Forum Replies Created
6 July 2017 at 11:51 pm #313561
As far as squares go, learn how to test for square: mark a line that is square with the edge of a square surface, like a sheet of paper, you may need to put a book or plywood underneath. Flip the square, and mark another square line on the same spot. The square is square if and only if the lines do not diverge. Try to be as accurate as you can, make sure the stock of the square is fully registered against the edge of the paper. If you mark one line a bit off from the other, they should be parallel if the square is square). For more accuracy, use a knife instead of pencil. It may be hard to see though.
Knowing that, take your piece of paper and support surface (book/plywood) to a hardware store and try the squares there. I’d definitely consider the IRWIN 12-inch square. It has been recommended by various people who are not as picky as “us woodworkers”, and, to be honest, the one I bought is perfectly square as far as I can verify it with paper and knife or sharp pencil. And it cost me $13. You can always keep it in the car later for trips to the lumber yard or situations where you don’t want to take your nice tools.2 July 2017 at 5:20 pm #313428
A bench/horse hybrid like the one that @eckyh showed, or even a variation of Paul Seller’s saw horse (somewhat taller, wider) would be a big improvement on the workmate. Someone in these forums has done that.
That said, if you can brace the workmate (or whatever else) against a wall, you can probably get away with it in the beginning.
But I’ll be honest, I went though a similar procedure recently, and I hated it until I had decent workholding capabilities. My current setup is a Homedepot prebuilt workbench, with foldable legs (2x4s and a MDF top, I glued a pine board on top). It’s wobbly as anything, but I braced it against a wall, and now it’s firm. Then I installed a small, steel, quick-release vise. In hindsight, if I was going to brace against the wall anyway, I could have just built some braces and a top myself with screws. After I installed the vise, I was happy, it was so much faster than the “clamp juggling act” I had before.
Another idea: if you have a sturdy sitting bench that you don’t mind banging on, don’t discount sitting on it and using it as a workbench either. You can use your weight to stabilize the bench, _and_, for larger stock, you can sit on the wood too. Yep, not ideal, but something you can do before you build something better.2 July 2017 at 3:45 pm #313425
A router plane. Buy or build (Paul has blog posts on this, look up “poor man’s router plane Paul Sellers” on any search engine).2 July 2017 at 3:32 pm #313422
I agree with ed’s point about the 12-inch tenon saw. Take a look at the Veritas carcass saw. But you can also cut small tenons with a dovetail saw and large ones with a fine rip panel saw. So don’t discount your initial strategy.
I keep mentioning the Veritas saws because they are the cheapest way I know of experiencing a well sharpened western joinery saw. I want to know what sharp feels like, for all your tools.
Sharpening saws is an important skill, but I feel it may turn out to be more expensive right now than buying something affordable that works very well out of the box (Veritas). So, I’d either go all new and working out of the box (leaving saw set and saw files and vise for later) or all cheap but sharpenable for saws. If you mix the two strategies, you will spend more than you have to out of the gate, I think.
I haven’t used a dozuki, but as Philip said, that may be a way to save too.2 July 2017 at 3:16 pm #313420
One panel saw instead of two will save a good amount of money.
I don’t know of a way to sharpen a saw without a vise of some sort. I would avoid sharpening saws at this stage. Most home center saws I have seen cross cut well, and they can be had for 16 bucks new if you need a cross cut.
You also forgot clamps. 24-inch bar clamps are the ones I use the most. Pipe clamps work well too and you can just get new pipe at the home center if you need different sizes. Look at eBay.
I would recommend the Thorex hammer Paul uses, with a soft (grey) side and a hard (white) side. Saves you from buying a rubber hammer and building a mallet.
Make sure you have good natural or artificial lighting.
You will want a brace and auger bits at some point. An egg beater drill too.
Have you seen Paul’s new book on hand tools? If you don’t have it, I would start there.2 July 2017 at 2:55 pm #313418
Also, build yourself a pair of bench hooks (designed to work together). Super useful, especially before you have a vise.2 July 2017 at 2:51 pm #313417
I think it’s a sensible list, but I would add a 1/4 chisel, like Philip said. I would also get some super cheap plane wood or metal as a dedicated scrub. You will need a grinder to put a pronounced camber on the blade though. I just asked a friend to help me with that, haven’t needed a grinder ever since.
If you want an affordable Western dovetail saw that works out of the box, I would get the Veritas.
You could get away with a single 10ppi rip panel saw for rips and cross cuts.
If you get saw that already work right away, you probably won’t need saw files or a saw set at first, though saw files have other uses.