hand tool kit for lumber->furniture, etc. while camping

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Forum topic by lumberstuff posted 02-23-2013 10:38 AM 1483 views 2 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 2062 days

02-23-2013 10:38 AM

Hi all,
So rather than whittling whilst camping, I figured I’d try something new.

I want to put together a toolbox of hand tools, to take camping with me to turn whatever wood I find into “something”. could be a chair or a table or a bench or who knows.

Not so much important “what” but the idea being from log to “something”.
Obviously, random driftwood and forest wood will have small rocks and such, so these won’t be my best tools,
but here is what I am thinking so far. Pleas help me out with the list – I’d like to keep it the smallest, lightest, only those you really need etc… understanding this is somewhat anecdotal, not starting a business here, just bouncing off your collective heads for a fun project…

So. I am not a professional green wood to furniture maker by any stretch, but I do already have and use the the following;

Small crosscut saw (green wood)
Smaller timber framing chisels (1 1/2)
mortising chisels
large froe and mallet
variety of hatches and axes, mostly of lower quality
variety of rip and crosscut (6-10tpi Disston,etc. older, beat up but good workers) hand saws (D8 and similar)
Splitting Maul
medium brace
a wooden jack and scrub plane sufficient for woods work ;-)

Planning on aquiring;
two man crosscut saw
large timber framing slick (2”), long handle
offset broad axe
large brace and quality, timber sized auger bits

I know I need a good small crosscut saw but not sure where to look.
I think I need an offset broad/hewing axe to shape timbers/logs

obviously this list can grow, and grow, so that is why I am here asking your opinions ;-)

ideas ?
oh – another idea – those chair style tenon cutters – the round end cutters…damn what are they called… need one of those….

cheers ;-)

12 replies so far

View WillAdams's profile


82 posts in 2138 days

#1 posted 02-23-2013 03:28 PM

I’m very jealous of a co-worker who has a Bonsa Tool Kit:

and have asked a similar question (focusing on multi-tools), but never acted on it. Here was the consensus:

The idea of adding boring tools to work w/ green wood is an interesting one.

- block plane
- push drill
- fine and coarse half-round files
- Gransfors carving axe
- Mora crooked knife
- one or two Japanese planes or a Stanley #5 with a few spare blades
- a skew rabbetting block plane with a knicker
- Lee Valley small plow
- a couple of chisels (1/4” chisel and perhaps a 1/4” mortise chisel)
- a midsize Ryoba (double sided saw) or a single edge replaceable blade saw (like the Z Saw brand)
- marking gauge
- sliding bevel
- and a tape

and especially for suggesting, ``Toshio Odate’s book on Japanese tools and their use’’—- added to my Amazon wish list.

Interesting that only three of the suggested tools (Leatherman, wire pliers and the skew rabbeting plane) were designed to have multiple functions (and no one is confirming my idea of a combination square—- has anyone ever seen Starrett’s early ads for them? They’re a hoot).

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2630 days

#2 posted 02-23-2013 07:03 PM

I would suggest at least two draw knives.
One for de-barking and one for shaping.
The first will let you ruin the edge with rocks, gravel, nails, bullets and so on.
The second will let you do finer work like shaping rounds and flats to the point you’ll be able to use your planes.

Next, maybe a couple of spoke shaves. at least one straight and one curved.

Instead of a small cross cut saw, maybe a Swede saw or a Bow saw along with multiple blades.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View lumberstuff's profile


6 posts in 2062 days

#3 posted 02-23-2013 09:07 PM

Right! I do have an old straight and curved draw knives to put in ! they are rough enough for that kind of work but the steel is decent quality.

whats the Mora crooked knife / for ?

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3790 days

#4 posted 02-23-2013 09:15 PM

Many of the techniques that work well in building furniture
from dry woods and in timber framing will not work as
well on freshly-felled wet lumber.

Green woodworking techniques that emphasize the
round tenon in furniture address this issue well. Chair
bodgers used to put together a spring pole lathe in
the woods and build chairs or at least manufacture
chair parts from the trees and saplings there.

A spring pole lathe is not hard to make, not heavy,
and kind of fun to use.

View ejvc's profile


107 posts in 2103 days

#5 posted 02-23-2013 09:22 PM

Having just read all the Laura & Mary (Little House) books to my daughter, I can tell you that Pa can build ANYTHING with an axe. Pa uses the axe for felling sometimes, but also as a chisel, plane, spokeshave, you name it. He probably ties it to some string for a level and uses it to light fires with a bit of flint. I think the only other tools he has are a shovel and a gun.

Based on this, my advice is to get a good axe and leave everything else at home.

-- Building stuff with my daughter (6). Pretty new to woodworking, I mostly sew...

View lumberstuff's profile


6 posts in 2062 days

#6 posted 02-24-2013 01:09 AM

Ejvc: that sounds like some sort of challenge? :)
Although it does sound fun to see what you could build with only an axe.
I doubt though that the books described this mythical axe in great detail

View ejvc's profile


107 posts in 2103 days

#7 posted 02-24-2013 06:10 PM

I believe it was sharp :-)

-- Building stuff with my daughter (6). Pretty new to woodworking, I mostly sew...

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29869 posts in 2481 days

#8 posted 02-24-2013 08:07 PM

I’m not a camper. But I think it is a great idea to have hand tools on an outing. The only problem I see is packing your creations back out with you.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View HerbC's profile


1789 posts in 3002 days

#9 posted 02-24-2013 08:39 PM


I vote we follow Pa’s example and take along the shovel and the gun (never can tell what/who you’re going to run into in the woods… Might have to use the gun, then the ax and finally the shovel.)

And be sure to Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View lumberstuff's profile


6 posts in 2062 days

#10 posted 02-24-2013 10:51 PM

Well I don’t necessarily think I would pack anything out unless I really liked it.
The idea came from some boondocking places we have camped or explored for future trips.
Occasionally someone has built a bench or a table or a storage cupboard, etc.

Typically we have a wood harvesting permit, and since there is not “hardware” it’s really just the wood rearranged in a more useful fashion (e.g. nothing to clutter or trash-up the wilderness).

Maybe it’d be a little tripod table to set your beer on next to a camping chair and so on.

Mostly, an excuse to build something and hone some skills on big wood rather than little pieces of wood ;-)
Anyway – thanks for your thoughts, especially the witty ones !

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3790 days

#11 posted 02-25-2013 12:13 AM

Well, a froe could be cool if you want to make rudimentary
short boards out of short dry logs.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3114 days

#12 posted 02-25-2013 02:48 AM

I can’t see this being applicable to the hikers & campers I know.
These folks worry about reducing pack weight to the point they will cut half the handle off their tooth brushes.
I must confess I designed my own bow saw because I couldn’t find one light enough.

But I do hate to be camping and not have basic tools, so I am always on the lookout for the lightest weight and most multifunctional tools I can find.

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