As Christmas rolls around, woodworkers’ loved ones often worry about what to get their favorite woodworker. To help ease that struggle, here is a list of what I feel are the absolute essentials for any woodworker. You can confidently take this list into any woodworking store or website and leave with a gift any woodworker would covet. If you’re looking to buy new items, there are basically two main brands that put out a consistently quality product: Veritas and Lie-Nielsen. As you buy, remember, you get what you pay for. Some of these higher end tools have a steep entry point, but if you amortize out it’s initial cost over a lifetime of use (because these tools truly will last a lifetime) you are only spending pennies per day. And, if your favorite woodworker wants to resell quality tools, they hold their value and can be resold at near retail value. Buying cheaper tools upfront just means added costs and frustration in the long run.
- A quality low angle jack plane, also called a Bevel Up Jack plane or a No. 62
- A bevel up block plane with an adjustable mouth
- A Forstner Bit set
- A ½” and a 1” bevel edge socket chisel
- A Carpenter’s mallet
- A 10-12” rip filed backsaw
- A 12-14” crosscut filed backsaw
- An 8-12ppi rip filed panel saw
- A sliding combination square
Anne Briggs Bohnett is a 26 year old woodworker out of Seattle, Washington. She and her husband Adam own and operate a small farm aimed at teaching youngsters about animal husbandry, traditional woodwork, and it’s also where their food comes from! Anne has been seriously pursuing woodwork with a focus on handtool use for three years and is passionate about the preservation of traditional methods and skills and building community.