This is a fairly minimalist tool list for making a democratic chair. I have a more comprehensive tool list, but many of the tools on it aren’t useful for the democratic chair, while others are handy but not required.
Hatchet – can be used instead of the froe for splitting, and it is really handy for roughing out the legs. I use cheap vintage ones
Splitting Wedges: If you plan to split out your own parts from a log. New wedges all seem to have big bevels at the edge that make it hard to start a split. A blacksmith can draw them to a point, or you can buy good ones used on Ebay. Just make sure the taper of the wedge continues all the way to the point, without any secondary bevels.
Drawknife — Barr Tools and Lie-Nielsen make nice ones, but I like old ones from Ebay. None of the new ones has a thin enough blade to allow the drawknife to fit into tight curves such as the seat’s waist. For that, it’s nice to have a blade that’s 3/16″ thick or so at the edge.
Spokeshave — Not necessary, but handy. I use metal spokeshaves like Stanley #151 and the curved-bottom Boggs Shave from Lie-Neilsen (no need for the flat-bottom – the curved bottom will work for everything). Wooden bodies shaves and other low-angle shaves are superior for endgrain, but little else.
Marking Gauge — The duller the better – a sharp one won’t leave a line on green wood. I buy used ones on Ebay.
Try square — For the reaming operation, make sure it will stand upright; some tip over if the wood is worn. Heavy-bodied machinist squares are nice (less tipsy), but not necessary.
Handsaw – whatever you have is fine.
Bench Chisel — I like a 1″ chisel, the worse it looks, the better I like it.
Bit Brace & Auger Bits — We’ll use 3/8, 1/2, 11/16 and 5/8 bits. Read more info on my bit choices.
18″ Auger Bit Extension — Optional for boring some of the holes. Used for spindle mortices when boring without any power tools. Ebay has them cheap.
Scrub Plane, Bench Plane — For flattening the seat.
Inshave — Barr’s inshaves are the best right out of the box (either one is fine) . The one made by Ray Iles is great, but you need to bend the handles up with a torch so they don’t hit the seat as you carve. Easy enough if you have a torch. Wrap the handles and the blade with wet towels so they don’t get too hot. Good used ones do exist, but are rare.
Turning saw — The 18th century version of a bandsaw. You want a big one, 28″ or so. Or use a bandsaw, or use a ax if it’s all you’ve got.
Reamer — You can make one (greenwoodworking.com), or buy one from me or Tim Manney.
Instructions for making some of the bigger tools:
A nice shaving horse: Tim Manney has designed a simple shaving horse that works really well. Or make a smaller version.
Free Workbench Plans: Curtis has free plans for his workbenches, which are similar to mine (mine are a little bigger and disassemble easily).
Kiln: I have some blog posts about making a kiln.
Steam Box: My blog has a series of posts about steam boxes. Or just boil the crest in a big pot.