4 Must-Have Woodworking Tools for Cabinetmaking School & Beyond

April 16, 2019

There are certain tools that are essential for most people working in the trades—like hammers, measuring tape, and power drills—but cabinetmakers typically require additional ones on top of those. Whether cutting or sanding, woodworking tools allow cabinetmakers to get work done.

If you’re looking to build your own collection of woodworking tools during and after cabinetmaking training, it can be a little difficult to know where to begin. That’s why we’re here to help. We will look at four woodworking tools which will serve you well from the day you graduate cabinetmaking school to far into your career.

1. The Jointer-Planer Is a Worthwhile Investment for Cabinetmaking School Grads

Jointer-planers combine two essential tools into one, which makes them extremely convenient for cabinetmakers. The jointer part of this tool creates a smooth surface on one side of a piece of wood while the planer can thin a board to your desired thickness (while also smoothing the other side of the board).

Jointers and planers can be bought separately and there are handheld, non-electric versions of both tools that are much cheaper than a stationary, electric jointer-planer. However, given that smoothing and getting boards to the right thickness are tasks that cabinetmakers do frequently, investing in a stationary jointer-planer will help make your work go much faster.

2. Jigsaws Are Essential After Cabinetmaking Training for Cutting Curves

As a cabinetmaker, you’ll be cutting a lot of wood. Table saws and circular saws are great at cutting straight lines, but when you need to cut a curve, then the jigsaw is your tool of choice. Since cutting curves is something you will need to do at some point in your woodworking career after cabinetmaking training, the jigsaw is an essential addition to your workshop.

Many jigsaws are also adjustable so that they can make bevel cuts (i.e., cuts on an angle rather than just vertical). Jigsaws are also very easy to use so you should make buying one among your first priorities as a cabinetmaker.

3. Every Cabinetmaker Needs a Well-Stocked Collection of Clamps

Clamps are so essential to woodworking that the phrase “You can’t have too many clamps” has become a common refrain among cabinetmakers. Clamps are essential for when you’re gluing two pieces of wood together and need them to stay in place while the glue dries. Clamps also hold pieces of wood in place for when you’re cutting or doing detail work.

There are many different clamps for different purposes, such as spring clamps, C-clamps, bar clamps, parallel clamps, corner clamps, and angle clamps. Make sure your workshop is well stocked with various different types so that you never find yourself in need of one that you don’t have.

4. The Random Orbital Sander Is the Most Useful Sander for Most Cabinetmakers

Most cabinetmakers have an array of different sanders, from belt to finishing sanders. As you progress in your career after cabinetmaking school you’ll also likely acquire a range of sanders, but if you’re looking for the sander that is considered indispensable for cabinetmaking, then choose the random orbital sander. This sander is great for smoothing large surfaces. It works quickly and doesn’t leave the swirl marks that other sanders can leave behind.

The only disadvantages are that the round shape means it can’t be used in corners (for that you’ll need a regular orbital sander) and it’s not suitable for detailed work (in which case you’ll need a rotary tool, contoured sanding grip, or detail sander). However, if you want a versatile handheld power tool that will get wood planes to a smooth finish quickly, then a random orbital sander is your best bet.

Are you interested in a new, hands-on career?

Contact North American Trade Schools to learn more about our cabinetmaking courses.

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