LumberJocks

It Starts With a Workbench #2: Fuss over tools and the first project

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by DocTux posted 06-29-2015 10:40 PM 2577 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Step 0: Get introduced to woodworking and become obsessed Part 2 of It Starts With a Workbench series Part 3: Project: Get this thing off the ground »

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.

Screwdrivers
Hammer
Chisels

Alright, this is starting to shape up nicely.

Planes.

“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.



7 comments so far

View MrFid's profile

MrFid

804 posts in 1364 days


#1 posted 06-30-2015 12:35 AM

Hah! I am liking your writing style.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View jcsterling's profile

jcsterling

420 posts in 3045 days


#2 posted 07-01-2015 11:40 AM

You would be surprised what you can make with just a small handful of tools. Many years ago I had the revelation that I wanted to try to make furniture that was better than the junk you could buy in the store. I had a jig saw, circular saw, drill, and a borrowed router. I had some pine boards and proceeded to build a small bench….then a table and cabinet with a door. With each project I built a foundation of knowledge and gained more confidence. I taught myself and today it is my full time job. Don’t get overly consumed with having to have every tool available. Learn the basics and use sharp tools.

-- John , Central PA , www.jcsterling.com on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/JC-Sterling-fine-furniture/104430802928776

View DocTux's profile

DocTux

15 posts in 524 days


#3 posted 07-01-2015 02:08 PM

JC, that’s awesome advice. I appreciate it. I’m not sure if this is something I would want to do full time, but I am really enjoying myself thus far. I’m going to be writing a new blog update with the small list of tools I bought and some pictures. I spent maybe 45 dollars on tools and I think I’ve got what I need to at least build a few basic things.

-- Of the three rules of combat medicine, the third is the most important.

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3557 days


#4 posted 07-01-2015 02:30 PM

Oh and to saw stuff with a hand saw you need a saw bench not a saw horse. :)

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/projects/traditional_sawbench

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHMM-RrVBcI

Planes for a bench (simplified list)

Rough work #5 with a cambered blade
Straightening boards a #7 or #8 jointer planes
Smoothing plane #4 or #4 1/2
Block Plane (Standard angel #9 1/2 or #18 low angle # 60 1/2 or #65)
You may want to consider jointery planes depending on how you are constructing your projects (should planer, router plane, rabbit planes, etc. )

You may also want a Large 14” sweep brace to drill dog holes on the bench. For example:

Millers Falls Holdall or Lion Brace
North Brothers / Stanley Yankee
PEXTO Sampson

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3557 days


#5 posted 07-01-2015 02:38 PM

Oh and sharpening stuff to sharpen all your edged tools….

this is known as the slippery slope.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View DocTux's profile

DocTux

15 posts in 524 days


#6 posted 07-01-2015 06:17 PM

Fortunately I already have sharpening stuff! That’s one less thing I’ve got to buy. I’ve got a smith’s block sharpener set with 4 sharpening blocks. It’s served me pretty well for sharpening my knives, so hopefully it’ll be similarly good for sharpening chisels and plane blades etc.

As for the planes, if my next job is to build a workbench, and the primary function of the plane is to straighten the boards… would it be better to buy a #7 or #8, or buy a #5 which will have better overall functionality after I build the bench?

I’ve been looking around for a good deal on an old stanley plane at local antique shops and on ebay so that I can restore it. Not sure if that’ll be worth it, or if I should just buy a plane. I’m kind of on limited funding, so I can either set up a station and buy materials to refurb a plane or for about the same price buy a plane and get to work.

-- Of the three rules of combat medicine, the third is the most important.

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3557 days


#7 posted 07-02-2015 12:06 AM

I’m not sure if a #5 would have better functionality or not after the bench is built. I would think that Jointer and Smoother would be more useful over the long run.

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/wp-content/uploads/CoarseMediumFine.pdf

As far as locating them, what part of the country do you live in?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com