What tool should I get next?

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Forum topic by jdalbrecht posted 06-27-2013 05:29 PM 1422 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 2478 days

06-27-2013 05:29 PM

Hi Everyone,
My awesome wife has allowed me $300 to spend on tools as my fathers’ day present. I am seeking input from hand tool users on what tool I should upgrade or purchase. I currently have a set of Woodriver chisels, a Woodriver low-angle block plane, a Woodriver #3 smoother, and a Buck Bros. #5 plane that I have heavily modified. I have thought about replacing the buck bros. with something nicer, or possibly getting a jointer plane. I have mostly used power tools for my projects, but I am interested in doing more with hand tools mainly because they are quieter and I do most of my work after my kids are asleep. Any suggestions are welcome and thanks in advance!


24 replies so far

View tirebob's profile


134 posts in 3365 days

#1 posted 06-27-2013 06:16 PM

What is your saw situation? A nice saw is a joy to use! If you dress stock by hand a jointer plane is nice for sure, but if you machine joint and finish by hand, it really could be put off. Depending on the type of work you do, a router plane is really useful, or a nice shoulder plane too. How are you equipped for sharpening? You could definitely get yourself some quality sharpening stones for that money.

Lots of realistic options. It comes down to what you already have and the type of work you are planning on doing.

View bondogaposis's profile


5542 posts in 2863 days

#2 posted 06-27-2013 06:26 PM

If you don’t know you don’t need it. Just acquire tools as you need them for specific projects, otherwise you’ll be buying tools you’ll never use.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4159 days

#3 posted 06-27-2013 06:50 PM

Buck bros. planes are not very good and I don’t
think they can be improved to the quality of
a beat-up old Bailey.

I’d recommend you acquire a #7 jointer. You can
learn to do most work with a #7 and a #4 for
smoothing. The #5 is a useful size (I use them
a lot) because they can do a lot of jobs without
being too bulky or heavy, but in a shop a
jointer does several things better than a jack.

View John 's profile


2 posts in 2312 days

#4 posted 06-27-2013 06:50 PM

I just bought myself a Ridgid Oscillatiing edge Sander
I’m really impressed me with how well it has been thought out. It reminds me of how well Festool thinks things out.
You get a spindle sander
Pretty good dust collection
A belt sander that moves up and down so that you don’t wear out the same spot on the belt.
It uses standard 4×24 in belts that are not so expensive.
A nice table with a mitre gauge slot. Though it doen’t come with a gauge, My Incra gauge works perfectly.
199.00 at Home Depot.
I live in a City and have a small 1 1/2 car garage to call my shop. Wile I’d really like to have a nice combination disk/belt sander, the Ridgid will fiil the bill for the time being.

-- Woodworking Newbee in SF

View Pete Pedisich's profile

Pete Pedisich

139 posts in 3158 days

#5 posted 06-27-2013 06:53 PM

How is your sharpening setup?
That was my entry to hand tool use.

A decent saw, either Japanese or western, was another.

A jointer plane has helped me with glue-ups since I sold my power jointer last year.

View fredj's profile


186 posts in 2329 days

#6 posted 06-27-2013 07:08 PM

I have to agree with Bondo. If you don’t know what to get next you don’t need it yet. However, that said, if you like hand tools you really will not get the most from them if you don’t keep them sharp. A good sharpening setup seems reasonable.

-- Fredj

View jdalbrecht's profile


8 posts in 2478 days

#7 posted 06-27-2013 07:15 PM

Thanks for the replies so far. I’m pretty well set for sharpening. I have a set of double sided DMT diamond stones from extra coarse through extra fine. Recently I’ve been using the diamond film that Lee Valley sells and I really like how quickly it sharpens and how fine an edge you get. As for saws, I have one Japanese style saw, not sure exactly what you would call it, but it does not have any stiffening on the back, as well as a fairly nice Stanley rip saw.

What do you guys think about using the money to build a work bench? I’m currently using an old one that my grandfather built in the 50’s. It’s sturdy, but the top is in bad shape and it isn’t really set up for good work holding.

I also forgot to mention that I do have a Veritas medium shoulder plane as well.

View jdalbrecht's profile


8 posts in 2478 days

#8 posted 06-27-2013 07:19 PM

Do you think that having #7 jointer would pay off more than having a better #5 plane? I currently do most of my jointing on an 8” grizzly, but I was thinking about buying the #7 for workbench flattening and for situations where I wanted a little more control over how much wood is removed.

View jdalbrecht's profile


8 posts in 2478 days

#9 posted 06-27-2013 07:24 PM

I agree completely. I don’t really want to spend the money just for the sake of acquiring an unnecessary tool. I’m just looking for opinions on what would be a useful tool to purchase since I’m not that experienced with hand tools yet.

View Mosquito's profile


9862 posts in 2804 days

#10 posted 06-27-2013 07:27 PM

a Stanley #7 was actually the very first plane I got. Honestly, though, I don’t use it very often anymore. I don’t work on very large projects too often, so I’ve been using my #5 1/2 as a smoother, and a jointer.

What you want/need will depend on what it is that you want to do, and the size. I do agree, that if you don’t know what you need, to just hold on to the money until you figure out what you need.

Building a good woodworking bench is definitely something you’ll want to do if you end up getting in to handplanes. I used a workmate for a little over a year before I built my workbench. Night and day difference. Even if my woodworking didn’t improve any, my enjoyment did 10 fold.

You could also see if you could modify the one you’re using currently to better accommodate your needs. Just another option

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View EEngineer's profile


1120 posts in 4125 days

#11 posted 06-27-2013 07:29 PM

I don’t really want to spend the money just for the sake of acquiring an unnecessary tool.

You are new here, aren’t you?

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Mosquito's profile


9862 posts in 2804 days

#12 posted 06-27-2013 07:29 PM

Oh, and as far as handplanes go, to answer this question…

I’m just looking for opinions on what would be a useful tool to purchase

ALL of them :-) (it may be a sickness)

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View BigDaddyO's profile


136 posts in 3289 days

#13 posted 06-27-2013 07:51 PM

I would say, put the $300 in a drawer and start some projects. I’m sure the projects will help you decide what to buy, that way you’ll have the tool money when you need it.

Also, I have always felt buying old tools and fixing them up is the best method for several reasons.
1. helps you learn everything about that tool. “tons of info to help you”
2. Rebuilding a tool is fun and gives you additional pride knowing the tool you are using was rebuilt by you.
3. It’s CHEAP
4. It can turn into a bit of a rush hunting for tools.


View woodcox's profile


2361 posts in 2523 days

#14 posted 06-27-2013 08:25 PM

I would recommend some shop essentials. A temporary bench with a front vise or other will be invaluable while building a bench. I’m currently using a 2×12 with a vise on one end while building my work bench. Mayb expand your marking and measuring arsenal. Dare I say good clamps are always needed. It sounds like your plane situation can get you by for a while. We’re in similar boats, this is just what I’ve found most needed lately. Good luck mange!

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19340 posts in 3079 days

#15 posted 06-27-2013 08:41 PM

If you’re using the buck bros as a jack,, then go with a jointer. A buck bros isn’t very good, but a jack is pretty forgiving.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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