What Tools/Supplies Have Made Your Work Better?

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Forum topic by Ripthorn posted 04-14-2016 10:17 PM 1136 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1402 posts in 2405 days

04-14-2016 10:17 PM

Alright, I know that practice and skill are the bedrock of what we do, but I have an Amazon gift card coming for more than I would typically have at my disposal. There have been a few tools that I have bought and they were so good that it seemed my work when using them was just better. Same with certain supplies (like really good sandpaper or a great saw blade). To give you some info about my setup, I’ve got several planes, ok chisels, not much in the way of a sharpening setup, stationary tools that work for me (though I like a 6×48 belt sander). So I pose my question to you: What has helped improve the quality of your work? What has helped make it easier to work in your shop?

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

30 replies so far

View Hammerthumb's profile


2513 posts in 1396 days

#1 posted 04-14-2016 10:24 PM

In all honesty Brian, I have recently spent some money on better dust collection filters, and an air cleaner. Although my use of power tools has diminished quite a bit in the last 10 years, my intolerance of airborn dust has increased significantly. This has helped me out in the last few months as I am able to now spend more time in the shop without having respiratory problems. I’m not sure if it has improved the quality of my work, but it has increase the time spent and the enjoyment I receive.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 572 days

#2 posted 04-14-2016 11:14 PM

My eye glasses!!!!!

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View timbertailor's profile


1591 posts in 845 days

#3 posted 04-14-2016 11:16 PM

Quality measurement and layout tools (read as Woodpecker Tools fan). The Wixey digital angle gauge is also a go to tool for me. Great for setting\checking the table saw blade, band saw blade, RAS blade, planer surfaces, etc. I use it a lot.

Vote with your dollars, buy local, buy American.

-- Brad, Texas,

View Ripthorn's profile


1402 posts in 2405 days

#4 posted 04-14-2016 11:24 PM

The Wixey! That reminds me that I want/need one :)

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View jdmaher's profile


381 posts in 2000 days

#5 posted 04-14-2016 11:43 PM

I’ll second measurement and layout.

For me, the most frequently used tool I have is the “Starrett C11H-6-4R Cast Iron Square Head With Satin Chrome Blade Combination Square, Black Wrinkle Finish, 4R Graduation, 6 Size. Like, all day long.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View MadMark's profile


966 posts in 873 days

#6 posted 04-14-2016 11:51 PM

Wixey & Incra – digital readouts are much easier to read than verniers.

Height gauge

On the planer

Angle gauge

The Incra LS-III precision fence

The Incra miter gauge

The Incra rules are also a must


-- Madmark -

View devann's profile


2199 posts in 2113 days

#7 posted 04-15-2016 12:46 AM

Carbide tip cutters. I don’t care what it is. If it cuts something, give me carbide.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View Clarkie's profile


380 posts in 1262 days

#8 posted 04-15-2016 12:54 AM

I think for the most part are the jigs and attachments for the tools. Even though I have had a lot of fun making my own in the past, now being able to buy the ones that make your work easier and more fun is great. Also have to say the air cleaners and dust collectors that have helped keep the shop clean.

View builtinbkyn's profile


650 posts in 361 days

#9 posted 04-15-2016 01:05 AM

Have to agree on the DC being a tremendous addition. Now that I’ve added a separator, I use it for shop cleanup too, which is much better than dragging a shop vac around.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn :)

View rjpat's profile


36 posts in 1399 days

#10 posted 04-15-2016 01:40 AM

Hands down, the single tool that effected the equality of my work is my Veritas shooting plane and home made shooting board

View widdle's profile


2054 posts in 2419 days

#11 posted 04-15-2016 01:59 AM

Sharp fresh blades, power and handtools. Shooting boards, rasps, tablesaw with riving knife and paddleswitch thigh high….A set of machinest squares that all are square to each other inside and out…Remote for dust collector …Music.

View DirtyMike's profile


383 posts in 322 days

#12 posted 04-15-2016 02:04 AM

cabinet scraper, down draft table, band saw, sharpening stones, music in the shop.

View Matt's profile


77 posts in 372 days

#13 posted 04-15-2016 02:09 AM

The “3d squares” for me make life easier…. Think outside the box with their use… I used them to make the front leg bigger when I was putting on the arms on some chairs (additional clamping surface).
Clamps would be my number two….. quick/screw/kbodys…. you name it – they are all helpful!
I will admit that I’ve spent some money lately on dust collection and air quality and that is a MUST have as has already been mentioned.

The little things – layout tools (I’m also a woodpeckers fan) but I use my Irwin combo square for most of my marking tasks. And it’s cheap!

3D Squares:

Combo square:

-- My "projects" always look better with beer goggles.

View DW833's profile


181 posts in 1303 days

#14 posted 04-15-2016 02:11 AM

Recently, I would say carbide tipped lathe tools. Purchased the full size ones from Rockler. I tried the traditional tools, but found the learning curve to steep for the amount of turning I do. Also, don’t have to spend any time sharpening them. However, I did keep the spindle roughing gouge and parting tool. They are easy to use and don’t require any special jigs to sharpen them.

View xmastree's profile


43 posts in 401 days

#15 posted 04-15-2016 02:15 AM

12” sliding compound mitre saw, random orbit sander. Those two tools changed everything.

-- Every tree is a Chistmas tree with its gifts hidden inside.

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