14 Great Little Tools Oconomowoc WI
Menomonee Falls, WI
14 Great Little Tools
14 Great Little Tools
Time-tested and woodworker-approved, here are some of our favorite workaday tools.
By George Vondriska
“What tools do I need for my shop?” This has to be one of the most common question in woodworking. The answer usually starts with the big power tools: tablesaw, jointer, router, planer. But what about those everyday tools we take for granted? You know, the kind that cause you to turn to a shopmate and say, “This is a great little tool.”
I polled the American Woodworker editors and compiled a list of some of our favorite tools. All the picks are under $120, most of them way under. Here, in no particular order, is a short list of time-tested, woodworker-approved, great little tools.
Marking gauges are handy for all kinds of marking needs. Use one to scribe a line on a drawer side to locate mechanical slides or mark the depth of dovetails. I also use a marking gauge to lay out a board for resawing. After setting the gauge by eye to approximately the middle of the board, scribe a line with the gauge indexed off of one face and then scribe a second line with the gauge indexed off the opposite face. This almost always gives me a pair of lines that form a perfect track for my bandsaw blade to travel in as I resaw. If my eyes are really on the money, I get a single fat line to follow.
A rabbet plane has an iron that goes all the way to the edge of the body so you can plane up to a shoulder. It’s the perfect choice to shave down a tenon for a snug fit. The Stanley 93 shown here is actually two planes in one. Loosen the knurled knob at the top and the lower unit drops out as a chisel plane. On a chisel plane, the blade sticks out the front, which makes it ideal for removing glue, cleaning up the corners in a hinge mortise or trimming plugs. This tool may not fall into your daily-use category, but when you need it, you can’t beat it.
Self-Centering Drill Bit
Self-centering drill bits are the best way to locate screws in hardware. The tapered nose of the bit nestles into the countersunk screw hole in the hardware. Just run the drill and push the bit into your work. The pilot hole is perfectly centered every time. Various sizes are available to match the size of the screws you’re using.
Use a pocket-size sprayer when just a little dab will do ya. Got a touch-up to do? Fill the jar with finish, screw on the aerosol can, and let it fly. One can will spray about 16 oz. of liquid. This is also an easy way to make samples with different stains and finishes before you do the real thing. Sure beats cleaning out a whole spray-gun assembly for each sample.
A sliding protractor can’t be beat for measuring angles. I use it to check the bevels on my plane irons and chisels. The skinny arm not only pivots to indicate the angle but can be adjusted for length by loosening the knu...