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Forum topic by Armandhammer posted 01-02-2014 05:31 PM 1720 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Armandhammer

235 posts in 1085 days


01-02-2014 05:31 PM

Ok, new to all this. I’ve been reading and watching. I just got a table saw so I’m good there. But after watching loads of videos and reading tons of posts, I’ve decided that I’m really more interested in more traditional woodworking at this point. I’ll end up being a hybrid woodworking no doubt, some hand tools, some power tools, but right now due to space and weather, I want to start up with my hand tool collection since I can convert a spare bedroom into a makeshift workshop for the time being. Hand tools will work in that space, power tools not so much.

Anyways, I’ve alway understood and tried to follow the adage buy quality, buy once (buy quality, cry once), but sometimes budget doesn’t allow for those initial high quality purchases. Well, I guess if I wanted to build my tool collection at a MUCH slower pace…quality pieces could be obtain right off the bat. However, I’d really like to get to a point where I can start working some wood, sooner than later and once I get the basic kit assembled, start adding the high quality pieces as I can.

So all this rambling boils down to one question really….what are some of the less expensive tools out there that are not complete junk? I guess for now I’m looking at my first few saws and chisel set(s).


39 replies so far

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Kaleb the Swede

1727 posts in 1428 days


#1 posted 01-02-2014 05:46 PM

I assume you are looking for hand tools from your question? If so when it comes to saws I use japanese ones, they are not overly expensive and cut great, very thin blades. Western saws can get pricey. The only reason I use japanese saws is when I first started my brother leant me two of his saws and said I could keep the japanese one. So I didn’t want to use his nice English saw and get used to it. When I tried an English saw recently it felt weird.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

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Richard H

489 posts in 1140 days


#2 posted 01-02-2014 05:56 PM

For what it’s worth my 2 cents.

Getting started with hand tools there are a lot of options for used tools that can make it pretty affordable. Finding a good couple of hand saws isn’t that hard if you are patient and willing to put a little work into them. If you are brand brand new to hand tools it might be worth it however to find someone who is selling already sharpened and cleaned up saws for your first couple so you get a idea of what sharp is but if you feel comfortable sharpening your own tools and are willing to walk the flee markets early Saturday’s morning’s you can pick up some really good bargains.

As for back saws the used market hunting is a little harder but still doable but there are some good new options there. Veritas makes a pretty good set of back saws although I personally think the backs are a bit to light for my tastes. Lie-Neilsen saws are more traditional in design but are kind of between price wise the Veritas and premium brands. Both are excellent saws that can serve you well for sometime until you figure out what you really are looking for in a back saw. Back saws are very personal things and if spend enough time with them you will get to the point where you start to consider making custom handles for your tastes. At least I have found myself doing so.

There are some great new makers of hand planes like Veritas and Lie-Neilsen but you can also do well buying the standard sized ones used to. You end up competing with collectors for the specialty ones at which point it’s just better to buy those new but you really only need five planes to get started assuming your doing everything by hand. A trying plane, a jointer plane, a smoothing plane, a router plane and a low angle block plane.

I used a set of the Dewalt chisels from the Big Box store for a good while before getting “better” ones. Honestly they are solid well made chisels and my only complaints are they don’t look traditional and they don’t feel quite as comfortable in your hand as a good set of wood handled socket chisels. However the tangs go though the handle completely so you can really whack of them and get good force transfer. I am pretty much over used chisels at this point. The amount of time and energy it takes to restore most of them is just to much to make the price savings worth it in my opinion.

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PurpLev

8523 posts in 3108 days


#3 posted 01-02-2014 06:01 PM

to answer your question – that depends!

There are ways to build up a quality tool collection without breaking the bank. that includes finding ‘gems’ (like the Narex chisels as an example – which are very good quality at a quite affordable price point), and finding used/vintage tools.

Both those alternatives would require you to put in some elbow grease to get those tools to perform at their highest potential, but those skills (shaping and sharpening of edge tools) are skills that you would need to develop and master anyway so it’s a win-win situation.

do account for sharpening supplies and setup as that is a requirement for hand tools that many people don’t forsee and plan for and could be a quite unexpected expense.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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kaerlighedsbamsen

1177 posts in 1173 days


#4 posted 01-02-2014 06:18 PM

Welcome to LJ!
Read Paul Sellers fine writup on a series of essential handtools and what to buy and when to buy new or used. It is heavily influenced by his personal style but great info. There is about 20 pages of reading but its worth the effort: http://paulsellers.com/2012/08/buying-good-tools-cheap-or-cheaper/
Good luck!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

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Armandhammer

235 posts in 1085 days


#5 posted 01-02-2014 06:26 PM

Thanks for the quick responses. Sharpening, yeah, I did account for that. Everything I’ve seen pretty much says the same thing…planes and chisels at least, need some degree of work before using even when brand new. Maybe not the case with the really high quality stuff…I don’t know, but no doubt I’ll be quickly learning how to sharpen and prepare the cheaper tools I’ll likely be starting with.

Part of my issue is, I wouldn’t know a gem from a turd when looking around the flea market/junk store.

I’ll look into those Dewalt chisels. I’ve also seen that the Stanley Fat Max set is ok. Perhaps even the Irwin Marples set? And Japanese saws, I’ve seen those on Rockler and other places pretty cheap. Perhaps I’ll grab one or two of those to start. I don’t have a problem using the table saw for ripping and cross cutting at this point…I’m not a traditional purist yet…lol…heck, I’m not even a woodworker yet…haha…but I do want to start working on joinery by hand from the beginning.

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Armandhammer

235 posts in 1085 days


#6 posted 01-02-2014 06:28 PM

Thanks kaerlighedsbamsen. Yeah, I’ve been watching a lot of Paul’s videos. Great stuff! I’ll definitely check the link and give that a read. I actually have his site up in my browser already, just haven’t dove into it yet. Been busy reading on here and watching YT videos…lol

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Richard H

489 posts in 1140 days


#7 posted 01-02-2014 06:44 PM

My suggestion would probably be to focus more on the projects you want to build than the tools to build them. You can make a lot of stuff with just one of those $20 disposable Hand Saws from Home Depot that Christopher Schwarz talks about on his blog a few inexpensive layout tools, 2 chisels and a hammer with some nails. Add on to that basic set as your projects call for it with things like jointery saws and planes.

A few good starter projects to consider are; saw bench, bench hooks, shooting board, tool storage chest/box, etc. These are great because they can be skill builders which you end up using in your shop.

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

13711 posts in 2078 days


#8 posted 01-02-2014 06:59 PM

Richard, I like the way you think. Excellent suggestions!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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Armandhammer

235 posts in 1085 days


#9 posted 01-02-2014 07:03 PM

Yeah, that’s kinda what I’m doing. I’m actually watching some saw bench videos now, plus I want to build a work bench and a storage box of some sort like you suggested, along with the other shop items. I figured I’d start with shop projects before moving on to other things. I want to use some different joints on those projects to practice. I’m sure I could easily use the table saw and do half laps and rabbits but what fun would that be…lol

I’ll check his blog for some tool suggestions. By the way, are his DVD’s worth buying? I love his youtube stuff but most of it seems to be trailers for the DVDs. I plan to pick up a couple of his books soon at least.

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ColonelTravis

1187 posts in 1353 days


#10 posted 01-02-2014 07:04 PM

Agree with what Richard just said. What do you want to do? Once you figure that out, you’ll figure out what you need to get to do it.

I refuse to buy cheap router bits, cheap saw blades for the plugged-in stuff, and I refuse to cheap-out on some other things. But I love smacking a 25% off coupon on the desk at Harbor Freight every chance I get. I just bought this awesome little hand saw for about $7.

If you want to know what to look for at flea markets and antique shops for old tools, take the time to read through the Hand Tool forum because it’s full of many seriously-knowledgeable people. This site is an invaluable resource.

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

13711 posts in 2078 days


#11 posted 01-02-2014 07:10 PM

a&h, a new (cheap) panel saw as well as back saw from the BORG would do you fine as long as the panel saw has a finer tooth count (you’re not cutting tree branches). Although not necessarily ‘cheap,’ the four-chisel set of Stanley SW re-issues is a good value and I can vouch for the quality of the tools first-hand.

The 6” Craftsman combination square is a decent quality tool that is a good bench-based marking tool.

Add a cordless drill with basic bit set and you can build a saw bench. Then you’re on the way.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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Armandhammer

235 posts in 1085 days


#12 posted 01-02-2014 07:14 PM

BORG?

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PurpLev

8523 posts in 3108 days


#13 posted 01-02-2014 07:20 PM

BORG = Big ORanGe , or Blue/ORnGe – meaning the big home improvement chain stores around the US

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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Don W

17955 posts in 2027 days


#14 posted 01-02-2014 07:21 PM

I’ll second the second hand market watch. Focus on your projects, and pick up tools and equipment as you find the deals. Its not uncommon to see somebody post a “what do you guys think of this buy” post to get opinions, so you don’t necessarily need to know, just know to ask.

And as for hand tools, you can learn pretty quickly what to look for with a little research and asking some basic questions. You’ll get a boat load of conflicting answers a lot, and you’ll learn who you can listen to with decent results.

There are a lot of talented woodworkers here ready to help. Good luck and make the ride enjoyable.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

13711 posts in 2078 days


#15 posted 01-02-2014 07:22 PM

Yep, Big Orange Retail Giant (home depot, or now lowe’s home improvement).

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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