Emilee Anderson in front of wood wall quilt Mama Needs a Project

Welcome to my Workshop!

Hey there & welcome!
I often get asked for tool recommendations so I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite tools. These are just a few of the things I use on a regular basis. Many of the tools I own are secondhand, several of them are pretty old and very few are brand name. I don’t believe that you need to invest a ton of money to create beautiful things and my shop definitely reflects that. 

Below I’ve compiled a list of a few tools that I use and love. I’ve only included ones that I could find online so I know they’re easily available. As you work to stock your shop don’t get too caught up on brand names – I promise your projects will be just as amazing with a $20 drill as they will be with a $200 one. 

Happy Building!
Emilee

Before I dive in I wanted to let you know that many of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. I have only listed products below that I know and trust. I hope you find this list helpful as you stock up your shop!

Small Power Tools

Drills

I have several drills in my workshop. My husband and I always seem to find them at resale stores and he always insists on buying them. These are the ones that I have used most regularly and would recommend:

This is the drill I used the most when I first started pursuing DIY projects. It is one of the very first tools we purchased and is great for beginners on a budget. It is super basic, very inexpensive and I used it exclusively for a long time.

After using the corded drill for a while I was given an older version of this Black + Decker cordless drill/driver and I used it until the batteries died. (Since mine was an old version we opted for a newer cordless tool set instead of trying to find replacement batteries.) I love having a cordless drill! It’s heavier than the corded version, but I don’t have to worry about toting around an extension cord anymore which is a major plus. This drill/driver is also an upgrade from the corded version because you can adjust the speed and power – definitely helpful if you tend to strip screws like I do. 

Sanders

I have used many different types of small handheld sanders, but these two are my favorite.

sanding diy dining room table to fix wood stain issues

Most of my projects are pretty small and this palm sander is the perfect size for them. I prefer it over smaller round and triangle shaped sanders because you can use regular, full sheet sandpaper with it. Just cut or rip the paper into 4 smaller sheets and you’re ready to go. It’s much cheaper than buying specialty sandpaper for round or triangle shaped sanders. I’ve owned this one for about 5 years and never had any issues.

Dewalt random orbital sander

This orbital sander is super powerful and great for removing old finishes quickly. I love how it makes big sanding jobs go so much faster and that it’s so small and easy to use. I’ve had this sander for several years and use it often.

Nail Guns

When I was first getting into DIY I received a small air compressor and set of nail guns for Christmas and those nail guns are some of my favorite things to use!

nail gun nailing down strips of painted wood onto plywood to create geometric design for twin bed frame

I own an older version of this set and love it! It comes with a small air compressor, 2 sizes of brad nailers and a staple gun. I very rarely use the staple gun, but I use the nail guns on nearly every project. These nails guns use brad nails and I never have issues finding the right size brad nails to use. I have owned this set for over 5 years definitely recommend it.

I recently purchased this pin nailer and really like it. Pin nails are smaller than brad nails and don’t have a head so they’re much less noticeable in your project. This one is a great price and I’ve had no issues with it.

Saws

Jigsaw

My jigsaw was the first saw I felt really comfortable using. I always recommend jigsaws to people who are just getting started using saws and feeling a little nervous. They’re small, easy to handle and you can stop and start the blade quickly.

This super basic inexpensive jigsaw is what I used for MANY of my projects. With a good blade and some patience it works great and I have had a lot of success using it. If you have a tight budget I totally recommend this one.

Last year I upgraded to this Porter-Cable jigsaw (which is still very affordable) and it’s been great! It has adjustments for different speeds and different levels of blade movement for making curved cuts. I’ve had really good luck using it so far.

Circular Saw

I’ve used both corded and cordless circular saws. Corded saws are more lightweight while cordless saws are more portable. 

My first circular saw was a MUCH older version of the Craftsman saw linked above. I still use it often and have no complaints. The newer version in the link above has great reviews and sounds like the same quality as the one I’ve been using for a long time.

miter saw set to a 45 degree angle with strips of wood on it

Miter Saw

I love my miter saw – it’s probably my most used tool! I currently use an older version of a Kobalt 12″ sliding compound miter saw. I wasn’t able to find a link to the current version, but I purchased mine at Lowe’s. At the time I purchased it came with a lifetime warranty that I’ve had to use once when one of the fences broke. 

cut groove into 2x4 for diy construction cupcake stand

Table Saw

I also use a Kobalt brand table saw that came on a folding portable stand. The portability of this table saw is my favorite part. It’s super easy to fold up and store when I’m not using it. You can get the folding stands separate or you can find lots of different table saw and stand combos.

A few other things I love

kreg jig for pocket holes with drill and boards

A Kreg Jig is a pocket hole jig that is super beginner friendly. It allows you to pre-drill pocket holes into your projects so that you can hide screws on the inside rather than showing from the outside of whatever you are building. I have the K4 version linked above, but there are several different versions.

It’s silly how much I love this thing. After using a regular glue bottle for years and having it constantly get clogged up, I decided to try out this GluBot glue bottle and it never clogs! I never have to turn the glue bottle upside down when it’s almost empty and I never have to shake it up. It’s so convenient and I always recommend it to people. (And it’s usually on sale for less than $10!)

Over time I’ve learned that the screws I use are actually important and these T25 style screws are my absolute favorite. They screw in easily with a drill and are so much less likely to get stripped than regular screws. (at least in my experience) They’re a little more expensive than other wood screws, but I always use them when I can.

My Workshop

The tools and gadget listed above are just a few of the things I use regularly on my many DIY and woodworking projects. I hope you find it helpful!

I know that setting up your workshop can be overwhelming – especially if you’re on a budget. I firmly believe that it’s totally unnecessary to start out with top of the line tools and accessories. Instead buy secondhand, use hand-me-downs, get the affordable options and upgrade when you’re ready. I know you can create amazing things and I can’t wait to see them!