$1k Burning Hold in Wannabe Neander's Pocket

Hey all. I've been lurking in the old Wreck (see, I have the lingo) for a while now, and I need some informed advice. I have been wanting to get into fine woodworking for a long while, and now have been authorized to spend about $1000 on my own tiny 'shop', which is the back of a deep, and shared, one car garage about 12x8. I have some tools, circular saw, drills, drill press, mistreated cheap handsaws, and have built a small workbench previously out of 2x4's and plywood, but I want to build another one for woodworking still.
I've been doing a lot of research, but I'm convinced I won't really know what I need until I start working on projects, but I can't start working on projects till I buy my tools. Also I'd like to make my purchases before the money evoporates into other things, so I need some help deciding.
I am impressed by Roy Underhill and the other Neanders, and I think not going heavy on the power tools is the best way to sqeeze the most potential out of the small area I have to work in. I will buy a bandsaw at some point, but not now.
I am interested in making furniture, chests, booksheves and boxes. I am also a bit of a japanophile, and am interested in that style.
So, can you all help me out? Which types and sizes of chisels should I buy? Planes? Measuring instruments. How do I get the most bang for my buck?
Help!
Lonlaz
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I'd start with a selection of small power tools like sander, router, biscuit jointer, good quality drill/driver, etc... Stuff that with your limited space, you could have on a shelf over the bench or under it..
Doesn't sound like you have room for a table saw, unless it's a bench-top type..
Lots of folks will have great advise on hand tools, but being a turner, I can't help ya there..

mac
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Lonlaz wrote:

Feb 2006 Popular Woodworking had an article called "The Ultimate Hand Tool Shop" about how to set up a small shop for hand tool woodworking. It's aimed more at western tools, but much of the information would carry over.
Japanese saws were designed for use with a different set of body positions than western saws, but many people still use them with western-style workbenches.
There's some discussion of basic tools at Sawmill Creek. You might want to check it out.
http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?ts878&highlight Ίsic+hand+tools
One aproach might be to decide on a project and get the tools necessary for that project. Many things can be purchased as needed, and can be worked around if you don't have them. If you use drawbore pegs on your mortise and tenon joints you don't need clamps. Hot hide glue lets you do rub joints on panels without clamps.
Here's something of a list, organised more or less in terms of how frequently they're used. For the try square and combination squares, you want to make sure they're accurate.
Misc: -marking tools     -marking knife (can be an exacto knife or similar)     -scratch all     -try square     -marking gauge     -combination square     -sliding bevel -measuring tools     -6" steel rule     -vernier caliper     -measuring tape (a small accurate one is convenient) -clamps     -parallel jaw ones are nice but expensive     -pipe clamps are cheaper and length can be whatever you want     -quick-grip ones are relatively weak but convenient -sharpening stones     -or sandpaper to start     -stones are expensive initially but cheaper in the long run -chisels (basic set of bevel-edge)     -sharpen the smaller ones (up to 3/8") at 30 degrees since they're often used for light mortising     -the 1/2" is general purpose, so sharpen at 25 degrees     -3/4" and up are often used for paring, sharpen at 20 degrees
Stock preparation: -jack plane (if you have a good jointer, the jack can be lesser quality) -jointer plane (nice, but I got along with just a good jack for a while) -rip and crosscut saws (or circular saw and edge guide)
Cutting joinery: -dovetail saw (dovetails and small rip cuts) -carcase saw (small crosscuts) -tenon saw (larger rip cuts)
Drilling holes: -brace and bit -eggbeater drill (or power drill)
Final surface prep: -card scraper (need a file to sharpen it) -smooth plane (or sandpaper)
Mortise and tenon joint: -mortise gauge (can use the marking gauge) -mortise chisel (can use drill press and bevel chisels)
Cutting groove/dado/rabbet: -router/rabbet plough planes (or router, or tablesaw)
Cutting curves: -coping saw (or jigsaw) -spokeshaves -rasps/files
Chris
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Chris Friesen wrote:

I haven't bothered to add it up, but if you went strictly with Chris' excellent list, you'd likely get close to your $1k. Planes alone could set you back $6-800 if you went with Veritas or L-N. I still don't have a jointer plane and get along fine with my jack. I'd also highly recommend a block plane. And a good one. Spring for the Veritas low angle.
In everything you get, try to get the best that you think you can afford. That doesn't necessarily mean the best overall, or the most expensive. Just what you think you'll be comfy with for the next few decades.
I'd toss in some books too. Tage Frid's book is stupendous. "Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking" Doug Stowe has an excellent book on boxmaking if you're into that.
Chris mentions sharpening, but doesn't go into detail. I have the Veritas Mk. II jig for chisels and planes and cannot say enough about it. It's a tool I couldn't be without. I use relatively inexpensive water stones from L-V, and I'm happy with them. Other guys have the WorkSharp, and swear by it, but it's going to eat into your $1k pretty quickly as well.
You sound realistic enough to realize that your initial outlay is more of a down payment for a lifelong quest. That quest, which is unattainable is to be at the point where one can say "Ok, honey. I have enough tools now. Why don't we go out and look at anniversary rings for each of your fingers?" As I said - unattainable, but a worthy quest nonetheless.
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Thanks a lot for the advice, guys. I'm definitely going to print out this thread for future reference.
With everyone's advice, I'll work towards the beginnings of a full shop, but I'm going to pick a project and buy what I need. This is probably the best approach for my own sanity. I want to assemble a workbench w/ mortise & tenon construction. As I lay it out in my head, this is still going to require a decent chunk of those tools that you've all listed.
Now it's time to do a little online shopping...
Lonlaz
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I never said it was going to be decent. ;) I'm not shooting high for this workbench.

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I never said it was going to be decent. ;) I'm not shooting high for this workbench.
A few people have suggested that you buy tools as you need them and not to spend any money on bigger things iron until you know you'll them. Your decision will depend on what you think you might like to build and then buy the basics so you can build it.
When I was first setting up a workshop, aside from drills, screwdrivers hammers, etc. which I already had, the first thing I bought was a contractor's tablesaw. That was the tool that my workshop revolved around. Even when I was a little kid, I was always building boxes and I knew I'd continue with that trend. So I bought a tablesaw, used that to build my work bench and continued on from there. What do you want to build first? What has piqued your interest in woodworking? Something has caught your eye. What was it? With that information, you can get some more concrete suggests as to what you might want to start off with. (I'm talking about electric tools of some form or type).
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wrote:

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*trim*

Don't you mean, "Honey, why don't we go out to the shop and I'll show you the wonderful rings I made for each of your fingers? You know, with the new lathe?"
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[...snip...]

You can get a lot of good info from a good book; see if your local library has this book, or just buy it: (Amazon.com product link shortened)09658727&sr=8-1
Figure out how you are going to sharpen your tools. There are many options, the lowest starting cost option is probably "scary sharp", using sandpaper of various grits. http://groups.google.com/group/rec.woodworking/browse_thread/thread/ac600600f47eea4b/798769fbc0a3e6a3?lnk=st&q=scary+sharp+tm+group:rec.woodworking&rnum=1&hl=en#798769fbc0a3e6a3
If you are going to purchase surfaced/dimensioned lumber, you are still going to need a way to flatten the faces and joint the sides square. If you want to use hand tools, you probably want jointer and jack planes. You may also want a scrub plane if you are going to want to hog off a lot of wood quickly.
You want smoother and block planes regardless. Some of these planes are available with bevel up configuration, in which case you can have extra blades with different bevel angles for different purposes / types of wood. http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&pR515&cat=1,41182
But you can easily blow the whole $1000 or more on new hand planes.
Decent used planes are available for a reasonable price through flea markets or online, if you want to spend a couple hours (or more) tuning each one up. Information on how to tune a plane is available online. For example, here's a google search hit that seems to cover it well: https://home.comcast.net/~stanleyplanes/planes101/tuneup/tuneup.htm
Definitely get some cabinet scrapers for a few bucks (just a flat piece of steel).
An Xacto knife makes a good marking knife when you want precise lines. A good combination square is a godsend (for example, a Starrett, (Amazon.com product link shortened)).
If you are going to do mortise and tenon joints, you can get specific hand saws for this. A shoulder plane is useful for fine tuning such joints. A router plus jig can do mortises and you can use floating tenons as well.
A "gents" saw can be used for dovetails, cost can be under $30 new. Or you can get a higher quality Western dovetail saw in the $100-150 range. If you look for used saws, you will immediately be wanting to learn to sharpen/set them. High quality Japanese saws for joinery are less expensive than Western saws (maybe $50 and up). You won't be sharpening those, you replace the blades as needed.
Hmm, chisels. You can start with Marples Blue Chip bevel edge chisels; (Amazon.com product link shortened)09661047&sr=8-2. The main knock on these is the durability of the edge compared to some other, more expensive types. I have some and use them all the time, but my Two Cherries chisels last much longer between sharpenings.
You can find some quality used chisels, such as James Swan, Charles Buck, T.H. Witherby for maybe under $15 each. What you don't want is pitting on the "back" of the chisel (the side away from the bevel, more properly called the "face"), because you want that flattened and mirror smooth.
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All the hand tool recomendations are great but you are going to need either a tablesaw or a bandsaw to accurately cut wood down to size. A circular saw *can* do the job but not nearly as accurate. Yes, there are those that can cut more accurately with a handheld power saw or a handsaw than most newbies can with a TS but a TS is just sooo easy to learn.
A benchtop or portable (fold up legs) can be found for a good price and can handle many tasks. A used contractor saw can be found on craigslist in good shape for $100 almost every week. Add a mobile base and you're in good shape.
Spend more than you want to on the hand tools. The quality will be better and if you decide you don't want to continue you can sell them as opposed to cheap tools which you may as well throw away.
Good luck and welcome to dorking!
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On Thu, 1 May 2008 12:12:34 -0700 (PDT), Limp Arbor

Spending a grand on a bunch of iron you probably don't know how to use will not get you into the game. Take a few classes at a local Woodcraft, adult school or whatever you can find in your area. THEN start the tool purchasing once you have a knowledge and a feel for the basics and some idea of what projects you will start on. Capeesh?
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First step - join woodnet.net's hand tool forum, or sawmillcreek.org.
Lots of folks who really know and appreciate hand tools hang out in those spots - well respected Masters and authors as well.
Good luck!
* Learn to sharpen....
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If you're at all near to Waco, TX a really good and inexpensive introductin to hand tool woodworking is available from Homestead Heritage's School of Woodworking[1] called Woodworking with Hand Tools[2]. It's a one day class for $110 and you'll learn a LOT. From there, you'll have a pretty good idea about what type of hand tools you need to buy.
[1]: http://www.homesteadheritage-woodworking.com/index.html [2]: https://www.homesteadheritage-woodworking.com/foundational.html
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Lonlaz wrote:

To make it simple, just send me a check for $1K and I will mail you one of my patented Handyman Club glue spreaders.     mahalo, :-)     jo4hn
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