It’s my contention that there is only 2 tools you MUST HAVE in any woodworking shop.
1. A saw of some kind (Sure you could probity cut wood with a chisel but it sure would take a long time, and while I’m pretty good with a hatchet a saw is a lot more versatile). If I only had one saw to choose from I would grab a 240mm Ryoba (Is it cheating that it’s 2 saws in one? :-D).
2. A workbench
Thousands of articles and books have been written on the subject and I’m certainly not an expert. If you want the current definitive book on the subject, go grab “Workbenches: From Design And Theory To Construction And Use” by the master himself, “The Schwarz”.
Long story summed up:
1. You need something relatively flat.
2. You need to be able to secure your work to the bench
3. You don’t want to bench to move or flex while you are working
Since I started on this woodworking journey almost 2 years ago I’ve made do with a 2×4 construction lumber table that was screwed to the wall.
As I started down my journey of hand tool usage I quickly found defecates and came up with solutions to those defecates.
Using the principles found in Fine Woodworking’s Getting Started in Woodworking video series I was able to add an MDF laminated top and a quick release vice. That bench served me very well and I was able to get started for less than $100.
Due to a recent move I was forced to leave my starter bench behind attached to old house. Luckily for me the original owner and builder of our new house was a woodworker and left this great bench! (that’s a Stanley #608 jointer on there for size reference)