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Tool List for
At Home Berea Ladderback Builders

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Power Tools


  • Drill Press - If you plan to buy one, I've been happy with this one from WEN*.

  • Plunge Router - I use the Festool OF1200*. I don't recommend going any smaller. But you could go bigger*.

  • Pattern Bushings - 3/4" Outside Diameter Router Bushing and Ring Nut - Be sure it will work with your router base.
    • This set* will work with a Porter Cable style base.​
    • This adapter* should allow you to use the set with a Bosch style base.
  • Cordless Drill

  • Chop Saw (or Cross-Cut Hand Saw)

  • Heat Gun - You don't need anything fancy here. Stay away from cordless models. They just don't bring the heat. Wagner makes a pretty good one*

  • Drill Press Setup - 12" Drill Rod - Get a 36" section and use the off-cut below.

  • Arm Mortising - 16" Drill Rod and Coupler (Arm Chair Only)

Turning Tools

  • Lathe- You need one with at least 26" between centers for an arm chair - more if you plan to drill the mortise in the top of your legs with the lathe

  • 1/2" Sorby Steb Centers - These are extremely helpful for turning the tenons on the rungs - You'll need a Drive Center* and a Live Center* - Be sure the taper matches your lathe

  • Bedan/Parting Tool - Try to find one that is exactly 3/8" wide - I use this one from Robert Sorby*

  • Roughing Gouge - If you're new to turning, this will be the workhorse tool for this project - Bigger is better for this job - My gouge was made by Jet, but it's no longer available - If I had to buy another I'd take a look at the 1-1/2" version of this Henry Taylor Roughing Gouge

  • Sand Paper or Skew - If you know how you use a skew, you can get a beautiful finish without sanding - The rest of us will need some sand paper

Router Bits

Drill Bits


Hand Tools

  • Draw Knife 6" - 8"If buying new, I recommend the Bevel Up Draw Knife from Jason Lonon. The "Chair Builder Draw Knife" from Barr Tools is ok. If you can find a used Lie-Nielsen at a fair price, I recommend you buy itGood brands for old draw knives are PS&W, Swan, Ohio Tool, D.R. Barton,White, Witherby, Fulton, and Jennings.

  • Spokeshaves - Straight blade, wooden or metal body. The Lie-Nielsen Boggs shaves (flat and curved bottom) are designed specifically for this work. If you can only afford one, get the curved bottom. Though I prefer the simplicity of adjustment offered by the Boggs Shaves, I have also heard many good things about the Lee Valley Round and Flat Bottom shaves. You will not need a Concave Spokeshave.

  • Card Scrapers - Shape and thickness are personal choices. If you've don't already own one, I recommend you start with something curved like the Crucible Card Scraper. If you'd like a straight edge or want to save a few bucks by grinding your own curved scraper, you could give one of these DFM Tool Works Scrapers* a try.

  • Burnisher (for sharpening your card scrapers) - Use the curved side of this one from Arno* - Be sure to oil the edges and the burnisher first.

  • Bench Plane / Block Plane - There are a couple of operations that require a bench plane, One is smoothing out a bandsaw cut. The other is shaving the ends of the legs to level the chair. Any Low Angle, Adjustable Mouth bench plane will do these tasks well. My favorite is the Lie-Nielsen #62 Low Angle Jack Plane.  With a little patience and skill, you might be able to get by with just a block plane. If you don't have a block plane, I recommend the Lie-Nielsen #60- 1/2 Adjustable Mouth Plane.

  • Bench Chisel - I prefer a 1/2" inch for general work, but just about any size will do.

  • Assorted Clamps - Including:

    • At least one 36" Pipe Clamp (Arm Chair Only)

    • Two 36" or longer I-Beam Clamps (Jorgensen 7200 Series* or Bessey*) - Sometimes it can be cheaper to buy the 48" version instead (Jorgensen* / Bessey*) - Other types of clamps can be used, but you will need to adjust the design of your Assembly Jig.

    • One or two Small F-style or Quick Grip clamps

    • One or two Large F-style or Quick Grip clamps - (heavy duty Quick Grips are preferred)

    • Two Small Squeeze clamps

  • Cross-Cut Hand Saw

  • Hook Knife, Shallow Sweep Gouge, or Pin Knife (I'll show you how to make this from a Striking Knife)

Measuring Tools

  • Bevel Gauge - Nothing fancy. Just something that holds its setting.

  • Tape Measure - This should be a smaller tape that is still rigid (curved cross section that can stand out several feet before it buckles). I typically use a tape that is 12' or shorter and will fit in my pocket. My favorite tapes are made by FastCap*.

  • Combination Squares - I use both a 12" and a 6". A small 4" square is also handy. If you don't already own a quality combination square, I recommend you spend the extra money and get a Starrett​​ with the hardened stock and matte finish blade. You can find them in 6" here* and 12" here*.

  • Fractional Dial Caliper - You can get by using a standard dial caliper here, but an inexpensive fraction caliper can reduce mistakes. This is the one Jeff uses*.

  • Moisture Meter - I can really only recommend two brands of moisture meter... Lignomat* and Wagner*. We use them when we're very close to final dimensions, so you'll want to stick with the pinless models. I have personal experience (and recommend) with the Wagner Orion 930*. There are less expensive models, but they don't let you choose between shallow (1/4") and thick (3/4") sensing depths. Here is a handy chart if you'd like to compare all the options.

Light Build Kiln

  • Download the plans here

  • Heating Elements - Two should be plenty for the Kiln shown in the plans - We recommend this pair* - You will have to wire the outlets yourself

  • Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer - If you don't want to use a temperature controller, you should monitor the temp inside the kiln - I've been happy with this one*

  • Temperature Controller - You can eliminate the need for the thermometer if you use a tempo controller - Jeff has tried a couple and recommends this one*

Steam Box

  • Steam Generator - I have an Earlex and I like it. Though it looks almost identical to the Wagner, it has a bigger resevoir. Check the price at Amazon* and Lee Valley. 

  • Electric Kettle - Be sure to preheat you water before you refill the steamer -  I've been happy with this one from Topwit*

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