Whether you’re new to woodworking or working on a project that requires a specialty tool, sometimes renting woodworking tools can be a better option than buying.
When I started building out my shop, I had the standard set of beginner woodworking tools; a miter saw, drill, & sander. There were certainly a lot of projects that I wanted to work on in those early years, but I didn’t have the space or money to upgrade my shop with a tool like a table saw or bandsaw.
Back then, finding quality woodworking tools for rent without locking yourself into a monthly lease in a coworking space was a lot more complicated than it is today. Luckily, a lot has changed over the last 15 years, and there are many great options for finding woodworking tools rentals.
Where to Rent Woodworking Tools
We’ll break this question down into two sections by asking the question, do you need to rent an individual tool like a miter saw, or do you need access to a full shop of woodworking tools? The answer to that question will point you down two very different paths for renting tools.
We’ll look at some of the most requested individual tools first.
Renting Small Woodworking Tools
If you’re just getting started with woodworking and want to try out some simple weekend projects, renting your tools is great. It’s amazing how many small woodworking projects you can complete in a day or a weekend with just a few tools.
Renting Hand Tools
Renting hand tools like chisels, saws, screwdrivers, etc. will be both the cheapest and easiest option when it comes to tools rentals. As these tools are generally cheaper, lighter, and less dangerous are a lot more “public” options to choose from, like lending libraries or community groups.
A good place to start to find hand tools for rent is your public library. Many libraries are expanding their offerings to include the rental of more than just books, movies, and magazines. Our local library here loans out sewing machines, bike repair kits, tool kits, and more! And best of all, it’s all free!
Another option is to check out local lending libraries. Depending on where you live, these can take on different names, so a little Googling may be necessary. There are also sites like localtools.org with directories of tool libraries so you can find the options closest to you.
I like these options as the costs are generally low, and they usually have a wide range of tools, making them perfect for new woodworkers or doing a one-off project where you may need a random tool like a hole saw but don’t want to have to buy it.
Renting Small Power Tools
Renting smaller woodworking power tools like a miter saw, circular saw, drill, or even a table saw is equally as easy as hand tools, although a bit more expensive.
Some tool lending libraries will offer these tools, especially smaller items like drills or jigsaws, but I wouldn’t necessarily count on them either because of availability or quality.
Your next step would be to look to tool rental companies or big box stores. Both Lowe’s and Home Depot rent various tools that lean more towards the home builder or contractor world but are still perfectly acceptable for woodworkers.
Take a quick look through the power tool rental options from Lowe’s, which shows table saws, drills, miter saws, circular saws, belt sanders, and random orbit sanders.
Other rental companies like Sunbelt Rentals, Menards, and Herc Rentals show similar items available.
Once again, if you’re looking for a Sawstop or Festool rental, these probably aren’t going to be the places to go, but for a quick weekend project, you should be able to get everything you need from these stores.
Renting a Table Saw, Planer, or Jointer
I think it’s pretty safe to say that for most semi-established woodworkers, you may need the next “step-up” type of tools but don’t have the room or budget for falling into the table saw, planer, and jointer category.
The table saw was my first major tool purchase, and I had to make do for a while with buying S4S boards until I could add a jointer and planer to the mix.
Asking your local lumber yard to take rough dimensioned hardwood down to at least S3S can be an option, but that also adds up over time.
While finding a table saw, planer, or jointer for rent isn’t quite as easy as smaller woodworking tools, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done.
Table Saw for Rent
Finding a table saw for rent is actually the easiest of the three as it has more overlap with the contractor world. 10-inch job site saws can be found pretty easily for rent at home tool rental or big box stores. These saws will have limited capabilities and size capacities, but they’ll do just fine for smaller projects.
Another option for finding a table saw for rent is reaching out to local woodworkers in your community. I see posts all the time on local Facebook, and Reddit pages from woodworkers looking to have wood milled or to borrow a table saw for an hour, and a lot of woodworkers are more than happy to help out.
Over the past year, I have loaned out my air compressor multiple times and flattened wood for other woodworkers on my CNC.
We wrote up an entire post on finding a woodshop rental, so we recommend checking that out if you need regular access to a shop or tools.
Renting a Planer or Jointer
Unlike the table saw, planers and jointers fall firmly in the woodworking category and thus will be your most challenging to rent, especially if you’re looking for one to bring back to your shop.
I have seen a few tools rental places that will rent out planers over the years, but those tend to be the exception.
Your best bet for renting a planer or jointer is going to be to find a local woodworker who will mill the lumber for you or allow you to rent their shop for an hour or two.
A new site called Makerbook operates a little like Airbnb for woodshops that may be helpful. The site is still fairly new, so you may find some areas to have limited options available. There isn’t a single shop in my area of 200k+ people.
Makerspaces are another good option, although access and cost will vary depending on the space. Some will rent out space for an hourly rate, while others require monthly or annual commitments. If you plan to use the space frequently, this can make financial sense, but it can be tougher to swallow for a single project.
Renting Specialty Woodworking Tools
As your woodworking journey progresses, you may need the occasional specialty tool like a wide belt sander, CNC, or laser engraver rental.
Renting a Wide Belt Sander
Wide belt sanders are the perfect tool for quickly flattening slabs or tabletops. These will turn a job that will take hours by hand into a 15-minute task.
Finding a wide belt sander will usually require some Googling or asking around to see where they are available in your area. Asking local woodworking groups or your local lumber dealer is usually a good place to start.
My local lumberyard has a wide belt planer/sander and will run projects through for a nominal fee. This service isn’t advertised anywhere, though, so it would be tough to find unless you ask or know someone in the know.
Cabinet shops, coworking spaces, and lumber yards will usually be your best bet for places to start when searching in your local area.
Renting a CNC
I’ll get this out of the way now and say using a CNC is woodworking. I just added a CNC to my shop, so I now have to take this stance to save face 😉
In all honesty, I love the growth of the CNC market and what they allow woodworkers to do. I’m still getting my feet wet with mine, but there is so much potential for having it running in the background while I’m working on other projects. It can be a game-changer in a small shop for upping your income potential.
Finding CNCs for rent has gotten much easier as well. Makerspaces, other woodworkers, and technology labs at local colleges or universities are all good spots to look for a CNC for rent.
Be aware that CNC milling is quite a bit slower than you may expect. For larger jobs like milling signs or batching out a lot of pieces from a single piece of plywood, expect it to take multiple hours.
Renting a Laser Engraver
Like the CNC, laser engravers are another tool that has grown in popularity in recent years. The CNC I purchased has a laser attachment so that I can run it either as a CNC or a laser. Down the road, I may find myself needing to choose one or the other (or both!), but for now, it works perfectly for my workflow.
I recently wrote up an entire post on where to find a Glowforge rental and was surprised by how many places rented them out.
Like the CNC, your best bets will be makerspaces, other woodworkers, or technology labs. Some libraries have even embraced the market movement and offer laser engravers and 3d printers for rent.
There are also several online services where you can upload a design, and they’ll engrave or cut your piece out of any number of different materials and mail it directly to your door.
Derek grew up woodworking in his father’s shop and has since gone on to start up a successful woodworking business on Etsy. In his spare time, you can find him mountain biking, skiing, or writing.