Whether you favour traditional hand tool-based woodworking or you’re more of a power tool kind of carpenter, there are a few key essentials that you’ll need for your woodworking workshop. Here’s our guide to the best products to make your woodworking more enjoyable, safer and more productive.
A Good Quality Workbench
The centrepiece of any workshop, the workbench is where you’ll be spending most of your time. Choose your workbench very carefully – the right one should last you for decades, whereas the wrong one will need to be replaced before you have got any value out of it. Get the biggest one that will fit comfortably in your workshop and won’t bust your budget.
Your bench should be super strong as you’ll probably be putting heavy pieces of wood on it along with power tools (if you use them) and exerting pressure when sawing, sanding or hammering. The best surface for wood workers is wood – it’s very hard-wearing and has the strength and lack of flex you’ll want for your work. It can also be sanded down if it gets too scarred up.
Think about the way you work before you buy – do you need to use table-mounted tools, clamps or vices? If so, make sure that your bench surface has adequate overhang from the frame to accommodate this equipment.
Peg boards are the perfect way to store tools and parts in your workshop. No more digging around in tool boxes or chests, each tool has its own dedicated spot on your wall – easy access and storage for everything you need, when you need it. You can even get hooks for your peg board that let you hold tapes, kitchen roll and smaller power tools.
Your workshop will inevitably get dusty very quickly. Left unchecked, this is not only messy but can be a slip risk, an increased fire hazard and prevent you from breathing properly. You can get purpose-built dust extractors to help with this issue, although if you’re cost-conscious you might want to consider a decent fan, open windows and a vacuum cleaner for when you’re done for the day.
Make sure your workshop is well lit. Fluorescent lighting is the classic choice, but you can get brighter, more consistent, longer lasting and ecologically friendlier LED bulbs that will brighten up your space very efficiently.
In addition to your general room lighting, consider some task lighting – it’ll give you a better view of your work and is great for precision and close-up work.
First Aid And Personal Protection
An often overlooked addition to the workshop is the humble first aid kit. You’re dealing with sharp tools and fittings, so make sure that you are stocked up on antiseptic, bandages, gauze and plasters before you get started. For those inevitable splinters, you’ll need a decent pair of tweezers.
When it comes to personal protection equipment (PPE) you need eye protection as an absolute minimum. Sawdust and splinters can enter the eye very easily and can do real, lasting damage – so use safety glasses whenever you are working. If you use strong adhesives, varnishes, paints or other chemicals, you might want to consider a mask to avoid inhalation of fumes – and, of course, make sure the workshop is well ventilated.