Your favorite shop-made hand tools

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Forum topic by Ripthorn posted 11-01-2011 06:46 PM 4291 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1458 posts in 3011 days

11-01-2011 06:46 PM

I have recently been bitten by the bug to build some of my own tools. On the top of my list are some planes, a mallet, and a matching marking knife and awl set. I still have a few other projects to get out of the way first, but I was mostly curious what your favorite shop made hand tools are (feel free to post pictures!) and which you find most useful. So come on, Lumber Jocks, let’s hear about ‘em!

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

22 replies so far

View Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop's profile

Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop

644 posts in 2717 days

#1 posted 11-01-2011 06:51 PM

I have made two mallets, one of which is a deadblow. They are monsters! You can check them out on my project page. I have also made a sanding block to match. Love my hand tools, I use them every day on a project.

-- Drew -- "I cut it twice and it's still too short!"- Rock-n H Woodshop - Moore, OK

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2681 days

#2 posted 11-01-2011 09:03 PM

Smoothing plane is at the top of my list for “glad I built it”
Mallet of course. Dovetail saw (the thinks you get from sears are just kits in my book)
Scraping shaves are handy.

I have intentions to make a rabbet plane, plow plane, marking knife (several), doweling plate, carving and plane adjusting hammers…......(you get the idea once you start making your own tools you are in for a lifetime of projeccts.

WORKBENCH, I almost forgot that.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2997 days

#3 posted 11-01-2011 10:01 PM

Yeah! Workbench has to be at the top of my list.

My next is a work in progress, a grinding fixture for grinding my lathe tools. The one I’m making will work on the principle of the Wolverine Jig. I have already tested some grinding with it held together with clamps and can’t wait to get it done. But, alas, I can only work on it after midnight as long as I have to work two jobs.

The biggest one I plan is a 16” bandsaw. I bought the Mathias plans and will get on this right after Christmas. Well, I suppose that’s not a hand tool.

Okay, how about a set of carving tools for small carving. Used dowels for handles and the biggest cut nails (masonry type) I could find for the blades. These work surprisingly well.

View dbhost's profile


5726 posts in 3258 days

#4 posted 11-01-2011 10:26 PM

I haven’t made many shop made tools, but what I have made I simply love…

So far it has been 2 mallets, 1 turned, and 1 rectangular with a turned handle. I have a Disc sander attachment / table I rigged up for my lathe, and I have also made what can best be described as a “Sanding Float” which works far better than I anticipated.

I do have a few projects in mind when time permits. I want to build a wooden plane, not to mention turn handles for screwdrivers and chisels. I believe Lee Valley has the hardware kits for those projects…

I have a BIG shop made tool project that is underway, slowly, but underway none the less. I am building a shop made 24” wide drum sander. I have the drum made already. I initially tried cutting out 3/4” MDF disks but they disintegrated before I could glue them up. I have since moved on to using a hole cutter and jointing / planing scrap 2×6 stock to get my 4” disks (1” wide) hogged out. I have the disks cut, but need the threaded rod, nuts and washers to bring the drum all together. Once that is one piece, I will clean it up on the lathe and set it to the side to be able to epoxy in the rod.

I am working with a metalworking friend of mine to fab up a carriage, and elevation mechanism as I am trying to build this as a cantilever type sander. He has some ideas, I have some of my own… My biggest problem is what bearings to use…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2961 days

#5 posted 11-01-2011 10:44 PM

By far my CNC router.

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2978 days

#6 posted 11-02-2011 01:16 AM

I made two marking gauges; one from scratch and the other from a donor for the metal pieces. Workbench. Two mallets. Shooting board. Sawbench. Sharpening station – yep, the whole thing is useful and a bigtime workhorse in my shop. I have an infill plane kit I have yet to tackle, but that’s rising on the project list. The tools you build yourself are the ones to be proud of.

-- Mike

View ksSlim's profile


1276 posts in 2916 days

#7 posted 11-02-2011 01:41 AM

Start with the basics, marking knife, marking gauge, trammel. Depending on your style/type of woodworking move on to tools that you would use the most. If you’re into hand tools, don’t forget winding sticks. By all means, a sharpening stations should be high on the list.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View bobdurnell's profile


315 posts in 3923 days

#8 posted 11-02-2011 02:06 AM

Ripthorn—Thanks for asking. I’ve made a couple of planes: an open tote jack, a closed tote fore that I made into a razee and a block plane. I’ve also made a few sliding t-bevels: a small one and a real big one where the blade is 24 inches long, and my claim to fame is a cobolo handle bevel square with a 12 in blade that awhile back you would have seen on The New Yankee Workshop wall above the radial arm saw and Norm using on a few projects: the garden arbor, high chair, butterfly table, playhouse door, louvered shutter jig just to name a few. Thanks again, bob

-- bobdurnell, Santa Ana California.

View hairy's profile


2720 posts in 3558 days

#9 posted 11-02-2011 02:17 AM

These depth gauges see a lot of action for me. My scratch awl gets used several times a day.

-- My reality check bounced...

View Gary Roberts's profile

Gary Roberts

140 posts in 3048 days

#10 posted 11-02-2011 09:51 PM

Take a look at the first book on this web page. There are some interesting plans for basic tools of all sorts.

-- Gary Roberts,

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2978 days

#11 posted 11-02-2011 11:21 PM

Great link, Gary. I’ll have to check that out. As for my, my favorite shop-made tool has got to be my chisel mallet pictured below. I love the aesthetics of it and how it feels and works.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Gary Roberts's profile

Gary Roberts

140 posts in 3048 days

#12 posted 11-02-2011 11:25 PM

Sorry, forgot to say, the link is to my website.

-- Gary Roberts,

View BerBer5985's profile


445 posts in 2446 days

#13 posted 11-04-2011 06:07 PM

Brandon, what wood did you make that out of. I like it. I may try my hand a making one!

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2907 days

#14 posted 11-04-2011 06:22 PM

My favorite is a chamfer plane that I made not to long ago. Works very well and I have used it a lot since I made it.

I will also say my shooting boards and bench hooks are by far my most used. They are probably considered jigs but a jig is a tool right?

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2803 days

#15 posted 11-04-2011 06:58 PM

Dan – of course

-- David in Damascus, MD

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