Updated: Jan 4
Before I honed in on Woodworking, I was primarily using my tools for DIY projects around the house. Using my chop saw to build a firewood holder, my drill to work on my truck, and even my reciprocating saw as a makeshift tree pruner! Along the way, I have gained a lot of knowledge that I want to pass on to the next person getting into DIY projects, and who knows, maybe some Woodworking!
The table saw is arguably the most versatile tool you can purchase, which is why I ranked it above your standard cordless drill. This tool is also the most dangerous and intimidating, but if you educate yourself, read the instructions, and understand how it works, you should be good to go! As always, don't do something if you don't feel comfortable! Ask a friend or professional for help. With a table saw, you can make miter cuts, rip cuts, angled cuts, and even more advanced cuts for shelving and advanced joinery methods. Personally, I chose the Ryobi 10 inch, 15 amp version as my first table saw. Why? It was affordable. That’s it! Since I started as a weekend DIYer, I couldn’t justify spending too much on an advanced unit. You can purchase a similar unit (it looks like they have updated it since my purchase) by visiting your local Home Depot.
A good drill and driver set can make a world of difference when working on things around the house. You might be wondering, “Why do I need two drills? Don’t they do the same thing?”. For a long time, I didn’t understand the benefits of having two drills either until I purchased both! It is pretty self-explanatory, but you use one drill to drill the hold you need, and then the driver to drive in the screw. This comes in handy especially in situations that you are having to repeat these actions frequently. Before purchasing your own set, consider other power tools you might already own to be sure that you use the same battery system. Trust me, you’ll thank me later! Similar to the table saw above, I chose the Ryobi Drill/Driver set due to their affordability and have since built my tool collection around their 18V battery system. You can purchase your own by visiting the Home Depot website.
RANDOM ORBIT SANDER
Finishing your work efficiently, in my opinion, is greatly underrated. When I first started building pieces that needed to look nice (shelving, wine displays, etc.) I was sanding them down using my oscillating multi-tool with a sanding attachment. Needless to say, the Random Orbit Sander was a welcome addition to my workshop. The variety of sander types can be overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting out, but the Random Orbit Sander is certainly the most versatile! Continuing with the trend above, I chose the cordless Ryobi model, but a corded model is a great choice if you are on a budget!
BONUS TOOL - SPEED SQUARE
In the photo at the beginning of the article, I am using a blue Speed Square from Empire. While it's not a power tool, it makes easy work finding angles for miter joints and drawing lines for ripping down sheet goods very easy! For more information about how to use a speed square, check out this video from Ask This Old House on YouTube.
I am confident that anyone can build amazing things with a simple set up like this! As you learn and grow as a DIYer and Maker you'll add additional tools to your shop and build your skills even further. At the time of this writing, these are the tools that I use personally in my shop, but you are free to choose what you want to purchase. As always, make sure you're following the manufacturer's safety and operation guidelines of any tool or product you purchase! Thanks for reading!