What hand tools do I need? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 07-08-2015, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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What hand tools do I need?

Hi all, I have all the power tools I need and wanted to start getting some more hand tools. I currently have a set of Stanley Wood Chisels.

What are the basic hand planes and what are their functions? I was looking at shoulder planes to clean up joinery and also smoothing planes so you have a finish ready surface. I'm just confused at what to get because there are so many different options. What brands are good planes, but not extremely expensive?

Then with all these hand tools I am going to need a way to sharpen them. What is the basic equipment you need to keep these tools sharp?
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post #2 of 27 Old 07-08-2015, 10:30 AM
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If you are looking for info on planes, I found this great resource yesterday when I was looking for info. Hopefully it helps :) http://www.popularwoodworking.com/to...g_bench_planes
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post #3 of 27 Old 07-08-2015, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by arvanlaar View Post
If you are looking for info on planes, I found this great resource yesterday when I was looking for info. Hopefully it helps :) http://www.popularwoodworking.com/to...g_bench_planes
Thanks, that really gives good explanations on all the planes.
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post #4 of 27 Old 07-11-2015, 11:59 PM
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For planes, I would suggest a block plane and a No. 5 jack plane. My first planes were Record and Stanley planes purchased over 25 years ago. They were reasonably priced at that time. I'm not sure how the current quality of these brands compares. Currently, I'm a big fan of the WoodRiver planes. They are not outrageously priced, but they're not cheap either.

For sharpening I use a 1000/8000 combination japanese waterstone and a Veritas MKII sharpening guide.
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post #5 of 27 Old 07-12-2015, 12:18 AM
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If you're not afraid of elbow grease it is hard to beat old Stanly Bailey's.
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post #6 of 27 Old 07-18-2015, 07:42 PM
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I have been looking into this question for myself lately. There seems to be a great deal of variation on what you need vs. what would be ideal. From my research the jack plane seems to be an all around plane. Then you get looking at the different types of stones or hones to keep the blade sharp, there are encyclopedias with differing opinions. From all this research this is what I've come up with...get what works for you and get what is within your budget. If you make projects that look and function well...no one but you has to know you got all your tools at Harbor Freight.

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post #7 of 27 Old 07-19-2015, 12:10 AM
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hand tools

I started going to estate, yard sales etc. there are many great hand saws, hand planes (Stanley the old ones) plus many other tools you'll need for your shop available for cheap. join local woodworking ciub in your area. they are a good source also for tools. Find a old Stanley no.4 and tune it up for use you'll have a good time doing it as a bonus.
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post #8 of 27 Old 07-23-2015, 06:31 PM
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If you've got all the power tools, I assume you have a table saw, band saw, and drill press, along with a thickness planer and jointer. Based on that, here's what I'd look for.

1) A set of backsaws. You want a small fine tooth dovetail saw for dovetails and small parts, a medium sized carcass saw for making precise cuts across the grain, and a large tenon saw for cutting tenons on large furniture. You can make two saws do the job, though... I mostly use a Veritas Carcase saw, 12tpi with rip teeth, for most work. It's great for dovetails, it does pretty well for crosscutting small parts, and it does really well for ripping small boards. I also have a larger tenon saw I picked up at a flea market for doing larger work. It's probably around 10tpi, filed rip.

2) A smoothing plane. Something like a Stanley #3 or #4. I have both, and I mostly prefer the #3. You don't really need a jointer plane, because you have a powered jointer. You don't really need a fore/jack/scrub plane, because you have a thickness planer. Pick up a couple of card scrapers, too... those are the other half of the smoothing toolset.

3) Some specialty planes. I'd recommend a rabbet plane, a plow plane, and, if you can find them, a set of match planes. The rabbet plane and plow plane are fairly self-explanatory, and a set of match planes will let you do tongue and groove joints without having to think or set anything up. I also love my beading plane, and I'd like to start making a couple sets of hollow and rounds.

4) A really nice set of chisels. I'd probably buy from Narex if I were doing it from the beginning, but the Wood River sets are surprisingly good for the price. If you're happy with the ones you have, stick with those. I've tried cutting mortises with both standard chisels and mortise chisels, and I don't really see a big improvement for small (1/4" - 3/8") mortises. I might change my mind if I were looking at a 1" mortise.

5) Sharpening supplies. I've tried oilstones and diamond plate, and the diamonds won hands-down for me. I've got a set of three DMT plates, in 325, 600, and 1200 grit equivalents, plus a strop. I gave up on honing guides... I could never get them to work, and I just seemed to be making my tools duller when I worked. I watched a demo by Paul Sellers of his freehand method, gave it a try, and loved it. If you're happier with a guide, awesome. If you try freehand and like it, awesome. Go with what works. I like sandpaper for really badly damaged tools because it cuts fast and I don't care if I damage it. If I weren't afraid of my grinder, I'd use that instead.


I think those are the big ones that I'd use for supplementing power tools. Once you start wanting to replace the power tools... well, that's where it starts costing a lot of time and/or money.
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post #9 of 27 Old 07-27-2015, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by amckenzie4 View Post
If you've got all the power tools, I assume you have a table saw, band saw, and drill press, along with a thickness planer and jointer. Based on that, here's what I'd look for.

1) A set of backsaws. You want a small fine tooth dovetail saw for dovetails and small parts, a medium sized carcass saw for making precise cuts across the grain, and a large tenon saw for cutting tenons on large furniture. You can make two saws do the job, though... I mostly use a Veritas Carcase saw, 12tpi with rip teeth, for most work. It's great for dovetails, it does pretty well for crosscutting small parts, and it does really well for ripping small boards. I also have a larger tenon saw I picked up at a flea market for doing larger work. It's probably around 10tpi, filed rip.

2) A smoothing plane. Something like a Stanley #3 or #4. I have both, and I mostly prefer the #3. You don't really need a jointer plane, because you have a powered jointer. You don't really need a fore/jack/scrub plane, because you have a thickness planer. Pick up a couple of card scrapers, too... those are the other half of the smoothing toolset.

3) Some specialty planes. I'd recommend a rabbet plane, a plow plane, and, if you can find them, a set of match planes. The rabbet plane and plow plane are fairly self-explanatory, and a set of match planes will let you do tongue and groove joints without having to think or set anything up. I also love my beading plane, and I'd like to start making a couple sets of hollow and rounds.

4) A really nice set of chisels. I'd probably buy from Narex if I were doing it from the beginning, but the Wood River sets are surprisingly good for the price. If you're happy with the ones you have, stick with those. I've tried cutting mortises with both standard chisels and mortise chisels, and I don't really see a big improvement for small (1/4" - 3/8") mortises. I might change my mind if I were looking at a 1" mortise.

5) Sharpening supplies. I've tried oilstones and diamond plate, and the diamonds won hands-down for me. I've got a set of three DMT plates, in 325, 600, and 1200 grit equivalents, plus a strop. I gave up on honing guides... I could never get them to work, and I just seemed to be making my tools duller when I worked. I watched a demo by Paul Sellers of his freehand method, gave it a try, and loved it. If you're happier with a guide, awesome. If you try freehand and like it, awesome. Go with what works. I like sandpaper for really badly damaged tools because it cuts fast and I don't care if I damage it. If I weren't afraid of my grinder, I'd use that instead.


I think those are the big ones that I'd use for supplementing power tools. Once you start wanting to replace the power tools... well, that's where it starts costing a lot of time and/or money.
Thanks, this helps a lot. I am going get a Stanley #4 off of ebay, a shoulder plane, card scrapers, sharpening supplies, and maybe new chisels. I'm going to wait on the hand saws until later.
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post #10 of 27 Old 07-27-2015, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cck View Post
Thanks, this helps a lot. I am going get a Stanley #4 off of ebay, a shoulder plane, card scrapers, sharpening supplies, and maybe new chisels. I'm going to wait on the hand saws until later.
Sounds good. I've got to say, though, I think the hand saws are the best place to start. There are a lot of cuts that are really complicated to make with a table saw that are quite simple with a hand saw.

With the card scrapers, make sure you also get a burnisher. You might or might not be able to use the shaft of a screwdriver, but a burnisher will definitely work. I neglected to mention that in my section on sharpening supplies... it makes a big difference.
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post #11 of 27 Old 08-05-2015, 06:17 AM Thread Starter
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http://www.ebay.com/itm/151751971206...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Is this waterstone any good?

Also, can I use this (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ZZFVJOCMOLMPG7) to flatten the waterstone and also for sharpening extremely dull tools?
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post #12 of 27 Old 08-18-2015, 12:03 AM
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If you want to buy a few up front, my suggestion would be 1 good back/dovetail saw, a couple chisels, a 5 or 5 1/2 jack plane, an accurate square, and a sharpening setup to sharpen edge tools(stones, diamond paste, etc...).

The sharpening setup in my opinion being 1 of the most important pieces of equipment. You can spend all the money in the world on fancy planes and chisels, but if you can't sharpen them, you've wasted your money.

After that just pick 1 task for each new project that would require a new hand tool, and buy that 1 tool you need. Focus on learning how to use that hand tool for the applicable tasks at hand, and use your power tools for everything else. This will not only spread the cost of buying new tools over a longer time span, but it will also eliminate you buying tools that you "thought" you needed, that will just collect dust, and more importantly, you will learn how to use that 1 tool you purchased.

Last edited by Nick Sandmann; 08-18-2015 at 12:13 AM.
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post #13 of 27 Old 08-18-2015, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by cck View Post
http://www.ebay.com/itm/151751971206...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Is this waterstone any good?

Also, can I use this (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ZZFVJOCMOLMPG7) to flatten the waterstone and also for sharpening extremely dull tools?

No experience with that brand of water stone, but the price makes me nervous. Most norton/shapton/other commonly used brands start around $80 and go up to a few hundred for combo stones of those grits, so I would be nervous about the quality. Though for $25 you wouldn't be out much if it didn't work.

I use an atoma diamond plate for flattening my stones and it works great. Different brand, but basically the same thing. It also works great for regrinding the primary bevel on my chisels and plane irons.
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post #14 of 27 Old 08-18-2015, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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I got a Wards Master no4, I plan on getting a no7 to flatten board that won't fit on my joiner. I'm going to hold off on everything else besides sharpening stuff until I need it.
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post #15 of 27 Old 08-26-2015, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by cck View Post
I got a Wards Master no4, I plan on getting a no7 to flatten board that won't fit on my joiner. I'm going to hold off on everything else besides sharpening stuff until I need it.
I also started with a Wards Master #4. It's a decent plane, but there's a fair amount of slop in the side-to-side adjustment mechanism. Keep an eye on that, though it may have just been a problem with the particular one I have.
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post #16 of 27 Old 08-27-2015, 11:28 AM
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This is an old thread. But, in my experience, an old stanley no 4 is NOT a good place for you to start for a brand new hand tool user. Without knowing how a proper plane is supposed to work, you'll never know that your old stanley has a gap between the chip breaker and blade and you're plane gets clogged, you blame your technique, and you quit and give up...

If you have someone that can show you, or help you set up the plane, or whatever, then give it a go.... Otherwise, if you are on your own, I would suggest a woodriver no 3 or 4. The $120 or whatever is worth it.

A $15 Stanley from the antique shop will eventually work fine, but without a lot of knowledge, skill, and tools to get it ready to go, you'll have a sub par and frustrating experience.
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post #17 of 27 Old 08-27-2015, 03:10 PM
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So far, nobody has mentioned a woodworker's mallet. ShopFox and Wood-Is-Good make several weights and the non-slip polyurethane facing is my choice. The day will come when you MUST tap two parts together. The woodworking Lignum vitae (wood species) mallets are essential.

$5 and a smooth surface will get you a sharpening set-up. Look into the fine grit grades of 3M wet&dry sandpapers as sold by Lee Valley = brand new and fresh grit surface any time you want one. Buy a bar of CrOx/AlOx and some hard cereal box cardboard will make you a honing strop better than leather glued to a stick.
Wrapped around mandrils of various sizes, I get carving sharp edges on all of my adzes and all of my crooked knives. Carving sharp.
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post #18 of 27 Old 08-27-2015, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
So far, nobody has mentioned a woodworker's mallet. ShopFox and Wood-Is-Good make several weights and the non-slip polyurethane facing is my choice. The day will come when you MUST tap two parts together. The woodworking Lignum vitae (wood species) mallets are essential.

$5 and a smooth surface will get you a sharpening set-up. Look into the fine grit grades of 3M wet&dry sandpapers as sold by Lee Valley = brand new and fresh grit surface any time you want one. Buy a bar of CrOx/AlOx and some hard cereal box cardboard will make you a honing strop better than leather glued to a stick.
Wrapped around mandrils of various sizes, I get carving sharp edges on all of my adzes and all of my crooked knives. Carving sharp.
Oh, yeah, mallet! That's one I forgot. I bought a cheapo panel mallet at Harbor Freight (now listed as a "soft face mallet"), and it works quite well for chiseling, knocking boards together, and it's alright for adjusting the irons in wooden planes.
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post #19 of 27 Old 08-27-2015, 04:05 PM
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For wood carving finer that what I can do with any of my 3 adzes (Stubai Carver, Kestrel elbow and Kestrel D-adze) the 12oz ShopFox is nice. To get anything done with a 9/15, a 5/35 or a 2/30, The W.I.G 30oz lead core is a dream.

I just looked at that "SFM." That's not what I mean at all because you have to look at it, pay attention to the strike. Carving mallets, for some reason, don't miss the gouge handle. They don't slip. They have no particular strike face to pay attention to. Their footprint on the bench is minimal because they stand on end.

Last edited by Brian T.; 08-27-2015 at 04:08 PM.
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post #20 of 27 Old 08-27-2015, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
For wood carving finer that what I can do with any of my 3 adzes (Stubai Carver, Kestrel elbow and Kestrel D-adze) the 12oz ShopFox is nice. To get anything done with a 9/15, a 5/35 or a 2/30, The W.I.G 30oz lead core is a dream.

I just looked at that "SFM." That's not what I mean at all because you have to look at it, pay attention to the strike. Carving mallets, for some reason, don't miss the gouge handle. They don't slip. They have no particular strike face to pay attention to. Their footprint on the bench is minimal because they stand on end.
Yep. Round carving mallets are a lot better for carving. But cck wasn't talking about doing carving: he was looking for a recommendation for hand tools to add to a powered furniture shop. Sure, a high quality mallet will eventually be valuable, but early on they're not really necessary.

The other thing is that for the work I do (cutting mortises, excavating dados, things like that) I've never had a need to look at the mallet. It's like using a hammer, with a shaped grip to make sure your hand more or less automatically holds it properly. I wouldn't recommend it for fine carving, but for bench work it's just fine.
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