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Forum topic by danielamundson posted 07-06-2017 08:19 PM 654 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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danielamundson

4 posts in 161 days


07-06-2017 08:19 PM

Hello everyone, I wouldn’t quite call myself a “wood worker” just yet. To date, the bulk of my projects have been outside building fences, garden beds and pergolas. As I’ve gotten more comfortable, my wife has began asking me to do more work in the house building tables, shelves, etc.

I just finished a mantel over the fireplace, but it was basic 1×6 boards with no design to it.

My question to you all is, what type of hand tools should I have at my disposal and what brands do you recommend? I have all of the power tools I’ve needed to get work done, but I don’t know what I would need to do more fine work required for something like a table other than say a sander.

Any helpful suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Daniel


17 replies so far

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ChefHDAN

992 posts in 2686 days


#1 posted 07-06-2017 08:37 PM

Daniel, welcome to LJ’s.
You’ve asked a VERY broad and open-ended question that cannot be easily answered. Any “Fine” work requires flat square stock to start with and then accurate joinery thereafter. You “Can” do it all with hand tools and I’m frankly in awe of some of the work shown here that is 100% hand tool. I’ve gotten into some hand tools but I’m a hobbyist that does woodworking mostly for therapy and occasional cash, I prefer to use a jointer, planer, and table saw for milling stock, . If you’ve got those and are looking for hand tools for finishing cutting joints etc, I like Narex chisels for the quality and price and I’ve found it pretty easy to source decent planes on the secondhand market for reasonable prices, can’t go wrong with Stanley, Bailey, or Miller’s falls. Plenty of resources to learn to clean them up and turn them into users.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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danielamundson

4 posts in 161 days


#2 posted 07-06-2017 09:22 PM

I appreciate the response. I realize it’s a bit open ended, but you’ve given me a good place to start. I tend to google everything, but I’ve grown tired of receiving thousands of different websites all containing several different answers or suggestions. At least here, the responses are more specific.

How does a jointer differ from a planer? Unfortunately I do not have either, I’ve been stuck using a power sander.

Ultimately I wouldn’t mind working my way up to making dinner tables which seems to be a good entry in the furniture world before getting into more fine crafting. Like you, I find working with my hands therapeutic. My day job pits me behind a screen all day; when I get home, it feels good to actually produce a physical product.

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Tim

3681 posts in 1798 days


#3 posted 07-06-2017 10:24 PM

Depends on which work you want to do by hand. With he right jigs and a tablesaw, jointer, planer, and router table you can do an awful lot of fine work. If you enjoy hand tools, use them, but not because you think you have to. A block plane can do an awful lot. You can get a really nice surface finish with hand planes that you can’t get with sanding. You can also use chisels to adjust joints for a tight fit. A shoulder and/or router plane can fine tune other parts of fine joinery. You don’t have to be able to cut mortice and tenon joints by hand with a saw, but fine tuning the fit with a chisel and a block plane can be faster and more accurate than trying to do something like a tenoning jig on a table saw. In general power tools are faster when you’re making more than one of something and for rough stock preparation. Hand tools can be faster for certain steps once you have the skills of using them. Hand tool skills can take a while to learn but I find it a more enjoyable process. Less dust, noise, and more satisfaction. If that’s not you, don’t feel like you have too.

Short version is get a block plane and learn to sharpen it and some chisels even if you don’t plan on using any other hand tools.

Oh and sorry forgot to answer about the difference between a jointer and a planer. A jointer has longer flat tables that help you get a flat face and can help you get that face square to the next flat face. A planer has rollers that feed the wood into it and can smooth faces out, but those rollers can warp pieces keeping you from getting a proper flat face. A wide jointer is expensive because of the amount of iron needed, while a 13” planer is reasonably affordable. They generally work together, although you can use things like a sled in a planer to do some of the things a joiner can do and mostly get by without one. Flat square stock makes proper joinery much easier.

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TungOil

747 posts in 332 days


#4 posted 07-06-2017 10:27 PM

I’m with ChefDAN in that I personally prefer to do my woodworking primarily with power tools, so I really can’t provide much advice on hand tools. Others here are much better qualified to give hand tool advice so I will leave it to them.

If you reconsider and decide that perhaps power tools make more sense for the type of WWing you expect to be doing, then I would suggest looking first at a table saw, followed by a jointer and thickness planer, then a bandsaw (in that order).

This is assuming you have the usual array of portable power tools like drills, sanders and routers. If you are lacking any of these tools, consider picking up a cordless drill (or two), a 5” random orbit sander and perhaps a 4×24 belt sander (a very aggressive tool) and a decent plunge router (2+ Hp).

I would consider that list to be the basic power tool starter set that will get you through 90% of the furniture you might want to build. From there, you can add specialty tools as needed for a particular piece.

Perhaps if you give us a list of a few potential future projects we can provide more specific advice.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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TungOil

747 posts in 332 days


#5 posted 07-06-2017 10:34 PM



How does a jointer differ from a planer? Unfortunately I do not have either, I ve been stuck using a power sander.

Ultimately I wouldn t mind working my way up to making dinner tables which seems to be a good entry in the furniture world before getting into more fine crafting. Like you, I find working with my hands therapeutic. My day job pits me behind a screen all day; when I get home, it feels good to actually produce a physical product.

- danielamundson

basically a jointer is used to create a flat face on a board. Once the flat face is established on one side of a board, the thickness planer is used to flatten the opposite side of the board parallel to the jointed face.

I would not consider a dining table an “entry level project”. you will have a lot of cash invested in materials alone. A bookcase makes a good starter project. A set of end tables or a coffee table would be a good next project, or perhaps a night table.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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danielamundson

4 posts in 161 days


#6 posted 07-06-2017 10:43 PM

You bring up a good point, Tim. I do feel as though some of the work I want to do eventually, I have to start learning how to use hand tools. While using a power saw and sander provides speed, I feel as though you get greater customization (and perhaps even pride) when you finish it off with your hands.

My wife wants some smaller stuff in the house done, ie, building a console table under our television and night stands. The other stuff I do is mostly accomplished with straight cuts and basic sanding.

This weekend I am installing a two beam pergola for supporting a hammock, but eventually I would like to build a bench like the one picture below to swing from the structure when the hammock is stored away.

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Jeremymcon

186 posts in 516 days


#7 posted 07-07-2017 12:21 AM

You’ll get lots of various responses – very open ended question. I am still new to woodworking, but am coming to it from a different background than you – I don’t have any experience with the big outdoor stuff like you have, and I didn’t have a shop full of power tools when I started making furniture and other small projects.

I started knowing that I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on high end equipment, and knowing that I wanted to be comfortable using hand tools, even to be able to finish a project from start to finish with only the hand tools.

I have since bought some equipment to make things go a bit more quickly – a 14” bandsaw and a lunch box planer make me much more efficient.

As far as hand tools for someone who already has a shop full of power tools, I think I’d start with a few planes, a spokeshave, some japanese hand saws, a good combination square, a bevel gauge, and maybe a brace and bit. I have all vintage planes because they are economical – Stanley and Millers falls are good, but even the older craftsman and other older brands can be decent. Lie Nielson and Veritas planes are top-of-the-line and gorgeous, but very expensive.

I’d buy a no. 4 or 4 1/2 smoother first, and learn to sharpen it and use it for removing tool marks and surface prep. They’re handy for lots of other things too – you can clean up end grain with a no 4 just like you can with a block plane, only more easily because the plane has a bit more mass. Nice low-angle block planes (bedded at 12 degrees rather than the 20 degrees or so that a normal block plane iron is bedded at) might be even better, but I have never used one. If I were to buy a new premium plane, it’d be a no 4.

An old Stanley no 5 jack plane, is great for lots of things too, but if you have a jointer maybe not so much. I use mine all the time to roughly face joint boards before I run them through my lunchbox planer! I don’t own a jointer, and even if I did it probably couldn’t face-joint a 12” wide board. Sharpen this one’s iron with a camber. You could also use a scrub plane for this purpose.

The Japanese saws are great, and require basically no maintenance. Essential if you want to try to do hand-cut joinery. You can cut dovetails and tenons by hand with the right Japanese saws right out of the box. Vintage backsaws are nice, but even the older ones can get expensive, and then you’ll have to learn to sharpen and buy files and a saw set and learn to use them.

Spokeshaves are great for smoothing and refining curves. I have cheap ones I bought from amazon, and they work OK. I use them all the time where a power tool user might use a sander of one sort or another. I believe the old Stanley 151’s are pretty reliable if you can find them. Don’t buy the old Stanley with both a flat and curved blade in the same spokeshave – I hate mine because I can’t seem to keep the irons in place.

If you don’t have them already, get some card scrapers – they’re great for cleaning up tool marks from your planes, or from power tools.

And if you’re getting hand tools, you’ll obviously need to learn to sharpen and get some sharpening supplies. I recommend diamond stones for chisels and plane irons, and if you’re buying vintage you might need a bench grinder to repair irons. The Japanese waterstones are a great option too, and can be cheaper, but they are hard to keep flat – you’ll probably end up buying a coarse diamond stone to flatten them if you go that route.

Speaking of chisels – buy some chisels if you haven’t already! I have narex brand bench chisels, and they are fine. If I were to buy another set though, I’d buy a nice set of socket chisels with finer handles – the handles on the narex are huge and clunky. I have seen vintage socket chisel sets for reasonable that I’m sure would be good once they were cleaned up.

Hope that’s not too much information…

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JBrow

1274 posts in 757 days


#8 posted 07-07-2017 12:33 AM

danielamundson,

It is doubtful that there is a single fits-all list of woodworking tools. These tools, although not necessarily essential, can be used to build a wide variety of the furniture projects:

Machines:
- Table Saw for rip cut, dados and groves, and crosscuts and bevel cuts
- Radial Arm Saw for cross cuts and mitre cuts (a mitre saw could also be a good choice)
- Jointer for flattening lumber and straightening edges
- Planer for dimensioning lumber to a consistent thickness
- Bandsaw for re-sawing and curve cutting, although a jig saw works for cutting curves
- Router table for raised panel stile and rail doors, contouring edges, and cutting grooves
- Handheld router for contouring edges, cutting mortises, and other handheld routing operations
- Assorted router bits
- Drill Press for boring precisely positioned and angled holes and roughing out mortises
- Assorted drill bits; forstner, brad point, and twist bits
-Belt Sander for flattening and smoothing glued-up panels (ideally equipped with a sanding frame) with 80 and 100 grit sanding belts
- Random orbital sander with disks from 80 to 220 grit
- Cordless drill/driver

Hand tools:
- Block Plane
- Shoulder plane for fine tuning rabbets and tenons
- Set of chisels (1/4”, ½”, ¾”, and 1”)
- A wood rasp
- Cabinet (or Card) scrapers
- Sharpening stones
- Backsaw

Measuring and Marking:
- Tape measure
- 12” and 6” steel rules
- Combination square that is accurate
- Framing square that is accurate
- Bevel Gauge
- Protractor

Assembly:
- Workbench with a flat surface on which to work
- Assorted bar, C, and spring clamps

I have found that my projects come together quicker and with fewer errors when I am working from a detailed set of plans. These plans can be someone else’s plans, plans you draw out on paper, or develop with computer aided design software. I personally use computer aided design software called TurboCad, but from I have seen on LJ, many like SketchUp.

I am sure that I have left some things of this list, but a workshop so equipped could produce a number of projects of varied designs.

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OleGrump

132 posts in 181 days


#9 posted 07-07-2017 12:46 PM

If you have a desire to do at least some of your work by hand, I would suggest watching some of the very good YouTube videos on the subject. Look under “Traditional Woodworking”, “Old Time Woodworking”, “Hand Planes” or similar searches on the site. You will get a lot of information while enjoying the videos. As you decide to add more hand tools to your shop, check out your local yard/garage sales, flea markets and even Thrift Stores.. A lot of good tools become available regularly at good prices. While some of the better known brands have been mentioned (and rightly so, they are VERY good tools) don’t overlook the older Craftsman hand tools. Oftentimes, Sears contracted with the “name” companies to make tools for them. For instance, I own a “Craftsman” hand drill that was made by Millers Falls for Sears. And I can tell you that my favorite and best iron rebate plane is a Craftsman. If your work is good enough for YOU, it IS “good enough”!

-- OleGrump

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PPK

870 posts in 646 days


#10 posted 07-07-2017 02:17 PM

I echo Jbrow! Also, just get to it, and you’ll see what you need :-)

-- Pete

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rodneywt1180b

154 posts in 223 days


#11 posted 07-07-2017 07:26 PM

I’m going to concentrate on just the basic hand tools.

If you’re on a budget shopping used/vintage is a good way to go.
I’d start with a good block plane. A Stanley 9 1/2 or equivalent would be a very good one. They’re common so easy to find.
A decent set of chisels is also a must have.
Sharp tools are a must. I use a Japanese water stone. I don’t remember the exact grit but it’s fairly fine. Once you have a good edge it’s easy to maintain. You can use the scary sharp sandpaper system to start too. Cheaper to start with but probably more $ long term.
Also get a sharpening jig for your chisels and planes. It makes maintaining a consistent angle easy.
I use one very similar to this but there’s a wide range of styles and prices available.
http://www.grizzly.com/products/Honing-Guide/D1044?gclid=CjwKEAjw4vzKBRCt9Zmg8f2blgESJADN5fDgMXI5KiE0y3gKLENS4e-f2EsJNOapK00BIuCWorKIkRoChL_w_wcB&utm_campaign=zPage&utm_source=grizzly.com
I also find I use my dovetail saw a lot for small accurate cuts.
A couple decent files and rasps are also good to have.
Those are the hand tools I find myself reaching for the most often.
Rodney

-- Rodney, Centralia, WA, USA www.etsy.com/shop/ASturdyStick

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danielamundson

4 posts in 161 days


#12 posted 07-07-2017 08:05 PM

You have all given me a lot to start with, thank you very much. My wife will probably strangle me if I go out and buy everything today, but I will keep my eyes open now that you’ve given me some things to look out for.

Ironically enough, I was using my chop saw last night and my three year (he likes to help me build) was covering his ears. Then I had to switch to my hand saw to get what my 12” blade couldn’t reach and he made a comment about him wanting me to use the hand saw more because it was quiet. So, I’ll start making an effort to acquire more hand tools if it means keeping my sons interest!

View Jeremymcon's profile

Jeremymcon

186 posts in 516 days


#13 posted 07-07-2017 09:19 PM

Yup! That’s the primary appeal of hand tools for me – not throwing dust and making noise. My wife likes to paint, so we often have hobby time together in the basement. She can tolerate a bit of bandsawing, and I try to do run my planer when she’s not there. Hand cut joinery and my old Stanley miter box for crosscuts keep it nice down there. I’m never in a hurry, but if I ever, let’s say, buy a house and need to do some larger projects, I’ll probably invest in a table saw and may even a miter saw. Routers are so loud and messy too… I do own one but only use it when I absolutely have to, and never when anyone is around.

View jonah's profile

jonah

1458 posts in 3135 days


#14 posted 07-07-2017 11:11 PM

Some good advice here. Start with a block plane and a set of chisels. Learn to use them, and most importantly how to sharpen them. Add a smoothing plane when you feel comfortable.

It’s pretty hard to get by without a planer, sadly. There’s lots of ways to do what a jointer does, and ways to do most of what a table saw does, but there’s only really one way to do what a planer does, and it’s incredibly labor intensive. So my first power tool purchases would be:

- circular or track saw (brand doesn’t matter for circular saw, for track saw Grizzly)
- 12v cordless drill (Bosch, Milwaukee, Makita)
- planer (Dewalt 735 or some variety of lunchbox planer)
- router (basic plunge router, Dewalt 611 kit probably)
- jigsaw (brand doesn’t matter)

View bc4393's profile

bc4393

57 posts in 979 days


#15 posted 07-08-2017 02:54 AM

This is a pretty complete list. I bolded what I use most often and added a couple in italics.


danielamundson,

It is doubtful that there is a single fits-all list of woodworking tools. These tools, although not necessarily essential, can be used to build a wide variety of the furniture projects:

Machines:
- Table Saw for rip cut, dados and groves, and crosscuts and bevel cutsmitre gage for mitre cuts
- Radial Arm Saw for cross cuts and mitre cuts (a mitre saw could also be a good choice) make a sled for the table saw for cross cuts
- Jointer for flattening lumber and straightening edges
- Planer for dimensioning lumber to a consistent thickness
- Bandsaw for re-sawing and curve cutting, although a jig saw works for cutting curves
- Router table for raised panel stile and rail doors, contouring edges, and cutting grooves
- Handheld router for contouring edges, cutting mortises, and other handheld routing operations
- Assorted router bits

- Drill Press for boring precisely positioned and angled holes and roughing out mortises
- Assorted drill bits; forstner, brad point, and twist bits
-Belt Sander for flattening and smoothing glued-up panels (ideally equipped with a sanding frame) with 80 and 100 grit sanding belts
- Random orbital sander with disks from 80 to 220 grit
- Cordless drill/driver

Hand tools: - Block Plane
- Shoulder plane for fine tuning rabbets and tenons
- Set of chisels (1/4”, ½”, ¾”, and 1”) And a paring chisel for fine slicing
- A wood rasp - Cabinet (or Card) scrapers
- Sharpening stones
- Backsaw

Flush cut saw for trimming inlays and plugs
plug cutters to make your own

Measuring and Marking: - Tape measure
- 12” and 6” steel rules
- Combination square that is accurate Lufkin,starrett brown and sharpe off ebay
- Framing square that is accurate

- Bevel Gauge
- Protractor

Assembly: - Workbench with a flat surface on which to work - Assorted bar, C, and spring clamps

I have found that my projects come together quicker and with fewer errors when I am working from a detailed set of plans. These plans can be someone else’s plans, plans you draw out on paper, or develop with computer aided design software. I personally use computer aided design software called TurboCad, but from I have seen on LJ, many like SketchUp.

I am sure that I have left some things of this list, but a workshop so equipped could produce a number of projects of varied designs.

- JBrow


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