Step 1, now we’re really starting on our journey into woodworking. This is when I go, “Oh man. Power tools are super expensive, I think I’ll just stick to hand tools. Plus, that sounds incredibly fun and like a good opportunity to truly challenge myself.” Can you tell that I’m a newbie? What did I even get myself into.
Well that was a comforting thought UNTIL I looked at the price of quality hand tools and the true difference between shoddy ones and good ones. Not just that, but the sheer number of hand tools and how many different tools are required to perform jobs that many power tools combine into one.
“Whew, okay.” I tell myself, “Let’s just give it a shot. There’s no reason to give up quite so quickly on the idea of hand tools. I’ll just buy very strategically so that if I ever do decide that hand tools is just too much work.”
Strategically. Right. Everything I do is strategic, planned, at least to an extent. Once the plan is in place I rarely stick explicitly to the plan, but with this… I didn’t even know where to start. So I made a list.
Alright, this is starting to shape up nicely.
“What kind?” The internet asked me.
“Huh?” I replied bewildered. “What kind? The kind you use to do woodworking.” As it turns out there are thousands upon thousands of permutations of planes. As with most things there are more brands than is listable, what was unexpected was the sheer volume of types of planes. Block planes, low angle and otherwise. Shoulder planes. Spokeshaves. Penta-numeral model numbers that seem to be infinite even within a single make. Bench planes. Jack planes. Smoothing planes. Camfer planes. Pocket planes. Planes planes planes. I felt like I was reading a Dr. Seuss book about woodworking. Oh the many planes that’ll drive you insane.
So what do I actually need? To start woodworking? It turns out the answer is, it depends. It depends on what you want to do. So the best idea is to pick a project first, then buy just the tools you need for that specific project. Sounds good. I picked a workbench, because… well yeah. Seems like the obvious first choice. Turns out that workbenches come in thousands of types and sizes. If you’re reading this thinking, “Oh gosh, what did I get myself into?” I recommend acquiring a pallet and starting with a slim bench. Mitch Peacock has a great description of how to make a slim bench. That’s my first step to building my first proper workbench. Mostly just because I need a place to saw stuff and I don’t have saw horses.
Awesome. Now I have a project. Build a proper workbench.
-- Of the three rules of combat medicine, the third is the most important.