Journey into Handtools #2: Shopping List

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Blog entry by chopper6322 posted 12-11-2013 10:43 PM 1778 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Why the change Part 2 of Journey into Handtools series no next part

So I am still in the planning stages of my move to hand tools. Mainly because the dining room table I am working on has taken far longer than expected. Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Anyhow, i have come up with a rough shopping list of the tools that i believe will give me a good start and fit within my budget. I look forward to any and all comments on tweaking this list. The first thing i did was think through the types of projects I want to work on. It will mostly be shop tools and such for a long while, saw benches, horses, shooting boards and bench hooks, some straight edges and winding sticks. Other useful ideas will be greatly appreciated. The culmination of my “training” as planned now will be a roubo. My budget from selling power tools will be approximately $1050.
So here is the list in no particular order:
Veritas 14TPI dovetail saw
both Veritas molded spine carcass saws, rip and cc
wood river planes- #4 smoother, #5 Jack and low angle block plane
2 Disston panel saws from ebay rip and cc (not sure one TPI’s yet???)
saw sharpening files, tooth set, and maybe a rake angle jig
LN large router plane
Shapton glass stones 1000 and 8000 grit, (will use scary sharp for flattening and rougher grits)
and a MK II honing guide

I guess i should add, i already have a couple hand braces and auger bits that require cleaning and sharpening
wood river chisels
an old wooden jointer plane that only needs an iron and wedge
various measuring and marking utensils
an old standard block plane
and some beat up (what i think are) smoothing planes that i intend to use as a scrub plane

So this is where I stand as of now and am still excited about pulling the trigger on this around the first of the year, so there is still time to tweak the list as new information is gathered, thanks a lot for reading guys and I look forward to your input.

UPDATE It looks as though, due to comments here and a little dumb luck, that I will indeed be restoring some vintage hand planes. This week I have recieved both a smoother and a jack plane that look like stanely models and say made in USA but do not say stanley anwhere on them and don’t have irons or chip breakers. anywho, I plan to get some hock irons and chip breakers, cleanup up and see where that gets me. Thanks for all the comments and suggestions, this site continues to pay off for my learning :)

-- "As iron sharpen iron, so one man sharpens another" Proverbs 27:17

8 comments so far

View Richard's profile


1959 posts in 4029 days

#1 posted 12-11-2013 11:36 PM

A Membership at the local Gym to get your body ready for all the hard work to come. Good luck with your quest.

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3937 days

#2 posted 12-12-2013 12:14 AM

If you were to go with rehabbed vintage planes you may be able reallocate some funds, or include another item or two. The WR planes are nice, but I bet you could save 50% or better w/vintage.

View Oldtool's profile


3414 posts in 3529 days

#3 posted 12-12-2013 12:33 AM

All righty then, let me see if I can be of any assistance:

I may have mentioned this to you in a past post, but I too am attempting to go mostly hand tools, so what I would suggest is that first you review the following web site videos, which you may be aware of, they taught me a lot;

Now on to some of your questions which I may have some knowledge on;
I’ve made two dining room tables, both took much longer than I hoped or expected. There is a learning curve included with each new project. Of the tools you listed, I suggest a good cabinet or sash back saw. I have two secured on Ebay, 18” and 14”, which I used to cut the breadboard tenon with on my son’s table. Once cut across the end, I split off the scrap as suggested by Paul Sellers in a video, which I couldn’t link here, using a 2” wide chisel I got at a flea market sale. ( just search Paul Sellers in YouTube)
Next, make sure you get a good jointer plane, mine from Ebay is a No. 7 Stanley, which I use to flatted the table top as well as joint the board edges for glue up.
Two panel saws, one each cross cut & rip. Again mine from Ebay & flea markets. For sharpening, see the first link for the Logan Cabinet Shoppe, and Lie Nielson for saw files. at a good price & selection assistance.
I have two mortise chisels, 1/4” and 3/8”, both came in handy with my trestle table builds.
The smoother & jack planes you list are very good to have, mine again from Ebay, I’m cheap.
Regarding the stones, can’t help, I only use sandpaper, mostly Harbor Freight, from 220 to 1500 grit. Again, I’m cheap. I have one of those $15 guides, but find myself doing it free hand & it seems to work fine for me. I lay my sandpaper on a granite 12” X 12” tile from big box, cost all of about $4.
You mention auger bits, me too, sharpen mine with special auger files also from Lie Neilson, and used their YouTube video as well.
Router plane, mine a Stanley from – you guessed it Ebay, with new irons from Veritas. Didn’t used it on the tables though, in fact seldom do use it.
Old wooden planes, have three, two Jack & one Jointer, but as great as they work, I have them set for coarse cuts, really trim down a sawmill board quick, and one of the Jacks is my scrub, and it works quite well at taking thick cuts. The other Jack squares the sides quickly, then my No 7 follows.

I don’t know what else to say except that if you have any questions, please ask.


-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 3300 days

#4 posted 12-12-2013 01:14 AM

Who needs a gym Richard, the hand tools are the exercise. :)

Chopper, even though you’re a Spartan, I thought I might mention Paul Sellers has a lot of good posts on putting together a basic hand tool set. He shows how you can get started with just a #4, but he does use other planes since he has them. Here are a couple links:

If you want to trim down, you might find you can get by with just the crosscut carcass saw. You can rip with either your tenon saw or dovetail saw. And like Shane said you can go vintage for lots of the stuff and save if you rehab it yourself. Takes time though. A lot of the old blog posts on Paul seller’s blog are about finding old tools and restoring them.

View Wally331's profile


350 posts in 3364 days

#5 posted 12-12-2013 01:50 AM

Here is probably a great starter set of saws, as good as they come, a little elbow grease and they will make great saws, and they will probably go for under 75$ too.

I have a woodriver no 4, 6, and low angle block, love them all great deals imo, but I also have several vintage stanleys that I have restored and they work just as well, for quite a bit cheaper too. I also have the woodriver chisel set with the green handles, they work alright, I have to sharpen a bit more then I’d like, but for 20$ on sale you can’t go wrong. Disstons go for pretty cheap on ebay, and come spring they are all over flea markets and antique shops.

If you are looking to save more money, you can make a lot of your own tools too, most marking tools, like small knives, squares, marking gauges, they can all be made quickly and for cheap. router planes, and bench planes can be made too, but a bit more time consuming.

Of course there is nothing wrong with buying all your tools new too ;), but for a thousand bucks, you could have 3 LN planes, or 2 whole sets of vintage or homemade tools.

View chopper6322's profile


59 posts in 3752 days

#6 posted 12-12-2013 02:30 AM

Probably my biggest mental debate other than the switch to hand tools itself was in the area of new premium planes or vintage stanleys. I opted, at least for now, to go with the new ones because i feel there will be enough of a learning curve perfecting my sharpening techniques, learning how to sharpen saws, and just hand tool woodworking in general lol. I did not want to add one more thing to the list preventing me from actually building furniture. Now I am curious old tool as to what a sash saw is or does. I have heard of it, but never really grasped its concept very well. also Tim, I was planning on using the rip carcass saw for tenons, at least at first, and maybe using a japanese style saw for the bigger tenons as i do already have an Irwin brand from HD. The tenon saws seemed to be quite a jump in price from the carcass saws but maybe it’s worth it in the end??? My general idea with the router plane was to use it for the obvious dados and rabbits but also as a shoulder plane for tenons, but maybe this only works in my head :) thank you all for the video links as well I have seen a lot of Paul Sellar’s stuff and really like him, also the logan cabinet shoppe was my backup plan for saw sharpening. When I screw them up bad enough I’ll send them off and have a fresh start :)

-- "As iron sharpen iron, so one man sharpens another" Proverbs 27:17

View JeremyPringle's profile


321 posts in 3813 days

#7 posted 12-12-2013 03:46 AM

I’m just going to toss my 2 cents in on this:

Another thing that a lot of people going into hand tools forget, but usually quickly realize (or fail miserably).. you need to approach things differently. Most of the time there is not a dedicated tool for the job like power tools jig. You have to find different ways to solve problems. Trust me, you will be kept awake at night thinking of how to do something.. and you will find an answer. Use the tools that you have. You can do almost everything with only a few tools, and then the other tools just become ‘convenience’ items. When you only have a few tools and you are forced to learn to use them faster and better. Basically to sum it up… keep your list simple, and short to start with, and learn to use the basic tools.

I do consider the router plane to be ‘essential’.

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 3300 days

#8 posted 12-19-2013 03:06 AM

I think Jeremy has a good point. Keep it minimal to start with then add the stuff you need. My understanding of a sash saw is that it is a hybrid filed saw that can rip and cross cut decently.

I think if you have the budget, going with premium planes and tools in general isn’t a bad way to go for the reason you mentioned. It takes one source of error out of the equation. It’s definitely been a challenge trying to learn how to sharpen, fettle, and restore all at the same time, and in very little shop time at that.

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