You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. An extremely handy addition to any turner's armory, the Sandmaster is used in conjunction with a lathe to put a fine finish on turned pieces. After many years of MDF and 2x4 benches, I started into construction on the FWW Not-so-big Workbench.
BobsfromEnid writes: Looks like you worked really hard just to have an excuse to buy a new tool.
We have the expertise, knowledge and experience to make these judgements and we are fed up with seeing people new to wood working struggle with poor products. We are fed up of seeing people believe it is their fault that they cannot plane or chisel or scribe when it is the manufacturer at fault. When woodworking tool manufacturers are selling chisels that are bent like steel bananas, selling planes that are nowhere near flat and plane irons that cannot be properly sharpened. This page is to help you to avoid wasting money on woodworking tools that you don’t need and, instead, spending what you have to spend on woodworking tools that are going to do a good job for you.
Our knowledge is expert, gained over decades of experience of handling these tools and working with them ourselves — making our living with them.
Woodworking tool manufacturers need to be aware that they cannot continue to make products more inferior than those of their forefathers.
Under my bench right now I have three bench planes; a long one, a medium length one and a short one.
We have had students who have had problems with the Clifton planes not being as flat as their own specification demands but (having spoken directly with the manufacturers) we are assured that those problems have now been overcome. In our sharpening area we have a large granite surface plate — the kind usually used by engineers.
We’ve had our fare share of these low angle bench planes in our workshops over the years. Until very recently I think Sorby have been a tool supplier that has gained a lot of our custom.
Many manufacturers make what they call bevel edged chisels and the shaping of the blade is no-where near the quality that is wanted.
The problem we have encountered with the Sorby blades is FLATNESS or, rather, a lack of it. What arrives in the customer’s hand is a blade that, in our experience, three times out of five is curving from the tip of the blade in a convex pattern towards the handle of the tool, so if the blade is put on a flat surface it will touch near the heel of the handle and touch at the point of the blade with a hollow in the centre of the blade. Lie Neilson make flat bevel edged chisels and we have, grudgingly, recommended those to our students for some time now.
The shape and design of these chisels is not the only thing I would like to see improved however.
They are of laminated construction made by hot forging a hard layer to a softer shock absorbing layer. We have noticed over the past five years that the standard of Japanese tools that we get here in the U.K has deteriorated. The position and the action was ritual, Father and Son had done this many hundreds, maybe thousands, of times before.
We have found that we can get A2 bladed nicely made bevel edged chisels from Blue Spruce Tool Works. The important things about a block plane are the low angle that the blade is set in the body and the mouth. Shoulder planes are an essential woodworking tool and vital part of the cabinet making armoury. The Lie Neilson 112 large scraper plane is a very nice tool, however it is possible to mange without it as I have over 30 years.
Norton water stones have a range of 220 grit 1000 grit to turn a burr and either 4000 grit or the ultimate 8000 grit.
Most of the work around a bench will not however be done by a traditional saw like that but by a small back saw.
We recommend that students buy three steel rules, a 1m rule, a 600 mm rule and a 300 mm rule, and a 150 mm rule. The conventional wisdom is that one needs two or three gauges because one may need to have a gauge set up for a particular job. Popular in the workshop are the Titemark gauges, these are nice people with small hands seem to get on with them. Mortice gauges are needed you need one gauge get one where the movable pin is controlled by a screw on the end of the stock. Another traitor in the camp that could cause you trouble is a square that isn’t square. Make sure they are exceptionally high quality though without being to the engineering inspectors standard, or examination standard. A nice marking knife we’ve found supplied by Blue Spruce Toolmakers is their Cocabolo handled marking knife.
If you like what you read here get our Woody Nooz email newsletter for more regular up to date information, help and impartial advice. With surface decoration and small intricate work being ever more popular this Micro Spiralling Tool covers all options. The pro's choice for century years The incredible particular Sorby HSS steel holds axerophthol whisker ripping butt when others have dulled to uselessness. Shop for Woodworking Tools Plans Finishing and Hardware online at Rockler Woodworking and Hardware. It eliminates the unsightly lines often associated with traditional hand sanding.As the disc is spinning it also reduces the clogging of the abrasive. Most often it's sharpening, but I also use it for drilling, holding bench hooks and shooting boards and occassionally as a chop-saw station. For thirty years I wrote for magazines including Fine Woodworking, The Woodworker, Good Woodworking, British Woodworking and others.
This page is here to help you understand how to choose woodworking tools and our own, independently produced, woodworking DVDs will help to teach you how to use those woodworking tools properly. Our objective is to get the best tools in your hands and to show you how to use them properly.
Those old guys didn’t have the quality control to be sure that every blade was flat so many of them are not. They are without doubt made with a tough steel and this toughness enables them to hold an edge for absolutely ages. The number is usually the indication of the length of the plane, though some planes are slightly narrower than others, so just get that one plane to start off with, then Later on you can add in a Number 7 or Number 8 plane or a long jointing plane for jointing edges and flattening dead flat surfaces. We’ve seen many students buying hundreds of planes over the years and it has become clear to us that the Lie Neilson brand and the Clifton brand are the two to go for. We bought this when we had to argue with some tool suppliers that their planes were not as flat as they said.
The overall cutting angle that the blade is set to the sole of the plane is usually 45 degrees.
In the 1980s I was one of the first western woodworkers to advocate using Japanese chisels and one of the first to stop using them as the only solution.

The Sorby box wood handled cabinetmaker’s chisels are very nice, light, well shaped blades with fairly good quality steel. As far as we can see it seems that somewhere towards the end of the process of manufacture heat is being introduced to the blade after it has been flattened. This hollowing may only be half a millimetre over the whole length of the blade but it should be dead flat.
Failure to give us flat chisels is an unacceptable situation, many of my students do go for the Sorby chisels because they have many good qualities but this now is against our advice and some of them later regret their decision. They are heavier than I would like to see a bevel edge chisel but the machining is a superior quality. This gives us very hard cutting edge with (if you choose your supplier) a high carbon cutting edge that is better, in my experience, than A2 steel. It’s a feature of this type of blade that they hollow out the centre of the flat area. Now I know it’s not the steel I want but I like the quality and the options of different handles available direct via their very good website.
The low angle is important as it gives you more choices when you later understand about cutting angles, this picture shows how low the angle is set in the body usually 13 degrees or less. The Lie Neilson 073 large shoulder plane and the 042 medium shoulder plane are exceptionally good tools, however I think that most of our students are now going for the Veritas shoulder planes.
You can get them at a later stage, if you really need them, but you can manage without them and you can do 99% of all woodwork without them. Until about 1900 most spoke shaves had wooden bodies, hand forged low angle blades fitted into the holes in the body and were adjusted by tapping the ends of the tangs. I have seen these in use as a guy on one of our woodworking short courses showed me what he had bought and they seemed to cut very well.
One would be a relatively cheap hard pointed saw either made by Jack or Stanley, many of these saws are sold as tradesman’s saws, they are cheap, efficient and cannot be more highly recommended.
The dovetail saw is the tool of choice for small delicate work, and the half tenon or small carcass saw would be the general saw for almost all the work you you do. The latter rule is most useful for tucking in an apron pocket and inevitable gets used for scraping off glue around joints and gets lost between our floorboards. This tool may cost you a lot and secondhand ones in rosewood are available and often cheaper and better than new ones. We’ve always recommended our students to have engineering quality squares, in this case of full metal construction with a BS99 standard marking on it. Like the full size Sorby Spiralling System, this micro tool, which is part of Sorby's Micro Modular Turning System, incorporates a tool rest to ensure the correct angle is maintained when producing fine delicate spirals.
Robert Sorby Chisels Henry Martyn Robert Sorby Chisels and Turning circle Presented by Woodcraft 399.99.
06O51 Sorby Intermediate Turning Set VI piece Sorby Beginner's Turning put 5 Tools Grinders. Many of the tools in this assembling are exclusive to Robert Sorby corner chisels and the longest paring chisels manufactured today. The Sandmaster comes complete with a hook-and-loop covered 2" sponge pad which allows for the easy changing of abrasive discs. They start with the single piece blades, which are hand forged from a special Sheffield alloy, then heat treated to ensure the best edge retention, and, finally, are honed and polished to razor sharpness.The handles are comfortably shaped and polished from resilient ash and can be used either by hand or with a mallet. Since 1983 we have had hundreds of students come to us to help them to learn furniture making.
Not only do we offer you this information for free, but we can also offer you our fantastic instructional DVD — a 30 minute expert guide to woodworking tools that will tell you the features to look out for, explain terminology and recommend the best brands for each piece of kit. If you know how to sharpen woodworking tools properly without a set of training wheels then it should give you the very best edge most easily.
The medium sized one is an everyday bench plane and the short one is used for smoothing finished carcasses and for final trueing up of surfaces. Veritas have made some interesting new planes, however their bench planes have given a couple of our students problems with flatness and with the adjustment mechanism. They are the most expensive available but they have been reliably flat which is the essential quality that we are looking for in a plane and the machining of the blades and back irons have been acceptable. This surface is flat within a measured number of microns and has a warrantee signed by an inspector to prove it; we check all of our new tools on this surface.
The attraction of these planes is that the blade is set at a very low angle with support for the cutting edge blade being quite close to the cutting edge.
Now my tools are a mix of western and Japanese and I am currently working with a Japanese blacksmith to develop a lighter western style chisel but with the very hard sharp cutting edge that some Japanese chisel makers can provide. The lightness, the quality of the shaping of the steel and the quality of the grinding and shaping of the blade is really of paramount importance.
That is, it is a chisel that is cheaper to make (more profitable to sell) but ultimately not good for you. This is because it seems to have once been flat and then another process introduces heat to part of the blade and the whole blade then seems to have bent slightly. With a certain amount of care in the fettling of these blades after purchase you can flatten those backs but it is a pain and it is work that should have been done for you by the manufacturer.
This is incredibly hard steel which helps you get this area dead flat which is important for sharpening and for use. There is a very nice Veritas low angle block plane which comes with the option of a high carbon blade as standard. Woodworking tools are offered in lots of variations in an attempt to sell you two tools when one will do the job. For over 30 years I have been making furniture and I’ve only just bought a large scraper plane. These have been replaced very largely by a metal version of those planes and made by companies like Veritas, Clifton and Lee Valley, however in our opinion the old wooden ones are almost always more sensitive and with a high quality of steel iron.
I have not seen these first hand and I am not a great fan of the Stanley and Record type of spokeshave that they are based upon but with a heavier blade and a close mouth they may work well. I have a hand made pre-war Disston panel saw that was recommended as the very height of saw makers art. The key thing with these rules is that they are all consistently giving you the same measurements.
Cutting gauges tend to a better job more easily than marking gauges so that’s what tends to get used more here. Almost inevitably squares with wooden handles don’t seem to be able to hold the squareness that is necessary for quality work. Highly recommended when my knife came it was in a lovely card box with soft wood wood to protect the tool, very eco-sensitive. For additional decorating possibilities on miniature projects add the optional Texturing Cutter (#89149). A range of Bevel and Gilt butt against chisels offering a traditional fine thin shape coupled with precision grinding.
A variety of grits - from 60 - 400 - of aluminum oxide disc can then be quickly attached.The adjustable head which runs on a durable phosphor bronze bushing lets the turner reach even the more inaccessible spots. To give the user instant tool recognition the brass ferules are stamped with the pattern number according to "Sheffield List", while the handles are marked with the blade width (both inches and millimeters).Tools are fitted with a shock absorbing leather washer.

We have seen them spending hundreds of thousands on woodworking tools, power tools and hand tools. Our advice is impartial, we are not linked financially in any way with any tool manufacturing organisation and we receive no free samples that may blur our judgement or colour our opinion. Veritas, Clifton and lie Neilsen have taken a share of the market that was in the hands of the big boys. Lee Neilson and Clifton have been the most reliable suppliers though we have had planes of both returned for being outside their own specification. These blades have the bevel facing up and do not have a back iron which makes the planes more simple in construction. A bent chisel is of no use whatsoever no matter how sharp it is, or how nice the lovely handle is.
You need the bevel to go right down to the corner where the cut is made, you need the sight line. I have used high carbon Marple chisels for over thirty years and Norris plane irons for a similar time and I know this modern A2 steel is not as sharp.
The seller will tend to encourage the unwary customer to go for A2 (which IS pretty much always in stock). Don’t worry about wearing back to the hollow its very shallow and a rub on a course polishing stone will bring this hollow back reasonably quickly. What we are getting now are tools from the larger suppliers and, typically, they can have quality issues. What in this case was a son saying to his father this is my work, am I maintaining our workshop standard with this piece of work, am I doing anything here that might be letting you down?’. If I had the choice I think I’d go for the latter as I think the high carbon steel makes a slightly sharper edge.
The construction of the body is critical, the overhang of the blade beyond the body, to the point it cuts should not be too great otherwise the cutter will chatter or vibrate when working difficult grain. These have the advantage of having, again, the choice of A2 or 01 blades and a rather nice adjustment mechanism to the blade and a more comfortable plane body. Which is simply a handle that holds a cabinet scraper and does an extremely fine job of turning a cabinet scraper into a kind of plane. Many spoke shaves will have seen very little work and are in plentiful supply in second hand tool shops.
The stones we have and use every day are 1200 grit and 8000 grit the first for turning a burr the second for polishing it off. We find that simple marking gauges from Marples can be fiddled with, sharpened, and made to scribe a nice clean line with and across the grain.
The gauge I have used most is a Cullen marking gauge from Classic hand tools its expensive but good tools are. You can buy less expensive planes but you will spend an awful lot of time faffing around with flatness and making the blade sit securely within the mechanism of the plane body. Look at the smoother plane behind it and notice this has a slightly higher pitch at approximately 50 degrees. These planes give exceptionally high quality finish to the timber — even on very figured timber.
It’s not necessary to have a full set of these expensive chisels but over the course of time you will need a full set.
The old man looked at the work for maybe 2 or 3 seconds and then gave a deep appreciative grunt and looked away, the ritual was complete. Of these two planes, probably buying the smaller medium sized plane first will be a good idea, adding the larger shoulder plane later on. Try it out, gone too far, the shaving is too heavy, then tap again, this time at the back of the body of the plane.
These are very inexpensive but are largely being replaced by the more expensive scraper planes.
Look carefully at the mouth and look look carefully at how much of the blade is left usable.
When you are setting tools up you may need a coarse stone and I have a couple of 400 grit stones that students wear out with monotonous regularity. Get your spelling wrong and you could pay even more for a Clenton cutting gauge which is nice but just silly.
The Sandmaster becomes an even more versatile tool when the head is removed and replaced by a pigtail mandrel and goblet or bowl mop. I prefer teaching people new to this woodworking game with a high carbon blade as the burr comes away really sweetly. Woodworking Tools should work straight out of the box, it is not your fault if that tool doesn’t cut, it is theirs and they should, all of them, be made to do better.
He was a man who was not retired, he still turned up for work every day because he just loved the work.
If I only had the choice of A2 steel then that wouldn’t worry me unduly as I think this is still a very high quality blade.
Use a small steel hammer as the shock of the tap is important, plastic soft faced hammers are too indistinct. A very nice modern wooden bodied spoke shave is available from Lee Valley, it’s called their contour plane, made in China with an exceptionally hard high carbon blade, very highly recommended. This has been the way of it for a long time now and I haven’t seen anything better coming along. The more expensive hand made Disston saws these days don’t perform the job as well as these modern hard point saws. 74.99 Robert Sorby is the world's premier manufacturer of specialiser wood on the job tools with angstrom heritage dating back over two hundred years. Yet it is good steel and it is common in many brands of western chisels, including Sorby Marples, Stanley and many others.
As Osasayaki San finished applying the workshop mark and applying my name to the woodworkers knife that he was finishing for me, he completed his strokes, then holding the knife in two hands in front of his face he showed it to his Father. Again don’t be confused by the toolmakers insistence that you need all kinds of other gent saws, inlay saws, jewellers saws or razor saws. As a steel it is acceptable — but only just —that edge is still just a bit too dull for me. Classic Hand Tools View Henry Martyn Robert Sorby offer a comp range of chisels many of which are unequaled to Robert Sorby.
You might want to find yourself a small coping saw or an adjustable piercing saw, these are used for clearing waste when cutting joints, but apart from that aren’t used very much around the workshop.
The favourite in the workshop seems to be a Number 6 or a Number 7 low angle plane, again manufactured by Lie Neilson though Veritas are also good and recommended.

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