New Hand Tools: Happy Holidays to Me
One of the great things about being a new Associate Editor for Fine Woodworking is I get to draw on the talent and experience of the many fine furniture makers that work here. Based on their input and willingness to let me try their expensive saws, planes, and chisels, I’ve been gradually tooling up with hand tools. I was pretty well equipped in my former life as a carpenter, but I’m definitely catching up when it comes to fine woodworking. To date, I’ve spent about $567, which doesn’t include any planes or bench chisels. Chisels are my next big purchase.
In addition to the tools shown, I bought four other big-ticket items, including a pair of Japanese dovetail chisels, a Veritas honing guide, and a Norton water stone. The breakdown is as follows:
16-pocket Tool Bag $21.50
16’ Flat Back Tape $8.95
X-acto Knife $6.99
3-piece Scraper Set $15.99
Coping Saw $15.50
Coutersink Set $19.99
Lie-Nielsen Dovetail saw $129.99
Mk II Honing Guide $62.50
Wheel Marking Gauge $28.50
4000/8000 Water Stone $79.00
4” Double Square $36.50
6” Rule $9.50
1/4” Dovetail Chisel $64.00
1/2” Dovetail Chisel $68.00
Of course, my new tools are just a start, so if you have any tool suggestions for somebody who’s just getting into hand tools, I’d love to hear them.
Fine Woodworking’s Art Director, Mike Pekovich let me use his Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw a couple weeks ago. After trying several lesser tools, using it was an epiphany. It has a wonderful grip, it cuts fast, and it tracks straight as an arrow. It’s definitely my favorite purchase. Some of my peers admonished me for sullying its handle with my initials (written with a fat Sharpie marker), but I just couldn’t risk losing it.
Although I already had a coping saw, my home-center model wasn’t up to the job, so I decided to get this version from Groz. It’s great for cleaning away much of the waste when you’re hand cutting dovetails.
Lee Valley’s 4-inch Double Square (Left) is ideal for measuring and marking joints. I like that it has two 90-degree sides instead of a 90 and a 45. Associate Editor, Matt Kenney suggested I get the 6-inch pocket rule from Shinwa (Right). Besides being the perfect size, it has a very useful end scale that’s ideal for setting up machines.
The stardard model wheel marking gauge from Veritas is a vast improvement over laying out joints with a combination square, which is what I was doing previously. My coworkers have differing opinions on marking gauges. After trying a couple different types, I found this standard-size wheel gauge easiest to control.
Coming from a carpentry background, I was more familiar with FastCap than my coworkers. The company makes a number of unique tools for trim and finish work. As the name suggest, their Flat Back tape measure lies flat on the stock for more-accurate measurements and the built-in pencil sharpener works sursprisingly well. You can jot dimensions on the case and mark the blade for repetitive measurements.