When you mention woodworking, the first thing that often comes to mind is power tools. However, you will also need a variety of hand tools for your workshop. For the beginner, it can be confusing and difficult to decide what to buy. Building a collection can be expensive and often small tools are overlooked. There are some ways to build your collection inexpensively.
Hand Tools for Shaping Wood
o Clamps: you will need a variety of types and sizes. Fortunately, these are generally inexpensive. Pick them up whenever you find them on sale for a good price. Clamps are sturdy and long lasting, so it’s safe to pick these up used.
o Bench chisels: you will need about a half a dozen of these in a variety of sizes from ¼ to one inch.
o Stiff, wire brushes
o Saws: you will need a back saw, tenon and dovetail saws. These get used often in woodworking. If you buy these used, check out the teeth for damage. If in good condition, pick them up used. They will need to be sharpened.
o Planes are used for smoothing. Get a few different planes, at least a block plane and jointer to start with.
o Scrapers are needed for a variety of projects. Look for a paint scraper and a hand scraper to get started.
o Files: Get good size, sturdy files in a ten inch size. Look for smooth and bastard mill files to start with and add others later.
Other Hand Tools You’ll Need
o Hammer: get a good quality hammer. A 16 ounce hammer is a good, versatile hammer.
o Mallet for driving chisels
o Allen wrenches in a variety of sizes
o Screwdrivers in Phillips and flat heads. Get a good set in several sizes of each
o T bevel
o Tape measure
o Steel rulers
o Awls: marking and scratch
o Pliers: channel lock and needle nose
o Putty knife
o Utility knife
Finding Hand Tools at a Good Price
Setting up your own woodworking shop can be expensive. It is tempting to go out and buy the cheapest handtools you can find in an effort to save money. Don’t do this. Cheaply made tools won’t last long and you’ll end up having to buy them again. Get good quality tools such as Armstrong tools, Stanley tools or snap on tools. Quality is important in the long run.
Used tools are a good choice, if they are in good condition. Antique hand tools and German hand tools are high quality and fairly easy to find. Hand tools tend to last longer, as there isn’t as much that can go wrong as with power tools. The quality and craftsmanship in older tools are often much better than in cheaper new tools. When you purchase used tools, inspect them carefully to be sure they are in good shape.
Handtools are often sold at yard sales. You will have to visit many to find everything you need for your workshop. Check out a few each weekend while you are building your collection. Check your local paper on Friday and Saturday. Many people advertise their yard sales and often include information on the type of merchandise for sale. This can save you a lot of leg work.
Flea markets are an excellent resource for finding tools. You will find more in one place than you will by travelling from yard sale to yard sale. You can often negotiate at a flea market to get a lower price. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Many dealers set their prices a bit higher in anticipation of people haggling with them. If you pay full price in this case, you may be paying a slightly inflated price.
One way to get a better deal is to shop toward the end of the day. Often, people are willing to cut the price just to get rid of the tools. Another option is to buy several tools from the same person. You may be able to get an additional discount for buying several items.