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Author Topic: Advice on hand tools  (Read 1413 times)

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Offline Carpenter

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Re: Advice on hand tools
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2019, 11:00:04 PM »
     I've had really good success buying old hand tools on E-bay.  But, I study the pictures, I know what I am looking for, and I know how to tune the tools up once I get them.  One man's junk is another man's treasure.  So true.  Also, I research the manufacturer.  The thing about antique hand tools is that they were made in an era that people used hand tools, in my opionion most of the modern made stuff is junk.  It doesn't have to be, today we've got better, more consistent steel, but people just don't use hand tools like they used to, so they don't have to be good, they just have to sell.

     I like to go with a reputable manufacturer from the 19th century.  I've assembled a set of TH Whitherby chisels, along with a few LJ and IJ White edge tools.  My PS and W chisels hold an edge quite nicely.  There are many, many manufacturers to choose from.  

     I like to see the socket on the socket chisels in good shape.  I've seen several antique socket chisels where somebody obviously used them without the handle and just beat the socket into a mushroom with a steel hammer, I don't bid on those, I just imagine what other abuses that tool has suffered.  If it's a forged tool, I look for the forge welded line of the cutting steel welded onto the mild steel.  Of course, I look at the general condition of the tool.  

     In short, I love buying antique tools, I've got some really good tools by doing this.  Most of the people I work with use Barr chisels, and they seem to be about on parr with mine.  I bought a new WoodCraft chisel years ago that I will have to re-temper, I don't think they offer that line of chisels anymore.  

     There is some give and take.  I like having a quality tool and a piece of history.  Sometimes I do have to put some work into it.  

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Advice on hand tools
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2019, 11:40:44 PM »
I'm about to turn 40, and have a daughter that just turned 1 today, so if I'm going to find time for a workout it might as well be incorporated into my work!
The key to it not being too much of a workout is a sharp bit.  Learn the correct way to sharpen them.  If you take any off the outside diameter, you'll be hating life.  I actually bought special files for boring bits on Amazon. Search "Auger bit file".  Magbit, Nicholson and some other sell them.  They are small files with a diamond shape on either end.
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Offline Ariverrunsthru

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Re: Advice on hand tools
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2019, 08:31:05 PM »
Regardless of whether you go with new chisels or an older set, the best purchase I ever made was a Barr Quarton Slick with a swept and curved edge. It completely changed the way I clean tenons and scarfs! It just takes a little time to learn how to sharpen it...
She's got a hub capped diamond stud halo!

Offline aguaman99

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Re: Advice on hand tools
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2019, 10:51:32 PM »
I'm with Brad on this one. "Ol Iron" is always better than anything new. I've been in the industry for 30 years and have accumulated many fine tools for my shop over the years.  If there are two things I've learned; 1) for the money, the best value is in quality vintage tools. 2) if you are buying new and there is nothing wrong with that, there is no middle ground, its either good and often expensive and the rest is just junk that will break or frustrate you. That said i do have a passion for fine vintage tools. All my machine tools, planes, chisel, saws, brace and bit etc... are 50 to 100 years old and they have all been cleaned up, sharpened and fine tuned by me. My power tools and shop machinery are the same scenario. There is a pride in owning, maintaining, holding and using these old tools. Much like timber framing itself, your keeping something old alive and i enjoy that ;-). All that said; if that's not your thing and you value your time as money then maybe new makes sense for you because it does take time to find and collect the good tools, clean them and tune them. For instance you could easily spend an entire day tuning up a set of fine old chisels. Whats a day worth to you... if its 400 bucks and your not into old tools then do yourself a favor and spend the money on the expensive chisels, take care of them and don't look back. They will likely last you a life time and you will have something vintage to pass along when your done...   I love it so I buy old for the pleasure in it. lastly; weather its quality old (there is junk old too ;-) or quality new, proper sharpening skills and sharpening often is more critical than the actual tool you buy. In the end tools just aren't cheap. In short just don't buy cheap stuff, learn to maintain and sharpen and you will be fine. There is definitely a difference.


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