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The Beginner's Hand Tool Kit (Some thoughts)

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Blog entry by Lemongrasspicker posted 05-20-2017 10:02 PM 1354 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch


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The video covers mostly the tool side of things but I’d like to talk a bit about the concepts behind some of the first tools you buy. This is mostly just my opinion and my experience speaking (which isn’t much compared to some!).

My main reason for the list in the video is as follows. You want to buy tools that help you develop confidence as well as skills. Buying an axe as your first woodworking tool is something that I recommend each budding woodworker do.

An axe not only gives you the ability to harvest the wood that’s all around you, but it also gives you the ability to make some simple projects with just the axe itself. Granted it won’t be “pinterest perfect” but the point of learning something is being able to make something that’s less than stellar and learn to make it better each time you make it. A hatchet sized axe really is the best choice in this manner, even if you’re in an apartment it’s easy and fun to sit on your back porch and chip away at a project after a long day at work.

A knife and a sharpening method go along with the axe. I know that right now diamond stones are the “coolest” thing in sharpening but honestly you don’t have to have the latest and most expensive sharpening method to get a good sharp edge. The point is to get a method that you can afford, and learn to make the best edge you possibly can with what you have. Remember that thousands (if not millions) of fantastic and beautiful projects were made with very simple tools and very simple sharpening methods.

The rest of the tools after the axe and knife are really where you can hone in on what you want to specifically do. The philosophy I follow with buying tools is simple and it is best summed up by a few questions you should ask yourself.

Is this tool going to help me learn a new skill?

Will this new tool allow me to do something I couldn’t do before?

Those two questions really help me keep my actual tool count fairly low, it also helps me focus on what’s important with woodworking and in my mind the most important thing is developing skills. You should always seek to be a lifelong student with anything, woodworking especially.

With hand tools it’s also easy to get sucked into the format of buying everything that’s a good deal. For me if I’ve accumulated alot of stuff, I just go through and see what I’ve touched in the past few months. Some folks I know who back backpacking will put a piece of duct tape on everything in their pack. To lighten the load for the next trip, they only take the tape off of what they actually used during their trip. If they didn’t use it, it gets nixed for the next trip.

That being said, there’s nothing wrong with having the right tool for the right job, just in my case I’m severely limited by space so every tool has to be used often enough to justify having it.

So that being said, an actual tool list is provided in the video, I just would advise from experience that if you’re a beginner you need to accumulate your toolset slowly. Don’t just buy everything in sight because you may or may not use it in the end.

anyways, just some thoughts, have an awesome day!

-- www.youtube.com/lemongrasspicker



4 comments so far

View gargey's profile

gargey

671 posts in 438 days


#1 posted 05-22-2017 03:46 PM

tldr

View Lemongrasspicker's profile

Lemongrasspicker

91 posts in 159 days


#2 posted 05-22-2017 03:55 PM



tldr

- gargey

Well. Sorry you feel that way

-- www.youtube.com/lemongrasspicker

View Ted78's profile

Ted78

303 posts in 1662 days


#3 posted 05-24-2017 09:45 PM

I second your thoughts on a small hand hatchet. While a symmetrical hatchet one might take camping are easy to find a cheap, if possible a hewing hatchet? broad hatchet? carpenter’s hatchet? I’m not even sure what the correct terminology is, (a hatchet that curves to one side and angled on one side like a chisel not on both sides like a knife would be even better. Can sometimes be found cheap in antique stores.

-- Ted

View Lemongrasspicker's profile

Lemongrasspicker

91 posts in 159 days


#4 posted 05-25-2017 02:00 PM



I second your thoughts on a small hand hatchet. While a symmetrical hatchet one might take camping are easy to find a cheap, if possible a hewing hatchet? broad hatchet? carpenter s hatchet? I m not even sure what the correct terminology is, (a hatchet that curves to one side and angled on one side like a chisel not on both sides like a knife would be even better. Can sometimes be found cheap in antique stores.

- Ted78

A hewing hatchet is good. However it is a little limited in the sense that a regular symmetrical axe can be used for quite a few more tasks. I have a hewing hatchet that I use strictly for squaring up stock when I need it. I’ve found that hewing hatchets excel at.. well hewing. When it comes to clearing stock of bark they are also good. However for things like splitting and other rough tasks it’s a bit difficult since the blade isn’t centered with the pommel.

If a beginner can get their hands on both, then using them in tandem is a fantastic way to be able to harvest and cut their own stock from what’s around them.

-- www.youtube.com/lemongrasspicker

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