Carpenters First Tools

By Robert Robillard on Contractor Advice

New Lead Paint Law Questions

Which tools to Buys First When Stating Out

Concord Carpenter,

I have no real “building” tools right now. When I go to the home store and think about all the stuff I could be building, It sort of boils down to me not knowing which tool would you suggest as a carpenters first tools?

I have drills and bits and wrenches etc, but no real CUTTING tool.

So, what tools do you recommend to get started with? For example, table saw or miter saw? Seems like there is a lot of overlap between the 2, but a lot of the big functions I’d need to make a book case, for example… ie, what’s the least I can reasonably work with for any building project (book case, toilet topper, picnic table, replace baseboards, etc).

Thanks again!!


Hi Jason,

Thanks for the question.

If you have no cutting tools the first saw you need is a circular saw. A circular saw with a decent blade and a rip fence  or a rip guide to accurately cut plywood for case work, baseboard trim, and other projects.

A chop saw certainly helps with crosscutting and is a necessity for cutting miters on trim but a circular saw will do this as well.

If you told me you wanted to start a workshop here are some of the tools I’d suggest.

Starter tools

1. Circular saw
2. Miter saw
3. Table saw
4. Jig saw

You also should have:

1. Good squares
2. Block plane
3. Random orbital sander

4. Clamps
5. Chisels

I hope this helps. Check out the workshop tab in the “Topics” box for more tips on equipping a workshop and shop tips.. Stay tuned!

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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