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HomeMy ShopMy ToolsWoodworking Tools Recommended by AI

Woodworking Tools Recommended by AI

This post is about woodworking Tools Recommended by AI. Did you ever wonder what would happen if you asked an AI chat bot what woodworking tools you should buy?

Well, I did…

Tools In This Post


Woodworking Tools Recommended by AI

This post isn’t going to be your typical tool review. It’s more like a test. A test to see if artificial intelligence is able to make good or even passable tool suggestions for new woodworkers?

It was simple really, I just went to a popular AI chatbot and asked

“Hey robot, I’m new to woodworking. What are five tools I should have in my workshop? Specific recommendations please!”

Then it spit out five tools and why I should buy those.

And whatever the chat bot suggested, I bought! Spending over $400 of my own money!

#1 DeWalt Circular Saw

First woodworking tool recommended by AI is a DeWalt 7 ¼” CORDED circular saw.

So, my initial thoughts are, OK DeWalt is a solid tool brand. I have a lot of their cordless tools, so right away I’m familiar with the quality of the product.

I do think a circular saw is a great first saw for anyone looking to get into DIY and woodworking. It’s pretty versatile and can bridge the gap before committing to owning a miter saw a table saw or a track saw.

This saw rates as a good saw for its class which is typical of DeWalt, Bosch, Makita and Milwaukee.

Coming in at around $160 it’s very affordable compared to its more expensive cousin, the track saw.

But unlike a track saw, there’s no guide rail system for making perfect straight cuts, which I think is an important thing for woodworkers, but that’s something you can work around by making yourself a guide for straight cuts out of plywood like this one or use a metal straight edge.

The saw is lightweight, at just over 8 lbs, and it has an electric brake which is a nice safety feature compared to saws which slowly wind down after to let off the trigger.

It can cut up to 57 deg bevels and has a built in blower for clearing sawdust from your sight line, which I think is a nice addition.

I had no problem cutting both sheet goods 2x4s and thick hardwood lumber which is everything I would need it to do in my shop.

The one drawback for me, which is true of really any circular saw is that dust collection is basically non existent.

These tools were made for use outside and don’t have the features for good dust collection like a track saw has.

I don’t see this as a deal breaker though, especially considering the price difference between the two. 

Just wear a good dust mask and eye wear and be prepared to clean up when you’re done.

Also, I think this saw being a corded model is a fine option for working inside a shop (my tracksaws are all corded).

But you can get the cordless alternative for not that much more money if you already have cordless tools and batteries.

This is the cordless saw I’ve owned for a few years.

It has a slightly smaller 6.5” blade but you can still cut 2” material with it.

And it’s more convenient not worrying about being around a power source, which for inside a workshop like this isn’t a concern but for outdoor projects can sometimes be a factor.

Recommend or not?

Overall I think this is a solid recommendation for the first time woodworker.

Dewalt is a good brand and the features of the saw are nice.

I personally would go with the cordless but that’s mainly because I already upgraded to track saws for the workshop and mainly use my circular saw for use on outdoor projects.

But if this is your first saw purchase, this is a good buy and I’d recommend it.

#2 Swanson 12″ Combo Square

OK, next woodworking tool recommended by AI we have a 12” combo square from Swanson.

My initial thought here is that a combo square is a great first purchase because it’s so versatile but I’ll tell you already, I’m not good with this recommendation which I’ll explain in a minute but first let’s talk about why I like a combo square being on this list.

First off, a combo square is great for marking both 90 and 45 degree references on your work with these reference edges.

You can also use it to verify a 90 in tool setup.

And the 45 degree reference is good for setting your saw blade for bevel cuts.

Or for verifying your miter saw’s 45 degree detent.

You can also use it for setting blade & bit heights like this or even setting the depth first and doing it like this.

It’s also good for making reference lines at different distances, it can be a depth gauge and most have a built in level and a scribing tool if you don’t have a pencil or knife handy.

Recommend or not?

OK so as I said already, I definitely would recommend getting a combo square as your first square, but the chatbot kind of whiffed on recommending this specific square.

When it comes to marking and measuring tools I stick to a general rule of thumb.

You typically find these tools in three tiers.

First you have the big box store brands that are generally really cheap and have lots of marketing but not a lot of QC.

This tier is good for construction or general DIY where accuracy doesn’t matter as much which is exactly why they can be found in a big box store.

That’s right where this Swanson lives along with Empire, Irwin, Johnson and a few others nobody’s ever heard on Amazon.

Then there’s top of the line brands that are super well made.

This tier is really machinist level where tolerances have to be very tight.

This Starrett is a good example (this one I inherited from my grandfather who was a machinist and these run around $200).

Super high quality and ridiculously accurate but I think these are not needed for woodworking, you just don’t need to be THAT square when you’re working with a material that naturally moves on it’s own.

Then there’s the mid-tier brands, the Goldilocks zone if you will. Represented by this Benchmark square. Other brands like PEC and iGaging also fall within this tier.

These companies put more engineering and QC into their product like they actually care about it but not quite to machinist levels of anal retentiveness.

The result is that you’ll pay 2-3 times more for one of these than the cheaper squares, but only about 1/2 to 1/3 of the price of one of these.

In my opinion this tier is where a woodworker should be shopping and I’d recommend spending the extra money to get into this tier.

BTW, if you want to do a quick test to see if one of these is square, just grab some material with a known straight edge on it and then mark a line like this.

Now flip the square around and make another line right on top of or right next to the first line.

If you see any variation in thickness or the lines are not perfectly parallel then its not a square…. square.

#3 Narex Chisel Set

OK the next woodworking tool recommended by AI is…. A set of chisels from Narex.

Narex is a very solid brand of chisel, the company is over 100 years old and from the Czech Republic, so these are European made products.

Initial thoughts about this recommendation.

You could definitely do a whole lot worse than this brand (Buck Brothers, I’m looking at you).

This set comes in at $140 which works out to about $22 per chisel, factoring in some cost for this wooden presentation box.

That’s definitely not a cheap chisel. A set of chisels from the big box store can be as low as $4 per chisel.

But on the other hand you can spend waaaay more, up to and above $100 for a single chisel in some of the premium chisel lineups.

So why do you need chisels and what makes one “good”.

Chisels like this are for fine detail work.

Jobs where a power tool removes too much material too quickly or working in tight spaces that a power tool just won’t reach.

Some woodworkers prefer to work entirely with hand tools, which is cool if you have that kind of time, but I prefer the hybrid approach.

I let my power tools do the bulk of the work and come in with the chisel to do the finishing touches.

This is /Narex’s main line of chisel, their workhorse line if you will.

Add a couple key features here.

Hardened steel keeps a good edge with less sharpening.

Thin sides for getting into tight places.

Beefy touch handles take a pounding.

Recommend or not?

So would I recommend them?

Yes, I look at this in the same way I did the combo squares.

With chisels there are definitely different tiers, and this time the chatbot recommendation landed right in that Goldilocks zone.

As a new woodworker, I wouldn’t spend the money for top tier chisels unless you plan to use your chisels A LOT. I just don’t think you’ll realize the benefits they offer with only limited or hybrid use.

I do have two other recommendations though.

If you want to test the high-end chisels but you’re not in it for a full set, get just one (1/2” or ¾” chisel).

Also, you should own one filthy cheap chisel for going grunt work like scraping glue and opening paint cans like this one.

Show buck bros chisel how rusted and dull it is.

#4 Estwing Hammer

Moving right along we have another woodworking tool recommended by AI…a hammer from Estwing.

Initial Thoughts about this recommendation Yep, it’s a hammer.

OK, kidding aside, let me say that I’m NOT even close to an expert on hammers and that’s because I’m a woodworker and this is a tool for general construction.

Recommend or not?

So is this a good recommendation?

I guess the chatbot really isn’t that familiar with the difference between woodworking and construction, but I am. and I’d call this another “whiff” by the chat bot….

I  definitely recommend everyone own a good hammer and at $25 I would say it’s definitely worth having one around… just not for your woodshop.

In a woodshop there are other more important persuaders you should look to have.

First you should have a Wooden Mallet or joiners mallet – You can buy one of these but it’s kind of a woodworkers right of passage to make one for yourself. They are typically made from really hard woods and have heft, and wood on wood contact.

You also should have a rubber mallet – non marring, good for “whacking” and not leaving a mark and look mine is from Estwing.

Then you should look to have a Chisel mallet – great for “tapping” and fine detail work.

#5 Bosch Random Orbit Sander

And last woodworking tool recommended by AI we have a Bosch random orbit sander.

Initial thoughts about this recommendation.

Sanding and finishing is a critical part of woodworking so I’m glad the chat bot put one on the list.

And Bosch is another excellent power tool brand. In fact, I already owned this sander!

Based on reviews I did when I purchased this sander the first time, it rated well in three areas.

Noise – it was one of the quieter options especially at the price point.

Also, dust collection.

Out of the box it comes with 1.25 and 1.5” hose adapter which is nice.

Comes with this little cannister which I think is good for quick work in a place where dust extraction is inconvenient or impossible but not really a great idea in the shop It captures the dust but there’s no extraction. It’s not pulling any dust off the work piece itself which is the most important thing.

woodworking tools recommended by AI

And also low vibration.

I used to have a DeWalt sander and it had so much vibration that it actually began to affect my hand and arm sensation after using it for more than 30 minutes which its very common to spend that amount of time sanding.

woodworking tools recommended by AI

This one has much less vibration and feels good in the hand as you guide it around the work piece.

It’s a 5” sander, good for tighter spaces. You can get ROS in 6” as well and have more efficiency, but at the 40-80 dollar price point you pretty much get 5” options.

woodworking tools recommended by AI

Recommend or not?

I definitely recommend it after years of use although this is definitely NOT my only sander.

I have lots of Festool sanders which are quite a bit more expensive but have benefits that are worth upgrading to later in your woodworking journey.

This sander gives good performance especially at the price point that it’s at.

And even though I don’t really use it, this dust canister with filter is a nice option if you don’t have a shop vac or other dust collection set up yet.

woodworking tools recommended by AI

So, should I be worried? Because as it stands, I don’t think the robot overlords did a terrible job here.

There were definitely some whiffs and a definite hard pass but I did like that the more expensive items on the list were solid choices IMO.

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