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Top 5 Woodworking Tools for Beginners

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Top five woodworking tools for beginners wanting to make simple home decor

When all you want to make is home decor

From doors, to cabinets, there are woodworkers who are next level and do it all. I however, am not one of them. I’m more than content in my lane making home decor and doing simple projects. If this sounds like you, read on as I share my top five woodworking tools for beginners when all you want to make is home decor.

Hi! and welcome! I’m Lisa from The Old Tree Cottage. Making rustic, vintage-inspired decor out of wood is my passion. I recently started this website to share my DIY designs and knowledge when making home decor.

Top 5 woodworking tools for Beginners

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase through a link!

These are tools I don’t want to be without. They don’t have to be new; you can often find them used and sometimes a better quality than your budget would allow if you were buying new.

1. Mitre Saw

Mitre saw on a stand in a workshop. Top 5 woodworking tools for beginners
I was given this saw used, and it just keeps going!

Most people, including myself, seem to refer to this as a chop saw. I have a 10″ saw that was already well-used when I was given it. Alternatively, you could get a simple mitre box with a handsaw, to begin with. If you’re considering a mitre saw, this article explains the differences between saws.

2. Orbital Sander

Makita orbital sander.Top 5 woodworking tools for beginners
I bought this sander new.

I would never want to be without an orbital sander! When looking for one to buy, either new or used, make sure you can get a replacement part for the sanding pad because, with regular use, it will wear out.

3. 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

Yellow and black Bostitch Brad nailer. Top 5 woodworking tools for beginners
I bought this one, and I love it!

I often refer to a brad nailer as a nail gun. There are two types of brad nailers to consider; one that needs a compressor and one that runs on a battery. Whether buying new or used, look for an 18 gauge which will take up to 2″ brad nails. I recently purchased this brad nailer. I love it because it leaves a small round hole when you nail it instead of a long indent like most. With this type of brad nailer, you’ll need a compressor and hose. If space or noise is an issue, then a battery-operated brad nailer would be your better choice. I don’t recommend electric brad nailers because they don’t have the power needed to properly sink into the wood.

4. Drill

Orange and black coloured RIGID cordless drill set. Top 5 woodworking tools for beginners
I bought this new years ago.

A drill is a must-have for home decor projects. Whether you’re drilling a hole or using it for screws. I have a cordless (battery-powered) one with a second battery pack. However, be careful buying a used battery-powered drill. You want to ensure the battery works because it’s very costly to replace. As well it should come with a charging station. Don’t rule out corded options! A corded one works well and is much cheaper when buying it new.

5. Jigsaw

Old black jigsaw. Top 5 woodworking tools for beginners
Another used tool of unknown age!

This is a tool you won’t always need, but I have it on the list because all I make is home decor, and it comes in handy when making wooden handles for trays or curved cuts. The “wouldn’t it be nice” version is a bandsaw and is something you might consider if you’re using a jigsaw often.

More tools to consider after the top 5 woodworking tools for beginners

Now that you’ve seen my top five woodworking tools for beginners, you may find that is all you need when making home decor, especially if you’re only making things once in a while. But if you’re making things more often or for selling, the following tools will come in handy for your woodworking decor journey. Just be sure this is what you want to do before you commit to more tools!

Table saw for custom home decor

Old silver table saw
My old second-hand table saw.

I bought my table saw second-hand years ago. I use it for reclaimed wood in order to make a custom or standard size by changing the thickness or width of the wood for a specific home decor project, like in this tray tutorial. However, if you’re sticking to standard-size wood, you may not need one. A folding table saw is a great option to save space, but it is pricey compared to a tabletop one.

Drill Press

This drill press was from my husband’s dad. It is old and works great!

I like using a drill press for the simple reason of accuracy and convenience. If I need to drill a hole in a spindle, it’s not uncommon for me to have the hand drill go on a bit of an angle. Clamping the spindle properly into a vice and drilling with the drill press ensures I keep the hole straight, making the end result of my home decor project look more professional.


There are two types of vices in my shop; a portable vice and a heavy-duty vice bolted to a table. I like them both for different reasons. When I cut and bend metal by hand for handles on the trays I make, it’s necessary to use the heavy-duty vice. The portable vice is a good one to have for clamping in things when you’re drilling into wood. I can move it to my drill press or workstation.

Compact Router

A compact router in silver, black and red.

As far as home decor projects go, I’ve made a lot of unique trays over the years. A router is a great tool to have because it helps to set you apart from others that are making similar decor. I like my work to look old, so I’m not concerned if everything is perfect when I use it! The router in the photo is my new one. I had to replace my old one because I wasn’t paying attention and knocked it on the floor, causing it to break. Note to self: be more careful!


Yellow and black clamp with wood.

There is a lot of variety of clamps to choose from. My favourite clamps for making decor are this type. I don’t need clamps very often when making simple home decor. But there are times when the wood needs a little help to stay together while the glue sets.

I hope my top 5 woodworking tools for beginners who want to make home decor have been helpful!

As you can see, you don’t have to get the biggest and most expensive tools when doing simple woodworking projects. Second-hand tools in good condition are always a good choice! If you haven’t yet looked around my website, please do! It is my hope that you find inspiration there!

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