Beginners tools: Choosing chisels

Chisels are essential in your shop.  With some experience you will be amazed at what you can do with them.

This blog is to help you with your choice.  We will discuss prices, sharpening, edge retention and technique.

I own many sets with large price differences and I will be talking about those trying to describe them with their plus and minus.  Let's start by the least expensive set.

Marples set of three:

Marples chisels are fairly inexpensives

Beginners tools: Sharpening stones

The very first skill required to enjoy manual woodworking is to be able to sharpen properly a blade or a chisel.  You may buy a high end plane but, if you are not good at sharpening, you will not be happy with it.  I have a Blog describing my method and also a french video.

This blog will discuss the types of stones that I've used.  There are many other media available that will not be discussed here because I don't know them.

With experience, I can say that all media can achieve a decent edge.  The problem is with the woodworker skill/knowledge/practice.

Water stones.

1000/8000 water stones

Beginners tools: Planes

This is a subject that has been discussed many times on this blog.
Many people are asking me the same questions.  They ask if they should buy a new or an old plane, what size it should be or if they are better with a bevel-up of a bevel-down one.

Veritas low angle jack, Lie-Nielsen 4-½, Record 5

Beginners Tools: Choosing a saw

This blog is to help you for choosing a saw and I will look at what you should know before buying one.  The main decisions for you will be: do you want to learn sharpening or not and what your budget is.  Saw prices are very wide, probably more than any other tool.

Sawing straight is one of the more important skill in your workshop.  When your cut is not straight you will need a lot more planing and you may have to scrap a piece once in a while.

You do have a few choices, let's explore them.
  • Big box hardware store saw
Those saws are inexpensive and have their teeth tempered.  You can not sharpen them, you use them until they don't work any more and throw them away.

Beginners Tools: General Review

This blog is the first dedicated to beginners.  It will give you a general idea about the tools required to do manual woodworking.  More detailed blogs regarding beginners tools are available here:
The first and more important aspect to master is sharpening.  If you do not master this then, no matter what plane, chisel or saw you buy, you will not get anywhere.

I've talked about that subject here and I also have a french video (just look, you don't need to speak french).

For saw sharpening it's here.


Low angle jack, standard 45° bedded jack, standard smoother no. 4

Beginners tools: Marking and Measuring

Marking and measuring are two very important aspects in woodworking and you should be looking for very good quality tools.  Not so long ago, two of my squares have been verified and scrapped because they were not perfectly square.

There is so many types of rulers, squares, marking gauges, knifes, etc that the choice is not so easy.
Let's see the tools that I own and how I use them.


Protractor square, machinist square and standard square

Technique: Tear-out control with hand planes

We all have to plane different types of wood and some of them could be highly figured and cause tear-out.

Here are some known methods that are effective at reducing those tear-out.

For a standard plane with a 45 degree bed:
1. A sharp iron
2. A reduced mouth opening
3. Moving the chipbreaker closer to the cutting edge
4. Adding a 5 or 10 degree back-bevel
5. Reducing the depth of cut
6. Increasing the chipbreaker angle

In details now.