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Hand Tool Starter Kit

Tool: 45th Anniversary Set of Three Woodworking Tools Buy Now

Manufacturer: Garrett Wade

MSRP: $253

For a long time, there were really only a couple options to get started using planes and other hand tools: shell out big bucks for new, premium-quality tools that are ready to cut out of the box or learn how to restore old tools before you ever take blade to wood. But more recently, there are a few overseas plane manufacturers that offer a better compromise of price and usability out of the box. For its 45th anniversary, Garrett Wade has put together a three tool package that hits the sweet spot in price and quality for new hand tools.

That’s important for those new to the hand tool world, who can’t invest a lot of money upfront or don’t have the time to spend restoring tools. This kit includes a No. 4-sized smoothing plane, a low-angle block plane, and a flat-bottom spokeshave.

Out of the box, all three tools are machined well where it counts and only took about 44 minutes from unpacking and removing oil to making shavings. I spent a little bit more time sharpening the blades, and these tools produced shavings and surfaces that match any of the premium tools I have in my shop. The block plane is my favorite of the bunch, because it’s easy to dial in the adjustable mouth. My only gripe with the No. 4 is that its mouth is a bit on the large side, so getting those super tight, silky shavings takes some playing around. For about $250, you’d be hard-pressed to find a set of vintage tools that you can get up and running with as little effort.

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