Sculptured Furniture Tool List

A Tool List for Building Sculptured Furniture

Every woodworking project has a core list of tools that are necessary for efficient, high quality work. My wife would like for all of my projects to be really "hand-made". This would save a lot of money and space. But, alas, if I have a tool that will perform a necessary function perfectly (ha, ha), I have a keeper! I have hundreds of keepers when I can find them. Sam Maloof says, "You don't need alot of fancy tools to build sculptured furniture." Some tools are necessities, while others make it a more pleasureable, productive experience. My personal choice is also given for each tool.

Preparing Stock:

Bandsaw -14" with a riser block so you can get at least 7" under the guides. My main band saw is a 20 Inch Agazzani (from Eagle Tool in California. Ask for Jesse! Great service! Jointer An 8" model is better especially when preparing stock for a 7" wide crest rail. I have a 12" Rikon jointer/planer  and an 8" Grizzly Jointer. Both machines have Helical heads. Table Saw - A 3HP Cabinet Saw with a good fence makes preparing 8/4 and 10/4 stock a lot easier. I have a 3HP Professional SawStop. Planer This is a necessity for thicknessing parts, unless you are very good with hand planes. I use the 12" Rikon with Helical head. Producing Parts from a Template: back legs, spindles Bandsaw with a 1/2" WoodSlicer Blade Router Table w/2" Whiteside carbide spiral cutting down, copy bit with bearing ( The bearing rides against the plywood template fastened to the top of the work piece.) Stationary Belt Edge Sander with articulating work table - 80 grit belt - It is used to flatten, square or fare curves that you can't work effectively with the router table.  Mine is a Jet.

Coopering the Saddle:

Jointer- Used for beveling the seat boards. Festool Domino(1)- Dominoes (8x50mm) give support between seat boards. Dowels can be used requiring a horizontal drill press  or Shopsmith, biscuits can work for alignment purposes.(2) Bandsaw for wasting the the seat boards' profile before glue up. Grinder is used with a Kutzall (blue) donut shaped cutter to shape the saddle after glue up. My favorite grinder is a Festool RAS 115 with 24 grit Saphir paper hooked up to a Festool Dust Vac w/ an Oneida Cyclone mounted to the vacs top. A Festool Rotex RO-9 Sander  hooked up to a dust collector is my second choice for cleaning up after the grinder and then working through the grits to finish the seat shaping. My first choice is the Mirka Ceros with 80 grit paper hooked to a dust collector. It is powerful and well balanced.

Maloof Type Bridle Joinery:

Kreg Router Table with a Triton 3 HP router is my first choice. A hand held Bosch 2 1/4 HP is my second. Whiteside 1/2" rabbet bit w/ 1/2" shank is a must along with a 3/4" Whiteside Round Over Bit w/ 1/2" shank.  Highland Woodworking Crosscut Sled (Make it yourself) Small Router Plane (1) (Lie-Nielsen) is used to finish cut the depth of the rabbets for a good fit. A block of wood with 80 grit stick-back sandpaper is also a necessity for fitting the joint. Layout/Marking Tools: Colored Pencils: White, Red, Black No.2 Pencils, Sharpies, Chalk Marking Knife, Dividers, Tape Measure, Yardstick, Rule, Squares, Protractor, Bevel Boss, Sliding Bevel Front Legs: Table Saw Bandsaw Lathe - 1" Roughing Gouge, Lathe Chuck w/ 1/2" Drill Bit. I have a Jet 2 HP lathe with variable speed starting at 0 rpm. I use Easy Wood Tools for roughing and finish lathe work. Miller Dowel Bit Size X #10 X 3" Spax All Thread Screws (Highland Woodworking)

 Shaping Tools:

Grinder w/ Kutzall, Die Grinder w/ Various Burrs and Rasps, Router w/ 3/4" and 1 1/4" Roundover Bits Rasps by Auriou - #'s 5, 8, 10, 14 Assorted Sizes, Needle files and rasps (assorted) Microplane - All sizes and shapes Spokeshaves - Flat by Daves Shaves, Radiused Brian Boggs (Lie-Nielsen) Scrapers - Various sizes and Shapes (Highland Woodworking's set about $40) and light and heavy full size scrapers Emmert Patternmakers Vise

Making the Rockers

Table Saw for resawing laminates for rockers with a Rockler Thin Stock Jig and a Freud glue joint rip blade. Lots of 10" C Clamps (12)


Sandpaper - 60 thru 400 grit sandpaper for hand sanding, I particularly like the Mirka Ceros 3" Sander. I start with 80 grit and it is powerful enough to quickly remove the scratches from the 24 grit Festool RAS 115 and the rasps, etc. My second choice is the 5" version of the Mirka Ceros. You can really use the 1/2" interface pad available for these sanders on all the rounded surfaces. My third choice is the Festool RO-9. It is plenty powerful with a 3.5" sanding pad and interface pad available too. Its balance and control are just is not as good. 3M Pads - Maroon, Gray and White are used for final surface preparation before applying finish. Finish Masterpiece Wood Finish is the best oil and wax finish for the chairs. Use Basecoat, midcoat and topcoat for ring porous woods like walnut and the basecoat and topcoat only for cherry and maple. The midcoat is used to fill pores.


Veritas Tenon Cutters with the curved blades - 3/8 and 1/2' Used by hand for shaping spindle tenons Block Plane - Lie-Nielsen or Lee Valley Dowel-It I am always adding to this list and finding improved methods which may cause me to delete some tools. Let me know if you have suggestions!  
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