Which “special” tool ?

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    Mark Ridley

    Hello All,

    I have recently had a “significant” birthday, and as my friends know that over the last couple of years I have become really interested in hand tools & woodwork – they have had a collection to get me a “significant” present. I guess they will have 300 to 350 Euros – for my gift.

    I now have the enviable task of telling them what I would like.

    Over the last couple of years I have managed to build up quite a selection of tools, mostly from eBay (except for the new Veritas router my wife gave me for Christmas) – so I have most planes, chisels, saws and things … all now in reasonably good condition.

    I do have a “Faithful” No 5 … which took some time flattening, and once I replaced the original blade which kept fracturing …. now works quite nicely.
    I did think about asking for a Veritas No 5 …. but all of these seem to be “customisable” – so I became a bit paralysed by the different choices.

    I don’t have a very good block plane (as I never seem to use one) … would that be a good choice of investment?
    But I have seen standard ones, pocket ones, low-angled ones and even skew ones …. so not sure what to ask for here either.

    I do use my tools – so it is not like I am interested in the Veritas premium range- which seems a bit too much form over function

    So I am looking for some guidance … any ideas?
    Is there a “special” tool that I maybe haven’t even thought about?



    Have you thought about a bandsaw?

    Ronald Kowalewski

    4 1/2 vintage

    Get some wood

    Protect the line.

    Mark Ridley

    @tcurtis … I bought the Lumberjack one about a year ago and a couple of Tuff Saw blades ….

    – I was lucky enough to be given an old Stanley 4 1/2 and a 7 by a friends father. We was an old woodwork teacher and they were both in nice condition … he gave them to me as his son has no interest – so he was pleased to find a home for them.
    I would probably never have bought a no 7 … but actually it is a great addition, as you can very quickly get a lovely straight/flat edge.


    Have sent you a private message on here, couldn’t post my list for some reason.

    Thomas Brown

    If you are not averse to power tools, how about a small woodwork lathe. Happy “significant” birthday” BTW.

    Ecky H

    Fortunately I could buy some second hand Veritas tools – and they are really good tools to work with. Their No.6 served me Veri well when I had to flatten the rough sawn lumber for the pieces of my modified Paul Sellers work bench.
    Did you recently struggle with a specific tool over and over due to the idiosyncrasies of that specific model? Then perhaps a top end replacement for that…
    Do you use a shooting board regularly? Maybe a dedicated shooting plane would be a good addition.


    Veni, vidi, serravi.

    Münster, Germany

    Dave Ring

    If your friends want to seriously splash out on a single hand tool, I’d suggest either a plough/plow plane or a combination plane.

    As for block planes, I don’t consider them essential but my favorite a is an old Stanley No. 140, which has a skew blade and a removable side plate to enable you to cut rabbets/rebates. LN makes an updated version that is probably even better.




    How about:

    1. Veritas Cabinet Scraper

    2. Nice low angle block plane

    3. Low Angle Jack Plane with PMV 11 iron – I got one of these for my last significant birthday

    4. Veritas Honing Guide Deluxe kit –

    5. Veritas Dual Marking Gauge –

    6. Veritas Combination Plane (+ additional blades)

    7. Nice old Record Combination Plane, lots on ebay. Expect to pay up to £100

    8. Shooting Board Plane –

    9. Auriou Rasps – these are great, but expensive! Classic Hand Tools sell them in the UK.

    I like my Low Angle Jack, and the PMV-11 is really nice.



    I’d have to agree with Darren on the low angle jack, I have the LN 62 and whilst it isn’t good for everything I use it an awful lot. It’s great for finishing thicknessing boards, edge planing and I use it a lot on the shooting board too.

    If you’re using rough sawn timber or even converting thicker stock down then a scrub plane will transform your work. My wife bought me the LN scrub last year and despite having a converted Stanley it was a revelation how quickly I could get a board level. Even if you use a thicknesser to finish your boards off you need a flat face to start with and you can get there really quickly with it.

    Whatever you choose have fun 🙂


    Mark Ridley

    Last year I got a present of a 2-day course to make a traditional Nutcracker Soldier – which was done using a lathe … First time I had used a lathe since school … so well over 40 years ago, and it was great fun, so it is a good idea. However, I am only 2 years into my woodworking (which I can only do at weekends) – so I worry that getting a lathe now might distract me too much … so I might leave that until I retire – also I am not sure if my friends’ collection will stretch that far ….

    Mark Ridley

    Just a quick update ….

    First thanks to everyone for your suggestions … not sure if that made my choice easier or more difficult …

    Luckily for me – my friends seem to have been quite generous, surpassing what I though t was my original budget …. so

    I have decided to get a midi-lathe and a decent starter set of gouges/chisels etc

    …. then of course I have to fund myself the less glamorous “sharpening” kit .. and start saving for a chuck somewhere along the line …..



    It’s not a cheap purchase, but a Sorby Pro Edge is a fantastic piece of sharpening kit.

    With the long grind attachment you can do all sorts of grinds on your gouges.

    It’s great for other tools also.




    Bill Epstein

    You won’t regret the lathe. Get one with a pivoting head and gift back your friends with small bowls. I’ve made do with assorted contoured water stones for years. They’re cheap. Someone’s always discarding stump cut-offs and they’re free.

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