Posted 01 February 2006 - 09:23 PM
If I were to start acquiring a nice collection of wood chisels, block planes, and "essential" shaping hand tools, where would I begin?
I'm not trying to acquire an entire woodworker's shop worth of tools... just a very nice set of the most useful sizes and types of hand tools for boat building, inlays, etc.
The Lie-Nielsen Low-Angle Adjustable Mouth Block Plane looks like a nice tool, but it's $150 new so that's on the back burner for awhile. I've heard that the best way to cut out the panels for a stitch and glue boat is to cut 1/8" outside the lines with a power saw, then plane down to the lines with a block plane. Would something like the Lie-Nielsen plane work well for this, or are there better choices when it comes to planing plywood?
Any advice is appreciated as I slowly try to upgrade my tool selection.
Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:02 PM
Best bet is used planes from Stanley - either Stanleys or Baileys Garage sales, old tool places, etc. The newer Stanley planes need a LOT of work before they really work well. The basic castings are ok but they really aren't tuned well.
I don't have any Lie- Nielsons and if I did I wouldn't plane plywood edges with it. I happen to have an OLD stanley model 220 block plane that does a woinderful job on edges. Most any model 9 1/2 will do the same - I have 3 or four of those - ALL bought used.
I"ve got a whole drawer full of chisels, mostly bought used, one at a time as I found them. I also have a set of Stanley Construction grade chisels that work very well . Also have some OLD Craftsamn chisels I bought 35 years ago- they are good tools. Can't speak for the new ones, but if the other compnanies are any indication they aren't all that great any more.
For the chisels, I'd buy at least a 1/2 and a 3/4. You can get by with those for a LONG time, then add other sizes as you find you need them.
For planes you can do well with just two- a 9 1/2 of some sort and a #4 smoothing ( or bench) plane. Learn to tune them, learn to keep them sharp ( no- I mean SHARP) and you can do most anything needed. Ply edges with the 9 1/2 and scarfs with the #4. That's how Graham teaches scarfing by the way- with a sharp #4 bench plane.
Places to look- Highland Hardware (online) or other online tool dealers.
Also check out the hand tool section of this woodworking forum-
There's a guy on there who reconditions and sell old Stanleys at a fair price. Some of those guys are hung up on having the MOST EXPENSIVE TOOLS they can find and will tell you you HAVE to have them to do good work. But remember- the old tools have been around for YEARS and those guys back then did an awful lot of fine wood work with them. They still work fine today.
Tomorrow I can look at some catalogs and give you more names and places to look.
Posted 01 February 2006 - 11:28 PM
I agree 100% that old tools can be as good as, or better, than new tools after you consider cost-to-quality, etc. I don't have any pretensions about HAVING to buy brand new tools (as a grad student, I can't afford to think that way ) My problem has more to do with not knowing exactly what to look for. (In other words, not knowing how to separate the "great deals" from the duds and rip-offs).
I have a very cheap little Stanley block plane that gave me good service when I built my cedar strip kayak a couple years back. It needs sharpening, so I need to track down some kind of sharpening tool... probably one of those little roller units that holds the blade at a set angle while you rock it back and forth over a whetstone... unless you know of a better tool for sharpening.
When you mention the chisels... does it matter what brand of chisel? I know sharpness is crucial, but I'm assuming some kinds of chisels are made from better metals, and will hold an edge longer. Any you recommend?
Also, please don't go to too much trouble on my account (looking up vendors, sources, etc.). I'll happily do the gruntwork to track down the deals. Any suggestions that come off the top of your head are fine with me... I don't want to take up too much of your time. I just know that you have much more experience with fine tools than I do, so I'm happy to have the advice.
Posted 02 February 2006 - 07:41 AM
The article covers theory, plus several different techniques. I don't use waterstones myself as I've always gotten excellent results with standard sharpening stones. If I were beginning all over I might give them a try but I've been using old fashioned stones for 35 or 40 years - to dumb to change I guess..
I HAVE used and continue to use on occasion, the SCARY Sharp techniques detailed in the article. They work extremely well.
I have one of those roller guides- somewhere. Bought it years ago, tried it, put it in a drawer. I don't have time usually to set it up. I keep my stones on a shelf right by hte bench and when a plane iron or chisel needs to be touched up, I do it then and there, and continue working. Won't take you long to gain proficiency without the guide and the precise angle of the bevel isn't THAT critical - just stay flat and close to the angle.
My catalogs are in the shop- but the shop is right outside the house, so it's not much trouble to look them up and at least give you a place to start. Later this morning ok?
Posted 02 February 2006 - 09:14 AM
I am fortunate to have one of those Lie nielson block planes that my Dad got me as a present once. It is wonderful to use and keeps it's edge for a long time. If I were buying new I'd look at the Lee Valley planes. My #4 smoother is from Lee Valley and is a fine tool at a more reasonable price.
I agree with Charlie, the #4 makes short work of scarfing okume. The scary sharp method works well I use it most of the time now. I have a piece of 1/4" thick plate glass about 1 foot square and a whole lot of rubber stick on feet to support it. I pull it down off the shelf, zip-zip and away to work again. Sharp is really important to safety and enjoyability.
Posted 02 February 2006 - 09:39 AM
Woodworkers Supply- woodworkersupply.com
Has Marples Blue Chip chisels in a set of 4 shown ( in my catalog) for 40 bucks
Shows a brand of plane I've no experience with called Anants, for a reasonable cost.
Garrett Wade- Garrettwade.com
Stanley (UK made) # 4 for (again in my catalog) for 59.95
Marples Blue chip chisels- set of 4 - 42.00, set of 6 75.00
Highland Hardware - Highlandhardware.com
also carries the Anant planes.
Those are just a few places to look and I'm not really endorsing any of them. Although Lee Valley has a helluva good rep..
By the way- the Marples Chisels aren't the very best ones around, but they are pretty decent tools, particularly for the money. I like my set of Stanley Contractor grade chisels also. I have them in a leather roll and carry them for "outside the shop" work.
Oh- and in going to garage sales, etc if you HAPPEN onto a chisel or plane labeled "KeenKutter" it ain't worth a thing- just get it and send it straight to me for disposal
Posted 02 February 2006 - 09:45 AM
Posted 02 February 2006 - 05:00 PM
I'll report back if I discover any other useful advice, in case others are looking to start a collection like I am. Again, can't thank you enough for the help.
P.S. Great link about sharpening!
Posted 20 July 2006 - 05:43 AM
Bottom line is these are essentially sealed bid auctions. If you really are after an item, you probably won't get it watching the bids and manually bidding along. You will have to "snipe", either on your own or through a sniper service.
Not intended to be a comment for or against, just a note of awareness so if you are bidding, you know what is going on. I've lost a few auctions at the last second and now I know why.