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Buying a basic tool kit for woodworking

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morfa

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I've been doing a bit of research (both on here and just generally on the interwebs) as to what I'll need for some basic woodworking. I'm hoping that I'll be able to move on to making some nice furniture, but I'm starting pretty basic now. I've got a selection of tools, from DIY stuff. I'm currently doing up my Victorian end-terrace and I've got quite a few jobs that need doing urgently. Others is a bit more pie in the sky, but hopefully I'll get some of them done. I'm not really a sitting around watching TV guy, like to get out and do interesting stuff, keep fit, make things etc etc. I'm an IT guy by trade and I like to get home and make and do something 'proper'. Happy to spend a bit of money to get 'decent' stuff. But not quite keen on spending £100 on a saw (or a plane for that matter). Anyway, this is what I've got currently:

Couple of cheap hardpoint saws - one's a cheap one from years ago, the other a recent 'toolbox' saw from Wilco
1m & 30cm spirit level
Cordless 18v and 14v drills (borrowed from Father in Law, cheap and naff, but fine for basic DIY)
A random Stanley plane, cost £30, will post pics later on - but it's not in good shape
Aldi 1/4" router (the one that's on sale at Aldi atm) + router bits
Set of cheap power tools, jigsaw, angle grinder, rectangular sander and hammer drill
A selection of g-clamps, mostly fairly small
Plastic mitre box - it's naff
A bunch of other tools, hammer, spanners, socket set, wire brushes
Some finishing stuff, sanding paper, sanding blocks, brushes etc etc

This is what I'm thinking of buying, most of it is from workshopheaven to start me off. As I said, I don't want to buy cheap c**p but don't want to spend silly money on stuff. If anyone can recommend anything cheaper, I'd happily consider alternatives.

  1. Japanese Saw - Gyokucho Kataba 240mm (it's recommended in other posts)
  • Moore & Wright combination set
  • B&D Workbench (I'll see what I can get cheap off ebay - any older models to look out for?)
  • Set of Narex chisels - Also been looking at the Kirschen chisels on Axminster, but the Narex's are good enough surely? I need 'Bevel Edge chisels' right?
  • 3m 7500 Respirator (I'm asthmatic and allergic to dust, got to keep the old lungs in some kind of working order!) with P3 filters

Clamps - Utterly clueless here, what do I need? How many? Any good brands to look out for? Don't mind spending a bit on a good one, but don't want to spend silly money on stuff.

Cleaning and dust stuff - anyone care to recommend me a shop vacuum? I have a small utility room out back and can use the kitchen, so need something good to clean it up, again don't want to spend 00s on one, £50-60 would be good.

Mitre box - can anyone recommend a good one? The cheap plastic one I've got is poor. Don't want to buy one of the power tool jobs (least not yet!)

I do have a plane, but it's probably not up to much. Guess I'll need a whetstone or two to get it in to some kind of order.

Other stuff on the list (in the future) in order of importance:

Extra saws (which ones?)
More chisels?
More & better saws?
Planes?
Decent jigsaw, circular saw, router, orbital sander

Now on to what I actually want to do/make (in order of importance)

Flooring in the loft
Fireplace surrounds, we've got a number of fireplaces in the house, that we've bought fireplaces for and I've been told that I need to get wooden fireplace surrounds on them asap.
A shelf above the front room fireplace - but she wants an oak beam shelf, one of those weathered ones, but it has to be floating
A couple of small spice rack type shelves
Bookcase - we already have some Billy Ikea bookcases, but one room has a alcove and if we put another one in, they won't be in line, so I was thinking of knocking up something similar, but deeper so they line up - I'd really like to have one of those nice built in bookcases, but that can wait.
Refurbish my wooden framed sofa
Lots more shelves and stuff in the utility room and kitchen
A small simple table or two for the front room (guess a nest of tables is similar to what I'd like)
HiFi and Speaker cases (I make my own amps and speakers)
Some new fencing and a new side door for the house

Pie in the sky stuff (as I think it'll be hard to do)
Welsh Dresser
Sink workstation
Kitchen island (with a stone surface)
Chair
Some Garden furniture - arbor, chairs, tables etc

If you've got to the end, thanks for reading it all. Bit of an essay.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Welcome to the forum, Morfa!

Phew - that's quite a list of projects. Some interesting jobs, there - about a decade's worth!

On tools, you seem to be doing quite well, really. I'd be tempted to strengthen the handtool arsenal, for two reasons. Firstly, they don't generate anywhere near as much noise and dust, and secondly, they need much less space to store them. There are quite a lot of power-tool jobs that can be done just as well, and almost as quickly (especially considering set-up and clean-up time) with a few good handtools and a little practice. Sawing is an excellent example.

A Workmate is a good idea. Great for sawing and as a multi-purpose thing to clamp work to. It's one weakness is that it is the wrong height and just not rigid enough for planing. For that, a proper bench makes life much easier on your back. However, if space to set one up is not available, the Workmate can be made to serve.

Clamps - A couple of 6" F-clamps are the most-used clamps I own. Very versatile. If you can get four, so much the better; and a set of four longer ones (say 18" or so) would be handy. In due course (especially once you get to furniture making) some sash cramps will be invaluable; again, sets of four are best, and a couple of sizes like 24" and 48". Unfortunately, good ones are expensive (Machine Mart do the Record ones at the best prices I've seen anywhere, but slow accumulation secondhand might work out a lot cheaper).

The Moore and Wright combination square (or a good Starrett, Rabone Chesterman or Mitutoyo if you drop on one secondhand) is a good idea. Cheap ones are not accurate. A good one is a big investment, but will last forever.

Saws - preferences vary. I've never used a Japanese saw, so can't comment. However, I'd aim for three long saws; 26" 6tpi (ish) crosscut, 26" 4tpi rip (unless you prefer a power saw), and a 22" 10tpi crosscut panel saw. For backsaws, start with a 12" 13tpi crosscut and a 10" 16tpi dovetail saw, and then add a 14" 11tpi rip cut tenon saw later if the mortice-and-tenon bug bites. The hardpoints will do for starters; you can supplement them with the fancy saws later. Sharpening your own saws is not as frightening as some people think (needs a bit of practice, that's all), and lets you keep fine saws in tip-top condition; a useful skill to add later.

Chisels - six good ones, 1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 3/4" and 1 1/14" and a couple of cheap, rough old plastic-handled things for grotty jobs. Later, you could add a really weeny one, 1/16", and whatever specialist chisels (skews for lapped dovetails, mortice chisels, gouges, maybe even a long paring chisel or two) you feel you need. The basic set of good ones only need to be bevel-edged if you plan to cut dovetail joints (not as hard as you might think!); Narex are good, Ashley Isles are even better. For supplementing the basic set, car boot sales and Ebay are a generally very good source at very reasonable prices. Also, buy a couple of mallets; a big one, and a small one. You can hit your grotty plastic-handled chisels with a hammer, but if you do that to good wooden-handled chisels, you'll need soon need new handles.

Sharpening - yes, you'll have to! A plane iron working in good softwoods such as Redwood will last about 1/2 an hour before it needs a touch-up. Chisels generally do a bit better (unless you're doing something really demanding). There is probably more disagreement about how to go about sharpening than any other woodworking subject. There are several systems - oilstones, ceramic stones, diamond stones, water stones, 'scary sharp' lapping papers - they all work. Do a bit of research, see which one appeals, and stick with it for at least six months before trying others. Warning - it can get very expensive if you try several different systems. The cheapest (probably) is the old-fashioned oilstone; you'll need two, one coarse and one polishing. You will also have to grind edges from time to time (not as often as honing - you'll get about five or ten honings before you need a grind), and for refurbishing secondhand edge tools. The cheapest option is an Ebay hand-crank grinder, 6" wheel if you can find one. High speed dry grinders are readily available, but can soften toolsteel if used incorrectly. Wet grinders like Tormek and similar are generally very good, but not cheap.

A couple of tips. Buy the cheapest 6" or 8" plastic-handled screwdriver you can find, and keep it exclusively for opening paint tins, poking muck out of odd corners, stirring varnish, chipping set paint off things....you get the idea. Then you can keep your decent screwdrivers in good condition for turning screws, and nothing else. Also, invest in a couple of books - 'The Essential Woodworker' by Robert Wearing (very good on the basics - setting up planes and planing wood flat and square, making joints, and some simple projects like making a stool or table and carcase work), and - also by Robert Wearing - 'The Resourceful Woodworker', which is very good on wangles and ways of doing things without spending a fortune on special kit. The first can be had from Axminster Power Tool Centre or from Classic Hand Tools, the latter you may have to find secondhand - try http://www.abebooks.co.uk or similar. The final tip is to make or aquire a good toolchest or cupboard to store the better tools safely. Nothing ruins tools quicker than poor storage, especially if rust can get a hold.

Above all, have fun!
 

Wildman

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my only comment would be to only buy as you need a new tool. It is easy to become a tool collector/hoarder, tis a terrible afliction. Thats whe I have ended up with two or more of every machine, some have to go, some day.
 

morfa

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I've got the Collin's woodworking book that's recommended by many on here. Had heard of the first Robert Wearing book, but not the second. I was also looking at the Anarchists Tool Chest by Chris Schwartz. Also got a bunch of other books from the library.

The Japanese saw looks like it'll be good to start with, I'll see what I need after I've got that. I'd been looking at second hand Ashley Iles chisels on ebay, if some come up before I get the money for the Narex's I'll go for them. At the moment the chisels are top priority. The scary sharpening system looks good to me. But at the moment, I'm pretty sure I've got an oilstone somewhere, so I'll stick with that for now. Is a honing guide essential?

Thanks for the clamp advice. Apart from drills, I'm mainly veering towards handtools anyway, as powertools that involve cutting generally seem really rather scary.

Any advice on a good 'shop' vacuum? Don't want to spend too much on one, but I'm killing the main house vacuum on all the mess created by DIY.
 

marcros

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shop vac- keep an eye open for the Lidl offers. I got one a couple of months back, as did others and they are great. I dont know how often they come up- once or twice a year but for 60 quid, it was a brilliant buy.
 

Cheshirechappie

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'The Anarchist's Tool Chest' is a worthwhile read. You get a list of essential tools with reasons for their being essential (I slightly disagree with one or two of Schwarz's choices, but the general thrust is sensible). You get some personal philosophy about consumerism and the quality of furniture, and you get instructions on building a traditional tool chest. Nicely produced book too (cloth-bound hardback), as are all the Lost Art Press titles.

Honing guides are not essential, but some people like them a lot. Sharpening freehand does take a bit of practice, but like riding a bike, once you've got the knack you're set for life. Honing guides give you repeatable results, at the price of taking a bit longer setting the tool in them. Your choice, really - both methods have their advocates, both work.

On shop vacuum, I must admit that I tend to get away with dustpan and brush most of the time. When something more serious is needed, the household Henry Hoover does the needful.
 

morfa

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Ollie:

http://www.mehr-als-werkzeug.de/categor ... 7_6038.htm

Them? Looks quite good actually. Already picked up a few things on ebay. Going to pick up some 2x4 at the weekend for making a couple of sawhorses. Then I'm going to recce a couple of local sawmills/timber yards as the kitchen will be decorated. Going to try a small table first. Lots of painting and general DIYing to do first (improptu drainage needed around the back of the house!).
 

AndyT

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A quick word on Workmates - look carefully at anything before you buy it. The original workmate was brilliant, but over the years the design has been cheapened and copied to the point where there are now some very cheap folding stands which people will call Workmates which will be nothing more than a source of frustration and accidents. You need something as big and heavy as you can make it; even then you will need to steady it by clamping on extra bits of 2x4 to brace against the wall, or by having a helper sit on it. The more it resembles this one, the better:



(Image from a post by Bugbear here.)
 

Paul Chapman

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AndyT":bgimtqoz said:
That one is great - it's the one designed and manufactured by Ron Hickman before Black & Decker took it over and ruined it. I've had mine 40 years and it's still going strong. One good feature is that it has an adjustable foot so you can set it up anywhere and it won't wobble. Most of the ones made today don't have that essential feature.

Cheers :wink:

Paul
 

speeder1987

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Hi morfa

Just a note on the work bench, Im new to wood working just like you, and I started on a workmate. I've just made my own work bench, and its like chalk and cheese, everything is so much easier! I just couldn't get on with the workmate and its just not sturdy enough.

To top it off, you can build a good heavy/ stiff workbench for around £60, which will be a similar amount than a new workmate. Just get the cheapest 2x4s u can find and then make the top out of sheets of mdf, you can put plywood on if you want it to look nice. If your interested in making a bench read chris schwarz's workbench books, really really good read.

Also whether you go for a workbench or a workmate, get a vice, the ones from axminster are cheap and good quality, really helps for work holding.

Sorry if you mentioned these already, I only skimmed your post :)

Anyway good luck

Cheers
John

Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk 2
 

morfa

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Thanks for the advice re workmates/workbenches. I'm aware that older is normally better with them, I'm currently keeping an eye on ebay for something cheap and decent.

I would like to have a decent workbench, but I don't really have the space at the moment. Going to pick up the wood for a couple of sawhorses at the weekend. Once the house is finished, I'll see what space I can negotiate. Currently planning on basically setting up shop in the kitchen, when I'm making stuff. The wife wants the whole shed for gardening stuff, but she's got a greenhouse as well! However the kitchen is mine, as I do all the cooking and cleaning in there anyway.
 

morfa

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Just incase anyone comes across this in the future and wonders what I bought as a 'basic' starter kit, on top of what I already had:

Two chisels off ebay - 1/2" and 3/4"
Moore & Wright Combination Set
Ryoba Komame Saw (the double sided one, seems like the best value for money)
Norton Oilstones from Rutlands (cause they're 3" wide)
Jewellers Saw (bought cause I'm laying some laminate flooring)
Black & Decker Workmate - 2nd hand, so it didn't cost me much and it is useful.

The plane that I have is a no 4 Stanley, which I bought a few years ago. It's pretty awful, but I think with some TLC it'll be half decent. I'd really like a no 7 plane, but even on ebay they're not cheap. I do need some more chisels, but I'm currently not really using them.

The sawhorse isn't quite yet finished, but it's getting there. I'm hoping to knock up a couple of MDF temporary kitchen cabinets next weekend. I'm also planning on getting a Kreg pocket hole jig to help with that. I've got vague clearance for a bench in the utility room, so I'm hoping to get started on that. Will need lots of clamps for that. Also have a big lack of marking tools, but the combination square has been enough so far.
 

Shultzy

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Hi morfa, don't buy tools thinking they may come in useful. The best way to find out what tools you need is to pick a project then work out what tools you need to complete it. Then if there are some tools you need, buy them. After a few project you will find you don't need any more which is the time to replace them with better examples. I used to put money away each week, it soon adds up.
 

drillbit

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Did you buy a shopvac morfa? I would highly recommend this one...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sealey-PC300SDAUTO-Cleaner-Industrial-Stainless/dp/B000R9ZB5I

It's a bit more than your budget, but to be honest, if you spend 40-50 quid on a shop vac it will actually just be a cheap hoover.

The Sealey has a number of advantages.


1. It is metal, it fills with dust, you empty it, that's it. The filter is good, and lasts ages.

2. It has a run off socket, so you can plug your Aldi router into it, connect the hose to your router dust extraction, and as soon as you switch on the router, the vac will start extracting. This is a huge plus for any future powertools you buy with dust extraction.

3. I've had mine 2 years and it's still as powerful as the day I bought it.


One thing not on your list which I would think is worth getting hold of early on is a small block plane like a Stanley 220 for squaring up ends and any little planing jobs. There are loads on ebay quite cheap.
 

morfa

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Shultzy - yeah, I'm putting off buying planes for that reason. Got to by some more wood first then I'll have something to plane!

drillbit - I'll add that to the list, looks like a good bit of kit. Now that a lot of the building work is done in my house a shopvac has probably moved down the list slightly. Also at the moment I'm more planning to use handtools so a shopvac is probably less needed.
 

Webby

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Welcome
i got the Lidl vac and it does at the moment what i want it to do clear up stuff off the floor and work bench .....but i need to get some accesories so i can attach it to my router and bandsaw .....been looking for some adaptors to allow me to do this

Dave
 
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