Been a bit busy ‘round my place…my wife and I had our first child on October 29th. His name is William (Billy) and he’s pretty much kept me out of the shop since the day he arrived. But with a few days of vacation around the holidays, and Billy settling into a routine, I’ve gotten a few hours here and there to assess my tool inventory and make some sawdust
My slow-and-steady acquisition of tools has gotten me to the point where I am just about ready to start my first project. For Christmas I got myself a set of 4 Irwin-Marples chisels and a honing guide to get them sharp. (Starting with the scary-sharp method because of its low start-up costs.) Also used some cash gifts to but some Pony pipe clamps. So, back to the I Can Do That Manual to see what I am missing.
Chapter 5 lays out the basics for four finishing tools: a file, a rasp, a power sander, and a block plane. File? Check. Rasp? No. Power Sander? Check. Block plane? Check. My file is a cheapie from a local home store, and I’ll pick up a rasp next time I’m at the store and remember I need one. My power sander is a palm-style 5” random-orbit Skil, the same size and style recommended in the ICDT Manual. And my block plane is a basic Stanley model I picked up (and reviewed on LJ) recently for $25 or so. Buy I do need to sharped it, hence the honing guide mentioned above. So chapter 5 is basically covered.
Chapter 6 recommends one of two joinery systems: pocket-hole jigs or a biscuit joiner. The ICDT manual suggests a Kreg K4 kit if you go the pocket-hole route. I happen to have a kit, but its certainly not the K4. I got it awhile ago and its roughly equivalent to the Kreg Jig Jr. kit currently available. It should work for awhile, and if it doesn’t I’ve borrowed my dad’s biscuit joiner. It’s a Chicago Electric (Harbor Freight) model, so I’m not counting on it long-term. Eventually I’d like to upgrade to the Kreg K4 kit and also a decent biscuit joiner, both of which run over $150.
Chapters 7 and 8 run through recommendations for a hammer, screwdrivers, workbench and clamps. I’ve got a few hammers, and my favorite is a heavy Estwing with a waffle face (or what used to be a waffle face) that I used for framing. Not exactly the best tool for furniture making. I should probably pick up a replacement…maybe the same time I get that rasp. The ICDT Manual recommends a 16 oz. claw hammer with a wooden handle. I’ll have to remember that. The manual also recommends a screwdriver with interchangeable bits. The logic is that one handle and 6 bits takes up a lot less space in your apron than 6 screwdrivers. Also sound advice.
I’ve already put together two small workbenches using 2×4s and some old countertop scraps, and bought a larger “bench” at a surplus sale. Its got a nice big work surface (probably 30” x 60” or bigger) and a sturdy metal frame. For $10, I couldn’t say no. The ICDT manual recommends a Black and Decker Workmate if you need something to get started. That seems like a good thing to have around, but I’d just as soon build a bigger bench from 2×4s and some cheap plywood to get started.
And last, but certainly not least, are the clamps. The manual makes a point of recommending F-style clamps first and foremost because of their versatility. The take-away here is not to skimp on quality. Buy good clamps and you’ll be happy. Buy junk clamps and you’ll be sad. Too easy. The manual also mentions bar clamps as another type that every woodworker will need, and that pipe clamps are good way to get a clamp in just the length you need. As I said earlier, I’ve got a half-dozen pipe clamps already (4 foot pipe), and a pair each of cheapie 36” bar clamps, 36” F-clamps, knock-off 12” quick-grips, and Rockler 5” hand screws. Certainly not all the clamps I’ll ever need, but enough to get me started.
That’s it. Save a few minor tools, The ICDT Manual says I’ve got all the prerequisites. I guess that means “Setting Up Shop” is over and its time to get to work.
-- Dylan C ...Seems like all ever I make is sawdust...