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Thank Heaven

Your first bench plane
Ashley Iles Mk 2
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If you're a new to woodworking buying tools can be a real headache. The choice we have today can makes choosing really hard. Access to new, vintage, premium, budget has never been greater. Combine that with pages of opinion and experience in magazines and on the internet your mind is going to be overwhelmed for sure. I think even nation to nation there seems to be variation. One thing I have learned by trying various avenues here in the UK is it's not just about choosing a brand. I have found in the UK the dealer has much to do with helping you select what you need and providing you with informed service. I have tried pretty much all avenues whether regarding purchasing both within my hobby woodworking and my professional woodworking. Having an informed and honest person at the end of the phone is nearly always the key factor.

My first example of a great firm from my job would be Whitehill Spindle Tools. This firm makes all kinds of tooling for spindle moulders (shapers), tenoners, etc to great standards. They also help when we have custom needs. Machine woodworking is just as skilled as any other type of woodworking, the knowledge and skill needs to be just as deep. Any person who thinks you are a button pusher or something that feeds the machines really does not appreciate the skill needed to operate machine tools properly, perhaps even they never got the hang of using them properly. Having one of Whitehill's team on the phone is valuable when discussing new moulding profiles and systems. Without that human touch and knowledge underpinning the product we would not be able to do business.

First Hand Plane
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The same is true on the hobby front. My recent experience with Stanley tools has highlighted what an fantastic job Workshop Heaven do. Stanley were unable to give me any after sale care with my purchase, contrast that with Workshop Heaven who select decent tools and can back it up with very helpful service. If you want to get started with some hand tools give Matthew a call. There are tools to suit most budgets on his site, have a discussion and I think you'll be surprised just how helpful they can be. I think having a core of new properly functioning tools is essential to a beginner. Without this yard stick it can almost be impossible to know if it is you or the tools is at fault. And be assured if you do want to sell and of the tools on should you not like them they nearly fetch full price on the second hand market.

On a slightly different take I'm going to be having a tool cull soon. I've been reflecting on what I really enjoy and what draws me in. I wish I could be uber cool like this guy but I can't. I think I'm as far removed from this as I can get. I still love the vid, wish he'd put some shoes on though!

MAKER UNKNOWN – documentary short-film from CLUBSODA on Vimeo.

I'm old before my time, I keep finding myself drawn to simple stuff. Some of my Workshop Heaven purchases will be on the way out. Not because they are bad, far from it. I just have an urge to go real simple. Wooden planes have always been on the shelves at work, I've bought a few too and I would like to use them more in future projects. Most of my project are likely to be historical in one way or another. I'm not a great bold designer so using styles of the past helps me realise projects in an easier way. That's what I've enjoyed about writing this blog and starting my You Tube channel. It's because I enjoy it. One thing I wish I could summon up is more time though! I'm looking forward to finish up the Six Board Chest soon, although "soon" in my hobby world will mean a good few weeks!

Molding plane
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