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Training the Hand Workshop: Required, Recommended, and Optional Tools

Quality Tools.  To learn and keep up in the instruction you need quality tools.  We prefer you do not bring sub-par tools to the class, as you will spend more time tweaking and trying to tune the tool rather than learning woodworking skills. Old planes, even those with sentimental value, usually leave a lot to be desired. Thin blades, light castings, poor chipbreakers all add up to less than desired results. Saws are another area where the right tool makes or breaks the desired results. If you are unsure about your tools just drop Rob an email and he can advise you. 

If you need tools for your workshop we recommend ordering them from, using the workshop as the "ship-to" address (this can be found in the full description of the workshop) and then select the "local pick-up" shipping option and we will have them waiting for you.  Also, our store is always open during the workshop hours if you forgot a tool or want to upgrade. 

Sharpening Gear.  Sharpening is the most important woodworking skill for a hand tool woodworker. There are numerous sharpening systems on the market today, but we teach and will be using the Rob Cosman sharpening system.   We ask that you bring the sharpening materials Rob discusses on his video and that is listed in the tool list below to the workshop - these will also be available for purchase during the workshop if you don't have them, or better yet order them in advance.  

Traveling with Tools.   A common question students ask is, "How do I package my tools for the airplane flight to workshop?"  there are two basic issue shere 1) You want to avoid overweight fees (most airlines require luggage be less than 50 pounds)  and 2) you do not want your tools damaged in transportation.  Below are several methods to transport your tools with you by air to the Workshop and avoid excess weight fess and protect your toos:

    A.  Pack tools inside your luggage.  Pack and check two large bags onto the plane.  Fill each suitcase about half way with clothes and the other half with your tools.  Even better is wrap and tape your tools with your clothes to pad your tools.  With this option if you keep your clothes to a minimum you can bring more than a total weight of 50lbs of tools (combined weight to two suitcases).  Just make sure you have sturdy suitcases that can handle the weight.
    B.  Pack Tools inside a Pelican Case.  If you have not heard of Pelican cases they are the Cadillac of cases. Made to military specifications, they are super tough.  The problem is they are also heavy and expensive.  A good size is a Pelican 1535 Air (No Foam) with wheels.  You can find it on Amazon.  The interior size is approximately 20" x 11" x 7", only weighs 8 lbs (light for a Pelican Case), and will fit in the carry-on space of an airplane (but if there are tools inside check it as baggage).   We recommend the NO FOAM version as its tons easier to individually wrap your own tools with padding and they will fit in the case better. 
    C. Pack Tools in a Seahorse Case.  Seahorse is a less expensive alternative to a Pelican case (about half price of a Pelican), while not military spec, its still about 75% as tough as a Pelican.  We recommend a Seahorse SE830 case, (NO FOAM), with wheels.  You can find it on Amazon. This case has approximately the same interior dimensions as the Pelican 1535 case, weighs 9.33 lbs, and will fit in the carry-on space of an airplane (but if there are tools inside check it as baggage). 
    D.  Heavy Duty Tool Case.  Most of the big box building supply stores (e.g. home depot and Lowes) sell heavy duty plastic tool boxes with wheels that are an option to check on the airplane as checked baggage.  While not as tough as a Pelican or a Seahorse case, a couple of our past students have had success with these cases.  

Shipping Tools.  Shipping tools across the US/Canadian border using a delivery service (e.g. UPS or FEDEX) is a very bad idea and is NOT recommended.  Tools typically get held at the border and are charged a significant broker fee that cannot be pre-paid.

Required and Recommended Tools:

  • Dovetail saw (Rob Cosman's Dovetail Saw recommended)

  • Crosscut Saw (Rob Cosman's Joinery Crosscut Saw recommended)

  • Tenon Saw (Rob Cosaman's Medium Tenon Saw recommended)

  • Dovetail Marker (Rob Cosman's Dovetail Marker recommended)

  • 2 x Marking Gauges (Rob Cosman's or Cosmanized gauges recommended)

  • 2 x Dividers (4 - 6 inch dividers recommended).

  • Dovetail Marking Knife.  (Rob Cosman's knife recommended)

  • Fret Saw and spare blades, sized to fit into your dovetail saw kerf.

  • Sharpening gear (Rob Cosman's Apprentice sharpening kit recommended). 

  • Bench Chisels: 1/8 inch, 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch (IBC or WoodRiver chisels recommended).

  • Mallet (Rob Cosman's Mallet recommended).

  • Mortise Chisel: 1/4 inch (Lie Nielsen recommended).

  • Bench Planes: Low angle block plane (WoodRiver low angle recommended) a Jack plane (WoodRiver #5-1/2 or #6 recommended) and a scrub plane (Lie Nielsen recommended).

  • 6 or 12 inch combination square (Starrett or PEC recommended)

  • 2-inch solid square (PEC recommended). 

  • Winding Sticks (Rob Cosman Recommended).

  • 4"- 8" Fine, flat, rectangular, metal mill file (for preparing your plane). 

  • Pencils. A couple of #2 pencils and one of those small hand held manual pencil sharpeners.  You will use a sharpened pencil to mark layout lines.  We don't recommend mechanical pencils, but if you bring one, bring one with a hard lead at least .07mm thick (.05mm is too thin).

  • Red Ink Pen. One or two red ball point (not felt tip) pen.  A red pen is needed to mark on walnut.  Red ink shows up on dark walnut.

  • Rag. Bring an old T-shirt you can cut up and use for a rag to wipe off and oil your tools.

  • Screwdriver.  To adjust your plane frog.

  • Wax.  A small piece of paraffin wax to wax your plane (a tea candle is recommended).

Optional Tools

  • #7 Jointer plane (WoodRiver recommended).

  • Skew-Block plane (Lie Nielsen recommended)

  • Small router plane (Lie Nielsen recommended). 

  • Mortise gauge (Rob Cosman recommended).

  • Mortise Chisel: 1/2 inch (Lie-Nielsen recommended).
  • Bench Chisel sizes: 3/8 inch, 5/8 inch, and 3/4 inch (IBC or WoodRiver).
  • Softwood Bench Chisel: 17 degree beveled chisel (1/4 or 1/2 inch).

  • Medium Shoulder Plane (WoodRiver #92 recommended)

  • Panel Gauge (Rob Cosman Panel Gauge recommended)