12 Basic Hand Tools for Woodworking
These 12 basic hand tools will give you a great start for your woodworking toolbox. Don't be scared by the potential outlay of money either. Flea markets and garage sales are great, economical places to shop for these hand tool staples.
An indespensible tool for penciling or knifing a line at 45 and 90-degrees. It's important to get a good one, because it will be accurate straight out of the box and it will stay that way. The 12-in. is perhaps the most common variety.How to Use a Combination Square
Marking gauges excel at cutting a line parallel to the edge of a board, which is vital for laying out accurate tenons, mortises, and the baseline for dovetail joints. Basic Chisel Set for Furniture Making?
Becuase it has a pivoting blade that can be locked into any angle, a bevel gauge is useful for transferring angles from plans to workpieces and setting tablesaw blade angles. They're also commonly used to lay out dovetails.How to Use a Card Scraper
You have two options for a dovetail saw: a Western backsaw or a Japanese pullsaw (dozuki). Japanese saws are a good place to start, because even the inexpensive ones are very sharp straight from the box.
Coping Saw: Coping saws are great for getting rid of the waste between dovetail pins and tails. You'll save a lot of time compared to chopping away all of the waste with a chisel.
Chisels: Start with at least four basic chisels: 1/4 in., 3/8 in., 1/2 in., and 3/4 in. Steer away from chisels sized in millimeters. Although their widths approximate their U.S. equivalents, they can be far enough off to prove frustrating when squaring up mortises or cleaning up grooves made with fractional drill bits.
Shoulder Plane: Eventually, you'll want to invest in a shoulder plane. What makes this plane unique isthat the blade extends the full width of the sole, so you can plane right into a corner. It's great for cleaning up tenons.
Block Plane: For chamfering edges, leveling joints, and smoothing end grain, the block plane is indispensable. Block planes are available in standard and low angle models, depending on whether you want to use them on end grain or face and edge grain.
Card Scraper: These inexpensive tools are great for smoothing out tricky grain like tiger maple, or when you've got a small bit of tearout on an otherwise clean board. They're cheap, easy to sharpen, and last forever.
Smoothing Plane: As you continue to develop your hand tool skills, you'll reach a point where a good smoothing plane is a necessity. Eventually, you'll be able to go from machine marks to glass-smooth surfaces without sandpaper!
Spokeshave: This is another tool that can wait till you've developed a bit of skill. It's probably the most overlooked tool in most shops. It's actually a short-soled handplane with handles on the side, rather than in front of and behind the blade. Great for smoothing bandsawn curves, the tool is available with either a flat or curved sole.