Last updated on January 29th, 2023 at 05:58 am
Woodworking has been around since man learnt how to cut trees, and has since evolved in different ways, especially with the kind of tools used for it.
There’re so many modern tools for carrying out woodworking and carpentry projects today that it can be quite confusing to pick out the most important or essential ones among the lot.
Based on personal experiences however, we’ve tried to pick out 44. 44 is quite large for a beginner woodworker, but as you gain more experience and acquire more tools, it will certainly be worth it when you have a solution for every problem in the workshop or on the jobsite.
These tools will not only make your job as woodworker easier, they will also make it more fun and enjoyable. They also make your job look more professional because pro tools produce professional results.
So, here are 44 modern tools for woodworking and carpentry for you to choose from. It’s not advised that you get every one of the tools listed here, but to check and find the ones that are suitable for the type of projects you carry out on a daily basis.
It’s also likely that you may already have some, so go through and take note of the ones you may need.
1-2-3 Setup Blocks
If you’ve never used a 1-2-3 setup block, then you’re missing one of the most important tools for taking quick measurements when carrying out woodworking projects.
1-2-3 setup blocks are metallic blocks used for quickly setting up and aligning the height of blades, fence, bits and other cutters so that cuts can be made accurately and precisely without using other measuring tools that might consume more time.
A 1-2-3 block is 1 inch thick, 2 inches wide and 3 inches tall, and it’s weighs about 1 lbs, which makes it quite heavy and stays put when it’s laid down on a surface.
Because it’s perfectly square, it can be used to check if the fence of a jointer, a table saw or any other tool is square or not.
Also, because it’s perfectly flat, it can be used to check if the cutterhead of a jointer is totally level with the jointing surface.
Each of the faces can be used to set the height or depth of a cutter such as a saw blade, a dado insert, a drill bit, router bit or any other cutter.
When you get a 15-piece set of it like the one shown above, then you can extend the range of your measurements in 1/32 inch increments. The 1-2-3 setup blocks have many applications in the workshop. When you get it, your only regret will be that you didn’t get it sooner.
Pocket hole jigs
Talking about modern tools for woodworking, one of the first that comes to mind is the pocket hole jig for making pocket hole joinery.
Pocket hole joints make it very easy to assemble pieces of wood together very fast and easily using pocket screws, and a pocket hole jig makes it even easier for you to drill these holes on the wood pieces you’re planning to join.
There are different types of pocket hole jigs from different brands, but I believe Kreg makes some of the bests ones I’ve found. They have different sizes of jigs for this singular purpose, and they’re all very effective for making these pocket holes.
Right angle clamp
Joining 2 pieces of wood perfectly at right angles can be difficult to do by yourself, because you’ll have to hold two woods together and them try to join them
This is even more difficult if you’re trying to nail them together using a hammer.
With the right angle clamp you can clamp and join woods perfectly at right angles without any help.
The right angle clamp is one tool you should have if you love engaging in DIY woodworking projects.
Although not very modern, we believe a wood thickness planer is one of the most important tools you should have in your workshop as a woodworker or carpenter.
With it, you can buy rough lumber and get them planed and dimensioned to the exact size, thickness and surface smoothness you want.
The best tool for making crosscuts is a miter saw. You can use it to crosscut 2×4’s, 2×6’s, crown moldings and base boards.
If you’re getting tools for your woodworking projects, a good compound miter saw should definitely be one of the first ones you get.
A circular saw can be used for making crosscuts and rip cuts easily. It’s one of the first power tools I’d recommend for anyone starting as a beginner woodworker.
It’s very important because you can use it to make any type of cuts on wood, including cross cuts, rip cuts and even bevel cuts. Just make sure to learn how to use, especially from someone with experience before handling one.
Although they’re best for making rip cuts, you can make any type of cut on a table saw. Rip cuts, cross cuts, bevel cuts and even dado cuts.
If you really want to up your game as a woodworker, you need to have a table saw in your workshop. If you already have one, then check out these 16 table saw accessories you can use to upgrade it and improve its performance.
It’s one of the most invaluable cutting tool any woodworker can have in his workshop. Apart from woodworking, it’s also used for metalworking and lumbering. Until you’ve used one, you’d likely not know how important it is.
You can use it to cut shapes in wood, resaw lumber and even make veneers for your projects.
Just like a band saw, you can use a jig saw to cut irregular shapes in wood as well.
Unlike the bandsaw however, which is a stationary tool, the jigsaw is a hand tool which requires you to take control of the saw and direct it through the cut while the material or wood remains mostly stationary.
Most likely, your projects will require you to cut other materials apart from wood. That’s where you need a reciprocating saw.
It allows you to cut through different type of materials. All you have to do is switch the blade depending on the material you’re trying to cut.
A router tool is one of the most versatile tools for woodworking you can use during your project. It’s used for routing or hollowing out an area in a relatively large material like wood or plastic.
There are many uses for the router tool in the wood shop such as edge routing, cutting patterns and cutting dadoes for making dado joints.
A router table allows a woodworker to keep the router tool stationary while feeding the workpiece through the rotating bit.
It helps increase the versatility of a handheld router tool, thus making it possible to carry out certain types of tasks that wouldn’t be possible with the router tool alone.
For instance, very small work pieces cannot be routed with the tool alone, but when the tool is mounted on a router table, a pushblock or push stick can be used to guide the small work piece through safely.
When you’re trying to plane a wood stock that a thickness planer machine can’t accommodate, then you use a hand planer.
Generally, if you can’t feed it through a thickness planer, then you need a hand planer to plane it to the correct thickness or flatness.
A hand planer is especially ideal for already assembled furniture, because you can’t pass assembled furniture pieces through the cutterhead of a thickness planer machine.
Instead, you can just you locate all the inconsistent or rough parts of the furniture, and then plane and sand them to your desired thickness and smoothness using a simple portable hand planer tool.
You can’t just pass or feed any wood through your thickness planer. The task or use of a thickness planer is to make both sides of the wood parallel, and reduce the thickness of the wood or stock.
Planing warped or twisted boards with a thickness planer will still return a warped board, even though both sides of the board are smooth.
With a jointer, you can flatten one side of the board, removing warp, twisting and other defects/irregularities of the wood, so that when it finally goes through a thickness planer machine, both sides come out flat and parallel to each other.
Drawer slide jig
If you find it difficult installing drawer slides, then you need a drawer slide jig. With it you can install drawer slides that fit perfectly and slides smoothly every time.
A rotary tool has many woodworking applications. When you need to make tiny cuts in wood, sand little areas in your project, carve and engrave the wood you use for your project, then you need one of these.
They’re quite inexpensive and you can usually get one under 40 or 50 bucks. Although, the one by Dremel shown in the picture above will require more bucks from you but makes up for it in quality, versatility and ease of use.
Working from the floor is never an option if you want to carry out woodworking tasks or projects effectively.
Having a workbench is very essential. You can place and clamp your wood stock to it so you can work comfortably.
Tasks such as sanding, sawing, gluing & clamping, chiselling, drilling and other tasks are better carried out on a workbench.
The drill press has a chuck where you can attach bits to drill holes in your stock or drive fasteners into it. Of course you can always buy a portable power drill for used during your project, but the stationary drill press ensures you don’t make any mistakes when drilling the hole.
With a regular hand drill, it takes a lot of skill and steady hands to drill vertically at 90 degrees into the workpiece. With a drill press however, you just need to clamp the workpiece to the table and lower the rotating bit into it, and it will make a perfect 90 degree hole.
Apart from 90 degrees, you can also drill holes at other angles accurately with a drill press. Something you cannot do accurately with a simple hand drill.
Random orbital sanders
A random orbital sander is arguably the best type of sander you can use for sanding wood and other materials.
It makes use of a cylindrical sanding pad which rotates and also oscillates to help produce the best finish on your work surface. Even though it’s rotating, the oscillation eliminates any swirl marks and sanding patterns, thus leaving a perfectly smooth surface for you to work with.
Reciprocating spindle sander
If you want to sand curves in wood, a reciprocating spindle sander is one of the best tools you can use for that.
Of all the different types of sanders, belt sanders are the most aggressive of them all. You can damage your project easily if you’re not careful when using a belt sander.
They’re best for rapid removal of stock and smoothing rough boards. If you’re making a wooding floor from rough boards or reclaimed lumber, you’re surely going to need one.
Talking about tools for woodworking, a framing nailer is one of my favorite. Using a hammer for nailing pieces of wood together can be quite stressful and time consuming.
With a good framing nailer however, you can cut that time to the barest minimum and save yourself a lot of energy that would have been spent swinging a hammer.
Using a framing nailer also increases the accuracy at which you place nails on your stock. It also prevents damaging the wood you’re nailing.
When you use a hammer, a single miss by you can cause a damage to the wood, but with a framing nailer, you don’t swing at the wood, you just place the nailer tip, compress it and pull the trigger, and the nail is driven in within a split second.
A brad nailer allows you to nail tiny 18 gauge nails easily. It’s a very important tool to have if you’re involved in trim carpentry or cabinet making.
Ditch the mallet and chisels and get a lock mortiser like this one from Porter Cable, and mortising doors for door lock installations will never become a tedious task for you anymore.
Although people still mortise doors with basic tools, this lock mortiser puts that in the past by helping you create these mortises effortlessly.
This one from Porter-Cable features a powerful 11 Amp motor capable of producing 27500 rpm of speed allowing you to drill into and create mortises even in the hardest of wooden doors.
With it, you cut mortises up to 7 inches long, 1-1/4 inches wide and 4-3/4 inches deep in any door no matter how thick it is. This is a modern woodworking tool I think will definitely make the life of any woodworker, carpenter or cabinet maker way easier than it used to be.
An edge ruler wraps around 2 perpendicular edges of the wood you’re marking, and gives you an accurate scale on both sides of the wood.
Cutting a mortise and tenon joint can be quite difficult with basic woodworking tools. With this benchtop mortiser however, you have an automated way to cut out your mortises with ease and accuracy.
The benchtop mortiser features a power motor connected with a chisel bit, and you operate it just like a drill press to cut mortises in your stock. You can choose and switch to different types of chisel bits depending on the size of mortise you want to cut.
All in all, the benchtop mortiser is a very useful tool for carrying out woodworking, furniture and cabinet making projects.
Drum sanders are quite expensive, but if you really want to sand down large wooden planks in one go, you have no other option than to get one of these.
Dovetail cutting jig
A dovetail joint is a very crafty looking woodworking joint you can use for your project, and it’s very strong too, but cutting it by hand can be quite difficult. Hence the need for dovetail cutting jigs like the one shown above from Porter Cable.
It’s a very handy jig that will simplify your work when cutting dovetails for making different types of joinery for boxes, drawers and different types of furniture pieces.
A beam cutter allows you to cut thick beams or huge stocks of wood in one go. Cutting these huge beams and stocks of wood on any other saw such as a table saw or a miter saw is just impossible.
That is why having this beam cutter is a necessity if you work with stocks of this size. Talking about modern tools for woodworking, this beam cutter definitely makes the list.
Just like a benchtop mortiser, a chain mortiser allows you to easily cut mortises in your wood stocks. With the chain mortiser however, you get to cut mortises in really thick stocks of wood, like beams for timber framing and logs for long home building.
Woodworking results in the production of saw dust in large quantities. Although there are many uses for this saw dust, it can easily mess up your shop and project if it’s not properly collected and contained. With a shop vacuum in your shop, you can contain the saw dust as soon as it’s produced, ensuring you keep a clean working environment.
Wood moisture meter
Want to know the amount of water or moisture in the wood you’re trying to buy in the lumberyard? Then you need a moisture meter. It’s one of the modern tools for woodworking you should be using for your projects because knowing the moisture content of the wood you’re using for your projects is very important.
As wood dries, it changes it’s shape in different ways. It can shrink, twist or even split. When you use wood with too much moisture content than ideal, then you run the risk of running into serious problems in the future when the wood starts drying and changing it’s shape.
So, seriously, get a moisture meter and learn about the minimum moisture content of the woods for your projects, so you don’t create something that ends up breaking or getting damaged in the future.
If you love turning wood into different shapes and objects, then you should be already familiar with the wood lathe. You can turn any block of wood into decorative pieces if you know your way around the tool. Hence, it’s one of the best tools you can use for shaping wood.
Biscuit joints are one of my favorite woodworking joints, and creating them can only be done when you have a biscuit joiner in hand.
Woodworking clamps are a necessity in any woodshop. You need them for clamping pieces together for gluing, drilling and several other activities.
Sometimes, you need to find the center of the wood you’re using for your project. Eyeballing it is not really advisable in many cases if you need maximum precision and want to do a quality job.
The woodworking tool you need in this case is a center scriber. With it, you can find and mark the center of the wood pieces you’re using for your projects.
In order to carry out your woodworking projects, you need to measure each piece correctly, which makes a good measuring tape essential in your workshop.
The multi-mark tools is a very useful and multi-purpose tool you can use during your woodworking projects. It can be used for squaring, leveling and even transferring measurement.
You can find and measure angles accurately using this digital protractor. With it you can adjust angles of your table saw blade, bandsaw and miter saw blades to make accurate bevel cuts.
Multi-angle measuring ruler
You can measure multiple angles, mark and transfer templates with the multi-angle measuring ruler.
Japanese Pull Saw
It doesn’t scream modern when you look at a Japanese pull saw. In fact, its use dates back several centuries ago. However, it has many applications in the modern workshop.
The Japanese pull saw of course originated from Japan, and it’s a type of saw that cuts on the pull stroke in contrast with most western saws that cuts on the push stroke.
There’re many advantages when using the Japanese pull saw for making cuts. One of the most important is that it has a very thin kerf which makes ideal for making intricate cuts. For instance when cutting intricate joinery pieces like the tenon of a mortise and tenon joint.
The pull saw also cuts faster and requires less elbow grease when cutting with it. Unlike western style hand saws, the pull saw’s long slender handle allows it to be held with two hands when necessary to facilitate the cut.
Because the kerf is so thin, it bends easily, making it very ideal for making flush cuts in awkward angles where the blade does not align properly with the cut. For instance, when cutting protruding dowels off a joint against a wide flat surface.
Radial Arm Saw
You won’t find these in most workshops today because they’re not as popular and modern as they used to be when it was first invented, but the radial arm saw is still one of the most versatile saws you can ever use today.
Although its main purpose is for making crosscuts, it can be used for many other tasks such as cutting dadoes, rabbets, tapering and so much more. It’s not popular, but it works and it works extremely well in the hands of a good craftsman.
Air Filtration System
No matter how complex and efficient your dust collection system and ductwork is, some of the dust produced in your workshop are inevitably going to escape into the surrounding air.
Of course, wearing a dust mask can help prevent you from breathing this sawdust contaminated air into your lungs, but one way or the other, there’s a chance that you’ll still breath in this air. That’s why an air filtration system is essential in every woodworking shop.
Although this might not be an actual tool for carrying out any wood work, it performs an important task of ensuring the air in the workshop is clean from tiny airborne sawdust that escapes the dust collection system.