By Joshua Farnsworth

This hand tool buyer’s guide will focus on hand tools that are used for creating and refining curved work in furniture making. Below you’ll read an explanation of these types of hand tools:


Spokeshaves were originally used for making spokes on horse carriages, but are a very common and useful tool in chair making, cabinetmaking, or anywhere else where curves are involved. The also work well for putting bevels on edges of straight pieces. 


Often mistaken for files, rasps are used for cutting away shapes in wood using hundreds of little metal hooks. Rasps are especially helpful for shaping the handles of new handsaws and handplanes.  



A drawknife is used for quickly and efficiently shaping green wood, usually held in the vises of a traditional shaving horse. 

A. Urgent Curved Work Tools (Buy these First)

Below are my recommendation for types & brands of tools that you will likely need right at the start of your traditional woodworking journey. If you’re on a really tight budget, don’t fret. You can use your judgement to narrow down this list and make due without everything at first…but just make sure that you buy fewer tools at first, rather than lower quality tools. I guarantee that you’ll have to buy a better replacement down the road. But you can often find the highest quality antique tools for less money than poor quality new tools.

Buy a Spokeshave

Coming soon…

Buy Two Sizes of Rasps

Coming soon…

Buy a Drawknife

Coming soon…

B. Non-Urgent Curved Work Hand Tools (Nice & Helpful to Own)

This list of non-urgent curved work hand tools reflects my experience getting started out. You may find that you need some of these tools earlier on, depending on the projects you decide to build.

Buy a Saw Maker’s Rasp

Coming soon…

Buy a Chairmaker’s Scorp

Coming soon…

Find chairmaker’s scorps at Highland Woodworking

Buy a Travisher

Coming soon…

Buy a Compass Plane

Coming soon…

Continue to the Buying Guide for Green Woodworking Tools (#10)…

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