How to Spot High-Quality Woodworking Items

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How to Spot High-Quality Woodworking Items

Some woodworkers are often starting new projects for personal or professional purposes, while others only visit their workshop when something needs to be adjusted or enhanced. Either way, the tools needed in the workshop are relatively the same. One woodworking tool often bought first is a saw. This can be a table saw, radial arm saw, or a band saw, depending on the woodworker's preference and frequent projects. After the saw is in place, the other tools that follow are generally used to "dress up" the wood to bring it to a final product. These "dress tools" include planers, lathes, chisels, marking knives, gauges, and maybe a drill press.

Aside from the basic tools, buyers need to consider the types of projects that they plan to build more often before buying other tools. They should also understand that high quality tools can often be expensive, so it may not be plausible to buy all the tools at once; start off with the most needed first, then add more items as the skill level and project complexity increases.

How to Spot High-Quality Woodworking Tools

First of all, woodworkers need three main results from their tools: strong joints, square corners, and straight cuts. There are numerous tools in various brands available to accomplish these tasks, but not all of them can provide the quality result that is required. Below is a list of some of the basic woodworking tools and details of what to look for when shopping for one.

Woodworking Saws

Many woodworkers may find that they need at least three different types of saws in their workshop. However, finding a high quality saw may greatly depend on the type of work that is done. Some saws perform better during some jobs but not so well during others; its performance is not necessarily a reflection of its quality but rather its inability to function at its peak in that project or environment.

Table Saws

The table saw was initially referred to as a tilting arbour saw. It is a simple tool that can either be heavy duty or portable, but either way it is a versatile woodworking equipment that is often needed. Basically, a table saw is a steel table top with an electric hand-saw mounted upside down to its underside. The saw blade then protrudes through a thin opening in the top of the table.

The table saw can be equipped with a mitre gauge that allows stock to be pushed perpendicular to the blade or at angles by the sawyer. Making these perpendicular cuts is called cross cutting. Additionally, a fence can often be used to guide the blade along the length of the item being cut; this is called rip-sawing.

Buying Table Saws

The versatility and the price of a table saw is determined by two factors, which also accounts for the quality in various projects. If buyers are planning to cut large stock pieces, they should consider a large blade saw; 25 cm or more is generally sufficient. The dimension of the table top is the other factor, where the size of the stock pieces to be cut should also be considered. Bigger table tops are better for larger stock pieces, but this attracts a bigger price and diminishes portability.

Band Saw

Band saws are often used when making curved cuts or cutting freehand. However, they are still used to cut thick stock due to its depth of cut. Angled cuts can be done using many models that allows the table to tilt. While band saws are sold in various sizes, most woodworkers only need a 30 or 35 cm model. The size refers to the stock size that can be used with the blade.

Buying Band Saws

Some persons complain about the quality of a band saw in regards to the coarseness of the cut or its lack of speed. But buyers simply need to know what they prefer before they buy. Blade sizes vary by the teeth per centimetre, the kinds of teeth it has, and the gauge and width of the blade in regards to thickness. In essence, blades with fewer teeth cut faster, but it also has a coarser cut. Therefore, blades with more teeth are ideal for finer work and great for cutting metal, but its speed should not be considered.

Woodworking Planers

There are different types of planers used in an everyday workshop, but they are generally differentiated by thickness and the width of the stock that they are used to plane. Some woodworkers may have as much as three planers of different sizes for different purposes. Long planes can be used for dead flat surfaces and when truing edges, short planes can be used finishes and final truing-ups, and an in between size to be used as an everyday bench plane.

Buying Woodworking Planes

Planers need to be flat, and that is all there is to it. Many manufacturers claim that their planes are made to specification, but some users find issues with them after buying and using them. High-quality planes are generally more expensive, but that does not mean that they cannot also have quality issues. Another thing that buyers need to consider is their body type versus the plane size that they use.

Persons with a lot of upper body strength can opt for a number 7 plane, but if the upper body strength is lacking somewhat, a number 5 would provide less resistance and cause less grief when working. If the buyer is experienced, they can also opt to buy three different plane sizes for various tasks, if not, a decent mid-sized plane should be sufficient until the skills and the budget have improved.

Many woodworkers recommend the Lie-Nielson and the Clifton brand. Lie-Nielson planes are probably the most expensive, but they have been dubbed as reliable where flatness is concerned; however, some woodworkers recommend changing the blades to high carbon forged steel from the Clifton brand.

Woodworking Chisels

Chisels are small essential tools in woodworking when designs and details are necessary. There are numerous types of chisels, but a good quality chisel should always have a flat back. Even if the steel is very sharp, and even if the handle is nicely shaped, these attributes are of no consequence if the chisel is flexed. Additionally, if it can be somewhat lightweight, that would be a plus.

Buying Chisels

The important factors to look for in high quality chisels are the steel shape quality and lightness, and the grinding and shaping of the blade quality. Many chisel manufacturers now make bevel edged chisels. Lie-Nielson's bevel edged chisels perform well with superior machining quality but are generally heavier than their counterparts. Sorby chisels have nicely shaped blades made from good quality steel and are also lightweight, but they often have a warp as opposed to a flat back.

Woodworking Lathe

A lathe is used in woodturning to create chair legs, balusters, and bowls. The lathe is used in conjunction with desired gouges and chisels that shape the workpieces as they are suspended and spun quickly over a metal bed.

Buying Lathes

Buyers should purchase lathes of an appropriate size for the workspace that they plan to use it in. Some lathes are created with stands or legs, so buyers should ensure that the lathe fits to their height or is adjustable. A major consideration with a lathe is compatibility with basic accessories; buyers need to confirm that the lathe can work with the accessories that they already have or ones that can easily be attained.

How to Buy High-Quality Woodworking Items on eBay

Buyers can start out by simply searching for woodworking tools or supplies from the eBay homepage. When the search results have been returned, you may notice that filters can be added to better sort the options. Firstly, you may need to filter the results between manufacturing and woodworking items or craft woodworking items. After that filtering process you can browse through the items to find the tools and supplies that you need.

The above search option can be helpful if you plan to buy multiple items, but if you are sure of the particular item that you need. For instance, you could type Lie Nielson chisel, and that would filter out all other brands and tool types. Once you have performed all the necessary searches and filters to find your ideal item, you can choose to checkout instantly or continue shopping by adding the item in your cart. When you are ready, make your payment.


Buying high quality woodworking items can be a daunting task if buyers are not certain of the items that they need. The quality of many woodworking items is based on their usage rather than their manufacture build. In essence, if the right tools are used for the right tasks, they may appear to be of higher quality than if the same tools were used for task that they were not intended. Therefore, buyers need to evaluate the projects that they plan to take on and buy tools that facilitate those projects.

On the other hand, some tools are made for general purposes. The quality of these tools is often based on the manufacturer and the components that they use to make the tools. Some manufacturers are better than others in some areas but fall short in others. Buyers need to review the recommendations of other users and then select the item and brand that is more compatible with the task ahead.

Due to the wide range of working items available on the market, buyers need to find a store that houses as many as possible for easy comparison. eBay houses a wide selection of products, and their search engine and filtering process makes finding high quality woodworking tools easy.

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