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Forum topic by ShipWreck posted 02-19-2012 10:31 PM 2315 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3955 days

02-19-2012 10:31 PM

Hello all,
My wife took shop classes in high school and wants to get back into working on small projects. She is a tiny lady who is intimidated with some of my larger machinery. The noise turns her off as well. She turned out some pretty nice projects that we still have 35 years later. I have been reading about every resourse on the web along with reading most of the posts on here, but I respect the knowledge you guys/girls have on here. I am already pretty well equipped with all the marking tools, chisels, block plane, etc etc. What I need to know is what (3) size bench planes would you all prefer to start with, and what (3) saw types would you put into your arsenal? I already have 2 nice CC/Rip panel saws. We are planning on going with Veritas because of the decent quality/cost factor. We do not have the time to go dump digging for old Stanleys either.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks…....... John

11 replies so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3200 days

#1 posted 02-20-2012 01:48 AM

Throw most of your own ergonomics out the window and have her test out what feels good for her. The specific sizes will depend on her hand size and what kinds of projects she will be working on. Most likely, you are looking at a #3 or maybe even a #2 for a smoother if her hands are small. A low angle block plane. Then a larger plane. You might look at wooden planes for her in the jack and jointer range as they are lighter and won’t tire her out as much. If it is in the budget, the ECE planes are hard to beat. If not in the budget, get a Hock kit for the first one to see how to put one together and you will then be able to make whatever others she might like. Krenov style planes feel fantastic to use.

Saws: The little Veritas backsaws are just fine. Maybe a rip and a crosscut. There should be no question about grabbing her a couple little Zona razor saws as well. Cheap, sharp, and a pleasure to use. A little coping saw and maybe a bow saw (Grammercy are great saws).

Maybe pick her up a Japanese style saw.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View yrob's profile


340 posts in 3855 days

#2 posted 02-20-2012 02:53 AM

John, The veritas saws are indeed a great buy. Good quality at a decent price. I would get the molded spine saws that they sell. A crosscut, a rip and perhaps a dovetail. With these, she can handle all the joinery. For planes, I own their scrub plane and low angle smooth plane. The smooth plane is really nice and easy to use. The handle is comfortable.

Instead of getting a heavy jointer plane, you could go for a jack plane which pretty much can do all (jointing, flattening, etc..) more or less ok.

I have been very impressed with Veritas. Their planes (like their low angle smooth plane for example) rival some of my expensive lie-nielsen planes for a fraction of the cost.

-- Yves

View ELCfinefurniture's profile


112 posts in 2522 days

#3 posted 02-20-2012 03:11 AM

She will thank herself later for getting into handtools as a primary over power tools. It makes you far more accurate in your work and helps you trust yourself.
As for bench planes my best advice would be this…there a few women in my program at NBSS and they all say they like using a number 3 or even a number 2 as there smoothing plane because its lighter and smaller making it a bit easier to hold. These planes are readily availible from lie nielson and I think woodriver makes a number 3.
As for saws spring for a veritas dovetail saw. I have it and it is a pleasure to use. Extremely comfortible and it cuts very fast.

-- {Current North Bennet street school student}

View BigYin's profile


421 posts in 2619 days

#4 posted 02-20-2012 03:56 AM

Stanley No.3 smoother plane
Stanley No.5 1/4 jack plane.
Both smaller / lighter versions of Stanley s planes. Get the planes from eBay and help her restore them

Veritas dovetail saw (fine rip tooth) as Yrob says “Good quality at a decent price.”

Tenon saw (11 to 13 tooth crosscut)
Tenon saw (8-10 tooth ripcut) get good used saw and have it re toothed after she cleans and polishes the blade

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View ksSlim's profile


1290 posts in 3092 days

#5 posted 02-20-2012 06:02 AM

Depends on the projects she will be doing. My lady prefers the Japanese pull saws. The inexpensive Zona razor for smaller/finer work would be an economical way to see her preference. For planes, find a show or store that will let her test drive different planes. I provided my gal with whatever tool she prefered, that way I don’t have to go searching for mine. Sure beats rehoning dovetail chisels every other day.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View Zulu55's profile


72 posts in 2519 days

#6 posted 02-20-2012 06:09 AM

I would recommend going with the line of Veritas low angle bevel up planes

You can get a smoother, jack and jointer plane and all the blades are interchangeable (meaning you could get a different angle blade for each and use your preferred blade on whichever one you wish at any given time).

Lie Nielsen also makes a great line of similar plane’s but they are just a little bit more $$$$

-- Adam - Langley, British Columbia (Canada)

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3069 days

#7 posted 02-20-2012 02:46 PM

I sure do love my Veritas dovetail saw.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3955 days

#8 posted 02-20-2012 08:24 PM

Thank you all for the great feedback. I brought the wife by WoodCraft today and she got to play with a few planes. They were Wood River planes and she got a feel for the weight of various sizes. It looks like the No# 4 was a great fit for her. She also got to handle a few different types of Veritas saws. She likes the feel of the Gent and dovetail saws. The 5 /14 will have to be her large work plane until she gets the hang of things. I am always around and can get her stock close to dimensions anyways.

We will be placing a order through Lee Valley this week for:

Veritas No#4 smooth plan
Veritas No# 5 1/4W
Veritas flush cut saw
Veritas “gent”saw
Veritas dovetail saw
Veritas crosscut saw

I showed her the No#3 Nielson plane online, and of course she fell in love with the bronze ones…..gulp! Mayby I’ll get her that for mothers day.

Thanks again folks…....apreciate it!
V/R….... John

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3200 days

#9 posted 02-20-2012 09:52 PM

Yeah, but look at the bright side. This way you know what she would like for a present instead of having to guess. Looks like a winner plan to me.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View bent's profile


311 posts in 3871 days

#10 posted 02-21-2012 12:04 AM

nice call on getting a gent saw. i think they’re really under rated. of all my hand saws, i use it the most.

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2857 days

#11 posted 02-21-2012 02:09 PM

It depend on the work she want to do. Since you mentioned she is a smaller lady and you specified Veritas, I might recommend as follows.

VeritasĀ® Low-Angle Smooth Plane
VeritasĀ® #5-1/4W Bench Plane
VeritasĀ® BU Jointer Plane

This a a capable kit for just about any project.

I am still putting together a class on handtool work. The first sections are about the tool kit and you might find them useful…here is the section on planes.

As far as saws are concerned it looks like you are fairly covered on your panel saws. If I could just start with one joinery saw…

15 TPI Carcass. This will cover any needs you might have and will give you an idea of what specialty saws you might like in the future.

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

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