This demise of shop classes is quite unfortunate, as they were never solely about preparing students for trade employment. Rather, they taught all men manual skills that they could use and enjoy throughout their lives, whether they became a carpenter or a doctor. They were considered part of becoming a well-rounded man – one able to use both his hands and his mind.

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.


Just for the record, a jointer and planer are not from the ICDT kit – the philosophy on that column is, indeed, beginner AND basic (hence the Workmate). The tools we suggest in the ICDT manual are for those who are working at a kitchen table or in a backyard; the tools the editors would recommend for someone who is quite sure he or she wants to pursue serious furniture making would be rather different.
I also had the brainstorm to use two nail-in furniture "feet" on the bottom of each 2x4 on the front side so as to compensate for the carpet tack strip on the back edge and to make the shelves lean ever so slightly into the wall. I thought we might have to anchor the top of it to the wall, but with the feet, it stands very firm with absolutely no signs of wanting to tip forward! I felt great satisfaction when the almost 150 square inches of friction applied allowed for NO racking -- I could practically climb the end without anything budging!
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.
Description: When you have reached that point in your turning, where you are ready to challenge yourself with something new, this class will teach you some proven techniques for turning simple hollow forms. Students will have the opportunity to use a variety of turning tools and hollowing tools. You will also learn sharpening techniques for these tools. We will also discuss design options and aesthetics, and learn various finishing techniques. All students are encouraged to bring their favorite turning tools to use on this project.
Woodworking knowledge is something we are all constantly in pursuit of. Thankfully, there are a LOT of options available to us. We no longer have to rely on taking expensive classes when so much information can be found online and in books. And as many Guild members know, even online classes can be quite effective thanks to the additional interactivity. In my situation, most of my learning is through podcasts, books, and blogs. I punctuate my learning each year by taking a class or two. And whenever possible, I do try to learn directly from other woodworkers in person. So if you’re like me, you probably want to select more than one thing in this list. Let’s just say you should pick the one that you get the MOST information from. And if you are thinking about podcasts, just select the Woodworking Blogs option, since most podcasts are presented on blogs.
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.
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A very very interesting woodworking project you can undertake is to make spoons and ladles of all sizes out of wood. These items are really coming back in a big way. I sincerely feel you can attract a lot of attention and sell these items very well. People are beginning to use more wholesome utensils in the kitchens. Wooden spoons and ladles are going to be raging popular products. Getting a lathe will go a long way in making any kind of wood bowls, spoons and ladles.
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Once you’ve mastered the basics, then check out magazines like Fine Woodworking, Woodcraft, etc. Visit your local woodworking store (like Woodcraft or Rockler) and browse the book / plans section. What I like is these stores normally have people with woodworking expertise and can answer most of your questions whether they be basic or advanced. They also offer monthly workshops at an affordable price.
Some tools that are required for this project are Miter saw, drilling machine, pencil, tape measure, screws, etc. Those, who prefer a video tutorial instead, can visit the below link to a YouTube video tutorial that illustrates the process of creating a DIY Beer Bottle Crate. The video tutorial explains every step properly so that anyone can make a Beer bottle crate easily.
Every woodworker needs a couple of levels. You probably won’t need one of the 6-foot levels used in construction, but 48” is a good length for many of the woodworking projects you’ll do. Usually, you’ll also need an 8” level too, usually known as a torpedo level. You’ll check the level and plum of your construction. Level means horizontal, and plumb is vertical.

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.
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