As a novice woodworker myself, I urge you to go to your public library and find books on woodworking. If your library is like mine, you will find lots of books on woodworking, including tools and how to use them. I have checked out and read about 50 books on woodworking in the last few months. Having read those books, I learned a lot more about hand tools, power tools, and many other important woodworking skills, techniques, etc.
First and foremost, learn about shop safety, including eye protection, hearing protection, and dust protection. Before you buy any tools, have those items on hand. Be sure you understand how to operate power tools in an absolutely safe manner before you use them. Power tools can injure you severely and they are not forgiving. The smallest lapse in judgement can hurt you badly. It happens so quickly that you cannot possibly react. If you are unable to operate power tools with perfect safety, then I suggest you consider a different interest.
One important lesson that I learned from the books was how much more I could have done with the tools I already had on hand. I could have done so much more with my basic 7 1/4 inch cordless circular saw. I don't regret buying the table saw, not for an instant, but the pressing need for a table saw was not as great as I originally thought at the time I bought it. I could have used the circular saw, if I had known more about how to setup and guide it.
Is there a woodworking club in your area? I recently joined one. Such clubs often have swap meets, auctions, and other ways to help people unload unwanted and surplus tools and acquire ones that they need. In addition, most of the club members are in their 70s and 80s. Some of them are aging out and retiring from woodworking (sad, but it happens). There are real bargains out there, if you know where to look.
I just picked up a variety of hand tools, jigs, and more from a 95 year old person who just retired from woodworking. Someone announced the sale at a meeting. I picked up a set of Crown chisels, a huge, beautiful box of Forstner bits, two hand planes, a Japanese handsaw, various jigs, some scrap wood, and much more for $200. It was a fair price, but still a bargain for me. The hand tools required considerable time and effort to restore them to "as new" condition. (... and I haven't finished working on the hand planes yet.)
That's another way that you can get quality tools: Pick up rusty junk for cheap and then restore it. You must first learn what to look for and especially what to reject. The local swap meet might be a good place to look for old tools.
If you are on a budget, you can trade time for money. Use hand tools or hand power tools instead of big expensive power tools. The smaller tools require more skill and practice. Often they leave you with more "cleanup" work. Big power tools can save huge amounts of time and offer greater precision, but a skilled craftsperson can do as well (often better!) with hand tools. Keep in mind that a skilled craftsperson can do much better with crappy tools compared with an unskilled amateur working with great tools. You may have to sharpen cheap hand tools more often (trading time for money), but they will do the job. When you're ready for better tools, you can sell off or give away the lower quality tools.
Remember that you will also need scrap wood for testing and practice and maybe to build jigs. You will need consumables - blades, bits, sandpaper, finishes, applicators (e.g. brushes), and maybe cleaning solutions. You will need tools to maintain your tools, such as a way to sharpen chisels, for example. I use several grades of diamond plates, an inexpensive Japanese water stone for final finishing, plus a honing jig.
You will also need some basic measurement tools. A decent combination square would be my first choice because it can do so much. After buying and returning one from Harbor Freight, I found a Starrett combination square on eBay for a very reasonable price. Whatever you buy, know how to test it. I have also found many uses for long rulers. I prefer a one meter combination inch/metric one. I have had one for many years, but they seem to be hard to find these days. I frequently use my basic 12x16 inch carpenter's square, too.
Some people like to have a project in mind, which will guide them regarding the tools that they will need first.
Start with the books. Even if you are not a "reader," just skimming them will give you many great ideas and help you learn about woodworking tools, safety, and techniques.
Last edited by Tool Agnostic; 10-21-2017 at 12:40 PM.