Although this universal admiration of hand skill is appreciated, the truth is, woodworking is no mystery. And fortunately, even if you missed out on taking a thorough shop class in high school and feel ill-equipped to tackle a simple woodworking project, it’s definitely not too late to learn. Here’s a list of some basic skills you would do well to develop. None of these skills require expensive, dangerous machinery or exotic tools. They are the foundational skills every woodworker should know.
I prefer the large size because it will cut the most sizes. Years ago I purchased a medium shoulder plane, but it didn’t cut the larger sized joints, so I sold it and purchased a large shoulder plane so I could cut and trim most sized joints. Most of your traditional woodworking hand tools can be vintage/used, but used shoulder planes can be very hard to rehab and get “square”, so I recommend spending the extra money on a new shoulder plane. See my recommendations in my hand plane buying guide.
An assortment of chisels should be part of every workbench. Chisels are not just for wood carvers. Any woodworker will need chisels to clean out joints and saw cuts. Look for chisels made of high-alloy carbon steel or chromium-vanadium alloyed steel. Hardwood grips are best, especially if they have metal caps on them. This will keep the end of the handle from becoming malformed when you hammer on it.
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Then, beginning several decades ago, shop classes began to be removed from secondary curriculums. With the decrease in educational funding, and increasing emphasis on standardized testing, schools began to cull electives, institute stricter graduation requirements, and focus more on college prep academics and the subjects necessary for passing state exams. There wasn’t money or time to maintain tools and sawdust-filled workshops, and one by one school districts dropped their shop classes, figuring that students who wished to pursue trade skills could do so later at a vocational college.
One of my mentors started out as a cabinetmaker who loved working wood but dreaded getting to the finishing part. He started doing some digging to learn more about it and became so addicted to the process that nowadays he loathes having to build anything because all he wants to do is the finishing! I promise that if you give a little energy to learning how to properly finish your work, your enjoyment of the finished piece will be dramatically increased. These final touches are enough to inspire you to take on another project.
Drill four 5/8-in.-dia. 1/2-in.-deep holes on the large disc?inside the traced circle?then use 5/8-in. dowel centers to transfer the hole locations to the underside of the small disc. Drill four 1/2-in.-deep holes on the underside of the small disc and a 1/2-in.-deep hole in the center of the top for the dowel handle. Glue in the dowels to join the discs, and glue in the handle. We drilled a wood ball for a handle knob, but a screw-on ceramic knob also provides a comfortable, attractive grip.

Tightening the nuts clamps the uprights against the shelves, holding them in place and providing shear strength (through friction) for the whole assembly. I know of an 8' tall, 12' long version of these shelves that has survived a few minor earthquakes while fully loaded with hundreds of books. Once the nuts are tightened on my smaller versions, I (all 240lbs of me) have a very hard time "racking" the shelves by pushing on one end of them in an attempt to get them to collapse: I can't.


Bruce Lamo has done woodworking pretty much all his life, although never exclusively to make a living. He prefers making furniture and working with solid wood, but often uses plywood when making cabinets. This article originated when a few friends were considering buying tools that based on his experience, he thought would not be a good investment.


I studied forestry at Penn State University and then spent ten years working in the utility line clearance industry with the Asplundh Tree Expert Co. While building my house, I began to get into carpentry and woodworking, and later went to work as a finish carpenter. Eventually, I started taking on some minor woodworking jobs. I realized I needed some real shop experience, so I took a job in a stair shop building custom staircases for about five years. While there, I began to set up a shop of my own with the intention of going into business for myself, which I did in 1998. I’ve been on my own since.My typical day is usually pretty simple. I’ll spend an hour in the morning on the computer promoting my shop and looking for leads. Around 8:00 A.M. I open up the shop and work on whatever I’m doing until 4:00 or 5:00 P.M.
It’s mostly been learn by doing for me. I can’t afford to go somewhere to take any lessons. However, I do learn from books, DVDs, and videos on the internet. I still believe that learning by doing is the best way. Books and videos can get you going in the right direction but when you do it on your own all kinds of problems crop up that you have to solve. For example, when woodcarving the best way to understand what carving with the grain is is to carve with a carving tool. Same thing about sharpening a carving tool. You had better learn how to sharpen by sharpening your tools when they need it. You’re dead in the water if your carving tools are not sharp.
My hands-down favorite thing to do is develop the process for manufacturing a new product. This involves figuring out how to design a product so that it’s not only durable and functional, but also economical to build. Then all the jigs, fixtures and CNC programs have to be created and tested until the whole process is running smoothly. Up to now, the most challenging project has been our line of wooden sunglasses which were developed for a specific client. We spent hundreds of hours just figuring out how to build the first pair then hundreds more hours refining the process until they became profitable.
No need to mark the location of biscuits on the shelves and sides. Instead make marks on the scrap of wood used as a fence. Draw marks to indicate the outside edges of the 1×8 shelves and sides, and mark 1-3/4 in. in from each edge to indicate the center of the biscuits. To use the fence, line up the outside marks with the edges of the part you’re cutting slots in. And then line up the center mark on the biscuit-joining tool with the marks for the center of the biscuits (Photos 3 and 4).
Thanks for the feedback. We’re glad you found the list helpful. Please note that this page contains only 10 of the 40 top tools for woodworking, displaying only hand tools. You can find the next 10 here: https://www.wagnermeters.com/top-40-woodworking-tools-2/. There are links at the bottom of each article to the next group of tools so you can view the entire list. Hope this helps.
Marc, it’s very difficult to answer this question. Many years ago i started out with a book, and then i got another but i just wasn’t getting it. Then I started watching your video’s and everything came to life. I know there are many options that you would fall under but in my personal opinion there needs to be a Woodwhisperer choice or at least a Pod casting choice =)
To start off you only need either a 1/4″ or 3/8″ mortise chisel (or some size close to those). You don’t need a whole set of mortise chisels. Mortise chisels (also spelled “mortice”) are used for chopping mortises (rectangular holes) into the side of your board for insertion of a tenon. “Mortise and Tenon” is a very common and very strong joint that most people have heard of.
Multiples of these bookcases can be connected to form a single, larger unit, generally for a built-in application. To do so, simply build them without a face frame, and finish boards that can be used to construct the face frame separately. Then, nail the face frame in place using brads after the cases are installed. To improve the appearance of the face frame joints using this approach, mill the rails (horizontal pieces) so that they are 1/8-in thinner than the stiles (vertical pieces). This creates a nice shadow line and conceals any unevenness at the joint. Also build a single long top to tie all the pieces together. I use plywood with biscuits to span beyond 8″, edge banded with hardwood strips as you have done for your shelves.
Here’s a traditional Swedish farm accessory for gunk-laden soles. The dimensions are not critical, but be sure the edges of the slats are fairly sharp?they’re what makes the boot scraper work. Cut slats to length, then cut triangular openings on the side of a pair of 2x2s. A radial arm saw works well for this, but a table saw or band saw will also make the cut. Trim the 2x2s to length, predrill, and use galvanized screws to attach the slats from underneath. If you prefer a boot cleaner that has brushes, check out this clever project.
The band saw is great for freehand and curved cutting, but its depth of cut also makes it suitable for sawing thick lumber. The table tilts on many models, allowing for angle cuts. Band saws come in many sizes but for most home workshops a good choice is a 12- or a 14- inch model (the dimension indicates the size of the workpiece that can be presented to the blade; a 12-inch band saw will saw to the center a 12-inch piece).
Description: In this 6-session class Angela will be guiding as you carve from a pre-roughed blank. (Check in with the store to see which blanks she will have available for this class.) Angela is an experienced, local carver and has designed this class to be fun and creative. This class is run in 6-session increments and may be repeated as needed as it will usually require multiple classes to complete your project.
You should also double-check the length of your all-thread rods. I'd dummy one up and try it out before cutting all of them. It needs to be just long enough to catch a couple of threads and snug down without punching out through the cap nut. The actual "cap" portion of cap nuts is fairly thin, and if the all-thread is even a bit too long it will punch through the end when you snug it up. 

Although this universal admiration of hand skill is appreciated, the truth is, woodworking is no mystery. And fortunately, even if you missed out on taking a thorough shop class in high school and feel ill-equipped to tackle a simple woodworking project, it’s definitely not too late to learn. Here’s a list of some basic skills you would do well to develop. None of these skills require expensive, dangerous machinery or exotic tools. They are the foundational skills every woodworker should know.
In this age of air-powered nailers, drills, sanders, impact wrenches, grinders, saws, spray guns, washers, and other pneumatic tools, the compressor has become a virtual necessity. The compressor consists of a motorized pump; a tank for storing the compressed air; an on/off control (governor) that tells the pump when to start and stop in order to keep the pressure within preset limits; and a regulator to control the pressure at which the air escapes the tank to suit the needs of the tools being used. There’s a metal frame on which all the parts are mounted, usually with a carrying handle and sometimes wheels.

Since this project contains two different finishes it is best to do the finishing before going any farther in the assembly process. We wanted to match the Pottery Barn finish as closely as possible so we went with the charcoal Chalked ultra matte paint from Rust-Oleum. I love the thick textured look of this paint. To brighten it up a bit and give it a cool look we decided to wax it with a Johnson Paste wax and a lot of elbow grease.


A mechanical reasoning or aptitude is also essential, mainly because woodworkers work with such a variety of machines and tools.  A tool in the hands of an untrained or inexperienced woodworker is a recipe for disaster. Woodworkers should understand and be able to apply mechanical principles to solve any problems they may encounter. Critical thinking skills are important too as woodworkers may face unexpected problems that need to be handled quickly. In this way, woodworkers can use reasoning and logic to foresee any potential problems, and develop solutions before mishaps happen.
It could be a pun about family life, or a comment on whatever pets have currently made their territory. People love these simple decorations right next to their front doors.With just a board, a little creative painting, and some simple small hooks, you can find yourself around $15 per holder, all for around 30 minutes of sanding, cutting, and painting. 
I learned about the trade from my father starting when I was 6 years old. I took woodshop courses in high school, and was granted the Industrial Arts Award my senior year. I also took some college courses in woodshop before I started my own business when I turned 19.My average work day is laying out jobs, cutting parts, designing the different jobs, and assembling the cabinets. I also am teaching my daughter how to build woodworking projects and cabinet parts, as well as helping with our cutting boards.
Last but not least, every shop needs safety measures. Reading all safely requirements for tools is important, but there are also other issues one needs to deal with. First, it is important to use proper eye protection. Accidents do happen, blades crack and wood does go air born. Therefore, if you value your eye sight it is important to wear safely glasses. Second, you also need ear protection. Since many power tools give off a high decibel noise, the ears become damaged over time, which can cause tinnitus. There are many different ear protections on the market so choose the one that works best for you. The final safety measure is dust collection. Dust collection is often overlooked because it tends to be invisible, but it can enter the lungs and, over time, inhibit the air capacity of your lungs.
Start by arranging all the parts on your work surface. Justin used a flux brush to spread the glue in the slots, and onto the biscuits after they were installed. Any small brush will work, though. When you have everything assembled, install clamps to hold the sides tight to the shelves while the glue dries. Check by using a framing square or by measuring diagonally from opposite corners to make sure the bookcase is square. Adjust it if needed. Then tighten the clamps. This is a good time to take a break while you let the glue dry for about an hour.
And, although a formal education is helpful, it is not necessary, and most woodworkers receive on-the-job training under the supervision of other more experienced workers.  However, because of the ongoing development and modernizing of woodworking machinery, many employers are requiring applicants to have at least a high school diploma, or a few years training in math (specifically geometry) and computer applications.  Many woodworkers will receive training by enrolling in a community or technical college.  Some may attend a university that offers coursework in furniture manufacturing or wood engineering. Individuals who have earned a degree can often move into management or supervisory positions, or go on to open their own woodworking shop.  Becoming a skilled woodworker can often take years, and knowledge of blueprints and work sequences takes training and practice.

Any serious woodworker knows that square and flat Any serious woodworker knows that square and flat stock is the key to producing fine work so it’s time to skip the hand tools and graduate to the JJ-6HHDX 6 in. long bed jointer. This beast boasts a helical insert cutter head with staggered carbide inserts yet runs quietly and ...  More + Product Details Close
Start with the horizontal base rail at the bottom of the bookcase. Hold the rail against the bottom shelf and mark onto the rail the center of each slot cut into the shelf. Then use the biscuit joiner to cut corresponding slots into the back of the base rail. Apply carpenter's glue to the front edge of the bottom shelf, and the rear of the base rail. Insert No. 20 biscuits into the shelf slots, then press the rail into place [ 7 ]. Use a rubber mallet to tap the rail tight. Wipe away any excess glue with a cloth. Attach the valance that runs across the top of the bookcase the same way. (Note: Its bottom edge aligns flush with the case top.)

Building a bookcase or bookshelf is a fairly simple woodworking plan that you can get done in just a day or two. This is also a low-cost project as well and since the project idea is free, you don't have to worry about busting through your budget. Just follow the simple steps in the tutorial and enjoy your own company building a simple bookcase on this weekend.
Let’s start with perhaps the most basic tool in every household – the claw hammer. The claw on one side of the head should be well counterbalanced by the finished head, which should be somewhat rounded. The other kind of head is the waffle-head. Most commonly used in construction, it leaves a distinctive waffle mark on the wood when you drive the nail. This, of course, is not the proper nail for woodworking.
Thickness planer. A thickness planer is used to fix surfaces of imperfect wood. If you are picking up less than perfect wood from the lumberyard, wood with some surface defects, a planer will let you fix that wood in the quickest time. A thickness planer pays for itself quick as it allows you to buy cheaper wood that doesn’t have perfect surfaces and fix it yourself. Be careful though. You loose wood during planing. So the remaining amount of wood still has to be worth the price you paid for it.
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