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Low budget tools?

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Old 12-07-2017, 02:30 PM
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Corsair013
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Default Low budget tools?

Hi.
I am just starting my first kit, a 1977 SIG smith miniplane, and I was wondering what cutting tools will be necessary for building this? And what ones would be good for a low budget? (I am only 15, and don't have a proper job)
Since my hobby knife is too small for the thick balsa pieces, and my small saw just splinters the wood around the cut.


Thanks
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Old 12-07-2017, 02:45 PM
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Rodney
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You can get buy with surprisingly few tools. A good knife (an Xacto or equivalent), a razor saw (recommend a Zona brand), a block of wood that you can glue or wrap some sandpaper to (one about a brick size) and one similar to a paint stirring stick that you glue sandpaper too, a different grit on each side. A coping saw may come in handy also if you have to make some inside cuts on formers or ???.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:26 PM
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Thanks! I hear a jib saw is useful too.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:29 PM
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Oh, Is a band saw a good tool to use?
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Old 12-08-2017, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Corsair013 View Post
Oh, Is a band saw a good tool to use?
A band saw may come in handy for cutting ply, or large blocks of balsa - but I really don't think it's a necessity. I built many planes early in my career without one and got along just fine. A simple and inexpensive tool that I use a lot is a razor plane. Master Airscrew has an inexpensive one that works perfect. They're between $6-$10 and are great for planing blocks of balsa, shaping wingtips, and leading edges - basically any time you need to remove more wood than typical sanding would require. Use mine all the time. A couple of long "T-bar" sanders are helpful too...Great Planes makes one called the Easy Touch Sander. If you acquired a couple 22" long ones (set up one with say 150 grit for heavy-duty sanding, and another with 220 for finer sanding); they are great for fairing out wing panels and keeping everything straight and level. Beyond what everyone else mentioned, you really don't need much more.

Razor saws will leave a bit of a ragged edge (sometimes) after cutting...I've always touched the ends up with a sanding block a bit and you're good to go.

Last edited by vogelm1; 12-08-2017 at 09:03 AM. Reason: added wording
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Old 12-08-2017, 10:00 AM
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I have to agree with Rodney on the basics he gave you. I'd rather use a sanding beam like the GP Easy Touch than a wood block as wood blocks are not always truly flat. As far as the jig saw, I'd stay away from them as they require you to hold both the wood AND the saw. A band saw will work but, and this is a big BUT, you can't cut an inside hole without cutting through the material that makes up your structure. I'd look at a scroll saw, like the one below, instead.

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The reason I recommend a scroll saw is that you don't have to worry about holding the saw still as it's sitting on a bench or table. You can cut inside corners without cutting through the required structure, unlike a band saw, and it's actually a very safe saw for a novice woodworker since it won't take a big bite out of your hand if you get too close to the blade. A band or table saw can take off a finger in the time it takes you to blink.

Last edited by Hydro Junkie; 12-08-2017 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 12-08-2017, 03:09 PM
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What type of saw do you have now? If it splinters the wood maybe you just need a new sharp blade.
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Old 12-08-2017, 05:45 PM
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You really don't need any power tools to get started. In addition to the razor saw, you can get a variety of blades for your hobby knife including small saw blades that can be useful for cutting small parts. Another useful tool is jeweler's saw https://www.amazon.com/GERMAN-STYLE-.../dp/B06X9QT787

Also, be sure you have SHARP blades in your hobby knife. A new sharp blade will easily cut through most any balsa you are likely ever to find in a kit. But blades dull quickly, invest in a bulk pack of #11 blades and don't be afraid to change out your blades frequently.
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Old 12-09-2017, 08:18 AM
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+1 on what Aymodeler has to say about sharp blades. Blades are cheap and a sharp one will always cut easier. I also go to the lumberyard and pick up a box of single edged razor blades. I'm not sure of what sort of saw you are using but a hand held coping saw is really inexpensive and you can get very fine toothed blades for it. Finer teeth are less likely to splinter wood. You can make sanding blocks out of all sorts of things that are laying around according to what shape you are sanding. A lot of older kits in particular have parts that are sand to shape. I built a number of airplanes without any power tools but when that time comes a Dremel is a good choice for a first power tool.
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Old 12-09-2017, 08:27 AM
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Since it's a kit, you shouldn't need any power tools and few cutting tools. Yes, a hobby knife and a big package of blades is a must. I'll second the Zona razor saw too. What hasn't been mentioned yet is clamps for gluing the bigger structures together, a flat building board that you can push pins into (plus the pins), painter's tape and rubber bands for holding things together while they dry or while you glue them, and the glues you'll need. Thin CA, medium CA, and 30 minute epoxy are the basics. You can use carpenter's wood glue instead of CA for most things, but it'll dry more slowly and will require a different building technique.
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Old 12-09-2017, 06:40 PM
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Guys, the only reason I mentioned the scroll saw is he was asking about jig and band saws. My thought was to give him a better option as a new builder IF he really wanted to use a power saw. My first THREE kits, two boats and a plane, were built using just Exacto knives and a sanding block, though I did upgrade to a 3/8 drill with a sanding disc part way through the plane and second boat.
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Old 12-18-2017, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Corsair013 View Post
Hi.
I am just starting my first kit, a 1977 SIG smith miniplane, and I was wondering what cutting tools will be necessary for building this? And what ones would be good for a low budget? (I am only 15, and don't have a proper job)
Since my hobby knife is too small for the thick balsa pieces, and my small saw just splinters the wood around the cut.


Thanks
If you stay in the hobby long enough and your intention is to keep lifting your skill level .....I would strongly recommend the 3 piece set from Fourmost Products .
I bought my set from BTE .....and I never ever want to build without these again .
Here a link :
BTE-Fourmost Products
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Old 12-18-2017, 01:02 PM
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Hydro Junkie, The "scroll saw" that you picture is what I always called a "jig saw". I thought the terms were interchangeable as they were the same thing. I have one, whatever they are. Tell me what you refer to as a jig saw...a coping saw maybe?
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Old 12-18-2017, 03:47 PM
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This is a jig saw:
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This is a coping saw:
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Last edited by Hydro Junkie; 12-18-2017 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 12-18-2017, 05:01 PM
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I have never looked at the build instructions for the Sig Smith Miniplane but in every other SIG kit I have ever built there is a list and discussion of recommended tools in the front of the build manual. I would bet my retirement that there is at the very least a couple of paragraphs about having a good sanding block. Read the front of that manual. Read the whole thing cover to cover. There is a ton of good information in there.


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Old 12-18-2017, 05:25 PM
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Here is all the instructions say for the Mini-Plane:
A jig saw is best for cutting out the printed balsa parts. Cut just outside the lines, leaving all the line on the part. When fitting into place in the structure, use a sanding block to bring the edges to an exact fit. If an X-Acto knife is used don't cut too close to the lines but leave enough margin to true up and finish the edge with a sanding block.

After reading through the instructions, I am curious as to why Corsair013 picked a biplane as a first kit to build. While it's not a hard plane to build, it isn't exactly what most would pick as it does have some areas that are a bit "complex"

Last edited by Hydro Junkie; 12-18-2017 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 12-18-2017, 06:17 PM
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Hydro Junkie, You sir are 100% correct. You just jogged my worn out old memory. I have one of those too so I went down to my shop to pull it out. It is still stored in the original box that plainly says "Black and Decker 2 speed jig saw". The price tag from about 1970 says $12.99. I hate getting old.
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Old 12-18-2017, 07:12 PM
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Not to worry, Larry. I see quite often where someone calls one tool another due to similar uses. At work, I see almost daily, a chamfering tool is used for and called a deburring tool. It just seems normal for some to use the first name that comes to mind on some things
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Old 12-19-2017, 03:52 PM
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You'll need to be able to solder some fairly thick music wire for cabanes and landing gear. You may be able to just borrow from someone experienced, and maybe borrow some tips on doing it too.

I'm no expert on this, but if you go with a regular soldering iron you need some watts...probably at least 80. Might be better to go with a small butane torch. Then, of course, you need solder and flux.

Maybe someone else can give better advice on this.

Jim
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Old 12-21-2017, 10:43 AM
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Permagrit sells a flexible thin sheet of its course sanding surface to make custom tools with. I recently got one and epoxied it to an aluminum t sanding bar.. I really like it. You guys might consider making one as well.
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Old 12-26-2017, 09:26 AM
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You will find a hand drill and an assortment of bits invaluable. Something like one of these:
I built many kits - both control line and RC with nothing more than an x-acto knife, razor saw, home made sanding blocks, soldering iron, and hand drill. A good metal straight edge and square (plastic is ok here) could prove helpful as well.

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Old 12-27-2017, 05:19 AM
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If you can find a copy of the book, "Bipes" by Harry Higley, it would be an excellent idea to grab it. Lots of good tips on getting the alignment correct on that miniplane.

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Old 12-27-2017, 09:36 AM
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Hopefully, Corsair013 has moved on to start building his kit. I wonder if there shouldn't be a sticky thread with list of things that you need to start building kits. It could be ranked in order of necessity. I'm sure a lot of us started off with nothing more than an exacto knife, glue, and sandpaper. I used a hand-me-down steam iron for my first monocote job. Tools are nice, I've certainly accumulated a few over the last 40 years, but I think it would be encouraging to new builders to see that you really need very few tools to get started.
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Old 12-28-2017, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by mgnostic View Post
Hopefully, Corsair013 has moved on to start building his kit. I wonder if there shouldn't be a sticky thread with list of things that you need to start building kits. It could be ranked in order of necessity. I'm sure a lot of us started off with nothing more than an exacto knife, glue, and sandpaper. I used a hand-me-down steam iron for my first monocote job. Tools are nice, I've certainly accumulated a few over the last 40 years, but I think it would be encouraging to new builders to see that you really need very few tools to get started.

I always get a kick out of threads like this one. Very often tools are recommended that are not needed, but are posted as "must haves".
I've been building for years, and I don't have, or feel the need, for several of the suggested items in this thread. I feel that if a novice builder starts out with your suggested exacto knife, glue and sandpaper, The rest of his tool arsenal can be assembled as the need arises. This eliminates the purchase of tools that are not required.
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Old 12-28-2017, 08:12 PM
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Tom, I think it comes down to many of us, that have been in the hobby for years, have grown so dependent on some of the tools we use that they have become "must haves". I know that I've fallen so in love with my Ridgid belt/spindle sander that I have a hard time using other sanders as that one is so easy to use in many cases. Can I do the same thing with a Dremel tool? In a word, YES, but at the same time, it's much easier to use my sander in spindle mode to sand inside holes and corners than trying to hold the part and use a Dremel.
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