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Beginner's Guide to the Essential Tools & Supplies You Need for Woodworking With Kids

Updated: Aug 18

Are you excited to start woodworking with your kids, but at a loss for where to begin? Do you find yourself staring at endless aisles of tools, with no idea where to start, or what to buy?


You know the importance of having the right tool for the job, but, um…which tool is that exactly?


I know that the vast array of options in a hardware store can quickly become overwhelming. When you add in the special considerations of woodworking with kids, it’s even more difficult to find just what you need.


The good news is, I’ve already done the hard work for you!


In the years that I spent developing the "Hammer, Saw, Drill" curriculum, I tried and tested many different tools and supplies. Finally I narrowed it down, finding options that were safe and easy for kids to use.



Now I’ve put my top choices for woodworking tools and supplies into this one-stop resource, so you can easily find what you need, and get on to the fun part—woodworking!


Using this checklist, you’ll discover:

  • All the essential tools and supplies you need to get started woodworking with your kids

  • Quality tools that are easy for kids to use

  • The basic supplies you’ll need for projects

  • Tips and alternative options

  • A downloadable Tools & Supplies Checklist for in-store shopping


The following recommendations represent my personal and honest opinion, and are intended as a convenient resource. I am not endorsed or paid by any of the named brands, or through links to any retailer.

Always wear safety equipment while woodworking. Tools must only be used with adult supervision.



Essentials for Woodworking with Kids:


1. Toolbox

It’s important to to keep your tools stored safely in a toolbox. Proper storage will prevent damage and keep the tools in good working condition for years. Plus, kids learn organization and responsibility by developing the habit of putting their tools away.


When choosing a toolbox, make sure it is large enough to hold all your tools. Trays and compartments are a nice feature for added organization.


Store tools out of reach of children unless an adult is present to supervise. For added safety, put a lock on the toolbox.



2. Safety Glasses

Safety glasses should be worn at all times when using tools. Be sure to select an appropriate size for your child, so the glasses do not slip off. If needed, use an eyewear retainer strap to keep the glasses secure.


If your child already wears glasses, use safety goggles that will fit over regular glasses.



3. Work Gloves

Work gloves protect the hands during woodworking and give added protection while sawing.

Durable canvas material or cotton with non-slip texture are good choices. If you are having trouble finding work gloves small enough, try looking at gardening gloves for alternatives.



4. 7oz Hammer

You’ll need a hammer to nail projects together.


A 7 or 8 oz hammer is heavy enough to be effective, but light enough that it’s easy for kids to handle. A hammer that is too heavy is quickly tiring and can make it difficult for kids to aim accurately.



5. Dovetail Pull Saw

A saw will be needed to cut wood to size for your projects.


This small saw cuts on the pull, instead of the push. It works with light pressure, making it easy for kids to use. The saw has small teeth, and includes a blade guard for safe storage.



6. Hand Drill

You’ll need a drill to make holes for your projects. This small and sturdy hand drill is easy to use, and all moving gears are covered by the plastic body. If you prefer a drill made from metal and wood, check out this drill.



7. Drill Bits

In the majority of our woodworking projects, we use two different drill bit sizes: 5/64” and 1/8”. You’ll need at least one of each. It’s a good idea to have a couple of spare bits, just in case a bit breaks in the middle of a project.



8. Awl

With this awl, you can quickly make starter holes for easier drilling and nailing.



9. Sand Paper

You’ll want to use 120 or 150 grit sandpaper to keep wood smooth and free of splinters.



10. Vice, or Miter Box and Clamps


You’ll need either a vice or a miter box and clamps to keep wood safely secured while woodworking, especially when sawing.


A vice is generally sturdy, holds the wood away from the table, and allows for more versatility when positioning the wood. A vice is preferable for versatility, but is heavier than a miter box.


This clamp-on vice is small and quick to set up and take down on tables 2” thick or less.


A plastic miter box and clamps are usually light-weight. Clamps often opens wider than a vice, making them a good choice if you have a very thick table.


Need help deciding which to get? Read my Vice, Clamps, Miter Box: Keep That Wood Still article.



11. Measuring Tape

This little measuring tape is easy to store, and works well for small projects.


The retractable tape is fun for kids to use, and adds an exciting element when practicing math and measuring for woodworking projects.



12. Square

A square is used to make straight, 90 degree guidelines on your woodworking projects. Using a full guideline, as opposed to one small measurement mark, helps kids visualize and stay on track while sawing.



13. Nails

You’ll need two different sizes of wire nails for your projects: 16 x 3/4”, and 16 x 1 1/4” .


These small nails are just the right width and length for our woodworking projects. If you have trouble finding 16 gauge nails, 17 will also work (example: 17 x 3/4").



14. Wood Glue

Wood glue creates a stronger bond on woodworking projects than other types of glue. Adding some glue before nailing wood together will help prevent projects from loosening or breaking over time.


To spread the glue, use a paint brush, your finger or a cotton swab. Clean brushes and sticky fingers.


Wood glue is strong! Protect your table surface with scrap paper while using glue. Set projects on wax paper or a metal rack to dry, and wipe up spills with a wet rag.



15. Pencil and Marker

You’ll need both a pencil and a marker to make light guidelines and bold guide dots.


16. Table

The safest and easiest way to do woodworking is on a sturdy table or bench. Lightweight tables move around while sawing, making it challenging to use tools safely and accurately. If you don’t have an extra table for woodworking, protect the surface of a table by attaching a piece of plywood to the tabletop with clamps or cover it with a vinyl tablecloth.


17. Wood

We use soft wood for all our projects. Soft wood is much easier and more enjoyable for kids to work with than hard wood. For the majority of our projects, we use premium (#2) white pine 1x3s and 1 1/8" lattice trim.


Check out our post: "5 Tips for Choosing the Right Wood for Your Kid’s Woodworking Projects" to learn more!




With these woodworking essentials in hand, you’ll be amazed at all the different projects you and your kids will be able to build together!


You can use the links provided to quickly order online, or download our quick-reference Tools & Supplies Checklist to take to the store. Bring your kids, and you can turn the shopping trip into a fun scavenger hunt! You can download my freebie bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers. It includes a Tools and Supplies Checklist, along with a Woodworking Buying Guide, Woodworking Safety Rules printable, and links to helpful Hammer Saw Drill videos.


Once you have everything you need, the next step is learning how to use each of your new tools. Don’t worry, we’ve made that easy too!


Just head over to the Woodworking Basics class for an online class to learn about the parts and proper use of each of your new tools.


After the class, practice, experiment, and have fun getting familiar with the tools. When you and your kids are ready, try building a project together.


We’d love to see what you build! Send a photo to jennieharriman@gmail.com.


Need project ideas? We’ve got you covered. Take the Intro to Woodworking step-by-step project course, and learn how to build fun, age-appropriate woodworking projects that will help kids improve their skills and boost their confidence.

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