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

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Jacob

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.... pair of wooden marking gauges I had beforehand used to move quite a bit.
They don't move at all if working properly, and are a pleasure to use.
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, ...
These ARE the alternatives and they aren't as good as the trad woody.
n.b. it's a good idea to half half a dozen of them as it can be really useful to have them left at the various settings you might use, throughout the job from start to finish
 
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Ttrees

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From what I've seen the wheel gauges seem more versatile, and can be good for those who might not be as good with their math as they would like.
SAM_3713.JPG

Not saying that a wooden one can't be as good or better for most jobs,
but in 10 years, yet to see someone honestly demonstrating the traditional ones with precision results, and I do watch a lot of youtubers.

Tom
 

Jacob

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From what I've seen the wheel gauges seem more versatile, and can be good for those who might not be as good with their math as they would like.
View attachment 117573
Not saying that a wooden one can't be as good or better for most jobs,
but in 10 years, yet to see someone honestly demonstrating the traditional ones with precision results, and I do watch a lot of youtubers.

Tom
Several hundred years of precise joinery was done with precision trad tools such as wooden marking gauges.
Most of what you find on youtube is utter rubbish - best not to watch it too often!
Have to say - your photo seems to show the classic novice mistake of taking a mark from one workpiece to transfer it to another. :unsure:
 
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Jameshow

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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.
I recently made a simple tool box as a prototype for my clients to make. I made it 600 x400mm x200mm.

I used 4x1 timber for the sides top and bottom..

The hinged side is 300mm deep.

Either dovetailed or screwed together depending on skills.

1/4 ply sides nailed on.

IMG-20210906-WA0005.jpeg
 

Ttrees

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Haha, yes I tried to do it the other way beforehand, but I have some sort of dyscalculia.
Tried several ways to do these double tenons, which I admit was a challenge with all methods I've tried.
It was adding the offset which was some odd measurement, was screwing with my brain :D
Tried using the dividers, but ended up just making lines of peck marks, each no better than the last.
Think I flipped this particular leg around.
Nice to have a tool which can get you out of trouble.

Agreed most of youtube is rubbish but thankfully there is skilled folk on there too, if you know where to look.

Tom
 
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Ttrees

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I would like to start off with handtools first, as I at least know how to look after them properly.
If all else fails, motor oil and plastic bags.
quote @sorslibertas
To be clear, I'm not a handtool only zealot.

The bench and really good lighting are always the most underrated tools, which is doublelly important if not having machines to process the stock.

I don't have a planer thicknesser, so my bench is my machine bed, and all that's needed for planing is a single stop at the end..
Its flat which is important to me for multiple things, longer work or thinner stock for example.
It does not get abused with chisel and saw cuts, and an eye is kept things to ensure I can trust it.

I have timbers underneath which keeps it from deflecting and shimmed flat with a few blocks.
Had I not a stout base, I would opt for a solid top and just plonk it on something,
Jameshow's tool box for example, looks the ticket for a floating top design for the space conscious.

If you have nothing flat and as long as the work, then you likely won't get the best from your plane.
If you're using timbers you can find, it likely won't be as select or friendly stuff you're using to start off with, so a single plane won't fair well for all jobs.
(meaning) a finer setting on another plane won't seem like its working atall if things aren't flat, as you cannot plane a hollow, which might be unnoticable until you have something flat to compare with.
Those antics will have you advancing the plane iron to get a bite, which won't help matters one bit
if your cutter is a mile out.
A finer setting will take a deeper cut when the work is flatter.
If you're starting to sweat then something is wrong.

Be on the lookout for hardwoods like doors and windows in skips if you want the good stuff.

Tom
 

Jameshow

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If all else fails, motor oil and plastic bags.
quote @sorslibertas
To be clear, I'm not a handtool only zealot.

The bench and really good lighting are always the most underrated tools, which is doublelly important if not having machines to process the stock.

I don't have a planer thicknesser, so my bench is my machine bed, and all that's needed for planing is a single stop at the end..
Its flat which is important to me for multiple things, longer work or thinner stock for example.
It does not get abused with chisel and saw cuts, and an eye is kept things to ensure I can trust it.

I have timbers underneath which keeps it from deflecting and shimmed flat with a few blocks.
Had I not a stout base, I would opt for a solid top and just plonk it on something,
Jameshow's tool box for example, looks the ticket for a floating top design for the space conscious.

If you have nothing flat and as long as the work, then you likely won't get the best from your plane.
If you're using timbers you can find, it likely won't be as select or friendly stuff you're using to start off with, so a single plane won't fair well for all jobs.
(meaning) a finer setting on another plane won't seem like its working atall if things aren't flat, as you cannot plane a hollow, which might be unnoticable until you have something flat to compare with.
Those antics will have you advancing the plane iron to get a bite, which won't help matters one bit
if your cutter is a mile out.
A finer setting will take a deeper cut when the work is flatter.
If you're starting to sweat then something is wrong.

Be on the lookout for hardwoods like doors and windows in skips if you want the good stuff.

Tom
I actually made it to fit my portable bench although it makes the bench mega heavy to lift out of my van!!

IMG-20210908-WA0021.jpeg
 

D_W

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Several hundred years of precise joinery was done with precision trad tools such as wooden marking gauges.
Most of what you find on youtube is utter rubbish - best not to watch it too often!
Have to say - your photo seems to show the classic novice mistake of taking a mark from one workpiece to transfer it to another. :unsure:
I doubt much of the precision work was done with the kind of tight and wonky with fat nail gauges that are at the bottom of the market.

The wheel gauge is a good gauge - a better functioning knife gauge for making marks (not for knifing, though).
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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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.
If I lived on a boat …. ? I most certainly would have a few, but better quality tools than those you mention above.

Firstly, that bench you link to is upper rubbish for handtools, whether sawing and (especially) hand planing. It will rack, and even if you brace it with ply on the rear, it still looks flimsy. You need a solid, immovable surface. I would suggest a bench top attached to a wall on hinges. It would fold down, or out, taking up little space, and the hinges would prevent lateral movement.

This is a travel bench I made (for demonstrations at wood shows). Built from a gluelam beam. The vises, etc were made by myself ..



Saws: For a confined space, I would consider Japanese saws. They have the advantage of being cheapish, and you do not have to bother about equipment to shapen them. Even cheap Japanese saws work exceptionally well. Look at the Z-saw brand for reliability. Dovetail saw for detail and a Ryoba saw for general ripping and crosscutting.

Hand planes: #3 and #5 vintage Stanley planes would be my go to. Two blades for the #5: curved for roughing out, and straight for jointing. Low angle block plane: Stanley 60 1/2 (or similar). Stanley #78 rebate plane. Veritas 3/4” shoulder plane (great for tuning rebates and joinery). Veritas Medium router plane.

Chisels: The world is your oyster. What type of chisels must be decided first - what are they to do? Dovetailing, morticing, joinery? For morticing you need a firmer or mortice chisels in 1/4”. For the others, a few bench chisels from 1/8” to 1”. Preferable with minimal lands (although you can modify these). Narex, or similar, sound okay.

Sharpening: Find space for a 6” bench grinder. Add a 80- or 180 grit CBN wheel on one side and buffing wheel on the other. Less mess and better performance. More expensive than a white wheel, but so much less maintenance and life over time. You will probably need to budget for a blade guide. You could make your own or get a Veritas. It needs to be solid. Don’t waste your money with cheap thingies. A 600 grit diamond stone, and 8000 grit Shapton Pro would work together if you are hollow grinding blades.

Drill: get a battery for your Makita. I love my braces, but they are best for large holes, where the extra torque is needed. A cordless takes up less space and works in less space.

Marking and Layout: A good cutting (wheel) gauge will trump all, jn my opinion. The Titemark, if you can run to this. Exceptional. Veritas have cheaper options without fine adjusters. As pointed out, a wheel gauge will also act as a hand router. A 300mm Starrett combination square, and a 150mm Starret double square (you will only need to buy once!). Good dividers (again, I like Starrett). Marking knife - Stanley makes a beaut (look at the one Paul Sellers uses).

You could do a lot of good work forever with a kit like this, and in a confined space.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Bojam

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For a workbench, you might consider building a pair of torsion-box beams like Josh Finn advocates in this article from Fine Woodworking. They are easy to construct (assuming you can get someone to cut the plywood parts to precise sizes with a tablesaw or tracksaw for you) and are very flat and rigid. He designs the beams at 8ft long but there's no reason you can't adapt the sizing to suit if storage would present problems. The issue is likely to be what to mount them on when working. The plans spec two heavy-duty sawhorses, which I've built and work a treat. Again, though, these might be difficult for you to store on the boat. Perhaps you could find a more light weight design that can be collapsed, but you would need to be able to weight them down (e.g. with sandbags or similar) to ensure that the set up is rock solid when working - particularly when hand planing.

What I like about the system is its versatility. The elements are modular and portable. The sawhorses in the plans can be used as stand-alone mini benches. You can use just one beam or both in combination and configure them according to the workpeice and the operation. Clamping is easy due to the size of the beams (relative to a trad bench) and you could potentially improve this further by drilling some dog holes in the tops and sides and/or by routing dovetail slots to accept the Matchfit clamps. The article is well illustrated to show the versatility in use. Definitely check it out.
 

D_W

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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 [the veritas saw - skip the ones above and find vintage for everything else, unless you just can't tolerate the idea of having to do a little bit of something to the vintage saws. Modern carpenter and tool box saws are abysmal other than the hard tooth type that cut fast for breaking down wood]

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) [makes no functional difference unless there's something defective about one or the other]

Bevel gauge
No brand or branded (I'll need to look into this a bit more) [buy vintage used on ebay if you can find it - otherwise, I'm not sure it makes much difference if what you get functions]

Combination square
6" Starrett, Shinwa, or no brand [troll ebay until you find a vintage square with a hardened head. It'll outlast anything new that's not also hardened]

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) [new battery]

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. [it doesn't matter much at this point. If you stick with woodworking, you'll have two benches. The first one, and then you can learn where you wish it held stuff or was heavier or stronger, etc, and build what you want for the second one in a couple of years - the second should be your last]

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. [it doesn't really matter which stones you get, but plan for something to finish the tip of the tool quickly - autosol works well if you don't want to blow money on a finish stone]

A grinder and one medium stone on top of that is far better than a set of three diamond stones, though. The grinder does the bulk of the work and you just pretty much lap the back a little and hone the tip when you refresh. If you follow the sellers nonsense or any of that other stuff, you'll fall into the same trap that everyone else does - not getting the work all the way to the edge without changing the angle to be more blunt, and you'll just create yourself more and more work. I'm partial to a buffer, but it's certainly not essential before you understand what's going on at the edge of the tool and why.


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

Looking forward to reading the replies.
My thoughts in red.
 

MikeJhn

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It does not matter how expensive the tools are, the still disappear from where you put them down two minutes ago, cheaper tools seem to always be at hand?
 
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Ttrees

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Just gonna chuck some more stuff/options out there, as the biggest obstacle
is finding a compact or functional design that would suit a solid timber top, something like in the photo with the trestles say, (as in laminated planks on edge)

It might be worth noting that a built in vice is not too necessary, so that would help to keep things
as slim or low profile as possible, should you wish to not use it as a table.
Picture pinched from Custard's post, so probably should provide a link aswell...
Workbench / Assembly Table (mostly power tool use, particularly Festool Domino use)

A sure way to get a square edge on something wide which might be a bit intimidating for starters.
Bench,-Edge-Shooting-06.jpg


Custard has a good article here, should you not wish to watch any youtubes for good habits for planing, or should I say not to pick up bad habits from the rest of youtube
i.e Charlesworth or Cosman for instance you won't go far wrong if wanting good techniques for planing in video format.

Couple those planing skills with some of David W's(Weaver's) advice, on the tube or elsewhere,
should you have any tearout issues, as you'll not find too many folks out there that will you will find actually using any double iron plane like your Bailey to its full potential.
i.e not scraping flat stuff, or any other faffing about with high angles and other hassle.

Here's some more tips should you be keen on not having a vice on the bench.
Mike Simesen has a video on viceless workbenches also.
Aswell as Simon James workholding tips


Just incase one is still eager to use plywood, and use a plane proficiently,
here's a photo demonstrating the tolerances which will make the difference between
having an easy time with planing taking predictable shavings, should you be working on thinner stock, or just not getting the hang of planing thicker stock, but don't know why.

The black crayon represents the high spots which will be the what you might not see otherwise, especially so on a flexing and unstable (as in differential shrinkage) surface like a plywood board.

DSCN1992.JPG


You don't have to scribble a crayon or artists graphite stick on the bench, its just making the point.
You should be able to see the errors with the good lamp that would be easily moved about.
Here's a piccy of a high spot in the center, and also an illustration on why to use stopped shavings from time to time.....i.e Charlesworth's teachings makes this very clear.
SAM_2180.JPG


Now should you wish to do everything on the cheap, then you can make your own straight edge using a pair of parallel timbers, when they fit with an invisible gap and one can be flipped over and is the same, then you know you have a straight edge.
The two lengths will double the error, so you can get very accurate this way.
Make them as long as your bench I suggest, especially if you're being as frugal as possible with your long stock, i.e jointing timbers for a bench lamination.
BENCH CHECK.JPG



And lastly another must have tool, if doing some skipdiving, is the metal detector wand.
Keep an eye out for the good stuff, mainly iroko is what you might find, doors and windows most of the time, everything has got a use and if not, laminate it all up.

P1010046.JPG

P1010049.JPG


All the best

Tom
 
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Jacob

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Just gonna chuck some more stuff/options out there, as the biggest obstacle
is finding a compact or functional design that would suit a solid timber top, something like in the photo with the trestles say, (as in laminated planks on edge)

It might be worth noting that a built in vice is not too necessary, so that would help to keep things
as slim or low profile as possible, should you wish to not use it as a table.
Picture pinched from Custard's post, so probably should provide a link aswell...
Workbench / Assembly Table (mostly power tool use, particularly Festool Domino use)

A sure way to get a square edge on something wide which might be a bit intimidating for starters.
Bench,-Edge-Shooting-06.jpg


Custard has a good article here, should you not wish to watch any youtubes for good habits for planing, or should I say not to pick up bad habits from the rest of youtube
i.e Charlesworth or Cosman for instance you won't go far wrong if wanting good techniques for planing in video format.

Couple those planing skills with some of David W's(Weaver's) advice, on the tube or elsewhere,
should you have any tearout issues, as you'll not find too many folks out there that will you will find actually using any double iron plane like your Bailey to its full potential.
i.e not scraping flat stuff, or any other faffing about with high angles and other hassle.

Here's some more tips should you be keen on not having a vice on the bench.
Mike Simesen has a video on viceless workbenches also.
Aswell as Simon James workholding tips


Just incase one is still eager to use plywood, and use a plane proficiently,
here's a photo demonstrating the tolerances which will make the difference between
having an easy time with planing taking predictable shavings, should you be working on thinner stock, or just not getting the hang of planing thicker stock, but don't know why.

The black crayon represents the high spots which will be the what you might not see otherwise, especially so on a flexing and unstable (as in differential shrinkage) surface like a plywood board.

View attachment 117647

You don't have to scribble a crayon or artists graphite stick on the bench, its just making the point.
You should be able to see the errors with the good lamp that would be easily moved about.
Here's a piccy of a high spot in the center, and also an illustration on why to use stopped shavings from time to time.....i.e Charlesworth's teachings makes this very clear.
View attachment 117648

Now should you wish to do everything on the cheap, then you can make your own straight edge using a pair of parallel timbers, when they fit with an invisible gap and one can be flipped over and is the same, then you know you have a straight edge.
The two lengths will double the error, so you can get very accurate this way.
Make them as long as your bench I suggest, especially if you're being as frugal as possible with your long stock, i.e jointing timbers for a bench lamination.
View attachment 117649


And lastly another must have tool, if doing some skipdiving, is the metal detector wand.
Keep an eye out for the good stuff, mainly iroko is what you might find, doors and windows most of the time, everything has got a use and if not, laminate it all up.

View attachment 117650
View attachment 117651

All the best

Tom
Some complicated solutions on how to plane board edges!
I've always done them in the vice - sighting for straightness and checking for square, no special vices, long straightedges, tools or techniques required
Becomes critical if edge jointing for e.g. a table top; I match the edges: sit the next board vertically on the previous board, still in the vice, and check them against each other - short straightedge (combi square) and sighting to see that they are square and co planar, and sighting to see that they fit with no gaps. If necessary plane edges of either/both, adjusted until they are a perfect fit. It's quite quick and easy.
Mark them so you are putting the right matched edges together when gluing up.
 
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Ttrees

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Just giving some options should one be in a position without having a vice or anything really.
A few large f clamps from Lidl would do all of ones workholding, even if one was just using an old sleeper or whatever.
The largest of these powerfix ones are about 7 or 8 pounds each,
With the large thread and thick handle, pretty quick and handy to use in place of a vice or holddown options.
I believe there's packs of two smaller sizes also, which might well have a place also.
Probably the cheapest you will find on the market.

Maybe you've got a compact solution for Sorslibertas?

Tom

SAM_3803.JPG
 

sorslibertas

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Just a quick update.

I pulled the trigger on a Pax 1776 with a 12-inch rip 15tpi blade, a coarse/medium oilstone, and fine Arkansas stone.

I’ll decide on a combination square, hand or panel saw, and set of chisels after payday.

I guess my first build will be a couple of saw horses, and try and make do with that and some Lidl clamps for the time being.
 

Ttrees

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Those f clamps are in Lidl on the 26th
May I suggest a trip round the shops first to maybe homebase or similar to see if you can pick up a nice long well finished ruler for about 8 pound, last time I was there had only narrow or not very nicely finished ones with brush marks and not marked on both sides, but worth checking to see, (also check the ends for the best of them, I like to try find ones with the line intact)

and look at some chisels if there's a bargain bucket.
Have a look at the clamps, the threads and the pad, and the price, just to compare, because you might end up getting an extra one when you go to the middle isle.

I'd be inclined to look for a flat backed chisel(s) and check the handle for wonkiness and tightness, cranked doesn't mean wonky.
I've seen a set of stubby ones in homebase which I bought elsewhere for less than a fiver (for putty)
and the steel isn't great, so avoid those, not that a short chisel is preferable anyway.

Why, even if a quid or two chisel isn't great steel, should you be cutting scaff planks which I think you mentioned earlier, you'll need to scrape the cement dust and whatever else off the surface, or the saw will be ruined, likely pretty quickly.

Tom
 
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D_W

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Just a quick update.

I pulled the trigger on a Pax 1776 with a 12-inch rip 15tpi blade, a coarse/medium oilstone, and fine Arkansas stone.

I’ll decide on a combination square, hand or panel saw, and set of chisels after payday.

I guess my first build will be a couple of saw horses, and try and make do with that and some Lidl clamps for the time being.
A good start. When you're thinking of spending, do sort of a set aside. The advice on forums is often "buy the best you can", but realistically, the basic tools will get you going and you may get into things where you can't just buy cheap and good (moulding planes and carving tools come to mind - you can make even those, but I doubt anyone but me would - and I haven't gotten into making carving tools and can hopefully avoid the temptation).

The set aside, though, is something you'll want because of those things that aren't often discussed but that will be critical to something you want to do. They (the surprise buys) depend on what that ends up being.
 

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