Tutorials: Hand Tools

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 To participate and get involved in this wonderful hobby, you don't need a whole lot in the way of  fancy power tools . I love power tools as much as anyone out there, but to complete all of the operations involved in the construction of a typical kit, the following present the easiest and most economical ways to begin.  I figure odds are pretty good that you should have the majority of these laying around already.
A good sanding block is going to be essential. Find one that allows for changing the sandpaper easily. Use this to shape handles as well as the brass or nickel silver bolsters. I start off using a rough 120 grit general purpose sandpaper for initial shaping and work my way on up to a 400 grit wet or dry sandpaper for final finishing.
Another technique is to  tape a piece of sandpaper down to a flat surface. I find this especially useful when "trueing up" the inside surfaces of wooden scales to make sure they will sit dead flat against the knife tang. Ditto, bar stock that is going to be used for bolsters.
Still another variation is to make small sanding pads by using a good spray contact cement to glue a good sheet of wet or dry sandpaper to the type of foam sheet that meat is packaged with at the supermarket.  I cut it up into easy to use 1" x 2" pieces and make them with a 240 , 320  and 400 grit sandpaper. Especially useful for doing a final finish on any metal parts like bolsters before heading over to the buffer.
A good set of rasps are invaluable for doing initial shaping on any wood parts such as handles. 
A hacksaw with a good blade is necessary to cut any metal, such as bar stock to be used for bolsters. This can also be used to change the profile of the knife, but it takes a little bit of patience.
You should always have a couple of clamps in your toolbox to hold scales in place when using  epoxy to affix scales to knife tangs. C-clamps are probably the cheapest, but I love the small one-handed Kwik Clamps. Clamps are also used to hold the knife steady while doing any work on it. 
Yes, yes, I know this is technically a power tool, but you're going to need a good hand drill to drill scales and bolsters for the pins that will be used to hold them in place. This is probably one of the cheapest power tools you can buy.
A coping saw comes in extremely handy when cutting irregular handle profiles on scales or other components. New blades are sharp and aggressive enough that it's often faster to reach for this tool than to cut materials on the jigsaw.

                                                 Wish List:  I'll add to this list as I think of them. Any suggestions?