Understanding The Basic Woodworking Supplies For Beginners

Woodworking is a creative pursuit that comprises of a number of activities like woodcarving, turning, joinery, cabinet making, etc. It does take a great deal of time and practice to master them. However, in order to get started in any of these crafts, what any woodworker will need at first are the basic woodworking supplies. If you have been wondering about them for quite a while, then this article will surely prove useful to you.

This article will all be about the basic woodworking supplies for beginners:


This is perhaps that first of the woodworking supplies that a woodworking enthusiast should acquaint himself with. Typically, lumber can be divided into two broad groups – softwood and hardwood. Many people think that hardwoods are named so as they are difficult to machine while softwood are soft and are easier to machine. However, this is not true. While many hardwoods are difficult to machine than softwood, there are others that are as good to work with as softwoods. Hence, hardness has nothing to do with its nomenclature.

Botanically speaking hardwood is that type of wood that is sourced from trees that bear leaves and produce flowers, fruits or nuts. Some common examples of hard woods include poplar, oak, maple, walnut, birch, cherry and beech. Some exotic variety of hardwood includes teak, mahogany, ebony, etc.

Softwood is the type of wood that comes from cone-bearing trees. These are the trees that bear needles instead of leaves. Some common examples of the same include fir, pine, redwood, cedar, etc. Softwood lumbers are quite strong and are suitable for construction purposes. One should make it a point to study the various different types of wood and understand their characteristics. This will help you to know their properties like the grain patterns, smoothness, how they change with humidity, their ability to hold screws, etc. Not all types of lumber are suitable for every woodworking project. That is why understanding their physical properties is crucial – it can be the criteria to differentiate the skills of woodworkers.

Check out your local lumber yard, home center and a lumber dealer to check out a full selection of the lumber they have. Hardwood and softwood both find use in woodworking projects. But, typically it is seen that hardwood is more suitable for indoor projects like cabinets, furniture, etc., whereas softwood finds use in making outdoor furniture, etc.

Choosing the Tools:

Once you have understood the basics of lumber, you need to move on to the next woodworking supplies which comprises of the hand tools you will need in woodworking. Just a word of advice before that – make sure that the hand tools you use are of the finest quality. Quality tools last for a lifetime and always do a better job. Some of the tools that are considered indispensable in a woodworker’s kit include chisels – make sure you have them in different sizes, claw hammer, mallet, various types of hand saws like dovetail and tenon saw, various types of hand planes like the block plane, smoothing and rabbet plane, clamps, retractable measuring tape, power drill with various drill bits, combination square, etc.  These tools are some of the basic ones – you may need to invest in some special hand tools if your wood work requires. Once you get to work on more and more woodworking projects, you can invest on some great power tools for woodworking. Again, you should not be in a hurry to buy them. Use your judgment and buy them as per your need.

wood glue
My favorite adhesives: “Wood Glue”


Another of the very important woodworking supplies that you will need when working on woodworking projects is wood glue or adhesives. There are a number of types of wood glue available in the market. Epoxy, urea formaldehyde and resorcinol are the thermosetting glues while yellow and white glue are the thermoplastic variety. Both of them work in a similar fashion when joining two boards of wood. Once these glues dry, they act as a bridge that bonds the two wood boards together.

Yellow and white glue are very popular glues used in woodworking and you can find that in any woodworking supplies store. They are quite easy to use and set rapidly and work in most gluing situations. However, since they have poor creep resistance, they should not be ideally used in structural assemblies with fasteners like nails or screws. When strong creep and water resistance is needed, Urea formaldehyde and resorcinol formaldehyde works well. However, epoxy adhesives are considered best in the woodworking world as they have greater strength, awesome gap-filling capacity, are waterproof and have the ability to structurally join materials that are difficult to bond.

Sand Paper:

Sand papers are great for giving smooth finishing touch to your woodwork. There are actually two grades of sand paper that a wood worker can make use of – commercial and industrial. Industrial grade are of high quality and last longer. The commercial variety is available in any woodworking supplies store while only industrial supply stores typically have the industrial variety.

Shop Supplies:

When setting up a woodworking shop, apart from investing in hand tools and machines, you will also need shop supplies like ear muffs, branding iron, threaded inserts, T nuts and bolts, etc. Just don’t jump into buying everything at once; as you start with your work you will gradually have an understanding of what supplies you will need and buy accordingly.

table saw jig
Detailed example of a table saw jig.

Shop Jigs:

Another of the woodworking supplies that proves quite useful in woodworking are woodworking jigs – they can make the construction process quite efficient. They are easily available at commercial woodworking supplies stores.

Other woodworking supplies:

Depending on the woodworking project you choose, you might need hardware like drawer slides, latches, hinges, knobs, pulls, etc. Consider both aesthetics and its functional qualities before choosing them. Other than that you will need finishing products like various stains, dyes, oils and finish coats to give the end product the look you desire.

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