding my homemade plexiglass plate to extend the base for larger things like mantels.
5. Sanding SystemA high quality sander like the Mirka Deros 6” Electric Dust-Free Sanding System https://amzn.to/33bintc makes a huge difference in my shop. I started with a 5” battery powered sander and have worked up to this bad boy! It is well balanced and engineered for amazing dustless sanding. It has 7 speeds and an auto tool setting. You may be surprised to hear that this system greatly reduces user fatigue, cuts down on sanding time and makes sanding fun! Sanding… fun???.. Who knew!?
If you'd benefit from some tool reviews and project examples you can find them on my Youtube Channel The Dusty Lumber Co - YouTube.