I tried to figure out which tools he'd need to start some small projects, and thought I'd start him off with those as Christmas gifts. He doesn't have much space for tools so I tried to keep his initial woodworking set pretty bare bones. I walked into my shop and closed my eyes and tried to think about which tools I couldn't live without if I was going to start woodworking in a small apartment. The first thing to come to mind was a saw. I found a Mini Dozuki from Rockler.com which is great for some of the small work he is hoping to get involved with. I have one of these, and it is excellent for cross cutting small pieces and cutting dovetails. One added benefit is that the blades are replaceable, so he won't have to start out learning how to sharpen a saw before he knows if he actually enjoys woodworking. I also thought he'd need a coping saw to clean out dovetails (a project he was interested in). I learned on a cheap one from an old hardware store that still works great, so that's what he'll get.
The next item I use without fail on a regular basis is my set of chisels. I have a couple sets of chisels and many antiques that I have collected over the years. One of the best starter sets I have ever used, however, is a set of Marples Blue Chip chisels (now made by Irwin). The steel is decent, holds an edge well, they are easy to sharpen, and are not super expensive. I'd recommend the set of 4 if you are just starting out and aren't sure if you are going to like woodworking. The set of 4 comes with every size you'll need to at least get started butchering some lumber. Last but not least, he'll need to be able to sharpen his chisels.
I am putting together a glass and sandpaper sharpening setup for him that I'll post on very soon. To get him started, however, I set him up with a great little Marples sharpening jig and taught him the basics on my setup while he was visiting for the holidays. With about three minutes of instruction, and fifteen minutes of practice he had the technique nailed. The Marples sharpening jig is far from the nicest one I have ever used, but it is simple and effective enough to get the job done well. The jig has projection distances (the distance the blade projects from the front of the jig to achieve different bevel angles) stamped right on the tool and comes with oil and a rough stone. The stone that comes with the kit leaves a lot to be desired, but would work as a coarse stone in a pinch, this is why I am getting him set up with a sandpaper sharpening set. Now he will be able to have sharp tools to use while he is learning. I am convinced that many woodworkers give up on hand tools because they don't know how to sharpen properly, and dull tools are incredibly frustrating.
|It Works Well for 12 Bucks
I am certain that I could have come up with a list of tools longer than my arm, but with great restraint I kept his starter kit to these. The only other thing he will need is a set of clamps. I made some recommendations on some Jorgensen wooden handscrew clamps that work really well. With the clamps he should be able to do a load of small projects and start his tool storage solution project right on his coffee table with a woodworking set that fits in the bottom of a closet. I am sure that within a very short amount of time I will be learning from him!