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Forum topic by silver8ack posted 12-03-2010 02:11 AM 1158 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 2403 days

12-03-2010 02:11 AM

Ok, so I’m a beginner woodworker… I have one shelf under my belt, but have yet to finish it…

So, I want to start making some stuff with dovetail joints and the like… but I want to do it by hand. I’m trying to put together a list of basic tools that I would need to get started.

I currently have a Hitachi router, but like I said I want to learn to do them by hand rather than making a routing table and buying a jig.

I also have a few chisels, but nothing great… it was a pack of 3 from homedepot. I don’t even remember what sizes..

So please add anything to this checklist. I want to be able to build boxes with dovetails, do mortise and tenon stuff, etc… all with hand tools.

Back saw (12”?)
Coping saw
Mortise chisel?

I really don’t know what else. Any help would be appreciated!

15 replies so far

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2250 days

#1 posted 12-03-2010 02:21 AM

HF Chisels work well.. they are good beaters, @ $5 for 4 of them…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View silver8ack's profile


12 posts in 2403 days

#2 posted 12-03-2010 04:01 AM

Thanks I forgot about HF.

Also, I need to get some planes. But I have no idea what the differences are between a jack plane, bench plane, etc. Any light reading I an do?

View dmoney's profile


191 posts in 2502 days

#3 posted 12-03-2010 06:15 AM

maybe these dovetail markers?

-- Derek, Iowa

View dannymac's profile


144 posts in 2438 days

#4 posted 12-03-2010 06:35 AM

rockler has some nice dovetail saws i picked up a couple a different sizes myself those dovetail markers look handy and i’ll probably get those as well ya might also consider getting a really good marking knife as well and before i forget get some shapening stone and a diamond stone , you want your chisels super sharp. thats all i can think of. ps make or buy a mallet

-- dannymac

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2583 days

#5 posted 12-03-2010 07:08 AM

What’s your budget?

1/2” & 1/4” bench chisels
A way to sharpen your chisels, SCARY SHARP
15 tpi Rip saw
Marking gauge (one with a blade, not one with a pin)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View DrDirt's profile


4143 posts in 3165 days

#6 posted 12-03-2010 07:10 AM

Do spend the money and get a nice saw, like the Veritas or even Lie Nielsen. If you are bent on doing these by hand…a cheap saw with an odd tooth set will drive you to drink. You can get good at sharpening with different chisels and find what you really like, but go for a great saw.

Stanley has reintroduced the venerable 750 chisel (which is what Lie Nielsen based their chisels on). These are reintroduced as the Stanley “Sweetheart” line.
I don’t know if the chisels are available yet, I only saw where Chris Schwartz was reviewing them.

Get a bevel gauge like above. I would skit the dovetail markers as accurate but not really helpful. There is nothing reallly magic about the bevel being 1:8 or 1:6 you just set the bevel to what ‘looks about right’ based on the wood thickness.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2406 days

#7 posted 12-03-2010 11:24 AM

Here’s a calculator/template maker for dovetail joints.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View silver8ack's profile


12 posts in 2403 days

#8 posted 12-03-2010 03:15 PM

Awesome!!! Thanks everyone!

My budget: Not really sure, but it’s on the lower end. Simply because I’m brand new to this and just can’t justify getting all high-end stuff. I don’t have a set number or anything right now.

Gregn, I’m getting a 404 for that link.

I will definitely need that bevel gauge/marker.

Thanks again!

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2497 days

#9 posted 12-03-2010 04:25 PM

No one has mentioned a marking gauge to set the depth of cut. It’s not hard to make your own. Whether you make one or buy one, they are important.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2583 days

#10 posted 12-04-2010 07:48 AM

Did too Rich. :D

Oh, on the saw, don’t get one with a round handle. and also the less set in the teeth, the better. I just saw that woodcraft has a new one that is variable spaced teeth. I might have to try that one. And Dave is right, the strength is so overkill that the angle is mostly for asthetics. Have some fun with the angles.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Manitario's profile


2393 posts in 2306 days

#11 posted 12-04-2010 08:22 AM

my own tool buying advice: when I started off, I bought a bunch of tools I thought I needed, but now that I’ve built a few projects and read a bunch on technique I have a much better idea of what I need and what tools are worth my money. I wish with a few of my tools I bought early on that I’d waited until I had more experience.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View silver8ack's profile


12 posts in 2403 days

#12 posted 12-04-2010 08:26 AM

Manitario, that’s exactly the advice I’m looking for. Would you mind telling me what tools u feel are necessary. Say I want to make some boxes, a coffee table and some end tables with drawers. Using hand tools what would I need to achieve that? Joining with dovetails and M&T

View Crystalini's profile


9 posts in 2381 days

#13 posted 12-05-2010 06:56 AM

Here’s a short list of my necessities…

Combination square, engineering squares (you’ll use them all the time)
Good metal ruler (1/32”)
Sharpening supplies. I love hollow grinding and water stones. There is NOTHING more useful than good sharpening skills. Dull tools are not only dangerous, but tiring to use…
A #4 plane. Stanley, Wood River, Lie-Nielsen (if you have the $’s)
Block plane (same group as above)
Marking guage
Marking knife (pfeil makes very good ones)
Wood mallet (round or square)
Coping saw (for cutting out dovetails)
Good set of chisels (Woodcraft has a great deal on a set of 8 decent quality chisels right now. I gave a set to my dad to hand cut dovetails for a blanket box)

Now that you’ve cut the dovetails by hand, buy a good router and dovetail jig. After completing my last blanket chest, I’m convinced there are better things to do with my time than hand cut all the dovetails…. That’s just my preference.

Hope that helps. Have fun. Be patient. They’ll get a lot easier with more practice.

-- "You should have seen the size of the splinter!!"

View Manitario's profile


2393 posts in 2306 days

#14 posted 12-05-2010 07:37 AM

silverBack; I’m just starting out in this hobby, but from what I’ve read and seen on this site, and other woodworking “how-to” forums, the amount of information (and debate) on tools can be endless and overwhelming. Especially with hand tools, just ask what type of hand plane to buy and you’ll get 50 different responses. For myself, after being overwhelmed by the mass of different tool choices, I figured that the best approach would be to pick a few simple projects; read up on the skills involved, and only then figure out the tools that I needed. For example, if you are going to build a coffee table, figure out what skills are involved; are you going to edge joint and thickness the wood by hand; you’ll need a good jack plane, but you’ll also need a marking gauge, knife and an accurate combination square…you could just go out and buy these tools, but you’ll make a more informed purchase if you know a bit about what you’ll need them for. A great woodworking book that starts out with basic hand tool skills eg. hand planing, marking and chopping mortise(s), hand sawing tenons etc. is “The Essential Woodworker” by Robert Wearing.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View ClayandNancy's profile


511 posts in 2438 days

#15 posted 12-05-2010 07:55 AM

Everyone has given you some good advice on tools, silly question do you have a workbench and a vise to hold your work while you cut these dovetails?

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