Buppert: Village Praxis – Man-Skills and Basic Tools


Add other essentials in comments please (including relevant books, new (meh) or old (word)).

36 responses to “Buppert: Village Praxis – Man-Skills and Basic Tools

  1. Interesting… I can’t seem to get to his site. Error screen sez server cannot be found… but when I use a startpage proxy it works!
    (I’m on a straight talk CDMA cellular data network)

  2. A nice Froe was my most recent woodworking tool addition to the collection.
    A nice felling two person crosscut saw should be in your collection and a good frame or bow saw.
    Find some old episodes of The Woodwright’s Shop for inspiration.
    Good sharpening tools are a must and worth buying new.

    Blacksmithing and woodworking are complementary skills.

  3. I’m a bit geeky about tools, too.

    I’d add the following to that list … ‘a really good source of heat’. I’m talking about a decent torch which you can apply to all manner of tasks, from brazing to ‘persuading’ or shrinking. Rig it so’s you can run it from a domestic Propane bottle … small enough to be able to lug it about, in a pinch.

    If you can source Oxygen, then your cup overfloweth.

    Oh, the luxury of a forge.

    For those interested, I came across this old ‘documentary’ about a Colonial Gunsmith and his art. Truly amazing what this guy does. From piles of scrap iron, brass and wood, he crafts a beautiful rifle. As I understand it, the guy in the documentary was actually practising these arts in the 1960s.

    Well-made and entertaining video.

  4. Perhaps this non-AK list will be a rough point of departure for his smithing list:

    gas block roll pin punch kit
    taper pin starter kit
    roll pin starter set
    roll pin holder set
    DEWALT DW1622 5/8-Inch Black Oxide 3/8-Inch Shank Reduced Shank Twist Drill Bit
    Vermont American 11823 Number 23 Jobber Drill Bit, Black Oxide Wire Gauge
    Vermont American 11840 Number 40 Jobber Drill Bit, Black Oxide Wire Gauge
    Vermont American 11822 Number 22 Jobber Drill Bit, Black Oxide Wire Gauge
    Forney 20857 Cutting Fluid, Industrial Pro Tap Magic, 4-Ounces
    Vermont American 21911 8-3/4-Inch Length 1/4-Inch-1/2-Inch Profesional Tap and Reamer Wrench
    Starrett 162C Pin Vise, 0.050″-0.125″ Range
    Starrett 162D Pin Vise, 0.115″-0.187″ Range
    IRWIN Tools T-Handle 1/4-Inch Capacity Tap Wrench (12001)
    IRWIN Tools T-Handle 1/4-Inch Capacity Tap Wrench (12001)
    Wheeler Delta Series AR Combo Tool w/Torque Wrench
    Channel Cleaning Tool
    Wilton 191 656HD 6-Inch Jaw Width by 6-Inch Opening Utility Workshop Vise
    Aeroshell 33 MS Grease Kit – 1/4oz (Specifically Sized for Gun Owners and Builders) , Best Gun Grease and AR15 Grease. MIL-G-21164D
    STARRETT AUTO CENTER PUNCH replacement tip
    Magpul BEV BLOCK-AR15/M4
    Flat washers, Stainless steel 316, 5/8″
    Wing nuts, Zinc plated steel, 5/8″-11
    Hex bolts, Stainless steel 316, 5/8″-11 x 2″
    Hex bolts, Stainless steel 316, 5/8″-11 x 3″
    Advanced Armament Co (AAC) Blackout Flash Hider Installation Tool Steel Black
    Geissele Super Reaction Rod for AR-15 Uppers
    Wheeler Engineering Delta Series Upper Receiver Vise Block Clamp AR-15
    Wheeler Engineering Delta Series AR-15 Armorer’s Bench Block
    Brownell’s .223/5.56 Rifle Hone
    Mark Brown Custom – AR-15/M16/ 308 AR Gas Tube Wrench
    Heavy-duty 25-inch 1/2-inch Drive Chrome-vanadium Steel Breaker Bar
    TEKTON 4971 1/2-Inch Drive Impact Extension Bar Set, Cr-V, 3-Piece
    TEKTON 4964 Impact Universal Joint Set, Cr-V, 3-Piece
    TEKTON 4957 Impact Adapter and Reducer Set, Cr-V, 4-Piece
    PTG 5.56 NATO et al. headspace gauge sets

    • Al,
      I have to say if I need a tool my first query is — does Starrett make it? I will pay the premium for the quality especially if it is going to get repeat ‘business’ in the shop.

      • Agreed, DrDog09. I had to chuckle at his suggestion to get a tool chest “twice as big.” Dad’s home, automotive, and electronic tools really needed a room “twice as big.”

  5. Chest brace drill , good hand saw and box of deck screws (you should get a couple of the 500 count now while they are pre Venezuelan prices) you can build anything.

  6. That’s a good start. To add: a quality lineman’s pliers for wirecutting and shaping things; a roll of tie-wire (learn how to prep the roll with duct tape for continued ease of use prior to using it); duct tape and electric tape; 14g insulated stranded electrical wire; and as far as bits go, go heavy on torx bits.

    Author is pretty conservative on his hand file selection. Too many is not enough. Everything from a horseshoer’s rasp, to a quality(!) set of needle files. I worked at a place (high end M1911 shop) where everybody had at least a dozen and a half files at their work station.

    Which reminds me: Guy walks into the hardware store, tells the clerk he needs a file. The helpful clerk asks “do you want a flat bastard?” Guy says “no, I want one of those round mother**kers.”

  7. My father, grandfather, and great grandfather either owned, used or at least knew many of those tools in the photo. Different set of tools altogether for butchering and scraping hair from hide. Camera’s field of view probably couldn’t capture it all. Many different things needed on a large family farm back in the day. As a very young boy I saw the last of the cattle herd sold after great grandpa died, grandpa retired and dad went into oil and gas.

    No small irony to be sitting in a FOB in Iraq many years later eating an Angus steak that was flown in frozen by a Texas based contractor.

    That was one expensive steak.

  8. i spent the first 40 years of my life acquiring tools. then i retired and kept buying more tools… i have so many tools and pieces of equipment they fill a pole barn. i can’t seem to let any of it go.. what i miss is the ratcheting wire rope/cable cutters that broke several years ago.

    anyone know where i can get another?

  9. I found a wealth of knowledge on this site offering ideas on making your own tools…


  10. nessity, is the mother of invention, enjoy working with my hands, have multiple large tool boxes,,filled with modern tools. About twenty years ago, I inherited my great great grandfathers tool box.

    He was a carpenter from Baggs Wy, some of the buildings he built with these tools still stand in that area today. Drills, saws, hammers, planes alles ,all kinds of interesting tools are incorporated into his collection.

    I’m fortunate to have been gifted such a valuable collection. This stuff is all mid 1800s crud, but effective.


  11. The Woodwright’s Shop, the first book by Roy Underhill.

  12. I want to weep when I think of the tools that were thrown away or lost from my grandfather’s workshop. I have a picture of him with people in his employ, in the old carpenter shop. He was a master carpenter, but from what I understand that shop also made buggy wheels, horseshoes, new springs for car seats, etc. So there must have been a forge in that shop too. I am happy that real value education is becoming important again. The article was amazing, and a good Christmas shopping list for a bright youngster.

  13. Tools are why pioneer wagons were so heavy and moved so slowly from 1800-1900.
    A man with the right tools can do anything.
    A man who can make the right tools will have the money of the man who can do anything.
    This is why most of the gold discovered out west started in the pockets of the miners, and ended up in the pockets of the smiths and shopkeepers who sold them those tools.

    Working on TV and movie locations, it saddens me to have to explain to twenty-somethings that the 100+ year-old house they’re shooting in was built entirely with hand tools (No, really! Before electricity and indoor plumbing!), from materials hauled in by horse-drawn freight wagons from the nearest train depot, which is why the driveways are so big and curving; and that the reason the garage out back is so short, and has two small stalls not big enough for a SmartCar is because back in the day, that was the barn for the family horse(s). And that those sticks on the back side of an exposed wall are simply the 1900-era version of sheetrock, back when it was called plaster-and-lathe.

    You can literally see their heads pop from the swelling at that point, like you just landed from a spaceship and asked to be taken to their leader.

    Then they go back to texting and playing videogames on their surveillance phones.

  14. I absolutely l-o-v-e and appreciate this article and all the advice. My husband died a few weeks ago. In going through his tool case, one he maintained his entire adult life, I found that our sons had over the last year, rifled through it, and had left it completely disorganized. My reaction was likely over wrought, but did have the desired effect…”Put this back the way he had it, and keep it that way…or forever lose access to it and its contents.”

    This post has been forwarded to both, with “Read, and do” instructions.

    Since I learned from my husband to maintain my own tools in such a manner that I can lay hands on what I need when needed, articles and advice from contributing comments serve to simplify and prioritize those ongoing “Must Do” lists and tasks.

    This seems a good place to add a heart felt “Thank You” for the many comments, and posts of various topics which have served to help hold the primary, necessary influence, teaching and training that boys must have from fathers, so that they too, can become the men who influence teach and train their sons.

    Just so you all know…your thoughts, your knowledge, your advice, your perspectives, from the foxhole to the foundry, is of immeasurable value.

    So again, thank you.


  15. Condolences, ma’am. God watch over you and yours.

    • Elizabeth, please accept prayers and condolences from the entire Green clan, we are saddened by your loss and pray that your sons will heed you wise admonition and realize what a treasure they might possess.

      • Thank you all for your kind words.

        My husband, a lifelong scholar, enjoyed my reading many posts here, once he lost his ability to focus enough to read. We spent many evenings on our porch, with my reading aloud, both posts and comments.

        So again, thank you all.

  16. Even though I have several tapes and a folding flat rule or two I learned from an a old wizard that the only measuring tools you really need for most jobs is a 10′ length of clear lath and a fine dovetail saw.

    You don’t measure, you mark was his motto. We would walk into any room with 3-4 laths, lay them on edge in the room against the wall and with the dovetail lay a scratch cut for every outlet, pipe, fixture, etc as far as placement. A note for every cut was placed on the lath. They call them story poles. When we left a jobsite we never went back for a second reading and the jobs were installed precisely.

    I keep a bundle handy in the rafters, as I still do layouts that way.

    PS: If buying a miter saw go 12″. Preferably with tilt left and right. It makes cuts for wide crown a breeze.

  17. A great book to get started blacksmithing and making you own tools is “the complete modern blacksmith” by Weygers. It was written in the 20’s or 30’s and teaches how to scrounge and make tools with scrap.

  18. To the fine offerings here I would add to get thee a length of brass rod, cut it up, and make some drift punches. (insert whatever grinding method you have for any bevelling you’d like to do). Cheap – make many, think stocking stuffers. Those who know what they are will like them; those who don’t provide you potential extra-credit points for that teachable moment on why you might want to strike something with a material softer than that being struck, whose strike can simply be wiped away later.

  19. Search the web for books on building and operating small cupola furnaces
    to melt iron and make steel. Also sand casting same. It’s easier than you think if you’ll try and the cost is fair.

    You might think about buying or building a metal working lath also.

  20. Additions:
    Sewing kit and sewing machine
    Stainless steel tie wire
    9 wire
    Sharping stones (hard and soft) and steel
    Assorted hardware and fasteners
    Various tapes, different size rolls, make small rolls and stash everywhere, attach small strips to dang near everything for ease of access and later use (eg rifle, flashlight, backpack).
    Harbor freight hose clamps
    Spare materials like fabric, leather, rubber, wood, pipe, sheet metal, etc.
    Computer and software
    Solar panel and charge controller
    Speed clamps
    Engineering handbooks (machinery, green, civil, electrical, Perrys, marks, Linux, thermo, ashrae, liptak, automotive)

    Do projects and repairs diy for the experience, knowledge, and tools. Take notes.

    Tekton (Taiwan) tools are great for the money and good quality.

    Home Depot sucks for hardware. Smaller stores have much better selection, eg true value or ace.

    Always buy a little more hardware than you need for later use.

  21. Many good suggestions here. I would comment that over the past several years, Harbor Freight has been producing increasingly good quality tools for incredible prices. Most people have some limit to their budgets and so this will allow greater acquisition of goodies.

    Skills are being lost day-by-day. For the worthless millennial whiners who complain about us boomers, I would suggest that we are the last generation who were broadly exposed to such activities. Wood shop as a mandatory class in school? Not for a LONG time! Many of us grew up working on cars, and I am not talking about bolting on a fart-can or a “set of rims”. Swapping cams, manifolds, carbs; jetting fuel mixture, adjusting timing. For many years I have been hacking my cars (HPTuners FTW).

    Then there is the “creativity” side to things. Not ‘creativity’ such as coloring pictures in a different scheme than God designed, but truly designing and building things. This seems to be passing away for most outside of the digital realm. When I build a structure I sketch out my thoughts, look up spans/loads, etc, and get to it.

    Someone mentioned deck screws. One of my better purchases was a HUGE bucket of Bulldog 3″ treated screws. You can use a Phillips if that’s all you have, but they are also designed for a square drive. Torx are fine, but they will break occasionally. Never broke a square drive bit.

  22. Storypoles/boards brought back memories DrDog.I thought that was a forgotten trick.The carpenters I worked with had woodbutchers going back 4 generations.First time I saw it used was for rafters(20’+ length 2×12 hemlock)that they had me notch a piece of plywood for so we could line them up to the ridge easier.I have shown my youngest son that its better to scribe and cut whenever possible,and quicker too.Tapes and rules have a place but only when necessary.My grandfather(a carpenter and later architect)told me when he was young(early1900s)the first machinery they had on the job was a steam engine.It had a huge sawblade that they would pass the large timbers through,everything else was cut by hand.

  23. $1000 bucks is the going rate (sometimes “take it away” cost) for a Bridgeport or clone. Metal lathes aren’t much more.

    Lots of troublesome things can get made on those two machines alone.

  24. I had the great good fortune to have a father that was an inveterate tool user and owner. He bought a small table saw when I was still a toddler and buit the stand for it with it. His father was a tool user and owner who’d passed on his skills and inclination to my father.

    More interesting in some ways, is the short story of my uncle, my father’s brother. A Navy PBM pilot in the Pacific during WW2, Uncle Bill attended college on the GI Bill, finishing law school on it. He went to work for the FBI in the late 1940s. Long after his retirement, I was visiting him and found that he had a shop in his basement that was almost like my father’s. After all those years of thinking of him as a suit wearing lawyer, he was his father’s son, just like my father was.

    Those of you that don’t have the advantage I had, will have to work harder. Find someone to help you.

  25. I would be obliged if you fine gentlemen would post some of these lists to my blog so we have the data saved in two places.


    Bill Buppert

  26. oldanddecrepit

    Block and tackle sets, with the appropriate ropes. Wire rope and snatch blocks. A good come-along, such as the More Power Puller
    https://www.wyeth-scott.com/ A manual winch, such as commonly used for trailer loading small boats.