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Tools: Fewer but more expensive, or more but cheaper?

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sorslibertas

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Hi!

I'm new to the forum, and am planning on getting (back?) into woodworking. I enjoyed it a lot at school, and did a fair bit of rough carpentry for my previous job as an aid worker.

At the moment, the only tools I have are a refurbished Stanley No 4 from Tooltique and a freecycled Makita drill that needs a battery replacement, so I need to start buying more tools to get started. I'm a single dad and work fulltime as an A&E nurse, so would rather not spend most of my free time fettling tools any more than absolutely necessary. The question is stated in the title. My options are as follows:

Saws
Either
  • a Spear & Jackson 9500R Traditional Skew Back Saw 22" x 10ppi,
  • a Spear & Jackson 9550B Tenon Saw Traditional Brass Back 12 Inch 15PPI, and
  • a Spear & Jackson 5410Y Professional Tenon Saw 10" x 13ppi
or
  • Veritas Rip Cut Carcass Saw 12tpi - 275mm

Chisels
Either a set of 6 MHG Regular Chisels (6, 10, 12, 16, 20, 26 mm) or three Narex Richter chisels (not sure which sizes - any advice welcome)

Bevel gauge
No brand or branded (I'll need to look into this a bit more)

Combination square
6" Starrett, Shinwa, or no brand

Drill
New battery for the Makita and a set of drill bits (brand?), or a refurbished brace with FISCH Jennings pattern auger bit with square taper shank (again, not sure which sizes to get)

Workbench
Either build one (https://www.woodsmithplans.com/plan/knock-down-workbench/?apid=36564 is what caught my eye), or any old thing from B&Q or Amazon. I live on a boat, so space is limited, although I can use the communal barge on my mooring to do work - I just have to tidy up and take away everything when I finish.

Sharpening
I think I'll go for a cheap diamond set of coarse, medium-fine and either fine or extra fine. I would love to get a set of DMTs, but I don't think I can justify it. I also think I'll go for Bahco saw file(s) suitable for the saw(s) that I get.

Did I miss anything obvious? Again, please chime in with alternatives!

Looking forward to reading the replies.
 

Ttrees

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Hello and welcome to the forum.
I don't really see your introduction as a question, because I have no clue what you're intending to make.
i.e
Outfitting stuff like stairs, kitchen units doors carpentry and joinery,
or fine woodworking starting with boxes or things which up your skills to make fine cabinetry for the boat if its kitted out already,

I'll try and give you a bargain list, but it won't mean much as I have too little info.
Saws
Three saws will serve you better than one, if you're intending to change profile to rip cutting for the brass back,
There should be plenty of car boots around London (pure guess) which might be worth looking into.
Sharpening a saw can be done very quickly, but a complete re profiling will take some time compared to most other tools.

I haven't a clue about your supply of timber, to give you a better answer on what you might want.
I personally wouldn't be planning on ripping much if you can get away with it.
And as for the crosscutting, a hardpoint saw might suffice for a long time.

Chisels
Flea market for chisels, ebay, gumtree, facebook marketplace I hear is good for some.
As long as their not too stubby as that makes it harder to see vertical.
might be worth looking into bargain section of homebase or other
poundshop if you cannot find secondhand.
Yet to see someone really disappointed with a cheapie, provided you can see what you're getting,
Make sure the handles are not off, or loose I suppose, cranked ones are comfy for paring,
and a straight or in line tang better for hitting.

Guessing you have the time for a scouting mission since you're on a budget.
Might be worth seeing if you can find info on google/here and return to said shop if the steel is good.
That's about the hardest thing to find out, as if you bring a 150mm or 6" engineers square
get one for a tenner all steel Soba at axminster, a lot more dependable than your average ruler.
you can see if one you want for a parer is flat.

Bevel gauges... seems to be difficult to find one of really nice quality for little.
I'm guessing this is for the boat work, some have levers that get in the way, and you need go looking for a nut instead.
Many like the Shinwa as the locking system is at the butt of the tool, not used one though.

Drill, I use the corded variety, what does that dude AvE on youtube have to say bout cheap ones?

That workbench looks absolute pants, no good atall for handwork.
A workmate is for building sites.
You can't plane proficiently on either, for multiple reasons at least 5 main ones without thinking.
You would never get the hang of planing and it would be so frustrating that you would hate the very tool that could very well be the most important, if you're doing hand work.

Can't go wrong with a solid timber top, I'd make it as long as possible.
A planing beam or two might also suffice, something like this maybe

Big trestles would make life easy, if you don't have the space, then consider having something that
can be a chair or something, should you be able to butt the bench against the wall like Andrew's bench.
Screenshot-2020-10-29 All Replies on Work bench smack down LumberJocks com ~ woodworking commu...png

This might be an option also

Screenshot from 2020-10-10 07-40-38.png


Sharpening I'll leave to others who have more hones than I do.
Cheap diamond plates (5mm thick plate) can be got from ITS Ultex/Vaunt
but wait until the 50% discount is on.
A flat piece of glass like a bathroom scales might suffice should you need flat for tool fettling.

Long reach angle poise lamp is the first thing you should buy, if you can find one.
Should have around an 7.5 or 8" shade
I spent a while searching for some, and made do with the one on the bandsaw for some time


Axi engineers square for a tenner, bang on and trustworthy compared to expanding timber ones which like to separate form the brass.




More planes, look for good thick soles seen front and back, aswell as no cracks in cheeks
or damage to the underside.
I like 5 1/2's as they're a lot more hefty for shooting boards, should you decide the trio of fine saws
aren't really necessary

SAM_2351.JPG


Again look around the tool shops for a few things
Nice long stainless steel rulers can be got for less than a tenner, some of them have a lot better finish than others

Calipers I find useful too for allsorts even doubles up as a marking gauge
I like the wheel gauges but have yet to see one which would be equal to the Titemark
Have a cheapie discontinued Axi knockoff of it, double lcking screw yes please, but loose fit makes me want to make me own stem.
A new hollow Veritas which is a bit delicate, that I'm not that fond of
But it can be "dropped on" to things, as the screw for the cutter is countered.
There should be someone making a good copy of the Titemark by now, seen some but look similar
to the Axi one that I have which is sloppy.

SAM_4716 (copy).JPG


Lidl do some real stout F clamps in three differing sizes now.
I bought a good few of these, ones pictured in center with big red handles
Most versatile hold down you will find,
SAM_3906.JPG


Hope that helps
Give us more of a clue on what sort of thing you wish to do,
and what timber you're planning on using.
All the best

Tom
 

Cabinetman

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Shinwa bevel guage, brill kit. Other bits you will probably need, a mallet, pin hammer, pin punch, a metalworkers scribe, surprising how often it gets used. A bit of candle for your plane, personally I would recommend a combination stone for sharpening but that’s one for another day. Block plane a marking guage and a couple of screwdrivers.
This little lot doesn’t need to cost a fortune, looked after it will last as long as you do and it’s amazing what you can manage with a simple kit like this. Best of luck Ian
 

clogs

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benches, all depends on the room u have and if it has to be moveable..
working on the back deck of a narrow boat is no fun....
I built 27 narrow boats and fitted out about 1/2 of them......
seen some nice work on the canal side with 2 workmates and an old flat door.....
are u working outside..? then u'll need some sort of a collapsable tent...
which all takes up room...
I did some work mobile on boats but I had a dedicated truck with generator and compressor plus a bed and a large awning...lol....

as always.....need MORE INFO......
 

johnnyb

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my thoughts and ideas are not definitive. buy a 22inch hard point saw. buy a used sheffield saw and have sharpened rip(spindex do it on ebay) bevel guages are a bit old school I would get the bosch digital gauge the amateur green one.(pam or gam) . just use a tape measure(I prefer small pocket size). squares are really important and a good quality combination square with a 12 or 15 inch blade.(you could get a 4 piece combo set as that has an angle device and drop the pam)but I prefer the pam. combo squares are the most useful device....maybe ever. benches I'm not sure but they need to be secure and sturdy with a vice and stops( for hand planing). a big ripsaw is surprisingly effective but a decent tracksaw is extremely useful(sorry this is hand tools only)
an accurate roofing square is very handy as well.
 

Fitzroy

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More tools lower price, but not cheap. Secondhand can bring bargains but you’ll need a little time to fettle. Lots of good advice above that I’ll not repeat.

Personal experience is I bought a set of diamond stones early in my WW journey and they don’t get much use. I use wet and dry on an old marble tile. I doubt in the last five years I’ve spent even 50% of the stones cost on wet n dry.

Good work surface and work holding is the difference between enjoyment and frustration, lots of thought needed but it normally comes down to weight and rigidity, both are against you with needing a compact knock down solution.

edit: welcome to the forum, you’ll get lots of opinions (many conflicting), help (with some red herrings), questions (at times related to your original post), and tangents in your threads (as with all good forums). Overall we want to help and are normally supportive, so come on in the water’s lovely.
 

Jameshow

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Not much to add apart from.....

Are the tools likely to rust in the damp?

A bahco square has been brilliant for me and easy to find being orange?

The S &j panel saw is great. The tenon saw less so too much set in the teeth, my favourite is a sanvik saw. Wickes fine point one isn't bad though.

A cheap set of chisels are ok you can even get them with a stone for a tenner. Brought for my nephew they seem ok.

Make yourself a mallet and bench hook.

Cheers James
 

Spectric

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You really need to give us an idea on the type of jobs you are planing because it will make a huge difference in what tools are suggested and some idea of your budget. Is this going to be a venture into DIY round the house or are you looking at getting into the fun of woodworking at some other level. Keeping it simple, three or four cheap tools will not equal one decent one in all aspects, it may initially deliver ok results but will lose it's edge faster or fail to maintain a tolerance, ie keeps losing it's settings.
 

Pineapple

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Hi!

I'm new to the forum, and am planning on getting (back?) into woodworking. I enjoyed it a lot at school, and did a fair bit of rough carpentry for my previous job as an aid worker.

At the moment, the only tools I have are a refurbished Stanley No 4 from Tooltique and a freecycled Makita drill that needs a battery replacement, so I need to start buying more tools to get started. I'm a single dad and work fulltime as an A&E nurse, so would rather not spend most of my free time fettling tools any more than absolutely necessary. The question is stated in the title. My options are as follows:

Saws
Either
  • a Spear & Jackson 9500R Traditional Skew Back Saw 22" x 10ppi,
  • a Spear & Jackson 9550B Tenon Saw Traditional Brass Back 12 Inch 15PPI, and
  • a Spear & Jackson 5410Y Professional Tenon Saw 10" x 13ppi
or
  • Veritas Rip Cut Carcass Saw 12tpi - 275mm

Chisels
Either a set of 6 MHG Regular Chisels (6, 10, 12, 16, 20, 26 mm) or three Narex Richter chisels (not sure which sizes - any advice welcome)

Bevel gauge
No brand or branded (I'll need to look into this a bit more)

Combination square
6" Starrett, Shinwa, or no brand

Drill
New battery for the Makita and a set of drill bits (brand?), or a refurbished brace with FISCH Jennings pattern auger bit with square taper shank (again, not sure which sizes to get)

Workbench
Either build one (Knock-Down Workbench is what caught my eye), or any old thing from B&Q or Amazon. I live on a boat, so space is limited, although I can use the communal barge on my mooring to do work - I just have to tidy up and take away everything when I finish.

Sharpening
I think I'll go for a cheap diamond set of coarse, medium-fine and either fine or extra fine. I would love to get a set of DMTs, but I don't think I can justify it. I also think I'll go for Bahco saw file(s) suitable for the saw(s) that I get.

Did I miss anything obvious? Again, please chime in with alternatives!

Looking forward to reading the replies.
You Obviously need to minimise "Tool-Kit-Storage-Space"
N.B. - Your Bench is Your Most Important Tool !
The bench you have considered is a Useless & Flimsy Toy ! = Don't Make One !
One of the Solid-But-Collapsible workbenches is your best bet.
If your boat is Big Enough To Store One - Research "Moravian Workbench" on uTube.
Cheaper, but not as solid or strong, as the Moravian Workbench
-->>WORX WX051 Pegasus Multi-Function Work Table and Sawhorse with Quick Clamps 6924328311058 | eBay
Alternatively:-
Do You have Access to 240v Power ? ( Can you use a Router ? )
If So - Then -->>
= Match Fit Work Horse
Using This -->> 1200W Wood Trimmer Router Hand Laminator Electric Palm Laminate 1/4 Woodworking | eBay = 1200w Router.
Micro Jig Products from -->>Micro Jig Products - Wood Workers Workshop = Full Range.
Micro Jig MATCHFIT Dovetail Clamp AP = Match Fit Clamps
Microjig products are Painfully Expensive - but well-designed & manufactured.
You could also consider Customising a Pair of (Extremely Strong) Toughbuilt Sawhorses.......
 

Jameshow

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In my mind the tools you use the most get
the best quality.

The hedgetrimmer dosen't need to be Bosch you only use it twice a year and it's a thankless job, ditto the SDS drill.....

However cordless drill buy the best you can afford, same for a no4 or what ever size plane you prefer.

Also with static tools buy the best you can afford or don't have them at all. Look for induction motors.

Cheers James
 

Hornbeam

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As you are just starting out it is a bit more difficult as you want to build up a selection of tools and you dont know whether this is going to be a life long hobby/obsession. My experience is that poor quality cheap tools are extremely frustrating and poor value for money. That doesnt mean that all cheap tools are poor or that all expensive tools are good,
I would look for good quality second hand, hand tools first. Buy good makes like Record, Marples etc.
Good tools will last a lifetime. I have plent that I bought second hand 30 years ago and will last long after I have gone
Good luck
Ian
 

Pineapple

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In my mind the tools you use the most get
the best quality.

The hedgetrimmer dosen't need to be Bosch you only use it twice a year and it's a thankless job, ditto the SDS drill.....

However cordless drill buy the best you can afford, same for a no4 or what ever size plane you prefer.

Also with static tools buy the best you can afford or don't have them at all. Look for induction motors.

Cheers James
When you are buying Electrical Power Tools; The Strength of the tool can be assessed in either Watts or Horsepower.
745.7 Watts = One Horsepower..... < Horsepower - Wikipedia >
The stronger tools will usually produce a smoother cut.....IF... Their Cutters Are SHARP !
The weaker ones may be adequate for light work & they will be more economical to run.
 

sorslibertas

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Thank you for all the replies so far. Apologies for not being specific as to my plans.

I'm thinking of starting off by making some wooden items for storage (tool box, book shelves, etc) in reclaimed scaffolding boards or wooden pallets - so low quality, non-durable stuff. Once I'm more confident that I won't turn expensive lumber into toothpicks, I might start replacing them with similar items made from pine, beech, or oak. Still nothing really fancy, but strictly utilitarian.

The boat I'm living on is rented, but my partner and I are looking to buy our own, and I hope that when we do, I would be able to fit out the boat to meet our requirements. If we end up with a wooden boat, I would also like to at least be able to maintain it and do some basic fixes along the way. This is not for another few years, though.

I have 240V AC on my boat, so powertools are an option down the line, but I would like to start off with handtools first, as I at least know how to look after them properly. To be clear, I'm not a handtool only zealot.
 

recipio

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To be able to do good work you have to be able to measure accurately - and I mean down to fractions of a mm. I've gone through about six Chinese digital verniers before splurging for a Mitutoyo made in Japan. I wish I had bought one starting out in this game.
 

mikej460

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Hi and welcome
Here's my 10 pence worth:

Look at this saw Z-Saw Japanese Double Edge Ryoba Saw - 250mm | Axminster Tools they are different to use as they cut on the pull stroke but you quickly adapt and they are super sharp with the benefit of a rip blade on one edge and cross cut on the other. Both are fine enough for joint work.

I would plumb for a Narex chisel set, they've got great reviews and are sharp straight from the off. If you don't have a mallet then consider getting one of these Nylon - Thor Hammer Company Limited

Vaunt Diamond Stones are excellent value for money Sharpening Tools – Hand Tools - ITS.co.uk I've got a 300, 600 and 1200 grit plus a leather strop and made a plywood holder. Also get an Eclipse honing guide.

As others have said get a good quality vernier gauge, a small engineer's square, one of these is my go-to woodworking square Starrett K53M-350-S Try Square : Amazon.co.uk: DIY & Tools and a good combination gauge (the Stanley is recommended by Paul Sellers et al but the Bahco is also good)

Choose a sliding bevel gauge that doesn't have the adjuster screw on the side that can get in the way like this (it's out of stock so try google) Japanese Shinwa Sliding Bevel | Axminster Tools

Others have suggested excellent solutions for the rest but tools, like sharpening techniques (you just wait..) are quite personal things so expect different answers!

Good luck
 

MARK.B.

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Invest in a soft rubber pad so you will have something to bang your head against (without causing to much damage) when things don't go according to plan :eek:.
Seriously though,buy the best that you can afford and that way when and if you upgrade you have a fair chance of getting some of your cash back when you sell. If you buy iffy quality you will quickly become dissilusioned and could be put off. It's fine having all the best most expensive tools on the market but you need to be able to use them properly or your end result will be little better than if you used cheap ones,the only difference will be in your bank balance.
 

Bod

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Living on a boat, I know the space limitations, a box this size will store and be carriable for enough tools to get you going.
Just be sure to make this big enough to to take a small panel saw, trust me a panel saw with 2 inches cut from it, looks strange.
Rather than get a rebate plane, the front and back could be surface mounted.

Bod.
 

Jacob

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.........
I'm guessing this is for the boat work, some have levers that get in the way, and you need go looking for a nut instead.
..........
A lot of sliding bevels with a lever have a little secret - if the lever gets in the way you can push out the bolt and turn it to a position such that the lever will always be in line with the handle when tightened. They have a hexagonal shape below the head and can be set in 6 different positions. Not everybody discovers this! Though I'll check mine it might be octagonal - can't say I've looked since I last set one, probably 30 years ago or more.
The levers are much handier than a nut etc.
Like a lot of trad tools they are generally superior to modern alternatives but in not very obvious ways until you get to use them. Another example of this is the trad wooden marking or cutting gauge - totally superior to the modern expensive gadgets on offer (wheels etc)
 

Ttrees

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Will take note of that Jacob, although I've only probably used the thing once or twice TBH.
It seems strange the amount of play in the slot and the blade.
It could be that way to counteract rust I suppose, but just could be whatever blade they were cutting
the slot with either?

I love the wheel gauges though, as the pair of wooden marking gauges I had beforehand used to move quite a bit.
A good Titemark has a pair of locking screws and even the 20 quid knockoff which is a bit sloppy is proper secure when tightened down, just not as slick to adjust like the Veritas.
The Veritas I bought as it has the flush cutting tip, and offset stem, which doubles up as a sort of router plane, which isn't as solidly locking as it could be, but I guess I'm just being a brute and misusing the tool! not really though.

There is a market here for someone to make a better alternative, as I guess those folks making marking gauges are too busy marketing router planes also.
Regardless a fine tool for one who might want to make their own tools.
The pair I own have the bevel on opposite directions for clean mortises from one face side.

Maybe it's just the fact that I never was shown a proper demonstration of one by someone honest, apart from the Japanese variety that is, which looks a bit of faffing about by comparison.

Tom
 

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