Garrett Hack's Tool List

Garrett Hack's classes are targeted at the intermediate to advanced woodworker. You should already have many of these tools. If you don't have all of them there's no need to worry - the School has an extensive collection of teaching hand tools and sets of tools for each workbench that you can use during the course.

That said we encourage you to bring along your own tools so that you can tune them up and get specific guidance from Garrett.

Travelling by air?

Don't want to lug your tools through the airport and check them in? You can ship your tools to the School via Fedex or UPS. The tools get securely delivered to the Fort Worden Park Office, where we pick them up and will have them waiting for you at the school.

If you choose this shipping route we encourage you to make a secure wooden tool box that will hold the tools safely and not fall apart in transit. We can take no responsibility for the condition of the shipped tools. We recommend that you insure the tools.

Ship the tools to the School's mailing address: 

(Your Name)
c/o Port Townsend School of Woodworking
200 Battery Way,
Port Townsend,
WA 98368

We can help ship the tools back for you but only if you supply a prepaid shipping label from either Fedex or UPS (both companies make regular collections at the Fort).

Tool List for Garrett's Classes


Set of 4 - 6 bench chisels   1”, 3/4”, 1/2”,  1/4” — the more sizes the better. A 5/16" chisel is hard to find, but very useful for this class. I have no favorite chisels, but the blue handled Marples are adequate and inexpensive. So are the shorter Ashley Iles ( and the new Lie-Nielsen chisels. If you are curious about Japanese tools, buy a couple of chisels to try. A collection of flea market chisels is fine — and you might find some beauties.


Make one if you can’t find one you like. The standard hammer type is okay, or a round one shaped like half a rolling pin.

Fine bladed marking knife

 Less than a buck and widely available, retractable plastic knives with breakoff blades are great.


I find a lumber crayon also very useful for bold marks that help prevent careless mistakes.

12” - 24” straight rule

Accurate enough to be also used as a straight edge

4” or 6” and/or a 12” square 

An adjustable square is fine — the blade is a useful straight edge — but so is a fixed square. I carry a 6” square in my pocket for many uses besides checking squareness.  Buy the best square you can afford; my first choice for any precision measuring tool is a Starrett.

Bevel gauge

Most are okay, old or new. Older Stanleys and the new Veritas are good.

Mortising or marking gauge 

Marking gauges have a single pin, mortising gauges two. Some gauges do both — the beam has two pins on one side and one on the other. Fancy rosewood isn’t important, but check that it feels good in your hand (balanced) and locks positively. A wheel gauge such as one from Veritas is very good for a single line, although I prefer traditional knife shaped marking pins.

A #4 and/or #5 bench plane.

Some of you will prefer a smaller plane such as a #3, or a wider #4-1/2. This is a tool that you will rely on constantly for a whole range of smoothing, cutting bevels, jointing short surfaces, and on and on. The least expensive are Record or flea market finds. Avoid Stanley Handyman and cheaper planes — they will be constant frustration.

Older Stanleys can be very good, and work even better with a thick replacement iron (Hock or Lie-Nielsen). If you can afford them Lie-Nielsen makes superior tools that need little tuning and feel wonderful right out of the box. Buy iron not bronze. Lee Valley and Clifton make good planes for less money. Lee Valley (Veritas) lack the frills but more than makeup for it with superior performance.

A couple of bench plane sizes is a plus; one can be tuned as a smoothing plane, the other for general work.

Low angle block plane

The Stanley and Record will work, but the Lie-Nielsen #60-1/2 (adjustable mouth block plane) is far far superior. They also make a low angle (#102) for less money, but it is not as versatile as the larger #60-1/2. If you buy yourself only one new tool for the class, make it the L-N #60-1/2 low angle.

Shoulder rabbet plane

Stanley #92, #93 are good if you can find one, as is the new Veritas. Buy their medium sized shoulder rabbet. Clifton and L-N also makes some nice planes. Don’t buy a big plane, they are unwieldy, nor a specialized “bullnose” rabbet, with a very short front sole.  The L-N rabbet block plane will work for cutting shoulders, and is useful for other tasks.

Hand (card) scraper

I prefer thicker scrapers over the very flexible thin ones. One should last nearly a lifetime. Sandvik, or L-N.  Or the #80 cabinet scraper if you prefer.

Burnisher  oval or triangular, for tuning scrapers

I made mine out of old files. The school probably has a few.

Fine toothed dovetail or small backsaw  

$14 saws are fine; we’ll tune them if need be, so they work better than you can imagine. Chose a straight handled “Gent’s saw” or a “D” type handle. Lie-Nielsen makes fine saws with shapely handles for a lot of money, as do plenty of other specialty saw makers. A Japanese pull saw is also fine. Buy a saw that appeals to you and feels right in your hand. 

Mill files

Standard file 6 or 8" long, not worn out, and a round chain saw file if you have one. We'll use these to make some of the decorative details such as a bead profile as part of the crown molding.

Optional Tools:

Bring a spokeshave if you want to cut some curves. LN new ones are good, but better are old Stanleys #52 and #53. They're not easy to find.

Carving tools — a few simple shapes if you want to carve some detail into the case sides or moldings.

Molding planes  —  a simple round (a rounded sole, cuts a cove shape), or bead. I'll bring a couple as well. Bring others if you want to tune them and try them out.

Longer plane such as a #5, #6, #7, #62. For jointing longer edges and other tasks.

Side rabbet planes, #98 and #99. I wouldn't go buy these for this class, but thy are very useful when you need them.  LN makes them and older Stanley's can be found. They can be useful adjusting shelf dados and sliding dovetails.


Now for perhaps the most important items: sharpening stones. The school has grinders, and variety of sharpening stones. All of them are for you to try. This is a good way to see what you like and what works for you. Still, I highly recommend bringing your own set of stones for a few reasons. Your tools will sharpen more quickly and better on the same set of stones day after day. Own a set of stones and you will learn how to use them most effectively, and equally important, how to maintain them.

The question is do you use water stones, oil stones, or some combination along with diamond stones. I use oil stones — mainly because that is what I started with — and a diamond stone for coarse honing. 

But I sometimes use water stones and I like them. They take daily care compared with maybe three times a year for my oil stones. I think the  Norton water stones are very good. They are large, wear a little more slowly than some, and they cut fast. Buy the two stones with four grit combinations: 220/ 1000, 4000/ 8000, or all four as separate stones if you want to go big time. The new Shapton stones are also highly recommended but way more costly (1000, 5000, 8000,12000).

Whatever you get, buy at least a medium (1000) and fine stone (5000 - 8000). Some people like the sandpaper method, but you still need a fine stone. Don’t worry about strops; I'll demonstrate making very fine diamond hones on hardwood which are far superior.

Sources for Tools:

As to where to look, the usual catalogs have most of these — Woodcraft, Lee Valley/Veritas (800-871-8158), Highland Hardware (800-241-6748), Garrett Wade (800-221-2942), The Museum of Woodworking Tools (

Go on the web to search out antique tool dealers if you want to go this route. I can’t give you much advice about who to contact, but I do know Martin Donnelly in Bath, NY has many, but for high prices. Flea markets are your best bet, or large tool sales if you are lucky enough to live near any. Plus Lie Nielsen Toolworks (800-327-2520).


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