wood_enthusiast's Workshop

  • Advertise with us
Workshop by wood_enthusiast posted 08-27-2010 08:35 PM 1294 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

View all workshops »

View wood_enthusiast's profile


11 posts in 2986 days

click the pictures to enlarge them

wood_enthusiast's Workshop wood_enthusiast's Workshop wood_enthusiast's Workshop

United States

This is my “workshop” as of this moment. It consists of a metal desk as a workbench, chair, and, as you can see, mostly hand tools and a few power tools. I lack several necessities (as I’ve realized only too well in my first project – see blog) which to many of you are readily apparent: cutting tools (i.e., saw), plane, measuring/squaring tools, and bench vise. I do have every one of you, though, and that is better than any tool!

I need to research clamps, building a workbench from the plans in Aldren A. Watson’s Hand Tools (one of a couple of woodworking books I own) or buying a relatively inexpensive bench from HF (the $169 one with the drawers and the tail vise). I also need to choose at least one plane to learn how to plane lumber four-square.

I’m definitely in learning mode. But I’m all ears. I need all the help I can get, but I’m attentive and try to progress quickly in my hobbies.

Before I build or buy the bench though, I want to set up a workbench with an improvised front vise like the one set up here: so I can finish my first project (a test-tube rack). I’d like to purchase heirloom quality tools as you never know when you’re “gonna go”. I’d like to hand down or leave behind hand tools that inspire and show consideration for values of quality. I’d like to buy two high-quality hand-screws and F-clamps like shown on the above-referenced web page, preferably made in Germany.

I’ve narrowed it down to either Bessey or Jet for clamps. I’m not sure which ones though. Or which ones
are made in Germany (or USA if they are high-quality like all US made things used to be).

I know restricting myself to heirloom quality can hurt in the pocketbook, and can cause frustration in completing projects as I wait to have funds ready to purchase the needed item. But to my mind, it’s the correct thing to do. Since I plan to emphasize hand tools in my woodworking journey, what’s a month or two delay in starting a project if it means experiencing the pleasure of high-quality tools in my hands.

I’d love to get feedback on suggestions for brands or specific items that have seen you in good stead, with regards to hand-screws and F-clamps. Also, I’m open to any other suggestions I may have (probably) overlooked in getting ready to begin woodworking.

As you can see in the pictures, the tools at my disposal, a humble collection by my own admittance, do not represent a complete woodworking workshop. However, I’m eager to get started, and throw myself, heart, body, and mind into this fantastic realm of human activity – creating, shaping, and….and…working with wood!

-- Carlos

6 comments so far

View Riz's profile


41 posts in 2980 days

#1 posted 08-27-2010 08:56 PM

Dive into a project before spending loads of cash on heirloom quality tools. Make your first big project and one of your first projects a woodworker’s workbench. You will learn a ton in the process, and that it is an indispensible tool. I wish i would have gone this route from the beginning, now i am paying the price and moving backwards instead of forwards.

-- Paul "Riz" Erie, PA "Share your wisdom, it is the way to achieve immortality"

View wood_enthusiast's profile


11 posts in 2986 days

#2 posted 08-27-2010 10:05 PM

Hi Riz,

Yes, definitely, a woodworker’s workbench is on my immediate list of projects. While reading here on LJ, I have noticed in the posts that yeah, making your own workbench is a great learning experience for the beginner and is a great first or second project.

About the heirloom quality vs. cheap hand tools: I’ve read some people have had regrets getting cheap hand tools, even though they were able to save $$ at the outset. As I understand it, part of the problem is that the less expensive hand tools are actually more costly when you factor in having to rebuy the tool when it breaks or ceases to perform adequately. Maybe this is not so true of clamps, though. Not sure.

Thanks for your response, which has given me pause.

-- Carlos

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3971 days

#3 posted 08-28-2010 12:36 AM

Carlos, it looks like you have a fairly good start on your collection of tools for your shop. You pretty much have the basics covered and what tools you add after this depends on the direction you want your woodworking to go. Certainly building a bench is a good start and this is the one tool that no shop should be without.

As far as tools go I am a firm believer that you “get what you pay for” when it comes to tools and wholeheartedly agree that economical tools can sometimes be more expensive in the long run. With regards to clamps I go for Bessey’s parallel and F-style series.

Thanks for the pictures. I enjoyed seeing your shop.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View wood_enthusiast's profile


11 posts in 2986 days

#4 posted 08-29-2010 07:35 AM

Scott, thank you mightily for your thoughts and invigorating words of encouragement. I do appreciate it and will press forward. I plan to move on to the bench asap. Just read a bunch of reviews and other threads and now you also concur with Bessey clamps as being a reliable brand. Also saw a lot of LJs speak highly of their experiences with Jet clamps. Again, thanks for your input.

I think I may go for a Bessey combo kit I saw on Amazon for $63. It has three different sizes of bar clamps plus spring clamps and pipe clamps. It’s a general-purpose set that has gotten very good reviews. Though I don’t really know what applications these are best for and not the best for, they appear to be types which will get much use down the line. Here is the link for the set: Bessey BGPKIT General Purpose Clamp Kit

Thanks again for your help and insights.

-- Carlos

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 3510 days

#5 posted 08-29-2010 11:24 AM

Hey Carlos,
We all start somewhere and you have started well with a nice set of toys to play with.
Do what your budget allows with future tools and projects and you will be fine.

View wood_enthusiast's profile


11 posts in 2986 days

#6 posted 08-30-2010 07:46 AM

Thanks for that, Splinterman. Your gracious words are what stimulate me to want to advance as much as possible, to contribute here as much as I can. Would much enjoy seeing your work Splinterman here on LJ!

-- Carlos

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics