While it’s great to have a workshop full of power tools to help with some of your woodworking projects, there’s a certain satisfaction achieved when doing woodworking using hand tools that just isn’t felt in the same way as when you’re using power tools. Proponents of using only power tools will likely not understand the reasoning behind those woodwrights who prefer hand tools. For others, they speak of a “connection” when they use hand tools, something that can’t really be described, and must instead be felt. A basic set of woodworking hand tools should consist of a quality chisel set, a hand-held crosscut saw and a good jack plane. Fillister plane – This type of plane has a guide with which you can cut a shoulder on the edge of a piece of wood. Ripsaw – While a crosscut saw allows you to cut different lengths of wood, having a ripsaw lets you cut different widths as well. Mortising Chisels – To help create mortise and tenon joints, they have a thicker shank and a bevel. When you have acquired some of these woodworking hand tools, in addition to the basic foundation of chisels, a plane and a saw, the number and variety of projects you can create may surprise you.
I encourage you to browse my website, read my tips and suggestions, learn from my experience, and leave a comment if you have a question.
Computer Desk Plans 1 CommentIf you’re considering building a computer desk, then you’ve come to the RIGHT place. For many of today’s woodworkers setting up a shop means buying a bunch of often expensive machines and power tools, figuring out how to plug everything in, making sure you have enough outlets and electricity, and all this before you even begin to think about dust control and noise issues.
Even apart from the health and safety issues, and ignoring the expense, there is still a learning curve involved in becoming familiar with table saws, jointers, planers, router tables, and a variety of other powertools, stationary or otherwise.
There is an alternative — much less expensive, simpler, safer, healthier, and for many, even more rewarding. The secret is to start with woodworking hand tools by setting up a shop that relies exclusively on relatively inexpensive items.
Graham Blackburn is a noted woodworking author, videographer and lecturer, who has written more than a dozen books on woodworking, starred in a 16-DVD woodworking series and contributed to or edited several woodworking magazines. Christopher Schwarz has helped many of us solve some pretty frustrating problems over the years. Hand planes are generally a combination of a cutting edge or plane iron held in a firm body that when moved across the surface of the wood, takes a relatively uniform and thin shaving. Planes are designed so the the cutting edge or plane iron is held at an angle to the surface of the wood.
In the 1860's, Leonard Bailey (Bailey Planes) began producing a line of cast iron-bodied hand planes. The Bailey and Bedrock designs are the basis for most hand planes manufactured today and they have changed little since the early 1900's. Mouth - the mouth of the plans is the opening at the bottom of the sole down through which the plane iron extends. Plane Iron - the plane iron is a plate of steel or blade with a sharpened edge which cuts the wood.
Depth Adjustment Knob - the depth adjustment knob controls how far the plane iron extends through the mouth. Lateral Adjustment Lever - the lateral adjustment lever is used to adjust the plane iron by skewing it so the depth of cut is uniform across the mouth of the plane. Depending on their size, most planes are categorized as either bench planes or block planes. Bench planes are characterized by the plane iron with the bevel facing down and attached to the cap iron. Different types of bench and block planes are designed to perform specific tasks with the name and size of the plane being defined by its use. Jointer Plane - A Jointer Plane is a finishing plane for large surfaces and is invariably used to true up the edges of boards so that they can be closely fitted or joined together. Jack Plane - A Jack Plane is used to true up the edges of a board in the rough and prepare it for the Fore or Jointer Plane. Fore Plane - A Fore Plane is simply a shorter jointer, and begin lighter, is preferred by some woodworkers to the longer plane. Smooth (Bench) Plane - The smooth plane is used for finishing or smoothing off flat surfaces. Transitional planes have a wooden body with a metal casting attached to it to hold and adjust the plane. Metal or iron planes are made mostly of wood except the handles and knob which are typically made of Rosewood or Cocobolo or plastic.
Circular or Compass Plane - Compass planes have flexible steel faces which can be accurately adjusted for planing the inside or outside of circles.
The Vintage Delta Homecraft drill press was one of the most versatile tools in the wood shop. Information about table saws including the features found in bench, contractors, and cabinet saws, mobile and stationary saws. Woodworking-Supplies & Equipment including tools, hardware, supplies, woodworking plans and more. After woodworking for several years, conducting “research”, and attending Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s School, I’ve compiled three lists of hand tools: (1) urgent (what you need to get started), (2) semi-urgent (what you need to do more than just basic projects), and (3) non-urgent (improves convenience, tools for advanced projects, or items that are fun to have, but not vital). VIDEO: This is a really great video, by Paul Sellers, that explains the differences between types of handsaws, and how to sharpen them. Shannon Rogers, The Renaissance Woodworker, gives a really good (although lengthy) introduction to braces, drills, & bits. By subscribing to the RSS feed you will be notified when new entries are posted on this blog. DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. Keeping your workshop supplied with machinery, timber and finishes, as well as doughnuts and tea, is not cheap. The steel in old tools can be of better quality than in some modern counterparts, although the tools will need a bit of attention.
This thinking can apply to a wide range of salvageable tools and, although the worked-on tool will not have the same cash value as a new one, it can often do the same job.


Recent trips to car boot sales have landed me a collection of six assorted chisels, two shaped slipstones used to hone gouges, and a very old spokeshave with an adjustable mouth, possibly made by Preston; perhaps eighty or more years old, this kind of shave is considered to be better than the more common types. I suggest you try to find a fairly good tool or two to begin with, then progress to scruffier items as your skills increase. I learnt a lot about restoring tools after being given a dozen very old carving tools, some rusted together in a lump. I have an electric motor mounted on a block of wood that can then be held in a vice, and a small drill chuck fixed on the end of the spindle in which I put various grinding bobs, sanding drums, flap wheels and small shaft-mounted grinding wheels.
Youll need a selection of emery cloths, as well as wire brushes, sandpapers for wood, a few drill bits, rust killer, paraffin, white spirit, meths, stain, button polish and plenty of rags. If you want to renovate a metal spokeshave, take a good look at it to see if there are any labels, remnants, letters, numbers and names in the casting, which will help you to identify the tools origin if youre interested. Remove all screws and knobs, and leave them to soak in a drop of paraffin in a tin can these parts are often non-standard so dont lose them.
If the tang looks straight and isnt eaten away by rust, clean and de-rust the tang and anything on the chisel neck that you might have missed.
A handle that has to be struck with a mallet needs to be sound, but for general hand use, itll be fine as long as its sanded down and stained with something like Georgian mahogany, followed by two or three coats of button polish, a gentle smooth with well-worn sandpaper and a final light polish with furniture wax. There are normally four possible handle positions on a four-sided tang, but when you have the best position, put a little mark on the handle, such as a bit of masking tape, for lining up when you tap the handle (with a small amount of Araldite in it) onto the tang. Excellent hammers of various sizes and weights can usually be purchased for little cost and are easily cleaned up, plus a touch of paint just make sure that the handle is tight, and the head securely wedged onto it. I think thats a good start to a hand tool collection, costing a fraction of the price compared to buying new. This article will explore some of the tools you can use and the projects you can create for those times you choose woodworking with hand tools. For some, it’s part of the whole “Green Living” experience, since of course, using hand tools is much friendlier to the environment.
Regardless of your reason for wanting to try woodworking with hand tools, there are a few basic tools you’ll need in order to get started. All this can seem overwhelming for the beginner, and while ultimately the rewards of woodworking are typically well worth the effort, it can be a lot to deal with in one gulp.
For hundreds of years there were no power tools, and yet the craft produced amazing woodwork, and more importantly for the hobbyist, an enormous amount of satisfaction and pleasure.
As you progress you may well have the urge and opportunity to add in some basic power tools to make certain jobs such as stock preparation easier — which, incidentally, is what power tools were invented for — but in the meantime you will have learned a lot of skills and techniques that cannot be easily duplicated with power tools alone (try making a cabriole leg on a router table or a Bombay chest on a jointer — it can be done but only with a complicated array of extra jigs and fixtures, which seems to defeat the purpose of being efficient).
He’s also a champion tango dancer and earlier in his career studied music at Julliard and played saxophone with Van Morrison and others. They are used to flatten, reduce the thickness of, and smooth the surface of a rough piece of lumber.
Depending on the length of the plane, when moved over the surface, removes the high spots in the wood.
The plane iron extends beyond the bottom surface or sole of the plane and slices off thin shavings of wood when pushed across the surface. Early planes were made of wood with a mortise (rectangular slot) cut across the plane body so the blade could protrude below the surface of the base. When the plane is pushed or pulled over the surface of the wood, the shavings pass up through the mouth of the plane. It breaks the chips or curls the shavings as they pass up over the blade through the mouth of the plane.
Bailey and later Stanley planes were designated by a number respective to the length of the plane. Its size makes it especially desirable for all work requiring a lighter jack plane than the full size version. Where uneven spots are of slight area, its short length will permit it to locate these irregularities, leaving the work with a smooth surface when finished.
The plane iron is held in place by a wooden wedge and is adjusted by striking the plane with a hammer or mallet. 43-110 performed all of the operations commonly done on larger more expensive shapers of its type.Delta Homecraft Drill Press Model No. Used vintage hand tools are better in most cases (and less expensive), although some modern companies (like Lie-Nielsen Toolworks) manufacture very quality woodworking tools. Bench chisels, mortising chisels, paring chisels, carving chisels, turning chisels, skew chisels?
You know, I could have saved a lot of money myself if someone else had written this a few years ago! It doesnt help the wallet one bit, either, when you have a penchant for quality hand tools. For a start, theyll need a good clean and de-rust, the handle will probably have to be tidied up, and the blade sharpened and honed.
Ive also found an engineers spirit level, useful for setting up machines, benches, frameworks and the like, and an adjustable wood-boring bit with two cutters, used with a hand brace to make any size hole in its range.
Ive found many tatty tools that still show the makers original grinding marks, and so a bit of a clean and sharpen should put it back in the kit. It would be good to get hold of a metal spokeshave there are various styles such as flat face, round face and adjustable mouth, as well as the fairly modern style with two adjuster knobs.
Normally I use abrasive cloth and old slipstones to clean up blades that are not too rusty, but these were deeply rusted with bad pitting and needed a regrind all over.
I use these to regrind and polish up the inner canal of a blade, which needs to be very clean and smooth where it meets the bevel, and at least a bit more to allow for further sharpening. Old paint can be removed with paint stripper as per instructions and wearing gloves and goggles, then cleaned up and neutralised with white spirit, wire-brushed, emeried and any residual rust killed off with Jenolite rust killer.
When refitting, do not force tight; if you think they may unscrew, put a spot of paint on the end before screwing.
With the handle still on, give the handle a preliminary clean a bit of coarse woodworking abrasive is good for removing dry surface rust (wear a mask). Old splits in handles can be filled with a sliver of wood and Araldite; unless the unfilled split is very fine, dont clamp it up, as this only stresses the wood, potentially causing it to split elsewhere. I found a few more items at another car boot sale during the writing of this article, and cleaned and renovated ten assorted chisels in the end.


You will need to understand how to prepare and sharpen them, how to use them and the jigs and devices that go along with making their use easy, secure, and accurate.
Planing is also used to produce horizontal, vertical, or inclined flat surfaces on work pieces usually too large for shaping.
The plane is held in the palm of the hand while the index finger rests on the finger rest to help guide and control the movement of the plane.
It slides forward and backward to adjust the gap between the cutting edge and the front of the mouth. In modern woodworking woodshops, the wood is taken to the machines to be milled & shaped at high speeds, with loud noises.
For example, even beginner hand toolers should be able to crank out a bench hook, shooting board, square, and straight edge. I bought a bunch of the wrong tools, which is why I wanted to help others avoid my mistakes.
All of these were pretty cheap and if you look at good modern chisels to compare prices, youll see the kind of bargain that can be had.
Hold it by the handle and look along it to see if its bent or distorted, bearing in mind deliberately designed bends or curves. The other side can be cleaned up on a rubber disc-type wheel with an emery disc on it held in the motor. Dont overwork the mouth area and working face, just follow the shape with a strip of emery held along a flat file. Then rub down with a rag and white spirits (which will soon dry) to remove any loosened rust, and then you can see if things look salvageable. If its a new one, drill holes of different diameters to make an approximation of a taper that will tap on and off the tang to within about 5mm of the shoulder; a firm tap should seat the handle. I also bought two spokeshaves, two oilstones, another adjustable wood boring bit, a spirit level with rotating cover and a vernier caliper gauge.
Many special types of planes are designed to cut specific shapes of moldings or to cut joints. The advent of many power tools such as the portable router, made many hand planes obsolete and they are no longer in production. In fact, these kinds of projects are the best to start with, because they won’t be on display in your living room! I’d be grateful if you could please subscribe to my website and share this with your friends! As I explained in GW202:27 when I discussed vintage planes, I find car boot sales are ideal for tracking down old, rather tatty tools that can be renovated. Its my belief that a lot of tools suffer more from rust, poor storage and bad sharpening than they do from hard usage.
If the handle is bent to one side, it could be a bent neck or a bent tang or a badly fitted handle. You should also keep an eye out for bench chisels, again in various styles such as bevel edge and mortise, as well as gouges and carving tools depending on your working practices. Work with the wheels rotating away from you, wear eye protection and a dust mask, keep fingers away from even blunt edges and keep a handle on to protect hands from the tang, which is sharp enough to go deeply into your hand if it gets caught when grinding or polishing. A good wire brush is needed to remove any loose killed rust, then apply a thin coat of primer followed at intervals with two coats of enamel the same as the original colour.
Most tools only want a common-sense approach to cleaning and painting, but sharpen them properly and youll end up with a decent tool. Carry on cleaning with abrasives, wire brush, rust killer and a final smooth finish with emery. A larger ferrule can be fitted to a cleaned up split handle end, just requiring you to reduce the diameter to accommodate a tight, tap-on-fit metal ferrule, and then to drip superglue into splits and the tap-on ferrule until it seats on the pre-cut shoulder. Sight down the handle and blade and if its not in line, remove and rotate the handle through 90° and check it again. It’s a lot of information, but it can provide the foundation for an almost limitless array of techniques that will equip you to produce virtually anything. On some planes it is only adjustable with a screwdriver when the plane iron and cap iron are removed. However, it’s not nearly as romantic or relaxing as a traditional woodworking workshop where the woodworker brings the wood to the workbench, and then brings all the hand tools to the wood. It’s taken me awhile to figure this out, and I’d love to share what I’ve learned so you don’t wasted your time and money. This time were on the lookout for wooden-handled chisels, spokeshaves with cast steel blades and a few other items to get your collection started.
A chisel with a badly split handle will look as though its had a hard life, but more often than not, its blade will be fine and will renovate with a replacement handle into a useful tool. If you tap two good chisels together they give a ringing sound, while poor quality ones sound more flat and dead. When I hone my chisels I sometimes rub the body of the blade on the stone just to keep them in good condition. A hand tool workshop is by no means an inferior substitute for the more typical power shop, but rather can be the foundation for much more sophisticated woodworking. Other planes have a screw mechanism that allows the frog to be adjusted without removing the plane iron.
The above video will help clarify different types of chisels, but my chisel buying guide page will help you get a great set of quality chisels for less money.
Other items to think about are draw knives, marking knives, cutting knives, bradawls, sharpening stones, marking gauges, spirit levels, hammers, pincers, pliers and mallets. If the handle is loose or split, hold the blade in soft vice jaws, and use a bit of wood and a hammer to tap the handle free.
Over time I’ll add more and more shop-made appliance videos (both making and using) to this section.



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