Most new woodworkers seem to go a bit overboard when first starting in woodworking by purchasing too many tools. In reality not that many tools are really needed to produce most beginner projects. As the projects get more detailed a few more tools can be added. And no, It’s not the person who has the most tools wins. More than likely the person with the most tools will have some tools they will never use.
The main tool required by all woodworkers is a tablesaw. Without a tablesaw a woodworker would be lost. Choosing the right tablesaw depends on how much woodworking your going to be doing. A weekend woodworker can get by easily with a relatively small inexpensive tablesaw whereas a busy shop would probably be better served purchasing a larger cabinet saw. An important addition to any tablesaw is a high quality blade.
Next on the list is a jointer. A jointer is a very versatile power tool. It can be used to edge straighten boards, reface boards and even taper table legs. In woodworking boards with straight edges are absolutely necessary and only a jointer can accomplish this operation.
A thickness planer is a valuable tool that is well worth adding. Without one you are limited to the thickness of the stock you get from your wood supplier. While you can reduce thickness on a tablesaw and clean the edges with the jointer the process is simpler and safer with a thickness planer.
Routers are the tools that put all the fancy edges and designs in your projects. Adding a router to your tool arsenal will make your projects look much more professional being you will be able to add custom profiles. A hand held router is fine to begin with but a router in a table is much better. If at all possible have both. One of the first projects a woodworker should do is building a router table.
A wood lathe will allow you to make high end parts that you can not make with any other woodworking machine. If your adding a wood lathe you will more than likely need a bandsaw.
A mitersaw is one of those tools you could get by without. Almost anything you can do with a mitersaw can be done on a tablesaw. That being said a mitersaw can make things easier and safer.
A scroll saw is also one of the tools that is a bit less important but is a good addition to your tool collection. If your going to do intarsia you definitely need a scroll saw.
We can’t forget basic hand tools. Chisels are needed in woodworking quite often. There are kits of four sizes available that are a good buy. The kits usually include 1/4″, 1/2″. 3/4″ and 1″ which is sufficient. A small block plane is very useful on occasion. A bench grinder is needed to keep all your edges sharp.
The most important tools a woodworker must own is safety equipment. That includes eye protection, hearing protection, head and face protection and lung protection. Be sure that all machines have their guards installed and are in good working condition.