Participant Information – Build and Design a “Coopered Cabinet” with Garrett Hack



Coopered Cabinet with Garrett Hack

Garrett will contact participants in early Winter with more information on the materials for the Coopered Cabinet. Kits will be available from the school if necessary.

This list includes only the essentials – the ones I strongly recommend if you are going to do any work with wood, and specifically the ones you’ll need for this class.


  • Set of bench chisels –  1”, 3/4”, 1/2”,  1/4” — the more sizes the better. 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.
  • Mallet – Make one if you can’t find one you like. The standard hammer type is fine, as is a round mallet 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.
  • Pencil – I find a lumber crayon also very useful for bold marks that help prevent careless mistakes.
  • 12” – 24” straight rule – accurate enough to also be 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. — A fixed square also works. I carry a 6” square in my pocket for many uses in addition to checking squareness.  Buy the best square you can afford! My first choice for any precision measuring tool is a Starrett.
  • Mortising or marking gauge – Marking gauges have a single pin while mortising gauges have two pins. 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 planes 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 make up for it with superior performance. Having 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 superior. Lie-Nielsen also makes a low angle (#102) for less money, but it is not as versatile as the larger #60-1/2. If you buy 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 old ones, as is the new Veritas. Buy the Veritas medium sized shoulder rabbet. Clifton and Lie-Neilsen also makes some nice planes. Don’t buy a big plane as they are unwieldy.  Also avoid a specialized “bullnose” rabbet with a very short front sole (#90).  The Lie-Neilsen rabbet block plane will work for cutting shoulders and is useful for other tasks.
  • Hand (card) scraper – (or the #80 cabinet scraper if you prefer). I prefer thicker scrapers over the very flexible thin ones. One should last nearly a lifetime. Examples are the Bahco 474 with .032” thickness, Sandvik, or Lie-Nielsen.
  • Burnisher –  oval or triangular, for tuning scrapers. I made mine out of old files.
  • 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. Choose 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 file –  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 scratchstock and some of the decorative details.



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

Carving tools — to do 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 they are very useful when you need them.  Lie-Nielsen 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, diamond stones or sandpaper on plate glass? All of them work, only I prefer using mostly water stones and some oil stones. I think the Norton water stones are very good.  They are large, wear a little more slowly than some, and they cut quickly.  The least expensive are the two stones with four grits: 220/ 1000, 4000/ 8000, or you can buy all four as separate stones.  Shapton, King, and Lee Valley all make good stones and I am sure there are others.

More important than what brand you buy is to get a range of grits, from coarse to very fine. 3 or 4 stones should do it. (See the Norton grits above as a guide).  And, you’ll need a way to keep your stones flat, such as a DMT steel flattening plate or wet and dry paper on plate glass or granite. 

Questions? Send me an email or call.

Garrett Hack

802 785 4329


Lie-Nielsen Toolworks extends a 10% discount to our students, please contact them for more details.


A fully catered lunch is served every day and drinks and snacks are provided all day. Please let us know in advance of any special dietary needs.  It is a good idea to make your lodging reservations well in advance.  |   Kelly Mehler (859) 986-5540   |