Don’t Let Poor Quality Tools Discourage You

I have to wonder how many people have been discouraged away from traditional woodworking after trying to use tools like the ones I’m about to show you.

It’s my opinion that most woodworking hand tools don’t come off the shelf ready for use. Chisels and handplanes are not as sharp as they need to be.  And they come coated with lacquer or something similar to prevent rusting.  I bought a couple of hand tools just recently, so that I could prepare them for production.  I have never had a nice marking gauge, and I wanted to pick up another hand plane.

This is the cheap marking gauge:

Marking Gauge

The pick of the litter

You can see that the upper pin on the left is very dull.  The coating was applied very liberally, and the whole thing feels sticky.

Looking down the sole of this bailey style #4 smoothing plane, you can see the sole isn’t square to the cheeks.

Not Square

Not even close

And the cap iron:

Chip Breaker

Just awful

As with just about anything, you get what you pay for.

With a little work, these tools will be usable.  I’ll refinish the marking gauge and file a better point on that pin.  The plane will require a lot of work to be useful for anything other than scrubbing, but that’s really what I wanted it for anyway.

If you’ve been following this blog you already know I’m about to launch myself into woodworking professionally.  Part of that plan is video production.  I will be filming all the work I do to these tools and posting it on YouTube.

Since I bought myself a Nova Comet II lathe, I thought my first video (in 5 years) would be a review/project video featuring the Comet in action.  What’s the project?  Well…


About Kinderhook88

Remodeling Contractor | Woodworker
This entry was posted in Project, Woodworking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Don’t Let Poor Quality Tools Discourage You

  1. I totally agree. Many (but not all) of the mass-produced tools out there can be very functional with a bit of informed TLC. For example, before I gifted a $30 box store Stanley #4 to a new woodworker, I took the time to flatten and square the sole, flatten the iron, mate the chip breaker and sand down the ridges on the molded-plastic tote and knob. After half an hour of work, it produced pretty decent shavings with no chatter.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kinderhook88 says:

    This plane is actually pretty good, other than the couple of issues shown. I think it would take half a day to work out the problems before I could do any shooting, for example. Since I’m just fettling it for a scrub plane, I don’t care about the squareness.


  3. onecarwood says:

    Man I am with you there. I still rather buy someones tools that they never used and tune them up than buy new. So much cheaper! When I first started I never wanted to invest any money so bought crappy tools which was discouraging. The upside is that it made me learn how to really use those tools because I had to fix them to get the results I wanted. Great post and look forward to more!


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