Tool Guides


Whether you’re a professional or hobbyist, woodworking is a popular activity enjoyed by many. It’s a productive, fulfilling activity that allows you to work with your hands, de-stress, and create something useful. Woodworkers of various experience levels may create items ranging from small sculptures and toys to beautiful, intricately detailed furniture. However, your overall woodworking experience and the quality of your creations largely depends on using the right tools.

There’s a large selection of woodworking tools available for beginners and experts alike. Each type of tool serves a specific purpose, such as cutting pieces of wood, adding small details, smoothing surfaces, and more. Depending on the project you’re working on, some or all of these tools may be relevant to your needs.

In this guide, we’ll review several of the main categories of woodworking tools. We’ll explain their functions, which common woodworking projects require them, and look at a variety of high-quality products that may be right for you.


Most would agree that the saw is the most important tool found on a woodworker’s workbench. Saws are used to cut various types of wood, as well as metal and other materials. Unsurprisingly, saws are as diverse as the materials they cut: There are many different kinds of saws to perform a range of woodworking tasks.

Table Saw

Table saws, sometimes known as saw benches, feature a circular saw blade mounted on an arbor or shaft and set in a table. The blade is powered by an electric motor and rises from the table to cut a piece of wood. One of the primary benefits of a table saw is that it provides a flat surface to support the piece you’re working on while it’s being cut. Table saws may also be adjusted to cut at different angles and depths.

Circular Saw

The circular saw is one of the most recognizable saw types and a mainstay of virtually any woodworker’s collection of tools. These powerful saws use circular toothed blades to make straight, accurate cuts in wood. The blade rotates at high speeds to cut the wood quickly and cleanly.

Due to its ease of use and versatility, a circular saw can be used for a plethora of woodworking projects. If you need to cut a large board or piece of lumber down to a smaller size in order to make a piece of furniture or other items, a circular saw gets the job done perfectly. It’s also a great option if you don’t have enough space for a table saw.

Band Saw

Band saws cut wood with a long, sharp blade stretched in a continuous band between two or more wheels. They provide uniform cutting action and are great for cutting irregular shapes. They’re available in both stationary models and portable ones you can take with you on the go. If you’re working on a project that requires some very specific curved patterns, you’ll want to make sure you have a good band saw. These may include wooden chairs, signs, coat racks, boxes, and more.

Miter Saw

The miter saw is well-known for its ability to deliver a variety of different cuts. It features a circular saw mounted on an arm that can be adjusted based on your desired cut. These include:

  • Cross cut: A cut perpendicular to the grain of the wood.
  • Miter cut: An angled cut across the width of the wood.
  • Bevel cut: An angled cut across the thickness of the board.
  • Compound cut: A combination of a miter and bevel cut.

Woodworking projects that involve one or a combination of these types of cuts will benefit from a miter saw. Examples include shelves, birdhouses or feeders, picnic tables, barn doors, and more.

Jig Saw

jig saw is a type of reciprocating saw that cuts wood or other materials through an up-and-down or push-and-pull motion. You may also refer to them as scroll saws. Jig saws are frequently used for tasks requiring precision rather than speed. They can skillfully cut the most intricate designs, tight angles, and curved shapes.

Jig saw blades are thinner and smaller than other saws, making them more delicate and prone to breaking. However, this allows you to cut the exact shapes you need easier. Projects like a folding table or stool, magazine rack, stackable crates, and wooden home decor will make great use of a jig saw. If you’re working on a piece that includes stenciled designs, a jig saw is likely the only tool able to cut them accurately.


Trim routers are used to hollow out areas in wood and other hard materials. Though at first used primarily to cut laminate, the trim router has become a versatile tool with a variety of woodworking applications. It can be used for rounding edges, cutting grooves, jointing, chamfering, and similar tasks. A trim router is especially useful for cabinetry when cutting grooves into cabinet doors and joining sides together.

Trim routers are available in multiple varieties. Plunge base routers feature cutting bits that move up and down, cutting into the material from above. They’re best used for jobs like grooving or edging. Fixed base routers, on the other hand, have cutting bits that don’t plunge from top to bottom, staying locked at a fixed position in the base. These are preferable for situations when you need to make an exact cut.


Jointers are used to make a wooden board flat along its entire length. This machine will correct the imperfections in a warped, twisted, or bowed board. The board is passed across the jointer along an infeed table. A rotating cutter head then flattens the surface before the board emerges onto the outfeed table. The jointer can also be used to straighten the edges of a board once it’s been flattened.

Planers are often used in conjunction with jointers. They ensure a piece of wood is the same thickness from end to end. Once your board has been treated by a jointer, you can run it through a planer to bring it to a desired thickness level. The finished board will have a consistent thickness across its length.

If you’re beginning a woodworking project with a particularly rough batch of wood, a jointer and planer will improve even the most subpar lumber. Projects that require wood to be as uniform and presentable as possible will benefit from a jointer and planer to make every board usable. These may include making tables, cabinets, home decor, or wood paneling.


wood lathe is a machine used to form a piece of wood into a desired shape. The wood is attached to a spinning arm that rotates as the piece is worked on with other tools like chisels and knives. It’s ideal for making bowls, spindles, vases, and other symmetrical objects. Due to its rapid rotation, a lathe also makes it easy to sand your project to a smooth finish.


Safety is a vital component of woodworking and that means maintaining a clean work space. Whether you’re sawing, planing, sanding, or otherwise dealing with wood, you’re undoubtedly generating a lot of sawdust. Allowing too much dust to accumulate in your work area is detrimental to both your work process and health. Dust particles can aggravate your eyes and affect visibility, and breathing them in over an extended period of time may cause long-term damage to your lungs.

Fortunately, dust management tools keep your shop a clean and safe place to work. While tidying up with a broom is always a good idea, a high-powered dust extractor or vacuum will do much of the job for you in a fraction of the time.


We’ve covered many key woodworking tools in this guide, and there are others you may want to consider depending on your needs, including drilling machines and presses. CPO Outlets offers a great selection of all the items described here from top brands like DeWALT, Milwaukee, Bosch, Makita, JET, and Powermatic.

Passion, experience, and creativity count for a lot when woodworking, but high-quality tools can take your creations to the next level. Keep your woodshop well-stocked so you’ll be ready for any project!

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