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What hand tools to start with?

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Forum topic by Tyler posted 1267 days ago 805 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tyler

174 posts in 1319 days


1267 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: hand tools

I’d like to start getting into the world of hand tools and was wondering, when starting out on such an adventure what are the best hand tools to start with? What brands do you like?


12 replies so far

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5417 posts in 2001 days


#1 posted 1267 days ago

A basic set of chisels is always handy….there are better, but I’ve found my Narex and Irwin chisels to be plenty capable for the money.

A 6” block plane and maybe a 14” jack plane plane are also great additions that will see a lot of use….I like the better vintage planes from Millers Falls, Record, Stanley Bailey, Stanley Bedrock, Keen Kutter, Winchester, Union, etc….if you’d prefer new, it’s hard to be the Lie Nielsen or Veritas.

I’d also think a basic dovetail or gentleman’s saw would be useful, but it all depends on what you’re going to do…I’ve got a Crown dovetail saw that I’m happy with.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15582 posts in 1492 days


#2 posted 1267 days ago

Welcome to Lumberjocks, Tyler. A while back some of us had a discussion about this question and I thought that it turned out to be a good discussion. Also, I’ll bet there are other discussions on this same questions. You might want to do a search on it. Of course there will also be people who reply to this thread as well because it’s a very good question. That’s one of the nice things about a place like Lumberjocks. You can find all kinds of relevant discussions about woodworking on here.

-- 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

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Tyler

174 posts in 1319 days


#3 posted 1267 days ago

@Helluvawreck – thanks for the link to the discussion. Looks like a pretty comprehensive list.

@knotscott – thanks for the info. I’ll probably start off with some hand planes and chisels, but would eventually like to get into dovetails as well.

Anything I can do to keep the noise down in the shop (attached garage) will allow me to work longer into the night!

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1319 days


#4 posted 1267 days ago

Although hated by some, I really like the Japanese pull-stroke thin-kerf saws. You can pick one up for around $20 at Lowe’s/Home Depot to see if you like it. Of course, you can spend as much on one as you like. I shorten the handle on cheap chisels for most work. When you get into hand mortising, you might consider some nice mortise chisels. But I agree with above, first things first, chisels.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7390 posts in 2273 days


#5 posted 1267 days ago

With your planes, start with Stanley. I recommend the old ones, which are
common. The Bailey line of Stanley planes are very good quality. The common
Buck Bros. planes sold in hardware stores these days are not very good.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Tyler's profile

Tyler

174 posts in 1319 days


#6 posted 1267 days ago

@Loren – I’ve seen those Buck Bros. planes and have wondered, so thanks for the opinion. When you say to get the old stanley planes, are you recommending finding used planes or do they sell the Bailey line still? – sorry if that is a dumb question :-)

View 8iowa's profile

8iowa

1489 posts in 2387 days


#7 posted 1267 days ago

The best selection of handtools are pretty much worthless without a good bench having at least one shoulder vice, and better yet, also having a tail vice and bench dogs. This should be your first consideration.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1319 days


#8 posted 1267 days ago

I often wonder how many people miss out on the joys of handplaning because the first plane they pick up is a bummer. Sure, you can tune a Buck Brother’s plane reasonably enough to make shavings, but why bother. Pick up a vintage Stanley & restore it. At the end, you’ll have learned a lot & you’ll have a plane that your grandkids might still be using. I nearly missed out on handplanes, something that gives me an enormous amount of general life satisfaction, because my first one was a late model Stanley.

Tyler, you’re in for some pretty exciting stuff.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Tyler's profile

Tyler

174 posts in 1319 days


#9 posted 1267 days ago

@8iowa – I recently acquired a free workbench that I hope will get me by for a while. I think I need to add some weight to it, but I does have some nice clamping abilities.

@Bertha – do you recommend craigslist, ebay, etc to find vintage planes? how will i be able to tell if its worthwhile – I’m obviously a newbie at hand tools (well, wood working in general) :-)

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5417 posts in 2001 days


#10 posted 1267 days ago

Tyler – I wrote a blog about buying older hand planes a while back…there might be some info you can use.

As far as sizes, there’s really no right or wrong, it’s mainly just a matter of preference. As mentioned a block plane is must for any workshop, “neander” or “normite”, so that’s a given. A #5 or 5-1/2 jack plane is kind of a general purpose do-all plane…very handy for many tasks, but it excels at none. From there you can get more specific if you want…a #3, 4 or 4-1/2 bench plane is great for smoothing and many other things. You can use a #7 or #8 jointer plane for flattening really long boards…even a #6 fore plane can do some pretty long boards. A lot of folks like other specialty planes too.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7390 posts in 2273 days


#11 posted 1267 days ago

Tyler, I have old Bailey’s I’ve acquired over the years. I think the designs
are pretty much the same on the newer ones, but the older ones will
be cheaper to buy if you run across realistic sellers.

Many antique dealers don’t know about tools and over-value common
planes, so auctions and tool sellers are often better options. In some parts
of the country planes are not uncommon in flee markets and garage sales,
but in other areas they are rare.

I’ve never bought planes at pawn shops but that might be a place
worth looking.

$10-20 for a #4 or #5 old Bailey is a good deal.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View wilterbeast's profile

wilterbeast

44 posts in 1274 days


#12 posted 1267 days ago

I bought an junk stanley ( not one of the good ones) and i swear i lost 10lbs with that plane. I’d try and use it, get pissed and throw it out and the driveway then calm down and have to go get it! Lol. Finally started saving my money and getting lie nielsen and veritas. I also like using the japanese pull saw for dovetails

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