October 23, 2015 at 10:17 pm
Post count: 62
My Two Cents
<span style=”color: #000000; font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;”>Hey, </span>
Wish I had been able to read and respond to this post earlier but I got very sick and was unable to do much of anything for the last two months.
I started traditional woodworking just a year ago. I also had some basic power tools but no traditional hand tools.
I also absorbed Joshua’s site to learn how to start getting into traditional woodworking and how to spot quality traditional hand tools. I also do not have large sums of money to invest in new tools so I found myself in the same predicament as you a year ago.
As everyone has said which tools you need is dependent on what you build. I like larger projects: tables, rockers, benches, I’m hoping to build a treadle lathe soon. So my desired tools may be a little different than yours.
So to answer your question, after only a year of traditional woodworking, here is what I would buy again or wish I had sought out.
1) Stanley #4 smoothing plane
I’m with Paul Sellers in that you can do pretty much any work with a number 4. It is by far my preferred plane. I got a number 5 bench plane also because it was cheap and have appreciated it but I definitely can do whatever task is needed with a 4. It may take more time and more referencing with a straight edge to do a joiners task with a smoothing plane but it can be done. I just the other day bought a transitional fore plane so the longer planes are definitely lower on my list.
2) sandpaper and honing compound
Sandpaper of various grits (80, 180, and 330) I got a porter cable sticky back in 10 yard rolls for fairly cheap on Amazon. Sandpaper will be needed to clean up and tune the hand planes but it can also be used for sharpening at the start. Yes sandpaper and honing paste are not the best sharpening medium but if your on a budget it can get you by until you can save up for nicer water stones. I got my stones for Christmas otherwise I’d still be using sandpaper and honing paste.
3) Go to a counter store with a straightedge and beg for a scrap piece of hard rock for your reference surface. Make sure the piece is flat.
This will be used to stick the sandpaper to and clean up tools. I was able to be one for free since it was a scrap piece about 6″ wide by about 3′ 6″ long
4) A fine toothed, 10 tpi or more, rip saw.
A well tuned fined toothed rip saw can do almost any cut well especially if you practice the 3 classes of cuts promoted by Christopher Schwarz. It make take longer to cut than with a more aggressive saw and it may take some extra care to make a cleaner cut but you can make due with only this saw. I only in the last couple months have gotten some new saws because I won a lot auction on eBay. I also have a tenon saw I got for my birthday in March. Otherwise I have made due with only the rip saw. Again, other saws can make cuts easier but you can make due with only a fine toothed rip saw. Personally I think my saw technique has benefited from my lack of saw verity.
Since you only have one saw you also only need two files which you can find cheaply, a fine toothed 8 mill bastard file and a fine slim taper file.
5) I would only buy chisels as needed.
If you only need a 3/4″ mortise than just buy that one chisel. I can make due with about three chisels. I got lucky early when I started and found someone selling a set of 750 chisels for a good price so I invested a lot of my initial tool money in it.
I waited a long time to buy a scrapper but I wish I’d bought one or even more so made one early on. If you can find a cheap junk saw you can make a scrapper. Just cut up the bald and square up the edges.
7) decent work surface
I worked for 8 months off a to small surface. Go to a construction site where you can find some free 2×4 and glue them together to make a 2′ x 6′ top then use some more 2x4s to screw together a frame to get it of the ground. Then plane it flat. I recently built a bench top (no vices) and it has made a huge difference. You can use some clamp systems like plane stops, bench hooks, doe foot, and a couple clamps to get by and plane and shape your work.
It sucks and they take a chunk out of your tool budget but they are hard to get by without. I bought Bessey bar f clamps from Home Depot. It’s better though to search used shops,
Craigslist, or to he used locations. Depending on where you live used tools can be abundant or scare. I live in Denver and traditional tools are scarce. I bought the bare necessity of what i needed for a project or for bench clamping (like clamping a board to my work surface so I could plane).
9) a square
If needed a cheap construction quick square will work, just make sure it is square. As far as other layout tools like a marking gauge, in a pinch you can make one out of a board and screw. If you plan to do a lot of dovetailing you could get a bevel square but you can just as easily build a layout template of wood.
I think those are my bare minimum start tools but I can get any of the projects I’ve built over the last year or planned for the next year completed with just those tools.
My couple of additional tools I would look for to try to add if I could would be a cheap block plane and auger bits.
I would start by building a saw bench or a similar project with primarily mortises and tenons. I say that mostly because I haven’t ventured into dovetailing yet.