Hi warf, this is a great question and one that others will want to see an answer on as well. It really depends on a few aspects such as what interests you have in woodworking be it furniture, scroll saw work, decorative box making etc. Do you want to concentrate on hand tools, power tools or a combination of the two. To really help me in answering I need a bit more info from you on your interests and the type of projects you want to make.
I am looking forward to knowing your interests and we can get started.
Right now I am interested in building,work tables, equipment stands, and homemade equipment, such as band saws along with wooden clamps. Then I will go from there. Also I am kind of interested in making outdoor furniture, scroll saw work. Also I would like to get into using hand tools. But that is for later.
Well, I would say you need a mix of tools if you are going to set yourself up to succeed as you start out.
First, a good quality set of safety glasses that you use for woodworking only. Hearing protection. A marking knife, a circular saw with a good quality blade, a jig saw, a drill with bits and the driver bits for screws. A hammer, a fine-cut cross cut hand saw, a carpenter's square and a speed square. A set of wood chisels is almost a necessity but you can get away without them until you want to try different joinery and you will at some point. With these tools in-hand, you can tackle almost anything with the knowledge and experience you will acquire over time. All of these basic tools can readily be found second hand which will save you a bundle.
If you can swing the cash for a tablesaw, I would strongly encourage you to acquire one but it is not critical to accomplish a lot of woodworking tasks. Other than that, start small but always be accurate in everything you do and the rest is simply gaining some experience.
This will give you a great start but remember you don't have to have it all before you start building projects.... well the glasses and hearing protection is a must.
Most important ingredient for any project, have fun building it !
That is a good question and Derek has done a great job of answering it, but it has really made me think about the many aspects of woodworking. Hmmm ... maybe I need to do a video on this. Thanks guys for this thought provoking question and some great responses. I wonder what others would think is important?