In order to build most woodworking projects, you will need a few power tools. Some are crucial, while others simply speed up the process. Remember to be safe when using power tools, never get in a hurry. Use good judgment and caution at all times, one mistake with a power tool can be devastating.
Every woodshop should include a miter saw or chop saw. Used to cut lengths of plywood as well as moldings this tool is one of the most important.
The circular saw is used for general rough cutting in a woodshop, unless you are good at cutting a straight line, which takes a steady hand. Rip guides and jigs can help in cutting straight, but it does not compare to the table saw. Keep a variety of blades on hand for different types of material. The more teeth the finer your cut will be, and make sure the blade is sharp to keep from splintering your project.
Probably the most important tool in a woodshop, the table saw performs like no circular saw can. With a fence to guide you, this tool can make perfect cuts in any type of material. Thin kerf blades are better for hardwoods, while more teeth cause less splintering. Change your blade often to prolong the life of your table saw, and keep it dust free around the motor by blowing it off daily.
An electric drill is a proven timesaver in the woodshop, while a cordless drill can be invaluable. Make sure you choose a drill with 3/8" chuck and variable speed. Another great option is the keyless chuck, which makes changing bits lighting fast. If you purchase a cordless drill, make sure it has two batteries so you are not waiting on one to recharge to finish the task at hand.
Every woodshop should have a drill index that contains 1/16" to ½" drill bits. For drilling larger holes, paddle bits are great. Keep your drill bits sharp to prevent unsightly splintering as well as stress on the drill. You can sharpen them yourself, or send them in to be professionally sharpened.
Today woodworkers use nail guns because of the time they save. It will sink any size nail into the hardest material in a matter of seconds, even countersinking the head. If you are constructing a large project out of wood, the nail gun is the only way to go.
If you cut arches or pockets in your projects, a jigsaw is necessary. Always use a sharp blade to extend the life of your drill and ensure a fine cut every time. Various blades can be purchased to cut other material like metal and ceramic, making the jigsaw a versatile tool in the woodshop.
For rounding and creating decorative edges, the router is the only way to go. Routers also make dadoes and grooves or flutes, so make sure you have one in your woodshop. Low horsepower models are great for the do-it-yourself woodworker, but if you are a professional, you will want a router with high horsepower to ensure longer life span.
A good selection of router bits is essential in creating beautiful work in the woodshop. A few of the must have bits are; round over, flush trim, and cove. Include a chamfer and rebating bit for more specific projects. A mortise bit is generally used for setting hinges in the wood giving it a flush look.
If you have a lot of sanding to do get an orbital sander, this will pay for itself in valuable time. Vibrating sanders are great if you just have a small amount to sand. If you are a career woodworker, the orbital sander is necessary. Sandpaper comes in different grits for various stages of sanding. Fine grits are used for the final sanding process, while course grits are used for removing irregularities and excess glue seepage.
Now that you have everything you need. Let me know how your projects turn on!