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MattMoore

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Hi folks, well, this is my first post after stumbling upon this forum via the latest good woodworking issue, and it is one regarding hand tools.
i am an apprentice carpenter, working with my father who is a trained pattern maker,
but now has turned his hand to kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, window,
conservatory installation, and manufacture. this has all been a great learning curve for me, but being as it is mostly on site,
my hand tools seem get a bit if a battering. i wish to start making items in my spare time,
and so i would like to start building up another set of hand tools, simply to keep in the shed.
as with every tool i purchase, i want the best that i can afford,
and one which will give me years of good service, so my question is,
in your eyes, where is the best place to start with building up a hand tool collection?
i would like to get a high quality set, but only tools i will frequently use,
instead of tools that seem like a good idea at the time,. but never get used
so what handtools do you use in your workshops mainly?
the first project i have in mind is that of a jewellery box for my mother.
so any help will be greatly appreciated! :D
 

Midnight

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Welcome aboard Matt...

what tools to get really depends on which direction you want to go in, and how you want to get there... Generally, the two best areas to start with are hand planes and chisels; both offer tons of scope, both capable of lasting several lifetimes if properly looked after, and both available in a wide range of prices from a broad range of manufacturers covering most budgets.. as ever, the basic rule is you generally get what you pay for; buy cheap and you'll pay dear...
 

tx2man

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Welcome Matt,

What Midnight said really, plus, maybe and/or
a dovetail/tenon saw, engineers square, mitre gauge........
....................................................................................
..............Workbench.......................large overdraught.....
............................................4x4...................................
.........industrial unit........................................................
..........................................a chain of retail outlets....... :wink:


TX
 

MattMoore

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well the direction i would like to go in would be furniture making,
but to start with, small boxes and things like that just to get my techniques
upto scratch, im only interested with the hand tools side of things,
as i have full access to a fully equipped workshop,
with regards to chisels, what brand do you see as being the best?
i quite like the japanese chisels, but have never used any,
or tried to sharpen any! from what i have read the sharpening seems to
be alot harder than with european pattern chisels.
with the planes, if you were starting out, where would you start?
start with the one that will be used most frequently i gather.
so which do you use most frequently?

thanks
 

Alf

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Welcome to the forum, Matt.

'Tis a big question, so this'll probably turn into a long answer - again. :oops: First of all have a good rummage through the archive via the search facility, 'cos there's lots of good discussion therein. I'm guessing with a patternmaker for a father you're well aware of the importance of sharp tools and a good workbench, so we'll take those as read. So to the rest, and apologies in advance for any unnecessary egg-sucking tuition. I think just a few choice picks might be fun, rather than trying to do a list, so here goes:

Ah, if only I had the money and didn't have 15 marking gauges already :oops: , the Tite-Mark would have to go into my shopping basket. Failing that I like using using a wheel marking gauge best. Chisels? Well the Lie-Nielsen Chisels would have to be top pick, although the Ashley Iles have many supporters too. Japanese ones worried me too, but I've tried some el cheapos from Tilgear and I'm very impressed. Old ones can be great, but they can be hopeless, and you won't know until you've bought then and tried them - d'you feel lucky? :wink:

Saws get difficult. As far as hand saws go, there's nothing like a good quality old one, 'cos I can't think of one decent new handsaw on the market unless you go Japanese. Backsaws, the competition is terrible. There's L-N, Adria and the amazingly well-priced saws from Vlad Spehar to name but three. Or old ones of course, which can be the bargain of the century if you keep your eyes open. Hmm, I've not mentioned any of the Sheffield makers have I? Well they're not bad I suppose, but the handles are horribly uncomfortable and the set is usually way overdone, so you'd have to assume some tuning and fettling required.

Planes now, that's a whole post in itself... One thing I would say is definitely get a shoulder plane quite early on, 'cos being able to trim your joints is a number one useful thing. To demonstrate my total bias I'd say you couldn't do better than the Veritas medium, but in truth any of them will do the job. Just some are more of a pleasure to use than others. A low angle block is a workhorse in most workshops, and mine is no different. Veritas or L-N depending on budget/preferences, but you might get do okay with a Stanley if you were born under the "Luck of the Devil" star sign. :wink: Aww, there are just too many to suggest - old, new, sizes, bevel-up, Bedrock... Look through the archives, see if you can narrow down the question a bit. :wink:

Hope that helps a bit - it's a start anyhow. Oh, and some reading matter in the form of David Charlesworth's books might be a good idea if you want to know how to tune everything to the Nth degree. Don't let the detailed approach put you off - there's really good info for us mere mortals in there and you'll refer back to them again and again. (That'll be 10% commission, please Mr C :wink: )

Cheers, Alf
 

MattMoore

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well thats given me some food for thought, so really,
the best planes to start with would be a low-angle block plane,
and a shoulder plane? i currentl6y have a record 9 1/2 and to say im dissapointed in its performance is an understatement.
i also have a stanley 93 given to me by my father,
would this be a suitable shoulder plane? or should i be looking at a better model?
on the saw front, which would be the best place to start, a tenon saw or dovetail? and also x-cut or rip cut?

thanks
 

Alf

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MattMoore":2b82scn1 said:
well thats given me some food for thought, so really,
the best planes to start with would be a low-angle block plane,
and a shoulder plane?
And at least one bench plane of some sort - and if we all agree on which sort that'll be a first... (See archives for examples of this :roll: )

MattMoore":2b82scn1 said:
i also have a stanley 93 given to me by my father,
would this be a suitable shoulder plane? or should i be looking at a better model?
Excellent. If it works then it's fine.

MattMoore":2b82scn1 said:
on the saw front, which would be the best place to start, a tenon saw or dovetail? and also x-cut or rip cut?
W-ell... a small tenon saw would cover everything and x-cut it probably the more flexible option, although there are advocates of using rip for everything but they do tend to be in the minority. Nothing quite like using the right saw for the job though... ooops, who put that grease there..? :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 
A

Anonymous

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MattMoore":1jwyuht6 said:
well thats given me some food for thought, so really,
the best planes to start with would be a low-angle block plane,
and a shoulder plane? i currentl6y have a record 9 1/2 and to say im dissapointed in its performance is an understatement.
i also have a stanley 93 given to me by my father,
would this be a suitable shoulder plane? or should i be looking at a better model?
on the saw front, which would be the best place to start, a tenon saw or dovetail? and also x-cut or rip cut?

thanks
Standard angle block would be OK too although not as good as the LA block on end grain. I must agree with Alf on the shoulder plane, I own the recommended Veritas and it is absolutely superb and gets used a lot in my garage.

With regard to the record, you can tune these up quite nicely and I find modern Records to be considerably better than modern Stanleys. Loads of tuning info online and in GWW a couple of months back where they took a very cheap #4 and turned it into a uselful plane. Back issues from their website :wink:

Clearly if you want quality in a plane, then you must pay for it. LN are the best you can buy (excepting silly priced hand made infills etc.) and Clifton and Veritas are not far behind. Any of these will be a rolls-royce to the Stanley/Record fiat uno!!!! I own 5 LN planes and everyone worked perfectly straight from the box. I spent about 2 days tuning a Record #4 and buying new chip breaker and new blade only to find thay my Clifton blew it away without any tuning at all :cry: In the end the Clifton cost about £40 more than the Record + extras :twisted:

Saws eh? Depends on what you want to make and how? Tenons or dovetails?

Dovetail saw should have rip teeth as one cuts with the grain. Japanese are good but I would personally buy a european style dovetail saw. I love japanese saws but find european dovetails to perform more to my liking.
Tenon saw has cross cut teeth as all shoulder cuts are across the grain. Here, I again prefer european with a heavy back support.

Chisels. I find cheap Japanese chisels are superb and take less time than european types to fettle and sharpen due to their concave backs. The edge tays for ages :wink:
I have purchased soem Askley Ilses chisels lately and once flattend and sharpened, I find them to be magnificent. Edge stays for ages and the quality shines through. AI require a lot more time fettling them and flattening backs BUT they are without doubt amongst the best chisels available. I reach for these almost every time.
Also they come with a lifetime guarantee and superb customer service

Hope this is helpfull and welcome to the forum!!
 

MattMoore

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i have read the issue that tunes up the #4, and i can understand the same principle being brought forward,
but as the majority of the work i do is on site, as hard as i try,
the tools do sometimes get used for things they werent designed for
thats why i am looking to put together another set that will only get used for the finer wood working.
the design of box i have in mind will have 4 drawers, and i would like to use dovetails for the joints.
will a x-cut tenon saw be suitable for making such smale dovetails?
currently i am unable to justify the cost of 2 quality hand saws.
how do robert & lees saws perform? i have been looking through the tilgear catalogue, and their prices seem to be very competetive compared to others.
on the japanese chisel front, i have read various posts about the oire-nomi set from tilgear, 10 piece priced £95 would this be a good place to start?

just a quick thanks again for all the quality advice i have recieved so far :D
 

Alf

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MattMoore":35xsfz3a said:
will a x-cut tenon saw be suitable for making such smale dovetails?
currently i am unable to justify the cost of 2 quality hand saws.
how do robert & lees saws perform? i have been looking through the tilgear catalogue, and their prices seem to be very competetive compared to others.
A dovetail saw will be better, yes. DC gave the 10" R&L x-cut a good press IIRC. Or you could go Japanese which is probably best bang for your buck, if you can get along with them.

MattMoore":35xsfz3a said:
on the japanese chisel front, i have read various posts about the oire-nomi set from tilgear, 10 piece priced £95 would this be a good place to start?
It's a good start for Japanese chisels I think. If you want to go with Western chisels this set is well-spoken of.

Cheers, Alf
 

MattMoore

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apart form the apparent longer lasting edge holding of the japanese chisels,
is there any other advantages over western pattern chisels?
are either easier to use?
 

Philly

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Hi Matt
Don't forget that the Japanes chisels that are recommeded are for use with a hammer- the metal hoop at the top of the handle is very uncomfortable when paring. I have a set of Jap chisels for use with a hammer and a set of Crown chisels for fine paring work (and some Marples for the rough and nasty stuff! :lol: )
As you are just getting into making furniture don't go too mad-buy your tools one at a time and spend some quality time with them, fettling, sharpening and trying them out, getting a feel for what works and what you like!
best regards
Philly :D
 

MattMoore

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thats what i intend to do philly, buy tools one at a time,
learn all about the tool and what it can be used for
and use them in conjunction with my existing tools,
until i have a high wuality set, and my existing tools can stay for purely site work,
so where would you folk start? chisels? plane? saws?
 

MattMoore

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i know that feeling only too well, having worked in <dare i say> homebase for 3 years, its such a pleasure being able to work with my dad, and ever since starting i have been falling down the slope more and more :lol: :lol:
with block planes, where is a good place to start? im very tempted by the apron planes of LV and LN
 

Philly

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Matt,
On your next project, when you reach a point where things get a bit tough and progress stops-that's when you buy item number one.
Buy tools as the need arises-that's my advice. (otherwise you start buying tools because they're pretty, "you don't have enough L-N's", etc. :lol: )
best regards
Philly :D
 

Alf

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Philly's avatar is a clear demonstration of how carefully he's followed his own advice... Ask him about his Stanley collection too*. :wink:

Cheers, Alf

*I warned you, Philly :p :lol:
 

MattMoore

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thats what im intending to do philly, i used to race model cars, and then i was drawn into the best looking items instead of the most useful, and hadthem for the sake of looking good on the pit table, as oposed to on the track where it mattered!
the first project i am going to do is a jewellery box,
i have acquired a nice lump of cherry,
so it will be made out of that, 4 drawers, but the first drawer will be a dummy drawer, as there will be a lid that opens
does anyone knwo wherei wil be able to purchase the liners?
 
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