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Here is the problem: Just about anyone on the planet who teaches carving recommends between a half dozen to a dozen tools to start out with but nobody agrees on WHICH half dozen or dozen tools to start with. We also stock a York set from Ashley Iles, which contain similar but not the exact tools than the Pye set and is perfectly good set of tools to start with.
We don't have an axe to grind on which tools to get so we give a 10% discount on 6 or more on Ashley Iles tools bought at the same time. During the first weeks of class, as your teacher is teaching a wide variety of cuts and holds and you get your first hopefully broad range of assignments you will be using the entire set of tools the teacher recommended.
A suggestion: If you get a mess of tools all at one go - from any vendor - even if they come sort of sharp they probably won't be classroom ready sharp. If you are not studying with a teacher and you are learning from a book getting the tools as you need them, or making up your own set is what we recommend. I subscribe to the theory of tool storage that says you should be able to grab any tool using one hand. I don't have a keyhole saw and for cutting curves I have a bowsaw which I use all the time. Pye's seven piece set from Auriou, which I mention above - has very little overlap with the tools I needed for the exercises. You can learn and do amazing things with one tool, or two, or whatever works with your budget. Feel free to download and print as many copies of our isometric paper as you want for your personal use. Hidden lines were removed and shading and lines added to suggest wood grain, surface texture, and the visible parts of the joinery.

As a professional iron monger I do want you to buy tools, lots of tools, and from my company, not from the guy down the street. Also, teachers as a group would much rather their students start out with the same tools each time so that students can easily follow along with the examples and exercises that the teacher assigns.
Incidentally if you are studying lettercarving or doing bigger or smaller stuff the basic sets aren't for you anyway.
As you figure out what you like to carve you will also begin to figure out which tools you need. We have two kinds: horizontal for drawings wider than high, and vertical for drawing that are higher than wide. You want to make one trip to your tool box (even if it's 5 feet away) and use one hand to grab the stuff and the other to hold everything. I think I might write a few more blog entries about the tool box, but for now let's just talk about the saws.
But, that being said, if I don't sell you the right tools, especially when you are starting out, then we will lose you as a customer, and of course we earn roughly the same amount of money no matter what you buy so it is in everyone's interest that when asked (and this happens on a daily basis) we recommend the right stuff. More large tools, more small tools, Full sets of sweeps because you are doing lots of curves.
The reason is that being a beginner it better to first sharpen the first few tools from start to finish, get them working correctly, work on your sharpening skill, correct any problems, and then sharpen the rest when you know what you are doing.
Big wide chisels for lettercarving, it varies from person to person and it is hard to predict. When I started my hand tool saga, I realized that the best place for storing tools I owned was my Knaack box, but I needed to set it up.

Last year I took off the rip tenon saw I had on the left, meaning to replace it, but with the saw project going on in the store I never got around to it UNTIL NOW (well real soon now). And of course once you recognize that you can use just so many tools, you end up with fewer tools to sharpen and a workshop that isn't a pile of stuff.
I bolted on a sheet of plywood to the lid for saws, and built in an inner lining to hold 2 sliding tills. Ramelson and a few other companies make some styles but they don't forge bolsters and other details. The lightness is important because the less material to move back and forth the less you are fighting gravity. The cant of the blade means that the saw mostly feeds itself and it doesn't need weight to force itself into the wood. Mainly of course because when closed it's purpose was to protect the tools in transit or in a dim shop at night. We visit it periodically at the NY Historical Society and it's been a great inspiration for the Gramercy Tools designs. It sounds as if you'd recommend it. All- I'm not too worried about the externals of a tool chest. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.

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  1. Enigma_Flawers

    Place hinges are placed drawings, sketches or footage that you make a property.


  2. Ayka17

    Reasonably priced at your hardware and somewhat bit of wood work use.