These old books contain a wealth of wisdom such as the following sound advice:
It is of course, very easy to form a large collection of tools, but it is not wise to do this; it is, by far, better to purchase only such as are absolutely required, adding to the stock from time to time. By this plan the habit is formed of getting as much work as possible out of each tool, and further, it is not likely that the amateur carpenter will undertake the larger and rougher departments of the trade, such as planing large boards or sawing them down lengthwise, knowing that they may be obtained thus prepared for very little more than they would cost in the rough, as at most timber-yards there are machines for sawing and planing, and thus it is advisable to order the wood in lengths planed and edged.Of course sound advice will change in circumstances. For instance you could not at this point in the American retail industry, go to a lumber yard and find anyone capable of sizing a variety of woods to exacting widths in order to come up with a serviceable product. But buying tools one at a time is still good sense. Learn what each tools affords in skill and power, knowing its full potential in head, hand and heart before you become overwhelmed by the wide range of tools available.
The drawing above is by Ellis A. Davidson