Canadian Woodworking

Woodworking shopping list

Author: Bob Dearlove
Published: October November 2005

The most important thing about making and maintaining a shop list is remembering to take it with you.


Well, it’s that time of year again, when woodworkers across Canada start dreaming of wood shows to come. It’s a tantalizing dream, where everything related to your hobby is all together under one roof. The lure of the dream is the anticipation of fulfilling all of your woodworking needs.

Unfortunately, those dreams fade and reality sets in once you are at the show, standing in front of a huge display of supplies. You know you need some supplies, but you don’t know what size, shape or configuration you need.

As a vendor at woodworking shows across Canada, I see this happen again and again. Fortunately, I also see other woodworkers at the same shows living the dream. By that, I mean that they show up and actually get everything they had envisioned. They are able to do this because they have taken time to prepare before the show.

Without preparation, it’s pretty difficult to know all of the specifications for the various saw blades, bandsaw blades, router bits, drill bits, sanding discs, sanding sheets, and other sundry supplies that need ‘topping up’ in the shop. For instance, what about that 14.4 volt replacement battery for your drill – was it model B4500 or B40510? Multiply this by the number of machines, power tools, and hand tools in your shop, and you can imagine how much you would need to remember. That’s why a little preparation will go a long way in helping you satisfy all of your wood show shopping needs.

Here’s What To Do

On a sheet of paper, notepad, piece of wood, palm pilot, or other personal digital assistant, note the specifics of your woodworking tools and machines, listing all of the pertinent information required to determine the supplies or accessories that you may want to purchase. For example:

  • Machine make, model, motor HP, power rating (110 volt or 220 volt)
  • Table saw blade size
  • Bandsaw blade length, width and tpi
  • Planer/jointer knife sizes
  • Scroll saw blade, pinned or unpinned
  • Router shank size

Everyone’s list will be different and will be more or less detailed, depending on the type of woodworker that you are and the type of woodworking that you do.

Remember to include an inventory of your stock of disposable products, like scroll saw blades, band saw blades, sandpaper discs, belts, grits and types, dust collector filters or bags, and wood screws. Frustration can set in fast when you return home to find that you not only didn’t get what you needed, but that you got what you didn’t need!

A shopping list can also be helpful when looking for new equipment. When comparative shopping, be sure to include the model number, as a slight change in product will have a different model number. Taking note of such details makes comparing prices and features easy and accurate.

Finally, the most important thing about making and maintaining a shop list is remembering to take it with you. Despite all the expertise available at the wood shows, when you are asked what kind of machine you have, the answer “Green, blue, or brown” won’t be very successful in helping you service or supply your machine.

So get busy on that list. I’ll be at the shows watching for you. Will you be the one scratching their head, or the one with a big smile and an arm full of woodworking supplies, heading home to live the dream?

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