I tried it myself recently, (Googling), and was disappointed with the results. The kits were either too elaborate, or attempts by commercial enterprises to flog off tools that weren't selling.
Sooooo ........ I have put my limited grey matter to work, and come up with my own basic tool kit list. These tools are based on what I have seen my grandchildren use in my own workshop, and I have left out tools that they cannot handle.
Having said that, I don't think that there are any essential omissions. In other words, this starter kit would suit anyone commencing woodwork.
Okey dokey - measuring and marking time.
- 300mm (12 inch for you foreigners) steel rule
- Steel retractable tape measure -5m, 8m, 10m ... whatever you can find .... length isn't that important. Handy to have a stopper button like this one. I like the metric/imperial tapes, but children should have one or the other - too confusing otherwise.
- Combination square - 90 and 45 degrees
- Pencils - HB or H - kids always press too hard
- Pencil sharpener
Screwing and nailing:
- Warrington hammer - easier for kids to use than a standard claw hammer, as it isn't as heavy and is better balanced. There are different sizes in these, so take the kids to the markets and get them to try the hammers before buying.
- Nail punches - flat ended - 1/8 inch and 1/16 inches wide at the tip
- Screw drivers - flat bladed and phillips head (posi-drive) - small and larger in each
Chiseling and sharpening:
- Four bevelled edge chisels 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and 1 inch wide. Older chisels are usually better than the new consumer chisels from the hardware stores. Again, the markets are your friend. Best value around at the moment are the older English bevelled edge chisels - anything made in Sheffield.
- Pocket knife - useful for so many little jobs around the workshop. In Australia you have to be over 18 to own one of these - Jeez, talk about the nanny state!
- Oilstone - and protective wooden box - for sharpening.
- Sharpening lubricant - I use a kerosene/oil mix of 3/1, but straight kerosene would probably be OK. Plastic squeeze bottle is from a hair-care store.
- Beginners might like to use a honing guide - not shown here but follow the link.
For kids, a shorter hand saw is better than a longer one, as they have more control over the cut. You won't need all of these saws, but two would be good.
- An 18-22 inch crosscut saw with around 8-10 teeth per inch is most easily managed. Number 1 is a Disston American Boy - 18 inch X-cut saw. Number 2 is a 20 inch Warranted Superior X-cut saw probably made by Simonds. Number 3 is a 22 inch X-cut Spear and Jackson. Of all three my grandkids prefer the 22 inch saw
- A tenon saw has a brass or steel spine to stiffen the blade and children handle this easily if it has smaller teeth - say 10-12 per inch. Cross cut of course. This one - number 4 - is a Tyzack.
- There are no rip saws shown here, and children struggle to use them anyway. Most of the timber that kids will use will be milled and dressed. If not, they can ask an adult to use a power tool to do it for them. Kids faced with hand ripping, will simply lose interest very quickly. As far as timber is concerned, it's better if it is softwood - lighter and easier to handle.
Planing and Smoothing:
A hand plane is one tool that kids love using. Since most timber used by children will be dressed, they can start with a block plane - Number 1 above - for all those small jobs. It is a good size for small hands, and the blade is narrow enough that it isn't too hard to push. This one is an older Stanley 102 - a great little apron plane.
As kids get older and can handle heavier tools, a smoothing plane like this Stanley Number 4 (actually numbered 2 here) is a logical next choice. For youngsters, a number 3 sized plane might be better, as it has a narrower blade and is easier to push. These - the Stanley 4 type - are the most common sized plane everywhere, and once again the older ones are better than the new stuff being sold in hardware stores. Another trip to the markets!
Number 3 is a jack plane, and is longer at around 14 inches. It is great for shaving off a lot of wood in a hurry, but may never be needed by youngsters. Older woodworkers will find it to be sooo useful. This one was made by Carter Tools right here in Australia.
Don't ask me why, but kids love drilling holes. A decent hand drill with double pinion gears like this one is just the ticket. Of course there are plenty of cheap cordless power drills around at the moment, but most youngsters don't have the strength to handle them. OK for older, stronger children though.
A hand drill like this one is great for hand-eye co-ordination, and for the development of fine motor skills.
A decent set of sharp drills is a must. Kids are prone to break the finer drills in a drill kit, so supervise these if they have to be used.
..... and that is about it.
I really don't think that there are any other essential tools. With this kit, nearly all woodworking tasks that children will address will be covered. This same set of woodworking tools would be an excellent starter tool chest for any beginning woodworker. Of course there are absolute buckets of extra tools that could be added. These can be acquired as the need arises, and as woodworking skills develop and grow.
Now, there are plenty of other tools that I use regularly, but they aren't essential, just desirable and useful. If you get bitten by the handtool bug, there are dozens of ways of expanding your knowledge and ability to use them well.
Just to inspire you further, here is a chest of handtools that were once owned by a piano maker known as H O Studley. Feast your eyes on the tool chest that he made for his tools :
Picture courtesy of Fine Woodworking - see link above
OK ....... a woodworking tool kit can be put together piece by piece. Knowing what's important and what's not, helps us focus on essentials. My list above can be a guide for birthdays and Xmouse presents as well.
Hope it was of some help.........
..... and happy woodworking to all ..............