Two Tested Tools to Start Out and Finish With

P1180570Spear & Jackson Handsaw

I did as I said and tried out theSpear & Jackson handsaws, one dedicated as a ripcut saw and the other a dedicated crosscut and I like them both. I have done the same with their 12″ tenon saws too in the past and they came out great with just a tiny bit of tooth reshaping to a rip cut. P1180562You don’t really need a crosscut tenon saw as such because you want a saw that will do both ideally. These past three weeks I have used the handsaws for the cutting of large and heavy sections of both softwood and hardwood all be it that the hardwood was reasonably soft in that t was birch. But I have to say that the saw never balked and it is still crosscutting very nicely after many hours of hard work.


Here I even caught and cut into a nail but could see no visible effect to the teeth that caught and the saw showed no signs of the connection.

These cuts all came straight from the Spear and jackson crosscut saw after three weeks of almost daily use with the saw. The ends are even and square in both directions and the saw glides through the wood readily. I have used it on 2″ thick oak and 4″ thick birch with no issues of buckling and the cuts are all smooth.

The Silverline #4 Smoothing PlaneP1170243

This is the outside of the wood I have been working with over the past three weeks.

This became one tool that really has surprised me has been the Silverline #4 smoothing plane. I now pick it up with equal favouritism to some of my longterm user planes and that without compromise at all. Remember this was the one that for me came flat and needed no flattening from the package. Using it for surface planing wood with some very hard spruce knots consistently proved the cutting iron for me. P1170304Anyone who knows spruce knows that the knots are harder than any of the common hardwoods. I used it on old growth longleaf pine joists with old and resinous knots as well and the cutting edge just kept going. I was amazed that the plane needed sharpening only twice in two weeks and that it felt so comfortable in my hand. P1170289Remember that beyond flatness of sole this import plane manufactured for the Silverline branded line of tools was the one that required the least amount of work to prep it for work. The iron takes and holds a good edge, paralleling anything you might get in the premium plane range. Currently they sell for between £12–15 new and with free shipping via ebay, which makes them an affordable plane for anyone getting started. I have yet to really find a plane sharp enough straight from the box that suits me so I am going to sharpen them no matter what anyone says.

Certainly the Silverline plane seems to surpass what I might expect from the Stanley stable coming out new these days. I’ll keep it amongst my users and give another update after six months. So far I am very happy with it.


So, add these two tools to your Aldi chisels and you are well on your way. The chisels too rocked all the way through the hard knots without a chip to any edge after many mortises and housing dadoes with wide surface areas totally removed with the chisels. That’s £8 for the chisels. The plane and saw tested out well for £35 for both including delivery. P1170917These will do what the high-end ones will do to get you started and beyond I suspect and you may well feel greater affection for them as they serve you and keep them throughout your woodworking life.

30 thoughts on “Two Tested Tools to Start Out and Finish With”

  1. Augusto Campos

    Hi there Master PSellers,
    I have a #4 and #5 planes from Silverline, The only problem was the “yoke” from the #4 is rounded and the olhe in the ship breaker is big, and that prevents the full retracting of the iron, but I make it a scrub, the number #5 OK.
    Augusto Campos
    (Blog das Madeiras)

    1. Paul Sellers

      I sharpened my #4 this morning and everything was right about it in all the right places. You should order another and see if it is OK and if not send it back. I feel an obligation to our audience to make sure things do what they should so I have ordered a couple more to see what I get too.

    2. Hi Augusto!

      Before you do anything more drastic, I’d suggest doing the following (if you haven’t done so already):

      1. Make sure that the chip breaker is set close (within 1mm) to the edge of the iron. If that doesn’t work,

      2. Do the same with the iron in the #5 and switch iron assemblies between the two planes.

      It might work and it might not but it won’t cost you anything.

    1. Paul Sellers

      I just bought them from but surely Amazon reaches all spheres?

  2. Łukasz Jasiński

    Can I buy these saws online? With shipping to Poland? Or maybe there’re others ex. on ebay

    1. Paul Sellers

      I just bought mine online and didn’t look for a company supplying them.

    2. I bought three of these S & J saws through Amazon. Two were the 22 inch and the third was the 24 inch. The 22 inch saws turned out to be 12 TPI (I was in fact expecting 7TPI) but there wasn’t a description of TPI on the Amazon adverts. I subsequently purchased the 24 inch after asking a question from other purchasers on Amazon about the TPI and was assured that the longer saw would be 7 TPI. Both length of saws were priced at just £22.18 as per Paul’s blog report. Postage to Ireland was a very reasonable £0! – free as very unusually they seem to class Ireland the same as UK for free postage. The delivery note for the two 22 inch saws had postage as £5.96 but that was cancelled with a -£5.96 and described as “Promotion Applied”.

      1. Paul Sellers

        I’m sure they must lose on some sales surely… as we have found shipping my book around the world. Some countries charge unbelievable import taxes; I mean three times the cost of the book in one case!!!

        1. I thought it was the recipient who was liable to pay import duty/tax? I have certainly been caught for this when ordering items from outside the EU, e.g. the USA. After adding the import tax they then apply the relevant VAT to the total as well! (A double tax whammy). Very often this revenue collecting task is done by the shipping company (the courier) on behalf of the revenue authorities. The courier company will often not deliver the item to you until the outstanding taxes have been paid to them.
          Being used to exorbitant shipping costs from the UK to the Republic of Ireland by other suppliers or intermediary sellers (no pun intended) I was very pleased to see Amazon applying the “free delivery for UK orders” offer to my orders. Great price for a possible life time tool and free delivery to boot! I can only surmise that they purchase/import these S&J saws so cheaply that they can absorb the shipping costs and still make a profit.
          Now which of my three S&J panel saws do I convert to rip-saw, one of the two 22 inch ones or the 24 inch one?

      2. Mike Ballinger

        Republic or Northern Ireland? I’m in dublin so often I’ll use Parcel Motel which has a Northern Ireland shipping address and that works out cheaper if there’s free shipping to the UK. If it’s ‘mainland U.K.’ however then it doesn’t work.

  3. Steven Massie

    Paul another great post, I never heard of Silverline planes will have to look into them. I love my Aldi Chisels, I also have not tried Spear and Jackson handsaws. I take it you filed it rip like your video’s show ????


  4. Colin McGlibery

    Please tell me where I can find a list of courses you will be offering this year.
    I would very much like to take a course for a week or two before the year is over and incorporate the course into a longer visit to England and Scotland.

  5. Reece Eagle

    I love seeing these “diamond in the rough” type new tool reviews. Here in Australia it can be quite difficult to find good quality older tools, at a reasonable price. It’s often cheaper to import things ourselves, than rely on the big box stores. I actually bought a Silverline spokeshave from an ebay store a few years ago, and it performs every bit as well as any other spokeshave I’ve ever used, at a fraction of the cost.

  6. S&J do quite a few saws so model numbers would help when googling for a supplier.
    I assume that you’re talking about the S&J “Traditional Skew Back Saws”, on their web site as:-
    Model No. Size Finish
    9500R 22″ x 10pts Medium
    9525X 26″ x 7pts Rough
    9515K 24″ x 7pts Rough
    Am I right?

  7. Hi,
    Is there any flea market near of Oxford on which can be found old woodworking tools (planes, spokeshaves, drawknifes, chisels etc) suitable for renovating at good price ? Prices on ebay are now not so welcoming as they used to be.
    Sorry for my language, I am trying do my best.

    1. When I used to live in the UK most counties would have at least one “Boot Sale” usually on a Sunday somewhere. These would be the closest to a flea market setup. Mostly during the summer time as these boot sales are mostly outdoors. Google “Boot sale Oxfordshire”. You might find results from local news paper adds and school or sports club websites listed in the search results. You will have to hunt around at the boot sale and there’s no guarantee that there will be suitable tools at that particular boot sale but that’s part of the fun. Also Google “jumble sale”. They still do jumble sales where you might be lucky to find tools but boot sales have now mostly taken over from jumble sales these days.

    2. Mike Ballinger

      I don’t know about Oxford sounds funny but have you tried googling flea markets in your area? There maybe other types of flea markets with different names, for example in Ireland you won’t find a flea market as such but there are tonnes of carboot sales which are similar. What do you own and what do you want to buy?

  8. (warning I am a total newbie)
    I would tell anyone who buys the Silverline planes to check the milling to be decent enough before starting to set it up, being a total noob I bought a little block plane (that I NEVER used) from them and the milling was really way off like no way to align the blade to come up with square shavings and the moveable mouth was useless because it would not come out flush to the sole and I couldn’t figure out how to fix that so I returned it and amazon was like super great about it.

    But the number 4 one i got from Silverline works pretty darn good I scraped the paint off the wood and sanded it a bit and feels really nice, the sides were not square so I had to sand of a bunch to be able to use it on a shooting board, the one thing that I could not do was set the frog to be moveable like paul does on his restoring the bench plane video but maybe I did something wrong I dont’ know this is my first plane after all.

    Oh the one I got has a screw type thing for the lever cap like the record irwin type? so they might have different versions.. something to look out for Paul says he prefers the snapping locking type and I can see why.. seems to make more sense to keep the same pressure when flattening the sole ?

  9. Anthony Kelly

    Any idea who sells these saws in the USA? so far I havent been able to find any sources.

  10. Hi,

    Can anybody tell me how wide the handle is on the Spear & Jackson saw? I have rather large hands and my current saw is rather uncomfortable to use as the lower “horn” digs into the palm of my hand (9cm between the points of the two horns).

    I had a look at the Spear & Jackson website but could not find any information there.

    Thanks for any information.

  11. Neil christie

    Toolstation do No4 silverline planes for £13.10. free delivery on orders over £10.

    I have not used one but T/S do a 30 day return policy. It might be best to try to buy over the counter in case quality varies. Lots of stores around uk, some inside wickes.

    The S&J saws are very good. the handle design is a bit rubbishy looking. I am looking out for a nice handle on a rusted plate in order to do a swap.

    Aldi chisels are brilliant. I couldn’t get any direct so bought a set on ebay. total was £18. Still cracking value for 4 lifetime chisels.

    I run a handyman business and do a lot of hand tool work. Easier, quicker, quieter,safer , cleaner and more versatile than machinery. I get paid to do something I like and can do things the machinists can’t. I buy low cost tools which will perform and not be a huge loss if my van gets turned over by the local scumbags.
    5 years ago I couldn’t put a plane together. Paul’s videos showed me how to get started and I have gone on to tackle a wide range of woodwork jobs as well as the other trades. For anyone floundering: stick with it. get some scrap wood, a few really sharp tools and get stuck in. Practice a good technique and it will all fall into place.

  12. While shopping Amazons UK site for US delivery I noticed two versions of the Silverline #4 plane.
    1) Silverline 633465 Hand Plane No. 4 50 x 2 mm Blade priced at £14.64 with powder coted or hammer paint finish on the lever cap.
    2) Silverline Hand Plane No. 4 50 x 2 mm Planer Blades priced at £34.75 with the standard polished finish.

    Considering the price difference I’m wondering if anyone has compared these two? Can find no Tec details on Amazon.

    1. Paul Sellers

      Both of the ones I recently bought via eBay were chrome lever caps and cost just over £12 including free shipping. These arrived in excellent new condition from an online supplier and I had almost nothing to do to them and nothing essential except honing. Put in Silverline 4 plane on eBay. They both came from two different dealers within 48 hours. They have nice wooden handles that just need buffing out just a little.

  13. In the US: Amazon here does not offer these particular S&J saws. I ordered a Spear and Jackson that was pictured with a plastic handle and covered in a sort of cardboard advertisement. I thought perhaps the US versions simply came with plastic handles. Upon opening I see the teeth are hardened.

    So in order to purchase the saws tested by Paul (with teeth that can be sharpened) in the US, one must specifically access, and then pay roughly $11-12 shipping. That will bring the saw into the $45 range.

    Just for everyone’s info!

    1. kenneth johnston

      I found the same S&J saw on amazon in the U.S however amazon was charging over $100 for the saw. I went to and with shipping to the US got the same saw for $42 ($24 plus $18 standard shipping) and received it at my door today a week after purchase. so i suggest avoiding for this saw and buying it from the site and having it shipped to the states as it

Comments are closed.

Privacy Notice

You must enter certain information to submit the form on this page. We take the handling of personal information seriously and appreciate your trust in us. Our Privacy Policy sets out important information about us and how we use and protect your personal data and it also explains your legal rights in respect of it. Please click here to read it before you provide any information on this form.