All Replies on What tools do I NOT need?

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What tools do I NOT need?

by 12strings
posted 05-03-2012 01:53 AM

40 replies so far

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3090 days

#1 posted 05-03-2012 02:09 AM

I don’t buy glue brushes – old toothbrushes work just fine.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3734 days

#2 posted 05-03-2012 02:19 AM

Battery powered anything (except maybe a flashlight);-)

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View krisrimes's profile


111 posts in 2557 days

#3 posted 05-03-2012 02:24 AM

I have to agree with Mark. After my last set of Dewalt batteries died on my, I decided that I was done with battery tools.

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2328 days

#4 posted 05-03-2012 02:27 AM

Personally I need every tool I can get my hands on! I’m a tool guy, I probably have 8 or 9 tools I use on almost every project, and 3 or 4 I occasionally use. I like knowing that whatever the project/job/renovation/landscape/cement, etc etc I have to do, I have the tool for it. Where to put them all? Now that’s the question that needs to be asked, and answered :)

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2507 days

#5 posted 05-03-2012 02:29 AM

Clamps! Who needs ‘em?

Kidding. I know that basically amounts to blasphemy around here.

-- Brian Timmons -

View enurdat1's profile


100 posts in 2268 days

#6 posted 05-03-2012 02:31 AM

There are many tools I don’t consider a need. Do you really need every size chisel available? How about every different scroll saw blade? That being said, I’ve never met a tool I wouldn’t take home, or at least try out.

-- It is what it is...

View AnttiN's profile


33 posts in 2237 days

#7 posted 05-03-2012 02:59 AM


For many years I believed with each additional tool I acquired, fewer were then still needed. After a long life I at last understand the truth is exactly the opposite.

Have a nice day,

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2507 days

#8 posted 05-03-2012 03:03 AM

Actually, I did think of something. Mortising attachments for a drill press. Haven’t used one myself, but I’ve been doing my homework for a while now, and it’s tough to find anyone with something positive to say about them.

Oh, and another. Polyshades. Avoid like the plague.

-- Brian Timmons -

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 2406 days

#9 posted 05-03-2012 03:23 AM

On Polyshades…agreed…not really a tool though.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3896 days

#10 posted 05-03-2012 04:11 AM

I can say with certainty that you do not need a Slickplane.

-- -- --

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3130 days

#11 posted 05-03-2012 04:57 AM

Not sure I can answer this question since the tools that I could use are often tools that I decided I didn’t need a few weeks prior :)

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3670 days

#12 posted 05-03-2012 06:22 AM

In fine work I have found shoulder planes superior to
rabbet planes in refining joints. That said, a very sharp
chisel can work just as well and is faster if you have
the skill to use it well.

The irons don’t shift in my side rabbet planes. Perhaps
the author only had experience with snipe bill planes and
not the machined metal ones. They are useful tools when
you need them… but pretty much a professional’s tool
as the need doesn’t come up much and the planes are
an expedient to getting the work assembled and out the door.

I agree with him on the block planes and low-angle planes.
I’ve found them not that useful. In carpentry a block
plane comes in handy in an apron pocket though.

View rockindavan's profile


299 posts in 2658 days

#13 posted 05-03-2012 06:44 AM

Belt sander

View bluekingfisher's profile


1250 posts in 3001 days

#14 posted 05-03-2012 07:51 AM

No belt sander…really…...a cure for all ails…or a least a good many!

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View NJWiliam's profile


32 posts in 2589 days

#15 posted 05-03-2012 09:41 AM

If I knew what I could refurbish, sharpen, and what a properly set up tool felt like when I started, I would have considerably fewer newly manufactured tools. So if you can acquire that knowledge without buying new tools, you could save a bundle by sticking with vintage tools that you refurbish. Oh, also learn about vintage tool manufacturers. Last week I picked up a few Witherby socket chisels for $3 each . . .

I prefer what Ron Herman said at a lecture of his I was at recently, “The more tools you have, the more problems you can solve.”

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2589 days

#16 posted 05-03-2012 11:46 AM

appearantly I woodwork differently than the author. Really, who doesn’t use a block plane? I disagree with most of his list.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Adrian A's profile

Adrian A

169 posts in 2924 days

#17 posted 05-03-2012 04:44 PM

I agree with Don W above. I disagree with basically the entire list; but really the problem is the question. A person that makes furniture will use a mortiser a lot, where someone making small jewlery boxes will never use one. Every tool has its purpose.

Also some tools make others useless. I bought a small bullnose plane for cleaning up lots of little things. it was cheap. Now i have graduated and use a Lie Nielsen Shoulder Plane. Now that I have that, I almost never use my small bullnose plane now. I used my jigsaw a lot until i got a bandsaw. Now i almost never use my jigsaw. I used my belt sander alot until i got a drum sander.

The question should instead be. Which tool do you use the least in your shop? Its still flawed by the projects you do, but at least is a better overall question.

Of all the tools i have so far, I use my Combo Sander(Disc and belt), Drill Press, My router that isnt attached to my router table the least. And the the other ones i listed above, but those are because they got trumped

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2270 days

#18 posted 05-03-2012 05:12 PM

The adjustable wrench. There is no tool more frustrating (to me) than an adjustable wrench.


View lumberdog's profile


245 posts in 3289 days

#19 posted 05-03-2012 05:25 PM

What i don’t need is someone telling me what i need and what i don’t need.

-- Lumberdog.. Morley, Michigan

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4240 days

#20 posted 05-03-2012 05:34 PM

I have to agree with lumberdog.

Like in most things, in woodworking there are usually many ways to skin a cat, so to speak. Every woodworker develops his own favorite methods as he learns the craft. and the list of tools you will or won’t need all depends on how you like to work.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View greg48's profile


601 posts in 2779 days

#21 posted 05-03-2012 05:48 PM

I have to throw my vote into the hand held belt sander camp unless you convert it to a racer

-- Greg, No. Cal. - "Gaudete in Domino Semper"

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4230 posts in 2583 days

#22 posted 05-03-2012 06:11 PM

Musturd or Catsup on my wood.


-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3459 days

#23 posted 05-03-2012 06:14 PM

It isn’t what you don’t need it’s what you need most. Most people can’t get along without a drill but a drill press in pretty nice. I have a pocket hole jig and a biscuit joiner. I could make due with one or the other or even just tenons but sometimes one of them seem to make a project go easier. I use my scroll saw rarely but when I need it, it beats hours of using a coping saw or just not adding any scroll work. The list goes on.

Then again there’s compensation. I have an old Rockwell/delta contractors saw. It rips great. I’d hate to have to rely on it for super accurate crosscuts. My 12” sliding miter saw makes up for most of that. If one had a really nice table saw you might not have to bother with a miter saw. Some people will say, ” I hardly ever use my miter saw”. They probably have a good table saw with incra fence. I can see why they’d say that. I use mine a lot.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View TroutStalker's profile


30 posts in 3390 days

#24 posted 05-03-2012 06:27 PM

I’ve always thought that a power hand planer is the most useless tool ever invented. A properly tuned and sharpened hand plane is a much better option.

-- The best thing online is a fish

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2536 days

#25 posted 05-03-2012 06:32 PM

I find that every tool in my shop, probably hundreds now that I have been into wood for over 40 years, I use sooner or later. And I am always finding new ways to use old tools. Like the other day, I was trying to learn a better way to level frets on my guitars, and StewMac had a video with a crazy expensive straight edge that allows you to tell if you have a high fret. “Precision machined”, they said. Well, so are my $9 a hundred razor blades, and they cover three frets, as Stewmac recommends, and I can tell if I have a high “rocker” fret, as they call them, by simply lightly setting the blade on three at a time and rocking it back and forth. Their $32.00 crowning file? I took a piece of walnut stock, found a straight router bit with a roundover contour just slightly larger than my frets, and routed a .030” round groove in the walnut. Cut it to size, tape on 400 grit, crowns frets like a champ after the initial filing with the Harbor Freight mini files I bought for $5.00. Their metal polish? Won’t even talk about it. I use the German metal polish I found at a flea market three years ago for $7.00 a tube and I still got half the tube. Shees… OK, I’m done ranting now.

I do favor the new smaller line of li-ion battery drills out now. I like them so much I retired my honkin’ Milwaukee and Porter Cable battery drills and bought two of the Rigids with 3/8” chucks. Turns out I only need that 1/2” chuck maybe once a month. My old artheritic arms thank me everyday. If I need to hog out a 1” hole in oak I bring out the Milwaukee. But that is maybe once every few months.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View trz's profile


90 posts in 2508 days

#26 posted 05-03-2012 06:47 PM

Appears the author has an aversion to planes and chisels. Has nothing to do with an actual list of tools other than those two. Can’t really give that list any amount of usefulness as everyone has there own preferences for tools.

View bodymanbob's profile


36 posts in 3086 days

#27 posted 05-03-2012 07:37 PM


View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2706 days

#28 posted 05-03-2012 08:08 PM

As I see the problem, many people are too quick in buying decisions (the marketing guys love you!).

I developed a rule years ago (the hard-way) to look at a particular task and decide how it could be done.

From there I look to what I already have (might take a little more time but if it’s a “one-timer”, I make do). If I don’t have something already to do it efficiently (and I should probably stress “safely”), I then check around to see what it costs to have somebody else do it.

Pretty simple system I think. I may be somewhat fortunate in that I went through corporate moves every few years and got to clean-out my junk.

View lunn's profile


215 posts in 2330 days

#29 posted 05-03-2012 08:59 PM

I’ve got a crash axe from a C141 aircraft. No use for it at all in woodworking or anything else. But it’s a tool and i got one !

-- What started as a hobbie is now a full time JOB!

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3508 days

#30 posted 05-05-2012 07:13 AM

I was hoping the list would have variety, like a graduated ruler down to 256th (love those Incra’s though), or a set of 6 machinist squares, or most of those brightly colored $20 do-dads filling up shelf space in a Rocklers or Woodcraft store, or my favorite, a 20,000 grit waterstone, even an 8000 for that matter. But like others have said, it’s mostly planes and chisels making the top 10 list. I have 5 planes and about 3 full sets of chisels. Since I don’t make violins or wooden aircraft carriers, I could get by with 3 planes and a good set of bench chisels plus a couple of three specialty chisels off ebay. I use my setup bars quite a bit, my folding rule less, but would not part with either. I built an alter for my 12v Bosch drill/driver set and light a candle daily ( well no, but kinda). I use both most every day, but many folk could just as easily do without. My miter lock bit, sure why not through it on ebay or deep in the rathole, but will think of 17 good reasons to use it the next day. I guess I don’t need that fourth old deWalt RAS I bought. Hold on just a minute. Yes I do. Of course I do. Excuse me, I just had a momentary lapse. I’m ok now.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3670 days

#31 posted 05-05-2012 08:02 AM

Once you understand how to build stuff the need for tools
diminishes. Investing our time in acquiring understanding
and knowledge is the best investment.

When you cut wood for cash, it’s a matter of trimming the
fat in your process so you can turn out more work. That’s
where the nice machines and specialized hand tools help…
but if you know how you can build a Queen Anne highboy
with only a dozen or so hand tools and do it with reasonable
efficiency if you are fit and able.

View DaveHuber's profile


47 posts in 3139 days

#32 posted 05-05-2012 02:00 PM

This thread should be killed immediately!

Someone’s wife might find it and print it out. Then where would we all be?

“need” is in the eye of the beholder.

Who ever said that “need” was any kind of criteria for buying tools, anyway?

OP should be forever branded a heretic and shunned lest he repent!

-- Dave, Oak Park, IL

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2308 days

#33 posted 05-05-2012 02:22 PM

Tools are good. If they had boobs, they’d be even better. I use them all at least once. Plus they look good hanging there.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2715 days

#34 posted 05-05-2012 02:25 PM

What i don’t need is someone telling me what i need and what i don’t need.
^Totally agree
I own every tool on that list. You don’t need a block plane or a shoulder plane? You can replace them with a woodbodied smoother? C’mon, man.
You guys don’t need Harleys or Fords either; Scooters and go-karts will get you there:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3774 days

#35 posted 05-05-2012 03:17 PM

I agree DaveHuber.


View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3397 days

#36 posted 05-05-2012 03:39 PM

- Biscuit cutter (don’t usually need biscuits, and router works well for the times I do want them)
- blade stabilizers (never noticed a difference with or without)
- brand name specialized blade cleaners (there are a ton of good alternatives in your house)
- digital fence readout (pretty neat gadget, but I rarely use it, and never really need it)
- specialized table saw alignment instruments (a decent combo square and a cheap HF digital caliper work well)

Boy do I disagree with Pop WWing’s view that a block plane isn’t needed….I use mine a lot….it’s the first (and often cheapest) plane you should get IMO.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3313 days

#37 posted 05-05-2012 03:42 PM

Well, since the article referenced is Adam Cherubini, my answer to the question is….silly Ben Franklin costumes.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3459 days

#38 posted 05-05-2012 03:55 PM

knotscott, I agree with you mostly but in my previous post when I said that you don’t need them but sometimes they are handy.

I recently picked up a new (used) dewalt biscuit joiner for $50 on craigslist. I make a lot of slab stuff, table tops, benches, etc. I have a 6” jointer so all my stuff is glued together. Now I can do it without the biscuit jointer but it saves a lot of time getting those edges alligned. It can be done without but it sure is convenient with it.

Cleaners…. evaporust beats hours of sanding any day on rusted stuff. and Simple green cleans all my saw blades without making a mess, doing eco harm, or making me pass out from the fumes. Sure oven cleaner will work but this has advantages.

The point being, sometimes you can do without but it depends on the person and what they make and how much convenience you want.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View waho6o9's profile


8204 posts in 2599 days

#39 posted 05-05-2012 04:06 PM

“1) Block plane- I’ve had several of these over the years. The only new plane I ever bought was a jewel-like LV LA block plane. It’s a lovely tool I never use. I bought it for planing end grain, but never use it for that. I use my humble wood bodied smoother, typically the sharpest plane in my shop. The high angle of the smoother seems to matter not at all. More about that later. I even prefer the cambered iron for this operation as it works just like a try plane. Center the plane on the high spot, holding the tool flat against the end grain. The cambered iron takes a heavier shaving there and less or none on the low side. Works like a charm.”

Bats in the belfry. Must have block planes.

View joebloe's profile


157 posts in 2316 days

#40 posted 05-05-2012 05:39 PM

You can never have to many tools,plane and simple.I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Plus I like TOOLS.

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