Over the weekend, I was asked by my mother to clean up some poorly-mitered baseboard moulding. Not knowing what the moulding was made of (MDF, by the way), I packed up a small toolbox with enough woodworking handtools to tackle any task. I’ve been down this road before, but I took the chance to think through the essential handtool woodworking kit once again.
More than anything, I was confined by what I could fit in or on the toolbox, which is about 16″ long and has been with me since the beginning.
Here is what I came up with:
- Tool roll, with chisels from 1/4″ to 1″, plus 1/2″ mortise chisel, birdcage awl and 18 oz mallet
- Tape measure, 12″ combination square, sliding bevel and marking knife
- 14″ rip cut tenon saw and 22″ rip cut panel saw
- No. 5 1/2 jack plane and small chisel plane
- 600 and 1200 grit diamond plates, saw file roll and plane adjustment hammer
- Some screwdrivers and mechanical pencils
And that’s it.
Looking back, I had room for a small router plane and a couple clamps. Maybe a dovetail saw, spokeshave and Shinto rasp if feeling fancy. A hammer and cut nails too. Plus a 200 grit diamond plate and honing guide for grinding.
And that, along with a small cordless power drill, would be enough to get started making anything, I think. Just don’t forget the glue and blue tape.