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Forum topic by CJ_Cents posted 10-06-2014 06:26 PM 1278 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 1295 days

10-06-2014 06:26 PM

Hello everyone, I am just starting out my woodworking experience and looking for advice on which steps to take next.

I have purchased a Crown 8” backsaw, 4 set Dewalt chisels, clamps, combination square, and some sandpaper. I have bought these items to start practicing joinery which I have been doing for over a week now. I have been taking pallets home from work and using that wood to practice on. I have done a bunch of finger joints and only a couple of dovetail joints. First couple looked rough but they are starting to fit better.

I am looking at which tool to get next and am thinking of a block plane. I have a limited budget of about $100/month currently. I have read that once you buy a block plane you should tune it up. I also need to sharpen my chisels and am looking at the scary sharp method.

I am doing all my work in my basement with has very limited outlets, like only two outlets in the light sockets. So I’m leaning towards more hand tools or battery-powered for now. Current projects I would like to complete would be small boxes and the like.

So far most of my learning has been through youtube, podcasts, and forums. Any advice you could give me would be a huge help, sorry for being long winded here. Thanks!

13 replies so far

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2297 posts in 2336 days

#1 posted 10-06-2014 07:35 PM

I have 3 block planes, but an old stanley adjustable mouth block plane is the one I choose most often. I inherited one, and the other two were found at yard sales or CL for under $10.

Have you looked on CL or at local antique stores? Even pawn shops?

I use scary sharp, too. I bought a couple $4 granite tiles at Home Depot, and I put the paper on those. I have a cheap Irwin sharpening guide, but I only use it when I need to establish a new bevel for the first time. other than that, I free-hand it. I start at 120 for items in rough shape (sometimes lower if they’re really bad), and work up through 2500. When I’m just resharpening while working, I might start around 800 or 1200. The more you let the chisel get dull, the lower you’ll start when resharpening. You should get a mirror finish on your chisels going through 2500. Use the same process for your block plane.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3544 days

#2 posted 10-06-2014 08:22 PM

I think getting basic planes is a good Idea ,like Ed said an adjustable mouth Stanley block pain should be fairly inexpensive ,prices will very in different areas. If you are going to mostly do non power tools you will need a decent bench plane and a longer plane perhaps #7 to joint with. When I started woodworking I bought what ever plane I could afford but I found that usually Stanleys were good planes an reasonable priced. I sharpened all my chisels and plane blades without a guide for a long time using scary sharp. I still use Scary Sharp pretty much as Ed discribed but never found a need to go above 1200 grit and even 800 at times,it’s best not to skip grits and any thing flat will work to put your sand paper on, I used a thick piece of glass for years and then I switched to a thick piece of aluminum (less worries about breaking) and now a Work Sharp 3000 ,but just the standard method works fine.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Woodknack's profile


11482 posts in 2347 days

#3 posted 10-07-2014 05:01 AM

Buy yourself a Stanley 9 1/2 and a Stanley #4, should be able to get both for $100. Sears Craftsman sold a 9 1/2 clone, I have one and it’s nearly identical to the Stanley, and about 1/2 the price, but for the small difference I would buy the Stanley. Crown is probably alright for learning but I wouldn’t buy anymore of their stuff, never impressed me. Here’s a tip, wood and transitional planes are less popular and have no collector value which makes them cheap compared to metal but they work equally well. Just look at pictures closely (if buying from ebay) for damage.

-- Rick M,

View CJ_Cents's profile


8 posts in 1295 days

#4 posted 10-07-2014 03:43 PM

Thanks for the input guys, looks like a stanley number 9.5 is next on my list to buy.

A lot of projects that I have seen on you tube need some type of power tool to help the process, I was curious of what kind of projects that I could do with my limited hand tools. Any ideas/suggestions? Thanks again

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2297 posts in 2336 days

#5 posted 10-07-2014 04:00 PM

I think a couple easy projects that you could make, that would go a really long ways towards hand tool use, would be a bench hook (or two), and a shooting board. I bench hook is going to make it easy to crosscut on your bench. Two bench hooks would make it easier to crosscut longer pieces. A shooting board is going to allow you to true up the crosscut with a plane (a #4 or #5 would work well). You would crosscut to the waste side of the layout line, then use your #4 or #5 to joint the piece (assuming this is not a huge piece), then use the shooting board to fine tune your ends to the layout lines.

Bench hooks should be 90 degrees, but a degree over or under won’t kill you. With the shooting board, you need 90 (or 45, depending on the type). Any error is going to propagate into your future projects.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Loren's profile


10269 posts in 3615 days

#6 posted 10-07-2014 04:30 PM

You can get an adjustable mouth block plane for
about $10, shipped, on ebay.

For example:

“Craftsman” and other off-brands work well. Most
experienced users want an adjustable mouth.

A Japanese “block plane” will do as well. These
days they aren’t expensive. For example:

I don’t use a block plane much. I usually use
a #4. I’ll hold it in one sand sometimes. It’s a
little tiring but in a pinch it substitutes for a
block plane and it’s easier to adjust for me.

You’ll get best results getting some decent
sharpening gear straight away and investing the
time to get proficient. The dividends of skilled
sharpening are significant.

View Woodknack's profile


11482 posts in 2347 days

#7 posted 10-07-2014 05:03 PM

I have a Craftsman identical to the one Loren posted, it works just fine but I bought mine in far better condition for the same price. Like this one:

I never used block planes much until I bought a good one with adjustable mouth, now I use them all the time.

-- Rick M,

View CJ_Cents's profile


8 posts in 1295 days

#8 posted 10-16-2014 09:10 PM

So I did indeed make a bench hook with scrap wood I had laying around. I didnt have a piece of wood long enough for the base so I took two square pieces and just jointed them together. Then I sanded it all down and I put a finish on it for laughs.

Here’s the top

A closer view of the top joint

And this is the bottom

Thanks for looking

View CJ_Cents's profile


8 posts in 1295 days

#9 posted 10-16-2014 11:15 PM

So it looks like I’m still learning out to post pictures from my phone because the first two are the same and the third is upside down

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2454 days

#10 posted 10-16-2014 11:35 PM

Hint: Post your photos to your computer instead of directly from the phone.
You can manipulate it all you want, even with Windows crappy software.

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

View cdaniels's profile


1320 posts in 1468 days

#11 posted 10-17-2014 12:30 AM

If I was you i’d hit up ebay and get a couple hand planes. you can get old stanley’s for about 20$ and they work every bit as good as a 400$ lei neilsen in my opinion. when you’re posting pictures from a phone crop them first and they will post correctly, I had the same problem. I have tried many methods for sharpening chisels and I have moved to using a diamond plate that has 400 on one side and 1200 on the other, never have to flaten it and all you need is window cleaner for lubrication. no reason to go higher grit than that and you don’t have to fuss with getting the angle exact either. I suggest researching paul sellers on youtube. that’s how I learned almost all my hand tool methods before I went to school for woodworking. if you want to PM me I can give you some more suggestions.

-- Jesus was a carpenter... I'm just saying

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

346 posts in 2429 days

#12 posted 10-17-2014 12:55 AM

Learn how to sharpen first and foremost. No collection of planes or chisels will lead to anything other than complete frustration without a sharp, keen edge. Flatten the back of all your irons and chisels, I would suggest on sandpaper first- then get a 1k- 8k stone, and flattening plate…. Get an inexpensive honing guide and pop a 25 degree on your chisels, I’d start with your 1,000 stone and polish with the 8,000 ( hollow grind that 25 degree first, but you don’t have a grinder so don’t worry about it, it just makes it easier with less steel to remove). You will be shocked how much better your joinery is with just sharpening.


You need 4 square stock, and that is a decision. You could get a jack plane, sharpen it to sick sharp as above and learn how to flatten a board, then square and edge, then do the co joining parts…. Ideally a jointer plane would be used, but small parts could be banged out with a jack. That jack could ales be used on a shooting board to square your end so you can do accurate joinery…


You splurge and get a jointer and planer. Everything will start with your jointer and planer, ie 4 square lumber. No dovetails will be right without square stock. Not mortise and tenon will be right either. You will love woodworking with 4 square lumber and sharp hand tools. come to think of it you’ll still need a shooting board and plane for squaring ends…

Next after 4 square lumber:

Cutting and marking gauge
Lead Holder- it’s hold thick lead for marking dovetails, and you can sharpen it to razor sharp lines
Double square- starett if possible- you will use this for dovetails, and just about everything
Dovetails saw
Coping saw with think kerf

This gets you to being able to build a lot of stuff. Sure a table saw or bandsaw would be great, but you can MAKE stuff with these basic tools. I’d say less that 1,000 and your moving along.

Ps- a bench- it falls somewhere near sharpening. A heavy, thick bench with a face and tail vice- it’s doesn’t need to be fancy, just sturdy and functional. Don’t use razor sharp tools without them being secure.

Hope this helps.

View Woodknack's profile


11482 posts in 2347 days

#13 posted 10-17-2014 03:48 AM

Save pics to your computer and use this to crop and fix colors, etc.

-- Rick M,

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