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kityuser

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Lets face it, power tools are easy :D

I`d love to get into hand tools but am quite frankly scared :?

where to start? what the hell are all though planes for?

books books BOOKS I hear you all say? maybe, but books don`t answer questions. :( (no mater how much you shout at them)

I`m not a complete silly person, but I bet I`m not the only person around here who gets very scared by some of the posts in this area of the forum :shock:

regards

steve
 

Midnight

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Steve...

simple question... where do you WANT to start??
best tool to begin with depends on the things / materials you want to build / use.

Have a think about it.. we can take it from there..
 

kityuser

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simple joinery would be a good start.

how to achieve flat square stock with hand tools, jointing boards, simple joints etc etc
 

Alf

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kityuser":4hbxk9ag said:
Lets face it, power tools are easy :D

I`d love to get into hand tools but am quite frankly scared :?
I was in exactly the same place about, oh, 5 years ago.

Run away now, save yourself. :shock:

However... That's a pretty huge question to ask. Let's start by asking you a few questions first. D'you have any hand tools at all? Chisels? Block plane? Back saw? Or are you a blank canvas? :D How d'you go about cutting simple joints at the moment? What do you do if they're just a bit too big? Do you want to try doing a stuff completely with hand tools, or just to compliment your existing power tools? Let's be honest here, most of us come into the latter group.

I know, you wanted the answer to life, the Universe and everything. The trouble is, if we try to do that you might get the works, which could put you off for ever. :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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Kity,
The easiest way to "get into" hand tools is to intergrate them into how you work with your machines-as an example, using a plane to remove mill marks after machining, tweaking machine cut joints with a shoulder plane, adding chamfers, a nice sharp block plane for cleaning up end grain, etc. A hand plane saves a LOT of sanding, not my favorite task!
When you find a need for a tool get one. If you don't need one save yourself the money.
Personally, the pleasure I get from Woodworking is learning new techniques, new tools, new jigs. Discovering every problem has been solved hundreds of years ago awes me. And they have! As well as getting lots of custom furniture, the "Journey" of woodworking is the pay-off for me. So go ahead, tip a toe in the hand tool pool-lots of fun ahead! :D
best regards
Philly :D
 

Waka

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Kity

Some good advise above. I was in the same situation regarding planes no more than a month ago. Asking questions on the forum, explaining what I thought I wanted and what I really needed are two different things.

Discussion of what you want the tools for also helps, I was lucky to be able to try some out before I put my order through, you should also try that.

Have to admit I've always relied of power tools before, but the limited time I had to work with my now tools has shown me that although it takes a little longer the improved results far outway the extra time. Also the fact that you have done something by hand gives me an enormous amount of satisfaction.

I'm already building another list of hand tools for next year. Just hope Philly has already bought them.

Waka
 

Midnight

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how to achieve flat square stock with hand tools, jointing boards
Sensable place to start Steve.

Essentials to begin with are a solid bench and some way to secure the board to the bench without bowing it. Right now my set up is far from ideal but it works to a point; a combination of bench hooks, bench dogs and deep throat clamps.
Additionally you'll need a good sharpening set up; there's a range of options available to suit a broad budget. Basically it doesn't matter how you get there, what's important is that you're able to create and maintain a blade with a good flat and polished back and secondry bevel.
I've tuned the blade of my #5 to act as a scrub plane to rough out any obvious bows in the board, and remove the worst of the mill marks. Next step for me is to check the board for flatness and twist. To do this I use a 6' builders level and a pair of winding sticks; the level highlights where the high/low points are on the board, the sticks will indicate where the twists are. Either way, I flatten these out with a #7 jointing plane, stopping periodically to recheck the board. As the board gets closer to being good enough to work wit, I adjust the depth of cut and the throat opening to take finer shavings; the idea here being to minimise the tear out in the board, leaving less work to do with the smoother.
With the board level and twist free, I'll joint the edges. I'm no hero, I use a straight edge guide and circular saw to remove the wainy edges, hold the board securely with the cut edge face up and hit the fresh cut edge with the #7 to remove the saw marks. I need to check for square after every couple of strokes as I've a hellova habbit of drawing the edge to the left hand side....
Next step... remove the 2nd wainy edge using the table saw and joint the fresh cut edge. It's at this point that I'll consider what the board will be used for; if I'm making a door for example I prefer not to joint boards together to create the panel. If the board has enough straight grain to make into rails and styles, I'll reset the saw and cut the rough stock about 3mm over final width, making sure I keep a jointed edge against the fence.
Next step is to prep the last face of the board or stick. My method changes depending on how much stock I need to prep at the time, and the condition my back's in. With lots to do and if my back's up to it, I'll heave the thicknesser onto the bench and machine the last face to slightly over final thickness, content to take the planer marks out with the smoother. If there isn't much to do, or if I HAVE to take things easy, I'll scribe guide marks all round the board and work using methods described in another recent thread here.

Last thing to do is planing to a finish. My methods have to adapt to the figure in each board i.e. oak invariably behaves with the smoother and a 45 degree frog; highly figured elm usually needs the 50 degree York pitch frog, either way both the blade and throat are set to take ultra fine shavings. On rare occasions, I'll need to turn to a cabinet scraper to eliminate any chance of tear out while smoothing.. it just to happens that Alf's newest review explains this very aspect brilliantly..

That's about it. Rocket science it isn't but it does need patience, persistance and a smidge of hard graft.

I've deliberately avoided getting into the "which manufacturer is best" debate... that's a whole different aspect...
 

kityuser

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ok, scary things have been said already, frog?????????


However... That's a pretty huge question to ask. Let's start by asking you a few questions first. D'you have any hand tools at all? Chisels? Block plane? Back saw?
ok, chisels, yes cheap and nasty ones :shock:

block plane, no (this is for smoothing over corners?)
back saw, eh?

How d'you go about cutting simple joints at the moment?
mainly on the table saw and bandsaw, with the odd use of the router (and table), if say my tennon is slightly to large I either take another pass on the router/table saw or sand with my DA and some 150 grit.....

I use the drill press to rough out mortices and "try" to clean them out with a chisel, but I prefer using the router table, sad is`nt it..........

I`d probably say that the only hand tools I use at the moment are:
screw driver (rare)
hammer (often :lol: )
paint brush
jet-cut (sometimes if I`m in the mood)


could be perswaded to buy a "back saw" and block plane if I knew what they were for.


regards
steve
 
A

Anonymous

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Hi Steve

I have trodden this path myself. About 5 years ago I became inspired to create furniture due to my dad being a cabinet maekr and then turning to carpentry (I used to help him as a school age kid) and then latterly norm!!

After a few years I realised that

a) really cheap tablesaws and routers etc. are cheap for a reason
b) hand tools are more fun and more satisfying.

So I got a stanley #5 bailey and a record block plane + some record chisels and a stanley backsaw. Much fun was had. I enjoyed 'tuning' the tools ( I had been an engineer for 15+ years at this point) and making furniture.

After a couple of years I started to realise the limitations of the cheaper tools and bought some more expensive planes + jap chisels and saws and never really looked back since.

OK, what to buy and why???

I would say a half-decent back saw and suggest a japanese saw (£15-20) as easiest to use. Also a small dovetail saw.
A few chisels - I mostly use my crown 3/4" paring chisel from Axminster but also turn to a set of jap chisels I have had for ages. I would recommend buying a 1/4", 1/2" 3/4" and 1" chisel to strart with or a set of Two Cherries if you have £60 to spare.
A low angle block plane for trimming end grain and faces on oversized tenons.
A #5 for stanley bailey plane for general flattening/jointing etc. ( I flattened my workbench with the stanley #5) I know there are loads of other planes out there but I agree with DC when he says that a #5 is the best compromise if buying only one.

What to use them for???

Well, I use the block plane to 'fit' everyting. Make a drawer front fit the hole EXACTLY all round. Make a drawer slide 'just right'. Square off end grain and trim to size. Trim down faces on tenons. Chamfer edges. Trim off dowels until flush.
#5 mostly to plane edges now - reduce size or straighten.

Chisels - chop out everyting. Make hinge recesses (I do this for every hinge rather than the router - chisel = far more fun). Clean up shoulders on tenons. Cut dovetails. Trim dowels. Pare any protruding wood. Clean dried glue etc.

I can heartily recommend spending a few pounds on these tools and would say that £100-£150 would set you up nicely.

Of course, you are most welcome to drop by my house and try them out before commiting - pm me if you fancy visiting a fellow Kity user.

Cheers

Tony
 

kityuser

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now thats what i call a useful informative post, no techno gobble :lol:

I`d say that a budget of around 200 pounds should`nt be too hard to generate.

so looks like the shopping list is:
japanese back saw
3/4 paring chisel, and a good set of chisels
block plane

and finally, **fanfare** I understand that a #5 plane could be used for general flattening/jointing.

thanks tony for the excellent post, and many thanks for the invite, I may well take you up on such an offer.

I`ll be spending most of the day with my head in the axminster catalogue then.


kind regards (and thanks)

steve
 
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kityuser":1p9das3k said:
back saw ( still not 100% what this is for).....
Back saw = a saws with a solid back to it (at the top of the blade). Like a tenon saw or a dovetail saw. The back adds rigidity to the blade, not present in a panel saw, making the saw capable of producing a more accurate cut. You don't need to get a back saw & a japanese saw - there are some good, not too expensive, japanese back saws out there.

Japanese saws cut on the pull stroke, not the push. Remember that, else you'll end up with a very bent piece of metal instead of a lovely cutting instrument! :shock:
 

Alf

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Steve,

Back saws get used for cutting smaller stuff to length, trimming excess from plugs and dowels before paring, but primarily for joint cutting. One you get in the way of using them, and especially cutting to a line, they can save all sorts of time and you'll wonder how you managed without. Something like this Japanese Doutsuki-me from Axminster would be just the ticket for all sorts of work at the bench. You'll need to make a bench hook to go with it; one that hooks over the back of the bench to allow for the pull stroke rather than the traditional western style. If you'd feel happier with a more familiar western saw, I wonder if the Axminster Speed Cut tenon saw might be an economical starter? The blurb suggests it's ideal for the beginner. I'd be hesitant to suggest you spend too much on something fancier, despite the cry once philosophy I normally subscribe to, because it's perfectly possibly to make a pig's ear of saws when you're starting. DAMHIKT...

I use block planes for much the same as Tony says. Especially trimming end grain, just rounding edges (so much quicker and with less potential for disaster than a router) and general "I just need a trifle off there" work. A low angle type is the way to go, 'cos it's particularly suited for end grain (which is most problematic to plane) but can easily be used for long grain too. Two possible routes, depending on your budget probably. A low angle with an adjustable mouth - being able to have a tiny mouth opening while taking fine shavings is a big advantage, but less so on end grain - is the most common route. Something like the Veritas for instance, which are really ideal for the novice I think, with good instructions (no, they're not paying me - honest!). Avoid the modern Stanleys and Records if you can afford to, because you won't know what to do to make it work as well as it should, which is really disheartening. The alternative is to splash out a little more and get the L-N rebating block. Not just 'cos it's on offer at the moment, but because owning a plane that has a blade that reaches right across the sole is very handy. Why? Because it'll plane into a corner. If you want to trim off a trifle from your tenon cheek, it'll do it, while a standard block will leave, at best, a ridge in the corner. Ditto if your rebate's just too shallow. But you can still use it as an ordinary block plane. Well worth consideration I think.

Chisels you have, so I'd hesitate to upgrade them just yet. But can you sharpen them? Even very lowly chisels will make you go "Oooo" if they're sharp. If you can take Tony up on the offer and get him to show you how to sharpen, that'd be worth its weight in gold. Cornwall's a bit of a way away, but if you're down here you're more than welcome, although I'm totally Kity-less I fear. In fact I wonder if I have a chisel handy I could sharpen up and send you... I'll have a look. PM me if you'd be interested. I don't know if there'd be any interest, but one of these days I keep meaning to do a step-by-step, fully illustrated "how to sharpen simply" guide. Where are the Tuits?!

I've never got on with a #5 myself, but it is the general all-round size usually recommended. Again, if you can get a hands-on demo of how to sharpen, adjust and use it, that'll make a whole heap of difference. In lieu of that, Jeff Gorman's site has a wealth of solid info on the subject. Don't worry if you get confused; come back and ask and we'll be happy to try and clarify anything. With pictures if necessary.

I hope that helps a bit. As I say, yell for more details as required. It's tricky to keep it simple, but also not to leave anything important out!

Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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Steve

I bought the Axminster Speed Cut tenon saw that Alf suggested. Not too bad a saw but I don't use it now as I have my new Footprint one. If you decide to go for one, may I suggest £5+P&P to buy mine (3 months old)?

As far as block planes go I found the stanley to be junk and you will find my opinion of it on the forum when I sold it if you do a search.
The Record adjustable mouth block is the one I have used for about 4 years and I still use it on man-made boards (LN on 'real' wood). I think the record (with a bit of fettling) will serve you well until you have caught the bug and go LN/Veritas/clifton route.

Cheers

Tony
 

Midnight

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ok, scary things have been said already, frog?????????
Steve... my apologies for getting technical...

in a bench plane, the frog supports the blade, the angle of the frog determines the angle the blade cuts the wood at. Looky here...

http://www.axminster.co.uk/default.asp?part=421049

you'll see the difference between the standard and hi angles here...

http://www.lie-nielsen.com/tool.html?id ... 2981497637

look at at the difference in the gap between the top of the rear handle and the underside of the blade.

So why change the angle of the blade..?
Simple answer it to enable you to get a high quality finish on difficult grained woods. If you normally work with soft woods, or straight grained hard woods, a stock blade angle (45 degrees) should be all you ever need. The need for a higher angle comes from grain that's anything but straight and more prone to tear out.
 
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Anonymous

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mamma mia, mamma mia :shock: !!!! I see everything possible has already been said..., but please let me add a tiny contribution.

What's the sense having a piece so perfectly cut, planed, chamfered, sanded, etc etc etc ... to a point that nobody would tell it is made by hand ? I think cordless tools add a piece of "soul" and humanity to a furniture: something you don't find at the nearest IKEA !

Cheers
Alberto
 

Bean

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YES Alberto you are on the button there :D Its the small flaws that make the piece, and best of the maker may be the only person to know :wink:

I'm not sure if I agree with DC regarding the No 5, I use mine a lot mainly as I only have a No 5 and a couple of No 4's, a 45, a
block plane 9 1/2, some woooden moulders a wooden smoother alright a few :roll:. They seem to creep up on you. :wink:
Back to the point I think it depends upon what you make, as i mainly make smaller things i reach for my No 4's more often than the 5 which largly gets used for jointing as for small things its big enough, I am not sure about a no 3, as I could use one but, will it be better than my favorites.
A good start for a beginner would be a decent bench which is something I dont own, but I've a lovery piece of steamed beech waiting to be used (eh Tony). I made the mistake of beliveing that a couple of workmates would do everything for me :cry: mistake. My advice is to see what you feel like making, start small and simple and as someone else has said buy as you go, as you develop a need.

Bean
 

Midnight

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I made the mistake of beliveing that a couple of workmates would do everything for me mistake
ummmmm..... putting your bench on castors... and dropping a bench saw into the middle of it doesn't exactly make for the best platform to plane on either...

don't ask why I know this
 
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Anonymous

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I have to say Bean that I am VERY jealous of that Beech :evil: and as for all of that Oak :cry:

Cheers

Tony
 

Midnight

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ME...?

naaaaaaaaa....... I'd NEVER do anythin as daft as that.....


Ahem.......
:oops:
 
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