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Thread: Tools for the Minimalist?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck van dyck View Post
    A tool chest that will keep you honest to your pursuit of minimalism!
    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Dupont View Post
    Great point! I was already thinking along these lines. Hence, I should think about the maximum number of tools I might actually need, make a toolbox to that size, and only own what can fit in there.
    You might look into the book Anarchist Tool Chest by Chris Schwarz for a list of essential tools >
    https://blog.lostartpress.com/?s=essential+tools

    “‘The Anarchist’s Tool Chest’ is divided into three sections:

    “1. A deep discussion of the 48 core tools that will help readers select a tool that is well-made – regardless of brand name or if it’s vintage or new. This book doesn’t deal with brands of tools. Instead it teaches you to evaluate a well-made tool, no matter when or where it was manufactured. There also is a list of the 24 “good-to-have” tools you can add to your kit once you have your core working set.

    “2. A thorough discussion of tool chests, plus plans and step-by-step instructions for building one. The book shows you how to design a chest around your tools and how to perform all the common operations for building it. Plus, there are complete construction drawings for the chest I built for myself.

    “3. There also is a brief dip into the philosophy of craft, and I gently make the case that all woodworkers are “aesthetic anarchists.” — Christopher Schwarz
    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    You might look into the book Anarchist Tool Chest by Chris Schwarz for a list of essential tools >
    https://blog.lostartpress.com/?s=essential+tools



    jtk

    Thanks, I may look into that!

  3. #18
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    An update on my plane situation, for anyone who may benefit:

    Firstly, some people suggested, and quite reasonably so, that I stick with Japanese tools and woodworking methods.
    I've used Japanese tools for a long time, as well as working on the floor, and I quite like this method of working, but for my specific purposes and physical condition, I find push planes to be the better route. In particular, using Japanese planes on the pull stroke is problematic for me because of a chronic injury that makes pulling and gripping things tightly using the tendons on the inside of my forearms and wrists difficult. This is less pronounced but still present to some degree with saws as well, but generally a non issue with other tools. So, push planes it is for me, and the Stanley Bailey pattern has always worked well for me.

    As push planes cannot be used very well on the floor in Japanese fashion, I'm building a small bench. I think I will have a removable toolbox for storage which spans the stretchers underneath; this will save space allowing me to store all of my tools right under my bench. I'll try this out at least and see if it doesn't worsen the potential sound problem -- I don't *think* it will cause any added reverberations, and can only help my bench in terms of stability.

    I just got in my No.2 Stanley Bailey plane, and... It is great. But just slightly smaller than I realized. I could see myself wanting something a little larger, though the No. 2 will work for the majority of my work.

    Previously I used a No. 3 almost exclusively and it was good for most of my work. I did find myself wanting on occasion a slightly larger or slightly smaller plane; jointing long boards or flattening bench tops was a bit challenging though perfectly doable. I like the width of the No. 3, too.

    Perhaps this time I should get a No. 5 1/4 to compliment the No. 2, which is very close to the No. 3 that I was using, but 3" longer. I can use that when I want to get something dead flat without much work, and the No. 2 can double as both a scrubber and smoother since I have two irons for it; it's narrowness aiding in scrubbing, and its small size aiding in smoothing and more detailed work which I will mainly be doing... plus, a great starter plane for when my son is eventually old enough to start woodworking, should he be interested!

    Alternatively I could opt for a No. 4 and a No. 2, and I think that would work quite fine, but if I am to own only two planes, it may be wise to go with the longer No. 5 1/4.

    I've not often found myself needing the extra width of a No. 4, though it certainly can be handy... I would occasionally pick up a No. 4 for that reason, but for 99% of my work, I'd pick up the No. 3 in the past. So, that's another reason for leaning towards the No. 5 1/4.

    Anyway, I know about how large my tool storage will be now 29cm x 65cm x however deep (about 1ft x 2.13 ft), so I can plan out my tools based on those parameters. I'll go a bit deep with it so that I can stand tools on end to save space and keep them accessible.

    I think a No.2 and 5 1/4 should do all that I need, and probably don't need the No. 3, as useful a size as it may be.

    While space is also a constraint, so is time, as a hobbiest with a full time job and a newborn child. So a few convenience planes may actually be a good idea -- a 5 1/4 for quickly flattening pieces, even 2 foot in length, may be handy, as would be a rabbet plane, and a plow plane. A round bottom plane may also be nice for making bowls and the like, which I intend to do. Small, light weight Japanese plow planes, rabbet planes, and a variety of rounds, skewed corner, and other planes are readily available here, all being small/narrow, and light weight, so I may pick up a few but not too many of them, only as the need arises.

    I think I may borrow a page from the Ultra Light trekking crowd and put a piece of tape on each of my tools, to be removed when I actually pick up and use it, and if I do not use a given tool within a certain time frame (say 3-6 months), as evidenced by the tape still being there, I should strongly consider selling it.
    Last edited by Luke Dupont; 11-04-2021 at 1:52 AM.

  4. #19
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    A round bottom plane may also be nice for making bowls and the like
    There are not many round bottom planes that would work for that. Maybe a spoke shave or or a hooked knife.

    A search for a pull shave that used to be available looks like it is no longer around.

    Next time out to my shop a picture will be taken of the items that might work for carving wood bowls.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    There are not many round bottom planes that would work for that. Maybe a spoke shave or or a hooked knife.

    A search for a pull shave that used to be available looks like it is no longer around.

    Next time out to my shop a picture will be taken of the items that might work for carving wood bowls.

    jtk

    Thanks!

    I've carved a Kuksa before, but never a bowl, so I was unsure how steep curvature is involved. As I think about it more carefully now, I think you're right that the round bottom plane probably would be too shallow.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    ... Maybe a spoke shave or or a hooked knife. ...
    For bowls, and chair seats, add "scorp", "travisher", and "adze" to the list of terms/tools to research.

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Luke Dupont View Post
    This is true and how I would normally go about things, but there are two problems:

    1. As I'm working on a project, I'm constantly having to acquire one or two specific tools at a high price, and getting subquality things, as opposed to what I really wanted. This tends to happen with chisels, bits, and the like. So I find it much more economical to just bulk purchase, say, a bunch of auger bits or a complete set of chisels -- things that I know I will need.

    2. I find that I often replace the things that were of inferior quality or not exactly what I wanted when I had to buy them now just to continue with a project with something better down the road. I'd rather just buy once. So working out what I really and truly need and going ahead and getting those things saves me the trouble of having to throw away or try to sell tools that I know I will want to replace.

    There's also the suggestion lower of making a tool chest of a certain size to hold what I "need", and basically not owning more than can be fit in there. I was already thinking in these terms, so being able to imagine what I do and don't need realistically will help me to establish the right size, I figured.

    Lastly, there's the reoccurring frustration of waiting weeks for a specific tool to come in the mail just to get on with a project...

    But, you're totally correct in that there is no definitive list, and it really depends on the individual.

    For example, for the longest time I've been wanting wooden screw tap and dies, because I like making mechanical things. That's far from something that should be universally needed. But I know I would get a lot of use out of it.

    I'm really just looking to establish a "baseline", I guess.
    The journey is yours to make.
    However, mine has been to make a bunch of benches, then tables, then bowls, then chairs, then guitars. Each of these requires some different tools. Over time, my preference for power vs hand tools also continues to evolve.

    My point is, these threads rarely take into account the fact that the user's goals may change over time.

    Anyway, different strokes (push and pull I guess) for different folks.

  8. #23
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    Here are images of the two shaves in my accumulation that may help with bowls:

    Clifton Conves Shave & Pull Shave.jpg

    Yesterday an internet search for the pull shave couldn't find anything. It may be discontinued or out of stock.

    Here is an image of the business sides:

    Clifton Conves Shave & Pull Shave Blade Side.jpg

    The Clifton 500 would be good for shallow work. After a certain depth the handles would be in the way.

    It isn't difficult to make a treadle or bicycle type drive lathe specifically for bowls. With a treadle it is easy to control the direction of spin. With a bicycle chain it may be tricky to have the work facing you in a pedaling position.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Making a straight edge is easy and saves a lot of money compared to the cost of a good straight edge.

    Here is an article on how to make a straight edge > https://cdn.woodsmith.com/files/issu...raightedge.pdf

    This is similar to how my winding sticks were made > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?290331

    You also might consider having a second plane. It is nice to have a longer plane to work longer pieces. For the minimalist it might be a #4 & #5. They take the same blade size. Another combination could be a #3 & #5-1/4. The #5-1/4 is a great size for using as a scrub plane with a heavily cambered blade.

    jtk
    I picked up a No. 5-1/4 as you suggested, since I previously used and liked the No. 3 so much. And, I must say, it is a really great size. Whilst I won't be making large things so often, I've already found it quite handy for planing smaller stock 2-3 feet in length and being assured that the piece is quite flat.

    The other thing got is a Chinese Bowsaw. I used one of these that I made myself in the past (I made the blade as well. There's a thread somewhere here on the build), and having nothing to compare it to, always wondered if I'd done a good job. Well, the commercial one that came in was almost exactly like what I built in construction and use! Anyway, these saws are quite useful and can be used for ripping, crosscuts, and joinery. Not quite as easy to use as Japanese saws, but you're able to cut on the push stroke, which is very advantageous when ripping as you don't have to get up underneath the work like you do with a Japanese saw (in order to rip with, as opposed to against, the grain).

    The old tenon saw I ordered on ebay and sharpened and set has been something of a disappointment though. For whatever reason, it's really hard to use and gets stuck in the cut no matter how much set I add or remove. Not sure what I'm doing wrong -- I've sharpened and restored tenon saws before. I'll have to fiddle around with it some more. The plate is also quite a bit thicker than I'd like too, though. In any case, I suppose it is not so necessary to have with both a bow saw and Japanese saws on hand.
    Last edited by Luke Dupont; 11-21-2021 at 2:47 AM.

  10. #25
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    Luke, I’m coming to this thread late. With regard to planes, I think that you should look at making a couple of Krenov-style woodies. A smoother at 5” and a jointer at around 15-18”. The traditional double blades are made by Hock, but you could find alternatives closer to home. These planes would be both light and sized to suit you.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  11. #26
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    The old tenon saw I ordered on ebay and sharpened and set has been something of a disappointment though. For whatever reason, it's really hard to use and gets stuck in the cut no matter how much set I add or remove.
    What kind of wood are you cutting?

    Some of the pine and other firs tend to swell and close up when sawing whether crosscutting or ripping.

    The only cure for this is dryer wood.

    This reminds me of a conversation an employer of mine had with a coworker about automotive engine problems. It went something like having three possibilities causing a problem, fuel, timing or compression.

    With saws it is rake, ppi or set. If the rake is 0-5º (hopefully not less than 0º) it will be a difficult saw to start and may feel like it is sticking in the cut if you are not used to a steep rake. Many of my rip saws are set to ~8º rake. If my memory is working the Veritas saws are set at 14º rake. This makes for a smooth working saw starting and through the cut.

    Different ppi for different work. Some of my joinery saws go as low as 10ppi. My favorite for ripping 4/4 hardwood is 6ppi. For a little bit slower nicer work, 10ppi works.

    Before being able to tell if it is the set one needs a means of determining the set. My preference is a dial caliper. The price on these may be prohibitive. An easy way to get around the cost is with a set of feeler gauges. It isn't difficult to use feeler gauges to comparison measure thickness of items. The blades can be stacked for additive comparison.

    You can measure the kerf after cutting. If the kerf isn't 0.003" - 0.006" wider than the back of the saw, it will likely be binding.

    Other than that would be technique. If the saw isn't going almost perfectly back and forth it can also bind. Thinner saw plates are susceptible to this.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  12. #27
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    Try rubbing a plain old candle along the saw..just above the tooth line....VOE...
    A Planer? I'm the Planer, and this is what I use

  13. If you use Japanese chisels, then also use Japanese hammers: https://covingtonandsons.com/2020/05...-introduction/

  14. #29
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    Sometimes we limit ourselves by taking the stance “I need this tool before I can do this task”. I have often found that in todays world we can go to the net and just look. Sometimes you will find the experts using minimal tooling. Two I can think of are: Phil Lowe shaping a cabriole leg with a wide chisel and a spokeshave and Kaare Loftheim cutting full blind dovetails with a marking gauge, back saw and 2 chisels. There are many more out there. If you learn that you may not need more tools and can wait until you have the space and or the cash. Besides that you get some proficiency with tools and have fun to boot.
    Jim
    P.s. Phil’s expertise will sorely missed.

  15. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by James Pallas View Post
    Sometimes we limit ourselves by taking the stance “I need this tool before I can do this task”.
    Starting out as a (monetarily) poor woodworker is a good fix for that

    You say, I need to do this task, what tools do I already have that will work well enough?

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