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Training the Hand Workshop: Tools

Quality Tools.  To learn and keep up in the instruction at the Training the Hand Workshop 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 antique planes and chisels, even those with sentimental value, usually leave a lot to be desired. If you are unsure about your tools just email us via the "Contact Us" link on our website and we can advise you. 

Purchasing Tools Before the Workshop.  If you would like to purchase any  tools and have them waiting for you at the workshop, then call our customer support at (888) 920-1442 and order them over the phone.  Tell customer support the date of your workshop and that you want to pick up your tools when you arrive at the workshop

Rental Tool Kits.  We maintain a two complete rental tools kits that paying students can rent during their workshop for $250 (USD).  We rent these kits on a first-come, first-served basis.  Since one of the goals of the workshop is to learn and tune-up your own tools, we recommend renting our tools as a last option.  We do realise the challenges posed in transporting tools to our workshop, or new woodworkers who have not amassed a tool collection yet, which is why we have a limited number of tool kits for rent.  To rent a tool kit, contact Luther at

Purchasing Tools During the Workshop.  Students enjoy a 15% discount on all items purchased during the workshop. 

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 gear equal to our Apprentice Sharpening Kit.  Sharpening gear will also be available for purchase during the workshop if you don't have any, 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 issues here: 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 tools:

    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, and they come in a variety of sizes.  The problem is they are also heavy and expensive.   We recommend the NO FOAM version of these cases 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.   You can find it on Amazon
     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 flying with these cases.  

Shipping Tools to Canada.  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 prepaid.

Required Tools:

  • Sharpening Gear:
    • 1000 grit diamond or water stone (Rob Cosman's premium 300/1000 grit diamond stone recommended)
    • 6000 grit water stone or a 4000/8000 combo grit water stone (Shapton or Norton recommended)
    • 16,000 Shapton ceramic water stone
    • Shapton Heavy Water Stone Holder
    • Stone to flatten the water stones (Rob Cosman's premium 300/1000 grit diamond stone recommended)
    • Thin ruler (Rob Cosman's sharpening ruler recommended)
  • Dovetail saw (Rob Cosman's Dovetail Saw recommended)

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

  • Fret Saw and spare blades, sized to fit into your dovetail saw kerf (Cosmanized Fret saw recommended)
  • Dovetail Marker (Rob Cosman's Dovetail Marker recommended)

  • 2 x Wheel style marking gauges (Rob Cosman's or Cosmanized gauges recommended)

  • Mortise marking gauge (Rob Cosman's mortise gauge recommended)
  • 2 x Dividers (Starrett or PEC 4 - 6 inch dividers recommended)

  • Dovetail Marking Knife.  (Rob Cosman's marking knife with saw tooth blade recommended)

  • Rob Cosman's Kerf X-10 

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

  • Rob Cosman's 5/8 inch half-blind chisel
  • Mortise Chisel: 1/4-inch or 3/8-inch (IBC or Lie Nielsen recommended).
  • Mallet (Rob Cosman's Mallet recommended).

  • Low angle block plane (WoodRiver or Lie Nielsen 62 recommended)

  • #5-1/2 or #6 bench plane (WoodRiver or Lie Nielsen recommended).

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

  • 6-inch solid or combination square (Starrett or PEC recommended)
  • 2-inch solid square (PEC recommended). 

  • 6-inch or 8-inch mill bastard, flat, rectangular, metal file (for preparing your plane). 

  • 3/4 inch Painters Tape (3M Automotive masking tape recommended)
  • Pencils. A couple of #2 pencils and one of those small hand held manual pencil sharpeners or .07mm mechanical pencils (.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.

  • Black Sharpie pen
  • Rags. Bring an old T-shirt you can cut up and use for rags.

  • Large & medium flathead screwdrivers.  To adjust your plane.

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

  • Tape measure (12-foot, imperial scale, recommended)
  • Pliers (To adjust your fret saw blade)
  • Box cutter or utility knife

Optional Tools

  • #7 Jointer plane (WoodRiver recommended)

  • Scrub Plane (Old Stanley or Lie Nielsen recommended)
  • Crosscut Saw (Rob Cosman's Joinery Crosscut Saw recommended)
  • Shawn Shim to match your dovetail saw kerf
  • Small router plane (Lie Nielsen recommended). 

    • Additional Bench Chisel sizes: 3/8 inch, 5/8 inch, and 3/4 inch (IBC or WoodRiver).
    • Rob Cosman's 17 degree chisel (1/4 or 1/2 inch).

    • Medium Shoulder Plane (WoodRiver or Lie Nielsen recommended)

    • Panel Gauge (Rob Cosman Panel Gauge recommended)

    • Winding Sticks (Rob Cosman Recommended)
    • Jewelers 40X or 30X Magnifying loop (to examine your blade's cutting edge)
    • Honerite rust inhibitor additive