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Thread: Look at these YouTube instructors. How many of these planes and chisels get used?

  1. #1

    Look at these YouTube instructors. How many of these planes and chisels get used?

    I have been doing woodworking many years, and consider myself very average as I have great machines and can make some nice things, but I have not really invested time into buying and using hand tools. When I get better at that, then I will consider myself an above average woodworker. I have had a LN #4 and #62 and block plane for many years along with my Craftsman from high school, and some Marples and old Japan Woodworker chisels, but used machines or reached for sanders or roundover bits when I should have used a plane on many occasions, which would have saved on time, noise, dust etc. Yea, I can make nice dovetails with my Keller jig, but nothing like what a delicate hand dovetails looks like.

    I am now focusing on improving my hand tool skills, and am on the wait list for a 4 day precision with hand tools workshop with Garrett Hack. A friend recently showed me the advantages of the Veritas Hinge plane over a template jig for a router when trying to fine tune the mortises on a door for a better fit and one is on order. I was able to buy 2 used Holtey planes at such a low price I feel it is unfair, but for sure I have gotten rid of things of value for way less than what I paid many times. After reading the thread on the shooting boards, I purchased a LN #51. Went to a sharpening class at Woodcraft this past month.

    I am in no hurry to start buying a lot of tools. I will buy only what I anticipate using. Maybe a shoulder plane would be next. Anyhow, for just having several more planes and a plan to maybe buy better chisels, I am needing to re-do the storage space around my old Diefenbach workbench. I do not want to keep re-doing my layout, and want to within reason plan space for the possibility of some future additions.

    As I look at other shops

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BAWNOi86FQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyfvygylyJg

    I see impressive numbers of hand tools, and a lot of shop real estate was needed to organize and store them. I was wondering how many of those planes and chisels actually get used and how many are for a collection.
    On the cover of the Toolbox Book is the amazing tool cabinet of Andy Rae, and I see far less tools. I count 14 planes including I think a shoulder, a router plane, and several block planes. Maybe he has others. Maybe not and that is all a master craftsman needs.

    I was wondering in a shop where one does not use only hand tools and does not use wood planes to create a variety of profiles in wood or to flatten boards in situations where a planer will do that, just how many planes and chisels (not counting turning or carving) can one have before some of them are no better at a task than another one that is owned. I am thinking part of it is the collection bug, and I understand that and nothing wrong with that. Not for me. If any of those guys actually use all of those planes and chisels, I am thinking wow, what a skill level to appreciate so many distinctions.

    I know now many planes one "needs" is influenced by how one defines "need" but I was just trying to think about my space.
    Last edited by Joel Gelman; 01-27-2023 at 11:10 PM.

  2. #2
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    Jealous, are we?
    Tool Chest Tour, Opened, left side.JPG
    Yes..they all indeed get used,,,as needed
    Tool Chest Tour, The Plane Til.JPG
    My Tool Chest..and my Plane Til...
    A Planer? I'm the Planer, and this is what I use

  3. #3
    Jealous? No. Fascinated? Yes. I see what looks like 6 hand braces and 3 egg beater drills. I remember having a Craftsman hand brace and auger bits when I first started woodworking in junior high school. Then, as I moved on to Forstner bits and a drill press, I never used the auger bits, and did not like the way they cut, and so I got rid of those things a long time ago. Maybe there was something about them I did not appreciate. I could see where someone may want one and one egg beater in particular, and like the control of the rotation etc, but I would not know how 3 egg beaters and 6 hand braces of them would all drill into wood differently. I am learning as to not always be an average woodworker. Part of that is to understand these things.
    Last edited by Joel Gelman; 01-28-2023 at 12:50 AM.

  4. #4
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    I live and work in an ultra tiny Japanese apartment room, half of which is my office -- a space so small that most here would deem "impossible" to use as workshop and have even suggested I think about another hobby.

    Likewise, I have very, very few tools by anyone's standards. A few sets of chisels, Japanese and western. Maybe about 5 saws that I use. About 5 planes that I use, half of them western and the other half Japanese, and about 4-5 specialty planes (kiwa-ganna, a grooving plane, a rabbit plane and a few rounds.). Bit and brace. A single gouge. A bunch of marking tools and clamps. A Japanese spoke-shave. That's about all, really. I don't build any large furniture and I do 100% of the work by hand.

    If you have machines for the rough work, you really don't need that many tools and can dispense with things like scrub planes, large rip saws, and larger jointer planes.

    You honestly don't even need a jointer, or any number of other planes. They're just more convenient and make the work go by quicker -- kind of like adding middle stones in a sharpening progression. You can get by with 2 stones just fine. Some people like to progress through 4-5 stones just to make it more efficient, though. And many collect all kinds of stones that are redundant or unnecessary, just because they like them. It's the same with tools. You really don't need a whole lot.

    Early on in my woodworking journey I enjoyed watching Paul Sellers for precisely this reason -- he shows how to do everything with just a few basic chisels, a No# 4 plane, and a tenon saw. It's a great approach when you don't have a house full of specialized tools for every given situation, and builds a lot of fundamental skills -- albeit, it's never as efficient as having the perfect tool for the job.

    Everything's a trade off, though. Time and money is best spent mastering a small set of tools and basic skills in the beginning. Then you can make life easier with each additional tool purchase.

    When it comes to duplicate tools, every additional tool covering the same role adds incrementally less value. There's no real reason to have more than a single 10" swing brace, for example. And you needn't even have more than one brace at all -- a 12" swing is nice for when you really need torque and a 6" or 8" is nice for smaller work, but a 10" will do everything satisfactorily. The rest are just either "nice to haves" or "fun to haves."

    The law of diminishing returns really does apply here. Especially if you collect so many that you can't find anything or store everything. I have a hard enough time with my extremely modest set of tools.

    I've stopped buying tools and decided to just invest a hell of a lot of money so that I can retire, and then have the money and time to buy and enjoy them later in life.

    Albiet, I guess there's an argument to be had that vintage tools may just be a good investment / inflation hedge. I think you would've done at least as well as if investing in Gold or Stocks over the last 5-6 years...
    Last edited by Luke Dupont; 01-28-2023 at 1:27 AM.

  5. #5
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    I was wondering how many of those planes and chisels actually get used and how many are for a collection.
    A very important question for every woodworker to consider. The simple answer is for most woodworking one could get by with a smoother, a jack and a jointer.

    Which planes to use for those tasks would depend on a few parameters. Those would be the scope of the work including the size of the work. Next consideration would be the size of the user. As an example for a wide area of work and a woodworker with smaller hands, the preferred smoother might be a #3, the jack could be a #5-1/4 and the jointer might be a #6 or #7. A larger person with bigger hands, especially if they plan for larger projects, might like a #4-1/2 for a smoother, a #5-1/2 for their jack and a #8 for jointing.

    A combination plane like the Stanley #45 might be useful if you wanted to make rabbets or slots for drawers. The #45 can also make some simple molding shapes. Otherwise a straight rabbet plane would be useful.

    A low angle block plane would also be useful. The 65-1/2 is a good size and has a lever cap which for me is more comfortable when using it for shooting end grain.

    IMO, a standard angle block plane can't do anything a regular bench plane can do.

    Then a router plane is useful in many hand tool operations.

    For a minimalist shop that is usually plenty of planing power.

    Then there are people like me who have a hard time making a decision so we just get at least one of each and then a few more.

    Plane Wall.jpg

    That is an old picture. There have been a few added since then and there are others on a different bench and in boxes. Almost all of them do get used. There are a few spares stashed away. Just haven't got around to figuring out what to do with the yet.

    Then there are the chisels. A whole lot of chisels. For most people a good set of bench chisels would be fine. Maybe add a few mortise chisels. Not me, there iis a set of butt chisels (short chisels), paring chisels, firmer chisels and hevier flat sided chisels. There are a bunch of others pluse a few boxes of gouges/carving chisels.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 01-28-2023 at 1:38 AM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
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    After watching the first video and realizing the Rob Cosman video, second video, is one that has already been viewed a few other things came to mind.

    Two of my jack planes are set up with heavily cambered blades for use as scrub planes. This would be a #5-1/4 and a #5. My #5-1/2 has a spare blade that is also heavily cambered for use as a scrub plane along with a #40 scrub plane.

    A couple of the jack planes are set up for very light shavings like a long smoother. Another is set up to take heavier shavings like a short jointer.

    Very few of my planes have been purchased new. Some folks do not like restoring old iron. It is one of my joys in life.

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

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Gelman View Post
    I have been doing woodworking many years, and consider myself very average as I have great machines and can make some nice things, but I have not really invested time into buying and using hand tools. When I get better at that, then I will consider myself an above average woodworker. I have had a LN #4 and #62 and block plane for many years along with my Craftsman from high school, and some Marples and old Japan Woodworker chisels, but used machines or reached for sanders or roundover bits when I should have used a plane on many occasions, which would have saved on time, noise, dust etc. Yea, I can make nice dovetails with my Keller jig, but nothing like what a delicate hand dovetails looks like.

    I am now focusing on improving my hand tool skills, and am on the wait list for a 4 day precision with hand tools workshop with Garrett Hack. A friend recently showed me the advantages of the Veritas Hinge plane over a template jig for a router when trying to fine tune the mortises on a door for a better fit and one is on order. I was able to buy 2 used Holtey planes at such a low price I feel it is unfair, but for sure I have gotten rid of things of value for way less than what I paid many times. After reading the thread on the shooting boards, I purchased a LN #51. Went to a sharpening class at Woodcraft this past month.

    I am in no hurry to start buying a lot of tools. I will buy only what I anticipate using. Maybe a shoulder plane would be next. Anyhow, for just having several more planes and a plan to maybe buy better chisels, I am needing to re-do the storage space around my old Diefenbach workbench. I do not want to keep re-doing my layout, and want to within reason plan space for the possibility of some future additions.

    As I look at other shops

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BAWNOi86FQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyfvygylyJg

    I see impressive numbers of hand tools, and a lot of shop real estate was needed to organize and store them. I was wondering how many of those planes and chisels actually get used and how many are for a collection.
    On the cover of the Toolbox Book is the amazing tool cabinet of Andy Rae, and I see far less tools. I count 14 planes including I think a shoulder, a router plane, and several block planes. Maybe he has others. Maybe not and that is all a master craftsman needs.

    I was wondering in a shop where one does not use only hand tools and does not use wood planes to create a variety of profiles in wood or to flatten boards in situations where a planer will do that, just how many planes and chisels (not counting turning or carving) can one have before some of them are no better at a task than another one that is owned. I am thinking part of it is the collection bug, and I understand that and nothing wrong with that. Not for me. If any of those guys actually use all of those planes and chisels, I am thinking wow, what a skill level to appreciate so many distinctions.

    I know now many planes one "needs" is influenced by how one defines "need" but I was just trying to think about my space.
    Joel, the two gentlemen you linked to are similar insofar as they are both salesmen. They just sell different things, and do it differently.

    James Wright (Wood By Wright) is, however, not to be mentioned in the same breath as Rob Cosman (in the second video). Wright is click baiting - he makes his income from teasing viewers to view (as do many others), and his planes are window dressing. They are an attempt to portray Wright as a skilled hand tool user (which he is not). I do not recall his having ever made a piece of furniture. It is one thing demonstrating a technique, but a decent furniture maker needs to sustain their focus all the way through a project. Snippets are easy.

    Rob Cosman is firstly a teacher of hand skills (which he has done for decades), and secondly (but closely linked) sells tools in his store. One feeds the other. But he is a very capable furniture maker. His array of tools represent what he has to sell, and his hand skills invite others to use what he does, with the suggestion that one can purchase his skills this way.

    There are lots of salesmen on YouTube. Stumpy Nubs is one of the biggest click baiters (his workshop looks like a set). Paul Sellers does his bit here too - his schtick is to appear to minimise the number of tools used, because he is singing to the choir of beginners (who cannot afford them), but then he sells video lessons and memberships instead. Do not be fooled, his evangelical approach to to seduce his possible membership. At least he is a demonstrable woodworker, which is more than can be said for SN.

    There are many reasons to own a few or many tools. Some, like Steven, never build furniture and just like showing their tools .... no, I'm teasing Steven, we know you build ... but you also enjoy collecting and showing tools as you do so at the drop of a hat.

    Nothing wrong with owning lots of tools, even if it is just to admire them. Some get pleasure from using as many as they can. Some get satisfaction from using as few as possible.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  8. #8
    Thanks Derek. I just used those 2 examples as their shops like others showed a picture of an impressive assortment of hand tools. For me, I have recently expanded my shop and have all of the power tools I need and with the jointer, planer, slider, shaper, wide belt, OSS, Disk sander, edge sander etc, I can make some things very efficiently. Many would say I have a nice shop. However, I realize that when I make dovetail drawers with a Keller jig and power tools and then trim the pins that protrude just a bit, I could use my Festool ROS or edge sander, or I could probably do a better faster job with a sharp plane with less chance of roundover in the corners. If I want to fit an inset door, I could probably do that nicely with my edge sander or with passes on the jointer. However, perhaps as I work more with planes and get better at sharpening, I would find it easier to use a plane to shave, and test with less chance of taking off too much. When a rabbet needs a tweak, I could do that on the shaper, with setup time, or maybe if I had a shoulder plane, I could do that faster. I think most things I can do with impressive accuracy with my power tools (due to the machinery being so good, not because of me), but there are still some things I could do faster with hand tools and better with hand tools, and so that is my weakness, and I want to work on my weakness.

    I was thinking I with the LN 4, 62, 51 and block, a Holtey block and 2 of the 982s I was fortunate to buy used at an amazingly low price, and the hinge Veritas, what more is there to make space for as I now need to re-do space as I added 4 planes and would like to look more into chisels. In making a tool cabinet and moving things around, I want to anticipate future "needs". I look at people with at least 14+ planes and wonder if with the right skills I would ever benefit from that, or if adding a shoulder plane some day and perhaps a router plane along with perhaps a few other planes would give me everything I would ever need. Mostly having some concept about what represents useful tools to the skilled craftsman vs what represents collecting will guide me.

  9. #9
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    Joel, some purchase tools when they need them. Some in anticipation of a need. Some just because the tool(s) are beautiful and art. Some make with the tools. Some don't.

    I think that getting comfortable with a method is a two-edged sword: you can get good at it, but also then may resist exploring other methods for fear of screwing up. You need to take some risks.

    You have some amazing tools, and I would love the opportunity to play with some, such as the Holteys. I love quality tools. I love building with hand tools. For myself, nothing is nicer than building furniture with quality hand tools. But I would also be happy building furniture with average tools. I think that you need to choose a few to familiarise yourself, and concentrate on a build with just these few.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  10. #10
    You don’t need a block plane or a shooting board plane or a#62 plane. What you need are about four bench planes.

    I am a long time professional hand tool woodworker; I have only ever owned five bench planes.

    These guys on Utube are actors; their tool displays are just window dressing.

  11. #11
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    Yeah, I think both examples are a bit extreme. Pretty sure that Wright is a tool collector, and as has been said, an impressive collection is impressive.

    For Stumpy Nubs he's often seen against his tool wall which features a large set of "hollows and rounds", most of which I doubt he uses, since I often see him using routers instead. The purpose of a set of hollows and rounds is to create moldings, and as such each plane is unique, varying in size and profile. You might think of it like a set of drill bits in a set, starting at 1/16th to 1/2", so the hollows and rounds vary in width. The advantage of such a system is that it's possible to create _any_ profile imaginable with the right combination of planes. The disadvantage is an entire set is ~$700-1000 and most people are just fine with a few profiles in router bits.

    As for augers I also have a drill press, but I found myself using the augers quite a bit for things that are not portable. While it's possible to put a forstner bit in a hand drill, above about 1/2" I start to get nervous with them in a hand-held drill. So when building a roubo style bench I found a hand auger very useful. The parts were oversized and difficult to use in a drill press, if it was possible to use them at all. It was nice for creating mortises that were deeper than my router bits would go. Outside of this specialized use I haven't used it much, but I also got my set relatively cheap. I see no use for egg beater drills.

  12. #12
    You certainly don't "need" more planes or chisels to improve your hand tool skills, aside from a rabbet/shoulder plane and router plane. Aside from marginally less frequent sharpening with better steel and easier blade adjustments with some plane mechanisms you won't see any major differences in function from what you have, which sounds like a pretty nice collection as is. Concentrate on sharpening and using and fettling your existing tool set. Tune up the chipbreaker on your smooth plane. Practice will show you what if anything you want to upgrade. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket and want to support quality toolmakers or want to have a showcase on your wall, that's ok but it won't make you a better woodworker.

    I'd be curious to know if after some time at the bench the exquisite Holtey smooth plane will do as good a job on squirrely grain as a generic Bailey style plane with a properly adjusted chipbreaker.
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 01-28-2023 at 9:01 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post

    James Wright (Wood By Wright) is, however, not to be mentioned in the same breath as Rob Cosman (in the second video). Wright is click baiting - he makes his income from teasing viewers to view (as do many others), and his planes are window dressing. They are an attempt to portray Wright as a skilled hand tool user (which he is not). I do not recall his having ever made a piece of furniture. It is one thing demonstrating a technique, but a decent furniture maker needs to sustain their focus all the way through a project. Snippets are easy.


    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    There is a YouTube channel called Book.Talk.101 which is a video round table featuring interviews/discussions with prominent woodworkers and toolmakers, Holtey, Nancy Hiller, Phil Edwards, to name just a few. Usually very interesting and informative. Thus I was surprised to see James Wright featured on one of the episodes, as, like Derek, I donít find him to be very compelling or skilled in anything except click-baiting. Well it didnít take long for him to actually admit that and it turned into a discussion of YouTube and online marketing! I soon stopped watching the episode (itís over 1 1/2 hours long) and havenít visited Wrightís channel since.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Gelman View Post
    I see impressive numbers of hand tools, and a lot of shop real estate was needed to organize and store them. I was wondering how many of those planes and chisels actually get used and how many are for a collection.
    Many times these are simply for show only.
    These are not organized and stored as you say, but rather "displayed" so that everyone can see that you have skill.
    Even if I had that much room/wall space, I wouldn't use it to display my tools to the world. I prefer to have my tools in a drawer or cabinet. JMHO

  15. #15
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    Joel, FYI: when Warren calls himself a long time professional hand tool woodworker, he's understating a bit. He has a full career of experience and expertise making his living woodworking with hand tools in many contexts. He might not always be gentle with his advice or commentary, but I've never seen him steer someone in the wrong direction--even based on my comparatively poor level of experience and skill.

    I, for one, have grown to appreciate (and understand) much of his advice (and that of others) more and more as I gain hand tool experience myself. I have a long way to go, but I can already say unequivocally that I would listen to Warren (and, again, several others on this forum) long before I would listen to any YouTube celebrity I've ever seen.

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