Beginner's tool list


jhl.verona
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello Neaderthalers...

I'm thoroughly enjoying my little micro sled project, and it's driving me to greater things. So I've put together a little list of tools I think will come in handy for an enthusiastic 'newbie'. I'd love to hear your opinions before I click on the order button.

Firstly I'm ordering everything from one site: Fine Tools in Germany, for several reasons: I'll only have to pay the shipping costs once, they're recommended by an Italian woodworking forum I joined, there is no specialist woodworking shop within 200Km of where I live. I'm not advertising them, I'm sure there are many others in Europe, Axminster comes to mind, but I'd like to support that forum...

I'd better also point out that I have no shop, the garage is for, uhm, the car - and street parking is nearly impossible. Everything goes in the closet, or perhaps under the sofa bed (which is in a bedroom).

On to the list:

Saws:

I'm quite fascinated by Japanese saws, so I'll go for the two or three saw set. I'm no expert with saws of any kind, but I think these are a little more forgiving on a left handed ham fisted newbie... 312030 or 205530. Is there a good reason to get the extra Kataba?

Planes:

Not going to go mad here, I have an old Stanley #4 or #4 1/2 (not quite sure) which needs TLC, and an anonymous block plane in the same condition, but I quite like the look of the Juuma block plane 300030. Probably Chinese, but the Kunz are at the same level as the one I have, and the Veritas, is, well, too expensive for my hobby level. Will it make sense to order a spare blade?

Chisels:

Nothing fancy here, just a run of the mill set 308585. Good enough to attempt some dovetails?

Scapers:

One of the three sets, say 303768, and the file 314050. Should I invest in a burnisher? The video I saw (Adam King?) the scraper was just sharpened with a few wipes on the file.

Scary sharp system:

Matador wet and dry, grits 220, 320, 400, 600, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000, 2500. Three sheets each. Maybe four for the 220 and 320 to get the rust out of those hierloom planes.

Measuring:

Veritas bevel setter 307871, which I hope can be used as a sliding bevel too (I'm counting the pennies I'm afraid). Got some funny angles lined up for a future project.

That brings me to close on €300 - wanted to stay under €250, because I've still got to:

1. Get some glass or marble for the scary sharp system

2. Buy some wood to build a tool box, saw horses and a micro workbench

3. Need some clamps - but I think I can at least find them nearby.

4. Have some money left over to buy presents for the others ;-)

Any suggestions, ideas, etc, greatly appreciated...

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John,

This could easily turn in to a can of worms. Here are my thoughts (worth what you paid for them):

Saws: No comment, I am a Western style saw guy. Perhaps Wilbur can chime in here or another one of our Asian tool masters.

Plane: Don't get the block plane. Instead tune up your #4 or #4 1/2 with a new Hock iron No. 307621 or No. 307624. A tuned up #4 will do more than a block plane that is a knock-off of a Lie-Nielsen. I worry about the quality of the Juuma plane, especially the iron. I recently took a class with Chris Schwarz and a lot of guys in the class built a small shaker cabinet with only a #4. As time progresses you should keep your eyes out for jointer #7 or #8 and eventually a #5 jack plane as well. However, I have begun to view the block plane as optional (don't get me wrong it is nice to have and I won't be giving mine away anytime soon I just think a #4 or #5 is more versatile).

Chisels: I have no experience with the MHG brand chisels. However, instead of getting the set save some money and only buy three: 6mm, 10mm, 13mm. At a later point you can add a larger chisel or two such as a 20mm and 26mm. If you only buy three you might be able to get a slightly better chisel, maybe a Japanese chisel.

Scrapers: I burnish the edge of my scrapers, I have used them straight off the file as well. I prefer a burnished edge.

Sharpening: I don't like the scary sharp system. It has drawbacks and in the long run the expense of buying paper will exceed the initial investment in a set of stones. Take a look at one of the Naniwa combination stones as a starter or the large King Combination Stone No. 309367.

Measuring and Marking: The Veritas bevel setter is nice, but I would suggest a sliding bevel instead (No. 303217). It will provide you with more flexibility when setting angles you just have to recall a little geometry in figuring out how to set it to angles off a plan.

I hope that helped.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi John,

Here are some thoughts that will hopefully be helpful.

Saws: I pretty much use Japanese saws exclusively. But regardless of which saw you get, you'll need to figure out what you want to do with the saws. The saw that you use for small joinery cuts, like dovetails, is going to be different than the saw used for larger joinery cuts, like mortise and tenons for a table leg, and that will be different from the cuts used to dimension your wood.

Those two sets are probably very good, but over the long haul, you may find out that you'll want to replace them, which means spending more money. The reason I think you may wind up replacing them is that the size of the saws in those sets are okay for everything, which means that they are not ideal for anything. I'll suggest getting a small ryoba (Silky fine tooth, 309446) for joinery cuts, and a large ryoba for bigger cuts (309314). The two together are € 78, more than the three saw set, but I think they will last you for a lot longer period of time.

I have an article on my blog with some more detail on about what to think about when it comes to buying Japanese saws, if you have some time to waste.

Planes: I'm going to against what a lot of folks would say and suggest that if you have a smoothing plane, skip the block plane for now, or at least wait until you have the budget for a better one than the Juuma or Kunz. Josh's suggestion of getting a Hock blade is a great one.

Chisels: The set you linked to seems nice.

Scapers: Get a burnisher.

Scary sharp system: the cheapest and easiest way of getting up and going when it comes to sharpening. Don't be surprised if you wind up getting a different method, though. Living in Italy, I would guess that you'll be able to score some marble. ;)

But the best advice I have is to pick a project, like a small box, and get the tools you need to make that. Then pick another project, and get the tools you need for that project, and keep going in this manner. This way you'll avoid having tools you don't use. The first project will have the greatest initial outlay, but after that you won't have to spend that much money, since you can keep using the tools you already accumulated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah so Josh pretty much nailed this one. I agree that block planes are really optional. The only advantage is the small side for smaller cuts, but #4 will do just as well. I have never been a fan of the scary sharp method either (then again I haven't really given it much time to try out) I have to believe a set of 2 or 3 stones will serve you longer.

I completely agree about only getting a few chisels instead of the set. If they are of low quality then at least you didn't get a whole set of them. Generally I only use 2 to 3 sizes of bench chisels in my daily work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Josh, Wilbur, Shannon - thanks for your detailed replies. For someone who is groping in the dark, your advance is a great help. Special thanks to Josh and Wilbur for browsing through the catalogue for substitute ideas - can't tell you how much that helps me.

Saws:

Wilbur, it wasn't wasted time reading your article, there's a lot of hard earned facts there. You're right of course - I need two different sizes of saw, not two different saws. Took the empirical route - cut out a cardboard mockup at 250mm (OK the dog knows I'm mad, just don't tell the rest of the family) and yes it seems too small for long cuts, and too big for delicate use.

So two Ryoba's it is 309446 and 309314.

Planes:

Hmm. Had to think long and hard about that. I think I've been living in a disposable ('usa e getta') society too long. New shiny things against old slightly rusty things. However, when all three of you say the same thing... I'll take the time to bring the #4 back to condition, and I'll also do the same for the anonymous block plane I have. The #4 will get new teeth (the Hock blade). The #4 is a real #4, I took it apart. It's a 1925 - 1932 Bailey (probably only a few hundred thousand left by now), so I think it would have been my Grandfather's as my Dad would have been between 5 and 12 then.

Perhaps the extra 10% for the A2 blade is worth the investment? Hock blade 307654 instead of 307621.

Chisels:

Don't know MHG either, but the site owner seems to know what he's doing (reading the Italian forum). However, Josh got me thinking, few and better. Maybe HIKOZA Oire Nomi 6, 9 and 12mm (when they're back in stock). Or dare I go 6, 9, 18mm?

Scrapers:

Crown burnisher 303292

Scary sharp:

I hear what you're saying, but first I need to get those two planes back in action. Second I'll really need not just the combo stone, but also something to flatten it with. You're all probably right, in the long run I'll be saving money, but right now - times is hard... Thanks for the links though Josh, I've bookmarked them for the next time.

Wilbur - you're right, I must have about 10 m2 of flooring (25mm thick) in the cellar. But wait, maybe I'm in the wrong forum, perhaps I should take up sculpting marble...

Measuring:

Yes, my engineering mind, all those lovely scribed lines. Whereas the reality is I'll be using relative measurements most of the time. Sliding bevel it is.

Hopefully I'm back on the straight and narrow now (let me know if I'm not, won't be buying anything for a few more days). I also think I'm getting more bang for my, erm, euro.

Grazie mille, guys,

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John,

Here are a few parting shots at your last questions.

A2 vs. High Carbon (O-1) on the Hock Blade. I personally prefer the O-1 (High Carbon), but you can't go wrong with either one. You can put an excellent edge on either one. If you are interested in pinching euro cents then go with the high carbon you won't be disappointed.

I liked the look of some of the Japanese chisels on the site. Wilbur might be able to help with the quality on these. As to 12mm vs. 18mm why not split the difference and go with a 15mm. I think any of those sizes would serve you well as medium sized chisel. Looked at your next project and think about which one would be better suited for the tasks it will require and go that route, add the others later as you need. Eventually you will find yourself in possession of a complete set. I bought mine one a month for about a year until I put together a set when I started out.

Best of luck and feel free to ask questions and as always let us know how you are doing on your projects.

Regards, Josh

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chisels:

Don't know MHG either, but the site owner seems to know what he's doing (reading the Italian forum). However, Josh got me thinking, few and better. Maybe HIKOZA Oire Nomi 6, 9 and 12mm (when they're back in stock). Or dare I go 6, 9, 18mm?

Josh has given you great advice.

I don't have any experience with the Hikoza chisels, but the more expensive Koshimitsu chisels are made by Matsumura, which have generally gotten good reviews here in the U.S. They are available here through Japan Woodworker, and there are a number of folks using these chisels that seem to like them.

I wouldn't worry about starting with the Hikoza chisels. Fine Tools doesn't look like they sell crappy tools. One option is to get one 6 mm Hikoza and one 12 mm Koshimitsu, and see if you really prefer one over the other.

By the way, my wife is really excited that I have been talking with a woodworker in Italy. We took vacation in Italy 9 years ago for our first wedding anniversary, and she just loved every moment of it. She would move there if she could.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, unless you know what how a nicely tuned plane should perform, I advise you to buy at least one quality plane. I got the Veritas 5 1/4..among others since. This will give you a good benchmark what you need to work towards in rehabbing your old planes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Josh has given you great advice.

He has indeed. And so have you.

...

I wouldn't worry about starting with the Hikoza chisels. Fine Tools doesn't look like they sell crappy tools. One option is to get one 6 mm Hikoza and one 12 mm Koshimitsu, and see if you really prefer one over the other.

Hmm. Tempting. I agree that Fine Tools seem to know their stuff.

By the way, my wife is really excited that I have been talking with a woodworker in Italy. We took vacation in Italy 9 years ago for our first wedding anniversary, and she just loved every moment of it. She would move there if she could.

I have a cure for that. Go back, hire a manual drive car... in Palermo. Let her drive. Give it 10 minutes. ;) Oh, and fly there, Punta Raisi, a cliff on one side, the sea on the other - and there's always a cross wind. I think pilots need a special license to land there.

Both events scared me, er, sharply, I can tell you. Though I must admit I'm still happy with my move. Just wish they'd learn what queuing means at the bus stop, in the bar, at the Chemist's - practically anywhere. It's just not in their vocabulary.

John, unless you know what how a nicely tuned plane should perform, I advise you to buy at least one quality plane. I got the Veritas 5 1/4..among others since. This will give you a good benchmark what you need to work towards in rehabbing your old planes.

But Vic, I've seen the videos! I get your point though. I've joined an Italian Woodworking forum (the terminology is mind boggling), and I'm hoping to network with a few of the guys there who are relatively close by. One of them, Giuliano, produced a 98 page PDF on planes and how to bring an old plane up to the mark. So I've got a book too!

Obviously it's not just the tool. Hopefully (for the price of a glass of wine or three) I can spend a few hours with one of them.

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But Vic, I've seen the videos! I get your point though. I've joined an Italian Woodworking forum (the terminology is mind boggling), and I'm hoping to network with a few of the guys there who are relatively close by. One of them, Giuliano, produced a 98 page PDF on planes and how to bring an old plane up to the mark. So I've got a book too!

Obviously it's not just the tool. Hopefully (for the price of a glass of wine or three) I can spend a few hours with one of them.

John

Whoa, that will be interesting to get translated. Even more fun after sending it through Google Translate :) I'll be eager to see the translations for 'frog' 'heel' 'toe' 'mosquito wings'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gulp, International woodworking etymology - for beginners... You have a few months free for the course?

Whoa, that will be interesting to get translated. Even more fun after sending it through Google Translate :) I'll be eager to see the translations for 'frog' 'heel' 'toe' 'mosquito wings'.

Most of the words are much the same as in English, sole, mouth, throat, etc. Frog is easy - it's (wait for it) frog, but ya gotta adda de italiano accento (think Inspecteur Clouseau here, so I usually don't understand what they pronounce - then they tell me it's eeenglish)

Instead of toe and heel, tip and tail (punta e coda) is used - as for skis.

Mosquito wings? Did you make that up to confuse me? Is that an imperial measurement, like gnat's behind, smiggen, tad?

Just curious Paul-Marcel, since you're a smart guy - and a polyglot that likes Monty Python, where did the term frog come from? I'm thinking 'frog in my throat', but with etymology any logical guesswork is usually completely wrong...

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ha ha, no, mosquito wings is what some people call those infinitely thin shavings they like to take with their planes because they are thin like mosquito wings. I don't like mosquitos so I don't go making their wings often ;)

If you take the frog out of the plane it looks like... a frog, from the side. I don't think you'd get sick licking the back of this type of frog, however. I'm also pretty sure that if you kissed this frog, it wouldn't, say, turn into a random-orbit sander. If Monty Python had his way, the

:lol:
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The word frog is also used for a button type fastener on coats and cloaks made with cord, a loop attached to a belt to hold a sword's scabbard, a piece of railroad track for guiding the wheels through a gap in the track, and the part of the violin that holds the strings in place above the neck. My guess is that at one point "frog" meant "doohickey" or "you know, that thing that fits into that other thing".

Hey! The Oxford English Dictionary agrees with me, sorta:

frog2

noun

a thing used to hold or fasten something, in particular:

• an ornamental coat fastener or braid consisting of a spindle-shaped button and a loop through which it passes. • an attachment to a belt for holding a sword, bayonet, or similar weapon. • a perforated or spiked device for holding the stems of flowers in an arrangement. • the piece into which the hair is fitted at the lower end of the bow of a stringed instrument. • a grooved metal plate for guiding the wheels of a railway vehicle at an intersection.

The planer frog does kinda look like a frog.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Call it a lacewing then - they don't bite.

Ha ha, no, mosquito wings is what some people call those infinitely thin shavings they like to take with their planes because they are thin like mosquito wings. I don't like mosquitos so I don't go making their wings often ;)

Now this is going to win me brownie points with the Italian woodworkers...

The word frog is also used for a button type fastener on coats and cloaks made with cord, a loop attached to a belt to hold a sword's scabbard, a piece of railroad track for guiding the wheels through a gap in the track, and the part of the violin that holds the strings in place above the neck. My guess is that at one point "frog" meant "doohickey" or "you know, that thing that fits into that other thing".

So, when I see these guys on the street, I don't need to ask what the "doohickey" is that keeps their sciabola in place.

Other terms could be "doodad" or "thingamijig" in the UK, "whatsit" if it has a power cord. Hence, when you find a "whatsit" in the kitchen that your better half bought, you'd say "

- might need a comma somewhere there.

The planer frog does kinda look like a frog.

I must be lacking a vivid imagination. Just to be precise here, is that a http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWS8Mg-JWSg?

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had some interesting feedback from the Italian woodworkers group, one of whom suggested the Fine Woodworking 'beginner's list':

1 Marking gauge - don't have

2 Marking knife - I have a modelling knife

3 Combination square - don't have, but I do have a try square (which is actually square)

4 Bevel gauge - that's on the list

5 Dovetail saw - this will be the small Ryoba

6 Coping saw - don't have

7 Chisel set - very small set on the list

8 Shoulder plane - don't have

9 Block plane - I already have one, so not on the list

10 Card scraper - on the list

11 Spokeshave - don't have, but I have a rasp file

12 Smoothing plane - I already have one

Some of these things I don't have - and I really can't stretch the budget much further right now, so I'll wait until the next project and add one or two to that budget.

The only thing that I probably wouldn't have considered for the list is a spokeshave, but then again, I don't make many spokes. That is to say I don't round off table legs.

Some things I have added to the list (bringing me dangerously close to €300):

1. A set of 5 200mm F clamps

2. A honing guide - also seen an interesting use of this with a chisel to produce a poor man's router plane

Thanks again for the help. I've just sent the order off...

John

P.S: In the cellar I have about 30 marble slabs left over from the flooring. 600mm x 300mm x 15mm. One of them is broken, but still about 450mm long. This will become my scary sharp bed. Any idea how to 'straighten' the broken edge? I'll sheath it in a piece of wood, but right now it's very irregular, and sharp. Can this stuff be scribed then broken off with a hammer blow as for ceramic tiles?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share