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Hand Tools Hand tools, clamps, measuring, and all that other stuff

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Old 08-19-2015, 11:01 PM
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Default Old School Toolkit

Lately I've been thinking about life before electricity and how stuff got built and how those can be very useful skills that are being lost. My uncle had those skills, built his own vacation cottage and boat mostly with hand tools, but unfortunately he is deceased and lived thousands of miles away so we only met once. I know I'm not alone in this interest, and while I have no desire to get rid of the power tools I'd like to put together an assortment of hand tools that could prove useful in situations when electricity isn't available and would be used often enough to be proficient. I have so little experience with it that I have no idea where to begin. I know many of the same functions apply be it sawing, planing, drilling, etc, but wouldn't know the better options for maximizing capabilities with the least amount of tools, which also supports the desire of portability. I've already got a few hand tools but no idea if they are appropriate choices so I'm leaving them out of this and approaching it as a blank slate.

I'm open to all thoughts and suggestions on what tools to consider, be it types or even specific models and brands. Would also need to think about tool boxes to contain it all. Looking forward any input.
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Old 08-20-2015, 12:14 AM
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Default Re: Old School Toolkit

The trouble with hand tools is: it's not so hard to say where to start; but where to STOP!

Saws: Dissiton type Crosscut and Rip saws, Dovetail or Carcass backsaws
"Eggbeater" drill w/bits
Brace & Bits
Jack Plane
Jointer Plane
Smoother Plane
Block Plane
"Yankee" screwdriver
1/4"-3/4" Bench Chisels
Mallet
Hammer
Marking Knife
Rules & Squares
Bevel
Marking Gauge
Card Scrapers
Coping Saw
WORKBENCH w/Vises & Hold downs
Bench Hook
...
...
...
...
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Old 08-20-2015, 12:19 AM
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Default Re: Old School Toolkit

Either Lie Nielsen or Lee Valley are good brands for starters. Both carry items from other small boutique tool makers in addition to their own designs. The quality of their steel is better than cheaper imports, especially cutting tools. I have some Badaxe saws that are terrific if you want to spend a little more.
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Old 08-20-2015, 01:13 AM
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Default Re: Old School Toolkit

Thanks for the info. As I go along I'm gonna post in the specific items to pick apart the choices
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Old 08-20-2015, 05:08 AM
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Default Re: Old School Toolkit

You'd be surprised what just a few basic hand tools can do.
A lot of what you'd want depends on the jobs you have in mind for them, be it furniture and fine woodwork or more rough carpentry as in structures/shelters or repair to them etc..
Some tools cross over into both categories. It depends what you foresee the being most important. If you want to be fairly portable with your tool setup, the most versatile and hardy tools will probably be better choices in the long term. Also don't forget a dull tool is useless. I don't know what skills you already have, but you'll need to start learning to sharpen your tools free hand, not only chisels and plane irons, but drill bits and saws and knives, axes etc..It all depends how deep you wanna go
Interesting thread.
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Old 08-20-2015, 05:58 AM
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Default Re: Old School Toolkit

Great point about sharpening, currently I mainly use DMT duosharp plates 200/325/600/1200. I should probably get up to 4,000 or 8,000 plus strops. I've got a chisel/plane blade alignment tool that isn't very good and will be getting a better one that is much more precise. Sharpening things like augers and drills I'd have no clue to properly align, but obviously it can be done since others have done so for years. Stuff like axes I've used my power grinder and wet wheel but that would be out so I need to think about that also. I've done chainsaws by hand with good success but never a regular handsaw. A dull tool ranges from frustrating to useless so sharpening must be considered and part of the kit, thanks for pointing it out.

As for what type of work, carpentry would be a priority with finer work included as well. I use the term fine loosley, probably more like finish carpentry level like outdoor furniture, simple tables and benches, etc. Think Little House on the Prairie as opposed to Chippendale. But even then with time and care better work can certainly be accomplished.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:32 AM
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Default Re: Old School Toolkit

I also have moved towards hand tools for many things. I find one off jobs seem to go faster than setting up a power tool. A year or so ago I had a stash of $$ and was going to spend it at LN and LV. I ended up buying a bunch of hardwood slabs from a Woodworkers widow and made a split top bench instead. I long for a big rack of LN and LV tools but I can say that the bench is one of the best tools I have, I would be lost without it.

With out my big stash of $$ I have discovered a guy in NJ who restores old hand tools and have bought 3 saws, # 4 and #7 Stanley planes from him. Bob finds and cleans a restores the old tools, then sells for a very reasonable price. Some how I get a good feeling picking up my tools that are each over 100 years old and using them. I wounder who has used them in the past and almost feel they teach me something each time I use them. I do have some very nice LV had planes that I have bought, they work great, but I do not get that same feeling using them. Just something about picking up that big #7 that is about 125 yrs old and pushing it along, nice and quiet. It works great and at 75 bucks a steal.

I have a set of Arkansas oil stones and a Worksharp 3000 for sharpening. Some day I will have to learn to file the saws.

I find it hard not to be a hand tool hoarder.
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:06 AM
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Default Re: Old School Toolkit

You'll be surprised what can be sharpened with a few simple files in a pinch. I know, it's not quite fine woodworking sharp, but certainly house on the prairie sharp I sharpen most of my axes and rough work tools with simple files.
I'm not sure which would be best, diamond plates, oil stones or water stones for your kit. Diamond plates are very low maintenance, but I'm not sure of their longevity.
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:31 AM
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Default Re: Old School Toolkit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sta2lt View Post
I also have moved towards hand tools for many things. I find one off jobs seem to go faster than setting up a power tool. A year or so ago I had a stash of $$ and was going to spend it at LN and LV. I ended up buying a bunch of hardwood slabs from a Woodworkers widow and made a split top bench instead. I long for a big rack of LN and LV tools but I can say that the bench is one of the best tools I have, I would be lost without it.

With out my big stash of $$ I have discovered a guy in NJ who restores old hand tools and have bought 3 saws, # 4 and #7 Stanley planes from him. Bob finds and cleans a restores the old tools, then sells for a very reasonable price. Some how I get a good feeling picking up my tools that are each over 100 years old and using them. I wounder who has used them in the past and almost feel they teach me something each time I use them. I do have some very nice LV had planes that I have bought, they work great, but I do not get that same feeling using them. Just something about picking up that big #7 that is about 125 yrs old and pushing it along, nice and quiet. It works great and at 75 bucks a steal.

I have a set of Arkansas oil stones and a Worksharp 3000 for sharpening. Some day I will have to learn to file the saws.

I find it hard not to be a hand tool hoarder.
It would be amazing to have my uncles hand tools but I'm sure they are long gone. Could wonder of what he built with them, very cool. For whatever reason a circular saw lacks that connection.

But in this instance I'm focused on the practical, new or old tools is fine with me as long as they do the work needed.
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:40 AM
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Default Re: Old School Toolkit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Okami View Post
You'll be surprised what can be sharpened with a few simple files in a pinch. I know, it's not quite fine woodworking sharp, but certainly house on the prairie sharp I sharpen most of my axes and rough work tools with simple files.
I'm not sure which would be best, diamond plates, oil stones or water stones for your kit. Diamond plates are very low maintenance, but I'm not sure of their longevity.
Yea I have no idea of the longevity of diamond plates.

Files are great until you need to file something as hard as the file. I once made a leatherworking knife from an oil hardening tool steel. After hardening that edge it laughed at my feeble attempt to shape it with a file. That was an educational school project. But yes files have their place, I definitely should include them as well for their usefulness on all sorts of projects as well as sharpening.
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