A Good Beginner’s Set of Hand Woodworking Tools

My Handtools

This is the Hantools in My Main Toolbox

The picture above shows the hand tools that I have in my main tool box. The tool box is in the center of the picture on top of the drawer unit in the center. I have many others in my drawers, on shelves, or just hanging on the walls. Without thinking exhaustively about this, the following list would be what I would work towards having as a good starting set of hand woodworking tools. There is no doubt that I have forgotten something. Also no two people will have the same opinion on this subject. I will say this, you can do a whole lot worse than setting your mind on learning how to use the tools on this list well before acquiring any others.

The following can be your first projects:
work bench
tool box

vice – you can build this if you have a couple of steel shafts and an acme screw and nut see McMaster Carr supply

claw hammer
ball pein hammer
tack hammer
wood mallet – can probably make a decent one even without a lathe
rubber mallet

3 pc. set of nail sets

Bevel edge wood chisels
1/4 inch
1/2 inch
3/4 inch
1 inch
add 1-1/4 and 1-1/2 when you can

1/4 inch mortise chisel and add 3/8 inch and 1/2 inch as soon as possible

hand crosscut saw
hand rip saw
14 inch back saw
10 – 12 inch dovetail saw
keyhole saw
coping saw

brace
egg beater drill
drill bits – 1/16 – 3/8 by 16ths to start and add to when you can
auger bits – 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 3/4, 1 to start and then add to when you can

6 inch try square
9 inch try square
combination square
sliding t bevel – can possibly make
combination mortise and marking guage – can possibly make
marking knife – can possibly make
rafter square
plumb bob

scratch awl – can possibly make
6 inch steel rule
12 inch steel rule
18 inch steel rule
compass – can possibly make
protractor
depth guage – can possibly make – use rules
6 ft extension rule
12 ft tape measure
One or two wood levels would be nice – maybe 24 to 48 inch range.

Several straight edges wood be handy to have; you can start out with the steel rules.

pocket knife
utility knife
putty scrapers

block plane
smoothing plane #3 or #4
jack plane #5 #6 plane
cabinet scrapers
add some cabinet shoulder planes when you can

draw knife – add a curved draw knife when you can
flat spokeshave
convex spokeshave

choice of sharpening tools:
water stones, arkansas stones, etc.
leather strop

9 in half round bastard file
12 inch half round bastard file
several mill files
file card

Files are useful so add to these when you can. If you want to do this right you will need to have the files that you need to sharpen your saws. You can make a saw vice that works with your cabinet vice. You will also need a saw set. You can start out by paying someone to sharpen them when needed.

1 set screwdrivers
1 set combination wrenches
1 set allen wrenches
1 pr pliers
1 pr vise grips
obviously the more mechanics tools you have the better.

You can never have enough clamps but you can start out with the simple bar clamps that go on pipe and just invest in a collection of pipes. They also make some fittings for making clamps out of wood using either holes or notches in the wood.

I hope this helps

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5 Responses to A Good Beginner’s Set of Hand Woodworking Tools

  1. john coyne says:

    great collection! what are the 8 bent wire objects in the front just left of center? how much is it in your experience to get a saw sharpened? I’m thinking of adding two panel saws, one crosscut, one rip but am not ready to get into sharpening

  2. Neil Tsubota says:

    I can’t see the “vise” that you built from parts at McMaster-Carr.

  3. I simply could not go away your web site prior to suggesting
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  4. John says:

    Starter set!!!!!!! I better save some green cuz I haven’t dented the starter set yet! I wonder how many years I will be considered a rookie!!!!!LOL!

  5. Andy McGee says:

    I’m going to show my wife the “starter set”. Then she’ll understand why I have to visit the local flea markets every weekend, and why I always manage to bring home a couple more items each visit.

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