How To Start Woodworking Without Power Tools

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When you think about woodworking, you probably picture loud table saws or the quiet whittling of animal figurines. Believe it or not, you can build sturdy furniture, boxes, and any other wood-based project you can think of without a watt of energy. Here’s how to start woodworking without power tools.

Hand Tools

Before electricity, people built furniture, containers, and houses with hand tools. You don’t need a circular saw and power outlet to get into woodworking, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Consider picking up the following tools:

  • A jack plane
  • A panel saw
  • A backsaw
  • Wood glue
  • A set of chisels
  • A combo square
  • Clamps
  • A hammer and nails
  • A screwdriver and screws

Depending on the project you want to tackle, you can get away with a subset of those tools. For example, if you’re going to start by building a card box, you can use wood glue as your fastener and ignore the hammer, nails, screwdriver, and screws.

Pick a Small Project

Start with a manageable project that you think you can finish. If you start with something complex, you may feel discouraged when things don’t go as planned. It’s okay to use your first few projects as practice, so don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Side Table

It’s always a good idea to use your woodworking hobby to create functional final products. That way, you and your family can enjoy the fruits of your labor, and you’ll feel inspired to move on to more complex projects. A great place to start is with a small side table. It’s a relatively simple process: cut a board for the top, four legs of equal length, and pieces to connect them.


You can never have too many shelves, especially if your home is overflowing with books, DVDs, and board games. Shelves are a perfect first project since you get something functional, and the pieces you need to cut are relatively simple.

Now that you know how to start woodworking without power tools, you may be wondering what you should try making next. There are tons of different types of woodworking, so try your hand at a few and see what inspires you most!

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