Furniture Making Tools
Across this site, I have talked a lot about different styles of furniture and how Swedish design ideas are brought into a home through interior design and some bespoke DIY projects. Getting the ideas on paper is a great start, but I haven’t forgotten about the practical nature of it all. To make these pieces yourself, you need a range of helpful tools.
The following list is a series of 10 tools that I feel are worth considering when starting out. There are different saws, portable items like drills and nailers and other helpful aids to take the stress out of hardwood furniture building.
1. Cordless Drill
Portable has to be the way to go with many of the best woodworking tools. Yes, I appreciate that you can get more power and more consistent performance with many of the high, corded options, but they aren’t always practical.
The best example of this is the cordless drill. If you want a hand-held model that you can carry anywhere around the house, or out in the yard, you don’t want to be worrying about extension cords. The best models are ergonomic and designed for a fast, reliable action – from drilling the holes to switching out the drill bits.
2. Right Angle Close Quarter Drill
On the subject of drills, I was introduced to a version that I had not heard of before and was blown away. The right angle close quarter drill is a strange looking beast that looks a little misshapen but with good reason.
There are some areas on intricate pieces of furniture with hard to reach fixtures where you spend more time swearing at your tools than getting the holes in the right place. This close quarters drill fills the niche perfectly by going to difficult areas and saving a lot of time and effort.
3. Portable Nailer
So we have the battery powered drill sorted. Why not now add to the arsenal with a battery powered portable nailer. I appreciate if some of you shudder at the thought of using a nailer because some of them can be real powerhouses, but are they any scarier than the idea of using a hammer and nails around delicate fingers?
Nailers are a lifesaver for anyone that hates the usual time-consuming process and come in all shapes and sizes. They are also ideal for excellent jobs and more precise finishes. Find the model with the strength and features that you are comfortable with and take your time.
4. Belt Sander
Sanding woodworking tools are a must for shaping and smoothing a piece of wood to get that ideal finish. Different approaches are depending on the scale of your project and your competency level.
The obvious thing for me when smoothing down chair legs and wooden moldings for custom made pieces was a simple piece of sandpaper, but you need something stronger than that on large planks and significant areas.
Larger areas are where the belt sander comes in. These powerful machines attack the area with plenty of force for a quick, smooth finish, and the best models will have additional tools and dust collection attachments to make the job more precise and less messy.
5. Compound Mitre Saw
Does the idea of adding a saw to the garage set up scare you a little?
A compound miter saw is an excellent way of creating smooth, accurate cuts on your hardwood furniture for the best possible build – and it is small and compact enough not to be too intimidating to newcomers.
Some models are stronger than others, and some have higher accuracy and cutting angles. The more impressive the machine, the more impressive the results. Start with what you are comfortable with and then work up to the more robust machines.
6. Band Saw
An alternative option for ripping timber and creating some basic cuts with a safe, simple machine is a band saw. These saws can look pretty basic and are much less intimidating to use than the more complicated miter saws,
but this simplicity masks an excellent cutting action and versatility that is ideal for creating more ornate items. Personally, this is a must-have item when upcycling and modifying furniture to meet my new specifications. If you want a bespoke, statement piece, you need one of these in your work area.
7. Circular Saw
Another saw next because once you get the hang of cutting and shaping wooden furniture, it pays to have a versatile range of tools. Circular saws may seem a little redundant if you have these other instruments, but in the right hands, they can allow you to make quick, clean crosscuts and make short work of large boards.
The appeal of this saw depends on the project. If you have large pieces of wood or board that aren’t compatible with a table saw or band saw, this is the way to go.
8. Kreg Rip-Cut
The concern with these circular saws, and indeed some of the others, is accuracy. The miter saw has that brilliant bevel system for accurate cuts and the ability to work from different angles, but how do we achieve that with a circular saw.
After all, even our low-grade DIY makeover project needs to look as good as a professional piece of hardwood furniture. The answer is to use a Kreg rip cut to determine a nice straight line. They are simple to use and much better than using guide markers.
9. Pocket Hole Jig
These little tools and guides are a must for any novice furniture creators that struggle with attention to detail and precision in their cuts and fixture.
Another example of this is pocket-hole joinery. It is all about the angle and a steady hand with this method, so it helps to have some extra help in the form of a pocket hole jig to hold everything in the right place. The best have easy-to-use clamps and support wings to make the process even easier to manage.
10. Palm Router
The last item I want to mention here is something a little different and one that I am sorely tempted to own. I watched a palm router in action when visiting a fellow furniture enthusiast at work. He is a little more accomplished and knowledgeable with his woodworking tools,
and he pulled out this odd little contraption. As soon as he told me that it was a breeze to use for more detailed, decorative work – like elaborate trims and inlays – I was sold. It primarily provides more diversity to the workshop, which therefore adds diversity to the project.