Big Box New Tools?

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Forum topic by DustyCellist posted 04-01-2014 01:29 AM 1557 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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71 posts in 1702 days

04-01-2014 01:29 AM

Since my last thread on a dust-free shop (asthma) I cut some fallen branches in the yard that were pine and got sick. Cut some maple and I’m totally fine! Pine allergy. No framing for me. That’s fine.

I returned/sold power tools I had (cheap drill press with runout problems and compound mitre that scares me…) and decided to use only hand tools. So I’ve put together a short list of basic “needed” tools for doing small projects. My goals are to be able to make toys (trucks, blocks, etc), boxes (keepsake, jewelry, planters), and electric guitars.

My Short List

Chisels and mallet
Block plane
Smoothing plane (low angle?)
Card scrapers
Coping saw (or jigsaw)
Handsaw (japanese ryoba? Shark fine saw?)
Marking knife (I’ll get the Stanley folder)
12” Combination square

I prefer at this point to spend little on new tools instead of buying used because I’m having a hard time finding them, and strongly dislike eBay (I’m fine with craigslist, but nothing is showing up the past month…). I already have Craftsman brand chisels, mallet, coping saw and combination square. I like the warranty. And the convenience.

That said, I prefer to buy from Amazon when I can. (Prime 2 day shipping and easy returns).

Can anyone mention new Spokeshave, planes, and handsaw that I an get on the cheap and new? I know I’ll need to do some setup. I’m fine with that. Are the Stanley #4 and Spokeshave worth 16/17 each? Are there alternatives in the under 40 range for getting started?

Paul Sellers has some great advice on buying good tools cheap, but I’m having a tough time feeling confident in my list and choices.

Thanks so much in advance for any and all advice! I trust you all to have valuable opinions!

20 replies so far

View TechTeacher04's profile


392 posts in 1705 days

#1 posted 04-01-2014 01:41 AM

For planes, if you do not want to find a nice pre war stanley buy a veritas or lie nielsen. I personally prefer the lie nielsen based on the fact they are very high quality and they are made in the usa. I would rather keep my hard earned money in this country. A low angle smoother with 2 blades, one sharpened at a low angle for softwoods and another sharpened at a high angle for hardwoods will serve you well. A low angle block plane will work well for small end grain work and for easing edges.

If you are end up buying a new less expensive stanley or like model, get a hock blade and improved chip breaker. They are worth the extra cost. They eliminated blade chatter in my 1930s vintage #6.

I like my veritas dovetail saws. I only have vintage spokeshaves, again with hock blades.

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2778 days

#2 posted 04-01-2014 02:18 AM

Spokeshaves are one of those tools that frequently require a lot of fine tuning and often times even tool alteration to get them working well. So long as you don’t mind taking files to your tools to get them flat etc then the new stanleys are fine. If you want something good out of the box, then they are not going to be it.

View swirt's profile


3304 posts in 3145 days

#3 posted 04-01-2014 02:41 AM

To save money and space, the big box ryobas are nice, they have rip on one side, cross cut on the other. I have the Vaughan Bear Saw and use it a lot despite having several western saws at my disposal. I imagine the Shark or Marples/irwin varieties are similar.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2266 days

#4 posted 04-01-2014 03:54 AM

If you need to make really narrow cuts (like cutting the waste out on dovetails) you may want to consider a fretsaw at some point. A 16” combo square might be useful as well.

For a small, fine tooth Japanese style saw, Home Depot has a decent Irwin one. About 10 bucks.

I assume you have a way to sharpen your chisels and plane blades?

View DocBailey's profile


584 posts in 2533 days

#5 posted 04-01-2014 04:17 AM

If I read your post correctly, you are considering a new stanley no 4 for 16 to 17 dollars.

There is no way that that amount of money buys a good, new plane.

View bandit571's profile


21512 posts in 2856 days

#6 posted 04-01-2014 04:58 AM

There are several LJs on here that sell handplanes. They are all tuned up, restored, and ready to go to work.

DonW might have a couple you’d like, there is a guy over in the “For sale” forum that is selling a Stanley #3

Heck< I’d even sell a ready to use #3, or #4 smooth plane, and even throw in a block plane.

I tend to go Rust Hunting in the summer, and find a few decent tools. Some are Yard sale items ( Stanley #31 Jointer) some are garage sale items ( Stanley SW #103 ) and neither really cost all that much.


I took a “replacement” Back saw plate, and after a small amout of work, married it to a decent Disston Backsaw handle.

In other words, I just make do on a VERY limited budget.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View DustyCellist's profile


71 posts in 1702 days

#7 posted 04-01-2014 02:23 PM

Thanks for all the input!

Swirt: I looked at that one, but I saw it priced much higher than the shark which was 17 and if I’m spending more I’d get a Gyokucho from everything I’ve read. I assumed the $10 Irwin saws were junk, but maybe it’s worth holding one in the store…

Purrmaster: is a fret saw for cutting slots for frets? If so, I’ll get one at some point!! In the meantime, my coping saw will do. And I’m looking at a dmt diamond stone, but might do scary sharp the first time to try it.

DocBaily: I know it won’t be “good” and I know I’ll have to fettle a while. I’m ok with that. I was wondering if after 2 hours, can a new Stanley #4 be usable and useful? The #4 is 17 and the block is 16. Also saw a craftsman at Sears for around the same price.

Yard sales around here (Philadelphia suburbs) people want $400 for a standing DP and $100 for old planes.maybe they think it’s collectible only?

Bandit: thanks for the tip on lowes. Went there yesterday for the first time (I’m an HD guy) for a Bosch recip on sale and I hate the place. Tools against the front wall so I’m in the way when I round an isle? Everything is blue? (And soon to be lime like the new ryobi I saw…). I’ll check out the sales here, I didnt even think of that!!

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3405 days

#8 posted 04-01-2014 02:40 PM

I would suggest for you, especially with your allergies / asthma, that you invest in a dust collector, with at LEAST a 1 micron filter, even though you are going with hand tools… They still produce dust.

Get a cheap Harbor Freight collector, stab a Thien baffle on it, and a Wynn 35A Nano fiber (MERV 15 rated) filter on it, and rig up some way to put the hose close to where your cutting operations are, I have clamped the hose directly to my bench top before…

On the what hand tools to get, I can suggest a few basic ones…

Japanese style pull saws. I have the Irwin / Marples from Lowes, which I love, but the blades are not replaceable, and they do become damaged over time. I am replacing them with a…

#1. Shark 10-2440 Fine cut saw. #2. Shark 10-2204 Dowel / Dovetail / Detail saw. #3. Shark 10-2312 12 inch carpentry saw.

The blades on all of those are replaceable, and available unlike the Irwins…

If you have THAT much of an allergy problem, you may want to use a respirator. I own a 3M 7503 (7500 series in Large), Along with 3M 2091 P100 particulate filters when I work with Walnut. Works great and keeps me breathing!

If you don’t have hand planes yet, get some… I use some insanely cheap, but very effective once I lapped, tuned and sharpened them, Groz planes in the full range. I have the block plane (don’t care for that one actually) as well as the #4, #5, #6, and #7… The #7 is a nice big jointer, the #4 is a basic little smoother… I use those two the most… I need a better block plane… The Groz I have just won’t flatten out right.

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View DustyCellist's profile


71 posts in 1702 days

#9 posted 04-01-2014 02:50 PM

Maybe I’ll make a shop vac hose holder to clamp to the bench… In the meantime, I wear a respirator all the time when I’m working with pine (cheap practice).

I would just buy a Gyokucho 210mm Ryoba but I can’t quite justify the $40 tag when I could get sharpenable hand saws and back saws for cheap… Maybe if I love the shark…

And I have NO planes. I am not sure what planes would be best for me. I figure on having 2. One to use as a Cordless Jointer, and another to replace sandpaper. I prefer soft woods, so low angle for both? Idk. Maybe I will do more homework and start another thread if I have to.

When you say insanely cheap, give me an idea? Buck Bros from home depot? Worse? Harbor Freight? How do you flatten the soles? Wet/Dry or stones?

View WayneC's profile


13776 posts in 4270 days

#10 posted 04-01-2014 02:52 PM

On the planes, I also advise stay away from the big box stores. PM me your address and I will send you one of the pre-ww2 #4s I have disassembled for restoration if you are up to trying your hand at restoring.

I highly recommend this book based on your interests….

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View WayneC's profile


13776 posts in 4270 days

#11 posted 04-01-2014 02:52 PM

Only catch is that you have to post before and after photos in the Show us your restoration thread.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View DustyCellist's profile


71 posts in 1702 days

#12 posted 04-01-2014 02:57 PM

PM Sent

I’m on the fence between that book and the set by Paul Sellers (he’s my hero of the week right now.)

View WayneC's profile


13776 posts in 4270 days

#13 posted 04-01-2014 03:29 PM

The new traditional woodworker is excellent.

I’ll pack this up and send it out later today. It is a Stanley #4 Type 11 and will clean up really nice. I’ll check my spares box for a better tote. You still may have to glue it up (fairly common repair)

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View swirt's profile


3304 posts in 3145 days

#14 posted 04-01-2014 04:14 PM

WayneC thanks for continuing to make this one of the coolest places for woodworkers to connect. Bravo!

DustyCellist, sorry I didn’t look at the price to that Vaughan Bear saw link…. that’s about double what they really go for. There might be cheaper seller on amazon.

Lowes sells them for under $20. The blade is made in Japan and is replaceable and fits any other Vaughan handle as well.

-- Galootish log blog,

View WayneC's profile


13776 posts in 4270 days

#15 posted 04-01-2014 04:24 PM

Looking at the list above. Probably need to think of some form of bench or work holding fixture.

On the block plane look for a Stanley 60 1/2. I prefer low angle and you want one with an adjustable mouth.

I have a couple of Z saws and like them. Although I do not remember the price being above about $30

You might also be able to find a rip and cross cut western style saw at yard sales or flea markets in your areas. Lots of saw expertise on Lumberjocks.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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