My "Starter Set"

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Blog entry by Eric posted 01-18-2008 04:27 PM 891 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

[Taken from my Adventures in Woodworking blog, August 2007]

Before heading back to SE Asia, I needed to accumulate the bare minimum tools needed for woodworking by hand. The class I attended at Homestead Heritage recommends 10 tools in particular, and this is where I started:

  • combination square
  • set of chisels
  • strong layout knife
  • combination marking/mortise gauge
  • small dovetail or gent’s saw
  • tenon saw
  • small hammer for joint assembly
  • solid joiner’s mallet
  • smoothing plane
  • flat-bottomed spokeshave

I found most of these things either at Woodcraft, on eBay or in my great-grandfather’s old tool chest. I’m not going to worry about getting a nice layout knife yet, since my box cutter will do a decent enough job I think. And until I feel the need to use otherwise, my rubber mallet will suffice for all my malleting/joint assembly needs.

I’ve since learned that “Starter Set” can be very loosely defined. Slippery slope, here I come!

-- Eric at

8 comments so far

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 3880 days

#1 posted 01-18-2008 05:05 PM

Very slippery slope indeed. Depending on what your projects are would dictate what you’ll need of course,
but the list above looks to be very solid for most.

What will you use to rough dimension the lumber?

-- Still learning everything

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3809 days

#2 posted 01-18-2008 05:53 PM

I’ll primarily be using my great-grandpa’s Stanley Victor jack plane. The blade is nice and sharp – now I just need to learn how to use it well!

-- Eric at

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4122 days

#3 posted 01-18-2008 05:58 PM

Only one plane….. OMG….. LOL

Welcome to the slippery slope.

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

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 3880 days

#4 posted 01-18-2008 06:40 PM

I was thinking more in terms of sawing larger planks to rough dimensions.
A gents saw won’t ‘cut’ it for larger blanks etc.

-- Still learning everything

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3847 days

#5 posted 01-18-2008 07:15 PM

One of the nice things about this hobby is that the need for tools is seemingly endless. There is always “one” more tool that we need to get in order to improve our woodworking skills. And if we ever reach the point whereby we have all the tools that are needed then it is time to start on the second, third, etc. generation of the tools that we have already acquired.

You have a starter set working but plan on getting more as your budget allows.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3900 days

#6 posted 01-18-2008 07:39 PM

The starter set, after a few years, will fill the basement AND the garage.

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3821 days

#7 posted 01-18-2008 08:43 PM

I’ve got a decent starter set. It’s started me down that proverbial (and literally) slipper slope, that’s what it started!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3809 days

#8 posted 01-19-2008 02:25 AM

rpmurphy509: I do have a “standard” handsaw as well as my gent’s saw, and yes, will be using just my handsaws for cutting down wood! Fortunately, I learned how to sharpen them and that helps make it [almost] fun.

-- Eric at

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