Once upon a time, I had a pretty well outfitted workshop. Plenty of tools and workspace. After having most of my tools stolen in a break-in, I put woodworking on hold. Thankfully, they mostly took the tools that I was least interested in and attached to. I boxed up what I could salvage and now, 12 or so years later, I live somewhere else and have started getting geared up to make some stuff.
The nice thing about starting over is that you don’t have to make the same mistakes again. The first time around, I went down the list of tools that the magazines and books told me I needed to make stuff. Table saw, bandsaw, jointer, a few routers. The usual stuff. I also had the “rust fever” and had a pretty impressive collection of hand tools. You know the routine, all the bench planes from #2 to #8 including the 1/2 and 1/4 sizes. (OK, there were some duplicates as well, but they were different types) Chisels, spokeshaves, saws, adzes, combination planes, circular planes. I had to have a leg vise and anvil to sneak in a little toolmaking as well. How about an Woods adjustable tenoner? Come on, you gotta have one of those. I built the big maple workbench with the tail and face vises on one side and a patternmaker’s vise on the other. Did all the the dovetail templates and such. Been there. Done that.
I have just about finished collecting the startup set of tools and am getting organized. This time around, instead of having a dedicated shop building, I am working on one side of a two car garage. This will present some serious storage and workflow problems. Just to add to the difficulty level, I will be working around a small boat on a trailer that lives on the same side of the garage. Kind of like adding a full twist to a dive to get more points.
Power tools this time around will be secondary. Not because I have some idealized notion of the “purity” of hand tools or some such silliness but because simply, I don’t have space for them. Without dust collection they make more of a mess than I want to deal with and they are noisy too. The whole list of power tools is: A 14in HF bandsaw with riser block, A HF lathe, a cheap Ryobi miter saw, and a hollow chisel mortiser that I am on the fence about even keeping since it is pretty worthless unless I set up a better fence and hold down system. I also have a little portable router table to use until I get a better one built. Throw in a few portables like a circular saw, a wet grinder, and bench top drill press and you have the whole picture.
For hand tools, I have mainly chisels. Mmmmm. Chisels. Yummy. Mortise chisels, firmer chisels, beveled paring chisels, a new set of Japanese chisels, gouges, a couple of bruzzes (sounds so much sexier than corner chisels), a couple slicks, and a few miscellaneous spares such as offset paring and some stray carving tools. Saws consist of a small frame saw with wide blade a la Tage Frid, a couple of carpenter grade Japanese pull saws, and I am currently building a turning saw that has been a lot of fun. Throw in a couple holdfasts, draw knives, and measuring and marking tools and that is it except for the planes.
I have a few remaining metallic planes but I have been happiest with the wooden ones. Simple and effective. I will build a couple more but the ones I have are a mixed bag. An old wooden jointer. A pretty Harris Tools badger plane (anyone remember them?). A little kit built Krenov style with brass sides and a Hock blade, an old Stanley scrub plane. A few block planes, scrapers, and spokeshaves and such.
The next step will be to get stuff organized and in a usable state. After being stored for so long, much work is needed to fight off the rust monsters and get stuff sharpened and organized. I have started some and will start making a list of things to do. The next big item on the list is making a new workbench. My current one is a dinky piece of *%& that will become the new stand for my lathe. It is not that bad but the vises are pretty worthless, it doesn’t have a thick enough top for holdfasts to work well, and I hate the tool trough. Quite possibly the worst feature ever invented for a workbench. What I am going to build will be pretty small as workbenches go. Kind of half way between a joinery bench and a real work bench. More on that later.
-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/