Good Hand Tool Brands

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Forum topic by Blakep posted 11-02-2010 04:21 AM 2230 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Blakep's profile


232 posts in 2797 days

11-02-2010 04:21 AM

I think we all always want and can use more power tools and I definitely could but I think I have plenty of power tools to do the things I need. Where I am reallly short is hand tools. I don’t have much of a collection and haven’t used them a whole lot. We just had a recent post on here about the hand tools a begginer needs but I was wondering what are some different good brands of hand tools. I know Lie Nielsen but what are some of the others. Thanks ahead of time for all of the advice.

8 replies so far

View hokieman's profile


184 posts in 3748 days

#1 posted 11-02-2010 04:29 AM

Lie Nielsen is the best in my opinion. Veritas is also highly touted. They are both expensive but if you are getting something that can last a lifetime, these are the ticket.

View Blakep's profile


232 posts in 2797 days

#2 posted 11-02-2010 04:37 AM

Thanks hokieman. Another question and it may be a dumb one but I don’t know as I am new to the hand tools. How do the hand saws work as far as getting dull and how do you go about sharpening them?

View brianP's profile


20 posts in 2767 days

#3 posted 11-02-2010 05:10 AM

Lie-Neilsen and Veritas for handplanes and chisels. Glen-Drake has some really nice small brass chisel hammers and marking tools. If you haven’t discovered this site already, take a look at TFFW. They carry a really nice selection of high quality manufacturers and this should give you a base line for prices and brands on the upper end.

I don’t know anything about sharpening hand saws, but if you buy Lie-Neilsen they offer an inexpensive sharpening service on their own products.

-- --Brian, Brooklyn, New York

View RalphBarker's profile


80 posts in 2764 days

#4 posted 11-02-2010 05:20 PM

I’m also a fan of Lie Nielsen tools – both from a standpoint of quality and in terms of the company’s customer support policies. Some of the Veritas (Lee Valley) planes have a slightly more “evolved” design, but in general I prefer the look and feel of the Lie Nielsen planes.

As to sharpening saws, I’m of the opinion that there is a real art to doing it by hand. Irregularities in the sharpening and/or tooth setting can easily result in the saw not tracking properly for straight cuts. If/when my LN saws get dull, I plan on sending them to LN for sharpening.

I also agree that Tools For Working Wood carries well-made tools. And, if you’re into traditional Japanese woodworking tools, Japan Woodworker is also a good source. I’ve been using a (moderately-priced) set of their chisels that I bought back in the ‘70s. Sometimes, all I have to do is take the chisel out of the case, point it at the piece of wood, and the waste material runs off in fear. ;)

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2875 days

#5 posted 11-02-2010 07:08 PM

Another thing you may want to consider is how much you are going to use them and what for. I use hand tools all the time but its generally for smaller details and odds and end things. I have very few “new” hand tools. I have built up a small collection of used chisels and hand planes from various places. Before I started learning how to use the hand tools I learned how to restore and sharpen these old tools. It has paid off a TON. I have restored a handful of of good quality planes and probably saved hundreds by not buying brand new. Its a dirty job though :)

If your on a tight budget like me I would defiantly look into the older used tools. As for the brands, ehhh, lots of opinions but my opinion is as long as you have a nice sharp blade and take care of the tool it should do you just fine.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View RalphBarker's profile


80 posts in 2764 days

#6 posted 11-02-2010 07:49 PM

You make a good point, Dan. There are plenty of bargains available on the used market – good tools that can be “rescued” from rusty oblivion, like a good pet at the shelter. It helps, of course, to know what one is looking for/at, and whether its condition is suitable for reconditioning. Another advantage is that one learns how to sharpen by practicing on a, let’s say, $5 tool, rather than a $100 one. ;-)

View TominTexas's profile


42 posts in 2831 days

#7 posted 11-02-2010 08:24 PM

We are fortunate to be living in an age of small producers of quality hand tools. I suppose that the internet has assisted in the development and consequent marketing of these “cottage manufacturers”. A few have been mentioned and here are some others:

Blue Spruce Toolworks
Wenzloff and Sons (saws)
Bad Axe Saws


-- East Side of Big D

View Lochlainn1066's profile


138 posts in 2772 days

#8 posted 11-02-2010 08:26 PM

I’m with Dan, too. I’m at the point where the tool is worth more to me if I put some time and loving care into it rather than just plunking down cash. Same thing with building tools. If I can do it myself, I prefer to.

Sometimes it seems like I’m building more tools than finishing projects! But that’s ok, too, I guess.

-- Nate,

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