LumberJocks

Which tools should you have in a workshop?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by Tom posted 07-15-2015 04:31 AM 1214 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tom's profile

Tom

130 posts in 525 days


07-15-2015 04:31 AM

I’ve decided to get into woodworking as a hobby; I’m spending too much time at the computer. I was wondering what people consider the “minimum” tools to have. Currently I have a (cheap) table saw that I’m building a sled for plus a finger joint jig, basic miter saw, router, skil saw, jig saw, a few sanders, drills, and a drill press. I have one Forster bit for the drill press when I installed hinges on some cabinets and have been debating on getting a set with some different sizes. I also have an inherited workbench that’s 3’ x 8’ and a variety of clamps/squares and other general use tools. Is there anything I’m missing? I see videos of people with the really nice table saws…but don’t have the $$ or space for one; also see joiners/planers/band saws and don’t know if I really need one. I’m also considering a simple router table that can be clamped to saw horses so it’s easy to store; routing small bits of wood is dangerous by hand.


31 replies so far

View ElChe's profile

ElChe

630 posts in 802 days


#1 posted 07-15-2015 04:46 AM

A good start from the tools you list. Depending on what you want to make you may be set for now. I think you would need a system to dimension boards to thickness. You can do it by hand with planes but it is time consuming with hand planes. When I started I was surprised how iffy and not flat big box store wood is including sanded four sides. I bought a lunchbox planer that I used with a sled to flatten one face of board and then planed the other face using the initially flattened face as a reference. Then I saved up for a jointer to flatten the first face and also to get a flat edge 90 degrees to the flattened face. But the planer and sled worked great for a year.

Enjoy your new addiction. :)

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14597 posts in 2148 days


#2 posted 07-15-2015 04:53 AM

maybe a decent set of basic hand tools?

I think I made up a set about a week ago….Basic First Tool Kit? Might give that a read through.

I have a few blogs, as well. You might check out the Dungeon Shop sometime…

Note: No corded planer, nor a jointer…I haven’t the room. Tablesaw I had is in storage. I do have a decent router, and another in a router table. There is a drill press, a couple sanders, a grinder, and a lathe. Have two small bandsaws. And a washer and a dryer….all in a very cramped cellar…

Might have a few handplanes sitting around….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View ElChe's profile

ElChe

630 posts in 802 days


#3 posted 07-15-2015 05:12 AM

Oh. I forgot. You need a shop dog. Not a cat. Shop cats are all psychopaths.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

14597 posts in 2148 days


#4 posted 07-15-2015 06:51 AM

I resemble that remark…

Shop cat Sir Thomas….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2198 posts in 946 days


#5 posted 07-15-2015 10:11 AM

I would start by getting a couple books like Woodworkers Bible maybe.
They will give you a perspective on basic tools to get started.

Its difficult to say what you need without knowing what kind of projects you plan on.
You can do all ww’ing without power tools but you can’t do it without hand tools imo.
At the minimum you’ll need a chisel set, some precision hand saws, and mallets.

Stream of thought thinking…...

1. Tools to prepare stock – thicknessing, jointing, cutting to length, ripping.
2. Tool for joinery – chisels, saws, block plane
3. Tools for assembly – clamps
4. Tools for finishing – scrapers, sanders, smoothing plane

The best advice I can give you is buy the best tools you can afford. You will quickly learn who are the Rolls Royces of the tool world. Trying to hone your skills with inferior tools is an exercise in frustration.

You will accumulate tools as you work on projects. A particular project might demand a certain tool to do it right, or make it easier. Then you make a decision whether you really need it or just want it and go from there.

There are videos and articles on a basic ww’ing tool kit.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1430 posts in 1653 days


#6 posted 07-15-2015 11:57 AM

I like this article by Matthias Wandel [link] It will at least give you a point of orientation to start with.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

3187 posts in 2242 days


#7 posted 07-15-2015 12:42 PM

The first thing I would get – as far as chisels go, is the cheapest set of Harbor Freight chisels you can get. Then buy some DMT diamond plates in course, fine and extra fine grits.

These chisels will stay sharp for 10-15 minutes and take about that long to sharpen. The reason behind it – learning to sharpen chisels is fundamental. Screwing up some really nice chisels – and taking a long time to do it (because good chisels take a lot longer to sharpen) is expensive. The DMT plates will last a very long time and do not require flattening like oil and water stones do.

After you learn how to use and sharpen your new chisels, then go out and get the sets or sizes that you need in the good versions. You can always use these for the outdoor projects, something for the kids to learn on, etc…

Hand saws – flea markets are a great source of old saws. Some of these are of far better quality than you can buy new but may require cleaning up and sharpening.

With the exception of circular saw blades, router bits, drills, and Lie Nielsen tools – they all require sharpening when you buy them new. They may seem sharp and may look sharp, but they are not sharp. It is your job to make them that way, and they are much safer extremely sharp than dull out of the box.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View JeffP's profile

JeffP

573 posts in 857 days


#8 posted 07-15-2015 12:46 PM

Sounds like you have a good start.

If you’re willing to buy more expensive (and limited variety) pre-surfaced wood, you can skip the jointer and planer for awhile.

A bandsaw is really nice to have and you will be surprised how much you use it…but you have a jigsaw which can do many (but certainly not all) of the same things.

From where you are now, most of the machinery is about “I want a…” instead of “I need a…”

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23181 posts in 2332 days


#9 posted 07-15-2015 12:48 PM

You have a nice start already but don’t forget to get a basic set of good hand tools.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View GT350's profile

GT350

352 posts in 1447 days


#10 posted 07-15-2015 01:29 PM

It depends on what you are going to build but if you are going to make furniture, I would add a planer and jointer. I find that I am always making some piece that is slighly off whatever thickness I have. You can save the money on wood that is not S4S. As for the rest of the tools, just add them as you need them because you already have a good start.
Mike

View Tom's profile

Tom

130 posts in 525 days


#11 posted 07-15-2015 01:37 PM

I do have a basic set of tools; been in my house for 20 years and accumulate things as projects required. I’ve got wrench/socket/Allen sets, pile of screwdrivers (of which I use about 4 of them), hammers, etc. When we re-did the front room and I put Laminate flooring in, bought the cheap table saw to cut off/rip the boards for the wall. Bought a belt sander for some other project, and the list goes on. I’m going to try to build some basic storage boxes for the garage with finger joints; and then plan to try my hand at making a dice tower for gaming. I think finding good lumber locally may be difficult but never really shopped the local lumberyards stock.

View PaulHWood's profile

PaulHWood

337 posts in 1718 days


#12 posted 07-15-2015 01:55 PM

Get Christopher Schwarz Book the Anarchist Tool box, good info on a variety of tools (mostly hand).

After you get fed up with the crap that Lowes overcharges for crap wood, you will want a jointer and planer.

And always buy clamps on sale

-- -Paul, South Carolina Structural Engineer by trade, Crappy Woodworker by choice

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2198 posts in 946 days


#13 posted 07-15-2015 04:51 PM


The first thing I would get – as far as chisels go, is the cheapest set of Harbor Freight chisels you can get. Then buy some DMT diamond plates in course, fine and extra fine grits.

These chisels will stay sharp for 10-15 minutes and take about that long to sharpen. The reason behind it – learning to sharpen chisels is fundamental. Screwing up some really nice chisels – and taking a long time to do it (because good chisels take a lot longer to sharpen) is expensive. The DMT plates will last a very long time and do not require flattening like oil and water stones do.

Although I do agree that sharpening is a crucial skill to develop, WADR, I have to disagree with the philosophy here. I did what you’re recommending way back when and my ww’ing skill development suffered because of it.

Years ago, I started out in ww’ing with the cheapest tools I could find. Partly because I didn’t know any better and partly because I didn’t think my skill level warranted it. I had never heard of Lie Nielsen, Lee Valley or anybody. My chisels came from a flea market somewhere and I had on old 60’s model Craftsman TS with an absolute horror for a fence. I thought a chisel was a chisel and a saw was a saw.

As for those HF chisels, even after he gets them sharpened (IF he can get the backs flat), he’ll still have a chisel made of cheap steel that won’t perform. Rehoning every 10 minutes because of crummy steel makes no sense to me.

I’m firmly convinced starting out with cheap, substandard tools is one of the worst mistakes a newbie ww’er can make. Doing this retards skill development, creates frustration, and makes the ww’ing experience a trial. How many guys have bought one of those cheap hand planes, gotten frustrated and ended up thinking there was something wrong with them, when it was the tool?

Lots of guys looks at their work and think they got no game, when all the time its the junky tools that are holding him back.

I’m not saying go straight to top with the likes of LN, but at least go to Woodcraft instead of Harbor Freight!!

You’re not going to screw up a chisel they can always be reground if something goes amiss.

I recommend a honing guide for newbies.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Tom's profile

Tom

130 posts in 525 days


#14 posted 07-15-2015 05:50 PM

I have 1 chisel that was my dad’s and he let me have it when they moved out of state. It’s a good one, keeps an edge well. I may opt for less expensive power tools to start…but know that cheap steel is cheap. I’d rather spend a few extra $$ on a good set than a cheap one I won’t be happy with. Odds are as I get more into this/better I’ll replace the lower end stuff with better quality; right now one of my issues is going to be finding quality lumber at a reasonable price.

View CB_Cohick's profile

CB_Cohick

460 posts in 716 days


#15 posted 07-15-2015 05:53 PM

Don’t forget a nice BFH. Sometimes it is the right tool for the job.

-- Chris - Would work, but I'm too busy reading about woodwork.

showing 1 through 15 of 31 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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