top of page

What Does it Really COST to get Into Hand Tool Woodworking?

SPOILER ALERT… It‘s not cheap!

On Friday I posted the first video in the Foundations Feed. And then I posted it again. And then the video didn't load.

I'm learning on the job here. So appreciate your willingness to bear with me. Also, I apologize for the crickets. If anyone out there knows how to remove cricket sounds using Final Cut, please get in touch. For now, I'll just stick to filming in the afternoons instead of 5am.

So, now that the video is up and working properly, I can ask... Did you get the notice(s) that it was posted? If not, you may just be a subscriber to the blog, or a member of the site. But you have to “Buy” the Foundations Feed (it’s in quotes because it‘s free) to receive the notices about new videos.

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s my answer to the question “Could you please just tell me what I need to buy to get started?” No weighing the pros and cons. No consideration of all the other options. That will all come later. If you trust me, this is what you should get.

I realize it’s easy for me to say “Just go out and buy these tools. All at once. Right now!” after I’ve spent years gathering them together. In some cases, saving up to buy each one. But there’s no getting around the fact that this is an expensive hobby.

So I wondered. What would it cost if someone went out and bought it all?

Lets Find out.

(By the way... I chose the lowest price supplier at time of publishing and all of these links are #NeverSponsored.)


6" English 4R Double Square Set

12" Starrett Combination Square

Hamilton Joinery Knife - Osage Orange or Cherry

Pentel Twist-Erase (3 Pencil Set 0.5mm, 0.7mm and 0.9mm)

12’ Metric/Standard ProContractor

1/2" Veritas PM V11 Bench Chisel

16oz Round Blue Spruce Mallet

12” Hybrid Saw - Cherry Handle - Brass Nuts

No. 60-½ Low Angle - Adjustable Mouth Block Plane

Plane Hammer

Hand Screws - 2 each

Bessey Medium Duty F-Style Bar Clamps - 2 each

Shapton Ha-No-Kuromaku Ceramic Water Stones

DMT Dia-Flat Lapping Plate - 10" x 4" x 0.375" x 120 micron

Honing Guide with Standard Jaws (included)

BaggMuck Shoe Tray

Rubber Grid Welcome Mat - 2 Each

Nano-Hone Universal Stone Backing Plates - 3 each

Hand Held Garden Sprayer

Norton 3X 80 grit Grinding Wheel - ‘K’ Grade or 60 grit ‘I’ Grade

Norton Diamond Wheel Dresser

Microfiber cloth (AKA “Tool Woobie”)

Jojoba Oil

Hand Blocks from Klingspor - Fine Grit

EZE Lap Diamond Needle Files - 600x


If my math is right, that puts the total at $2139. Like I said, it's not cheap.

But sometimes cheap can be really expensive.

When I was starting out I tried to save some money on sharpening.

I bought...

  • A two sided sharpening stone... and replaced it with the Shapton Pro's when I got tired of soaking them and discovered that I couldn't get the polish I needed on my edges to leave a clean surface on my work.

  • An Eclipse Honing Guide... and replaced it for a Lie-Nielsen as soon as they came out so that I could take advantage of the interchangeable jaws.

  • An old hand-crank grinder... and replaced it with a high speed model. The clumsiness of cranking with one hand and grinding with the other caused me to have to reshape several edges.

I ended up giving away most of the stuff I replaced. It was a waste of money, but at least I was able to keep some new woodworkers from making the same mistake.

I also wasted some money on…

  • A complete set of chisels… and only really used two (1/4” and 1/2”) of the five chisels. I also found that it wasn’t actually complete. The widest chisel, at 3/4”, was both too chunky and not wide enough. I ended up buying a 1” chisel to add to the set.

  • Old used tools I thought I would fix up… but never did. I quickly realized I would rather be using the tools, not restoring them.

The moral of the story...

Buy good tools and plan to keep them. Don’t buy anything until you know you need it.


This post, like the first video, was longer than I expected. You have my thanks if you’re still reading along. I‘ll try to be more brief in the future.

Was this post helpful? It would be hopeful to me if you would let me know.

Simply hit reply and send me a ”Yes”, “No” or “Meh”.


The Week Ahead...

This week's Foundation's Feed is all about Sharpening and the things you need to be successful. Here's a sneak peek at the titles...

  • What Should I Use To Sharpen My Tools?

  • What Else Do I Need To Use My Water Stones?

  • Which Honing Guide Should I Buy?

  • How Do I Use My Honing Guide?

  • How Do I Figure Out the Setup Angles on My Eclipse Style

They may look familiar. Friday's video gave you the short answer to many of these questions. These videos are meant to give you the reasoning behind each choice as well as any other options I might have considered.


Thanks for Joining In!

Have a great week in the shop and I'll see you next week.


130 views0 comments


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page