How Much Does it Cost To Get Into Woodworking?

Woodworking is a great hobby to get into, but often people don’t know where to start. It would seem like you need to drop a fortune on equipment based on what they see from seasoned woodworkers from the outside. But do you need to have deep pockets to get into woodworking? 

It costs under $100 to get into woodworking if you want to. A chisel set, some lumber, and finish can all be bought on the cheap to get started. Even if you want a set of essential power tools, you can spend under $500 depending on where you look. 

In this article, we will discuss the financial barrier of getting into woodworking and how you can do it on a budget. Keep on reading if you’d like to learn more!

Is Woodworking Expensive? 

Many hobbies can be quite expensive, take skiing, for instance, it is a great activity, but it is widely regarded as a money pit. Some hobbies don’t seem expensive initially until you realize all the things you have to buy to get started. 

Woodworking can be argued to be the opposite. It appears to be quite expensive from the outside, with all the big, powerful equipment enthusiasts have and the ample amount of workshop space available to them. The hobby can get pretty expensive if you allow it to, but the truth is that it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Woodworking Isn’t Just One Thing

What comes to mind when you see or hear the word “woodworking”? Someone running lumber through a table saw? Drilling screws with handheld power tools? Perhaps using a CNC router? These are all things that many woodworkers utilize, but you do not need expensive machinery to do woodworking. 

Woodworking can be a lot of things; in fact, the official definition is very straightforward in what it is: “the activity or skill of making things from wood.

You can take a small block of wood, engrave writing into it, and it would count as woodworking because you made something from wood. It falls under the definition just as much as building a TV stand using thousands of dollars worth of equipment. The only difference is that the project is much simpler. 

With this in mind, it quickly becomes apparent that woodworking doesn’t have to be expensive at all. You can use the most basic of tools to create wonderful things provided you have the skill. 

The Actual Cost of Getting Into Woodworking

We’ve established that woodworking can be inexpensive to get into, but what kind of numbers are we talking about? 

Wood Carving Is the Cheapest Way to Start Woodworking

At its most basic level, and using proper tools. You can get started for under $100 with a quality chisel set, some wood, and your choice of finish. This TICOFTECH Wood Chisel Set comes with pretty much everything you need in terms of tools for under $55 (it oftentimes goes on sale for just $40). 

From there, you are going to need some wood. This Basswood Beginner’s Set of carving wood is under $15. You could stop here, but if you want, you could buy your choice of finish and a set of brushes for $20.

Putting all this together, our total cost to get into woodworking at one of its most basic levels is under $90.

Wood carving is an excellent hobby with a rewarding high skill ceiling, but what if you want to do “conventional” woodworking with the cool power tools you see everyone using? Perhaps, you want to make chairs, TV stands, etc. In this case, you’ll have to spend a bit more, but not as much as you may think. 

Power Tools on a Budget

When discussing power tools and woodworking, we can talk about expenses that go all over the place. You can easily spend thousands of dollars on equipment if you want to, but this isn’t at all necessary. 

For a “complete” set of power tools to get started, you’ll only need seven things:

  • Miter Saw: $100
  • Circular Saw: $60
  • Jigsaw: $40
  • Random Orbital Sander: $60
  • Table Saw: $200
  • Drill/Driver: $50
  • Workbench: $250

Total cost: $760

This is just an approximation based on how much you’ll likely pay for budget equipment. Admittedly, $700+ isn’t cheap, but it is still fairly reasonable to get started from scratch. Remember that you don’t need to buy all of this at once; there are quite a few projects you can do with just a jigsaw and some wood glue. This is just a list to give you an idea of how much a complete budget setup will cost you.

These numbers can fluctuate depending on how much you want to spend on each one or buying used vs. new. Speaking of used equipment, we recommend looking around for used tools if you can because that way, you can oftentimes get better quality equipment for around the same or a lower price point than new budget tools. 

Don’t Forget the Hand Tools

If you want to get you in the door on a budget, consider looking into hand tools. Sure, they don’t appear to be as exciting as fancy power tools, but their simplicity gives you big savings, less space is taken up, and you might have an even easier time learning woodworking with them.

You’ll only need five tools + a workbench in this case:

  • Jack Plane: $40
  • 26’ Backless Saw: $30
  • Measuring and Marking Tools: $20
  • Coping Saw: $20
  • Back Saw: $10
  • Sharpening Stones: $30
  • Workbench: $250

Total cost: $400

As you can see, the hand tools are a lot cheaper overall; the highest cost to get started will be the workbench, but you could honestly just use an old, sturdy table if you have one lying around to start with.  

How Much Does Lumber Cost?

Besides tools, you’ll also need to account for lumber. In this case, the pricing can differ depending on what type of wood you want to buy and how much of it you need. 

Do be warned that your expenses are largely going towards purchasing wood for your projects. Lumber isn’t the cheapest thing in the world, and you’ll only have a finite amount of it to work with before you need to buy more, whether you mess up a project and have to start over or build your next masterpiece.

We recommend pine for beginners. It is easy to work with while also being affordable to buy compared to some other wood species. How much of it you’ll need depends on what kind of project you want to do. If you want to build a simple chair, you’ll need approximately $60+ worth of lumber, for example.

However, if you want to do smaller projects such as making a cutting board, you'll need about $30 worth of wood.

Now consider how often you want to do woodworking. If it’s every weekend, then you’ll need to plan your monthly lumber expense. 

It’s generally not the tools that will be expensive, but the wood itself. Woodworkers know all too well how much money you can easily sink into buying lumber once you start to get into it. But in the end, it is all worth it if you love doing it!


Getting into woodworking can be surprisingly cheap, depending on what you want to do and what types of tools you want to buy. The hobby can be done with a few cheap tools at your side, or you can have an advanced workshop setup that costs thousands of dollars. 

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