How much is too much??

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Blog entry by Dean10 posted 03-01-2010 01:07 AM 1492 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Right now i’m preparing my shop for the summer. Making mallets, a huge tool chest and a work bench in my schools woodshop.. (Btw, im currently choosing the legs, would metal or wood be better? Any insight?) and also purchasing my tools. This summer i’m going with all hand tools, with the exception of a router because molding planes are way to expensive. I have a buget of 2500 to spend on tools & wood. I’ve been wanting these really nice matsumura chisels, but buying a set can get pretty expensive. The three main expenses in buying tools are going to come from buying the saws, planes and chisels. Anyone have comments on how much I should or shouldnt spend? Whats the diffence between stanley saws and lie-nelsion? Or hand wrought japanese chisels to blue marples? I havent worked with high quality hand tools, how much of a difference does it make? Any suggestions on what kinda tools I should purchase?

-- "May you live in interesting times"

7 comments so far

View Woodbear's profile


84 posts in 3064 days

#1 posted 03-01-2010 01:19 AM

Well Dean, for my money, if you’re going to make a nice workbench with a laminated top, or even a plywood top, Wood legs is the way to go. Traditional really. As far as tools are concerned, the best advise I can give is, “Buy the best that you can afford”. In the end it’s just like anything else. You really do get what you pay for. Normally higher quality equates to sharper longer, and longer lasting. Stanley planes are a good way to go. don’t know much about Lie-Neilson, though have heard very good things about them. Like I said buy the best that you can afford. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed then.

-- The safest place to be is within the will of God. God Bless. Michael

View Scottwpaul02's profile


39 posts in 3062 days

#2 posted 03-01-2010 01:31 AM


I’ve been in a similar boat for a bit here. I don’t know if you have time/energy to refurbish your own tools, but I have been buying chisels and planes off of ebay and getting old rusty ones out of antique stores for a few months now and my collection is growing. I would strongly advise against the blue marples (even if bought from woodcraft) because they have a chromium plating that really gums up my water stone and my grinder. I ended up getting some old/but high end chisels that I had to refurbish. Some are on my homebage here. I followed the instructions given by Bob Smalser I also really enjoy working with tools that I refurbished and that fit my hands. The only thing that I have not refurbished is a saw, and I have heard nothing but GREAT things about the Lie Nielson…but it is pricey (at least for a dovetail saw). Hope this helps, keep us updated!

View dannymac's profile


144 posts in 3013 days

#3 posted 03-01-2010 01:52 AM

Definately wooden legs for the bench. AS far as tools get the best you can they will be with you for the majority of you life, they will become like old freinds and family which is to say, you’ll weep if you damage one.

have fun

-- dannymac

View Walt's profile


30 posts in 3034 days

#4 posted 03-01-2010 03:03 AM

From my experience Dean -

Buy Marples chisels – they keep a decent edge and it is not a hassle to sharpen, you will end up beating them up so why buy the best

Buy Lie Neilson planes – When it comes to a plane you get what you pay for. They are worth the extra money

Buy decent saws but you don’t need the best of the best. I don’t feel the high priced ones justify the expense.

Consider a tormek sharpening system to keep your tools good and sharp. I’ve tried a lot of different types and the tormek is the best for me.

Have fun

-- Walt, Ohio

View alexsutula's profile


96 posts in 3051 days

#5 posted 03-01-2010 07:00 AM

wood legs on the bench. Make sure to get a couple of quick-release vises.

Some time back I bought a couple inexpensive hand-planes and cant stand them. The knives ding and get nicked all the time. Then I bought a low-angle Lie-Nielson block plane and love it. I use it all the time and is worth the extra cost. I will continue to purchase Lie-Nielson throughout my woodworking career. I had shavings so thin I couldn’t even see them.

I have Blue Marple chisels and love them. But I have never owned or used an expensive chisel. I invested in the Worksharp 3000 to quickly and easily sharpen and hone my chisels… especially when I carelessly drop one. I would recommend the WS3000 or some other sharpening system.

You will go through the $2,500 fast, especially if the workbench and tool cabinet are included in the budget.

-- You can't stand apart unless you're prepared to stand alone. Alex, Cleveland

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3891 days

#6 posted 03-01-2010 07:27 AM

woodworking is like a black hole, like boating, a continual suction feed tube linked to your wallet.

it took me 25 years b4 I bought a set of Lie Neilson chisels. If you can do what took me 25 years in 2 or 3 days… it. Then use them on a sweet slab of Bubinga. If you have the money…..........why not?

I still have my first set of marples and I dare say, they are sharp enough to shave with, they might not hold an edge as long as the Lie Neilson but suffice to say, they will give the same result.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Scottwpaul02's profile


39 posts in 3062 days

#7 posted 03-02-2010 03:05 AM

Dean, Wanted to repost, I’ve never had blue marples…in my tired haze i misread. I have a set of irwin chisels that I don’t reccomend. It looks like the others on this list were big fans of the blue marples…I wouldn’t know. Sorry bout that!

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