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another "what tool should I buy" thread from me!

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Forum topic by Millo posted 10-27-2010 08:21 AM 879 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Millo

543 posts in 2512 days


10-27-2010 08:21 AM

Let me preface this post with a warning: this is maybe an all-too-general “what tool should I buy” type of post, and not the first of its kind I write. This time around I’ll try to get moving and actually FOLLOW your advice, LOL!

In January I will start using the woodshop at a local community college. After taking two introductory courses you’re allowed to take a “course” for credit which is essentially getting some shop time for your own projects, with a teacher somewhat handy for short moments of guidance. They got all sorts of power tools… a sawstop, other Powermatic and Unisaw cabinet saws, routers/tables, shapers, miter saws, ras, about 6 bandsaws, a TimeSaver quite a few power tools, 4-5 jointers of various sizes, 2 large Grizzly ( I think) planers, a smaller Dewalt planer, biscuit/plate jointers, tons of sanders and nail guns, power drills, plate jointers, etc…. some chisels, planes and two block planes, LOL! So, maybe what I need for the moment is simply layout tools and continue slowly building my hand-tool collection.

First, what I’d be building then:
-a single-unit cabinet or two, w/ a door and a drawer, similar to the one we’re building in class…for the garage
-a wall-mounted mail organizer
-jigs made out of plywood, MDF….for making kerfs for splines, shooting boards for miters, one maybe to slight curves on the bandsaw, one maybe for tapers on the table saw, one or two for router mortising, etc…
-keepsake boxes, valets, etc.
-a toolbox
-maybe a picture frame or five
-maybe a very small triangular-base corner cabinet for a bathroom
-foot stools for classical guitar
-foldable step stool or two
-if there’s time and my skills allow: more cabinets for the garage or utility room…or maybe these will wait until the summer

I also plan to take boards over there to square, etc. then bring home and practice some hand-cut joinery, etc. take them back to school for assembly, sanding, yadda yadda yadda… (we can use their nails, screws, glue, clamps, etc. not their wood/sheet goods supplies, of course).

I have a Stanley #5 and #7 that seem to be in OK condition, just waiting for the irons to be honed (which I haven’t done and don’t know when I’ll get around to doing it), etc. Got some necessary waterstones (no bases or buckets for storing), but no truing stones. Got a Stanley block plane that after spending 5 hours on it was STILL NOT FLAT and at this point I have just about given up. Got some Marples chisels that I have gotten to sharpen successfully w/ sandpaper but have not used in a while. I do plan to get a rip dozuki or dovetail saw after my Crown saw fiasco, etc.

So, here’s what I’ve been thinking of getting soon—you can let me know your opinion on whether these items might be necessary or not. (WARNING: I GOT A RIDICULOUSLY LOW BUDGET):

-6” ‘double square, by Lee Valley, Woodcraft or Igaging from Eagle… I have a 12” Empire that seems square (at least it was when I asked someone to check t for me). Reason for the 6”? I can carry it on a belt , pocket, etc. while working… the 12” gets a bit awkward and I have not found a cheap 6” (like the Empire I got) that’s accurate. these seem to go for ~$40…the Starret is ~$70-80, I think.
-Pinnacle T-square…while working on my cabinet I found using the tape measure for layout was awkward to say the least… then I thought about some ideas I had in my head and how much “fun” I would have trying to be accurate with that, so maybe I thought (hmm… maybe a reliable t-square” would be of help. Problem is: apparently long, reliable t-squares are expensive. I do plan to make at least one larger project using hardwood plywood in the Summer—maybe this can wait until then?
-I was thinking of getting a Veritas low-angle block plane EVENTUALLY or a Woodriver low-angle block plane soon.
-straightedge to check for… straightness? Why? well: I want to check the boards I work with for flatness, plus: The jointers, etc. at school are used by everyone around, including by people like me who don’t know what they are doing but that maybe are a bit less OCD/careful about set-up than myself; I’ve already seen a few of those people in action working on the jointers. I was thinking of a Lee Valley aluminum straightedge, maybe 24”.
-I need to find out if they have countersink bits I could use, but I suspect not b/c we use our instructor’s, but I don’t think I would be able to use his drill bits all the time….
-truing stone…. got 3 waterstones thus far, no bases for them, or where to store them, or a truing stone. A DMT that I have seen recommended is about $100. Would the proper one be the coarse one?
-kreg jig system… We did our cabinet face frame out of poplar, using routed and glued lap joints, but I suspect I’ll use pocket hole joinery for speed. The have a pocket-hole bench top Porter Cable thing there (not exactly a latest model of whatever it is), so I could theoretically use that, although I could see the Kreg jig system being more flexible, w/ more adjustments. Not sure I’d need the flexibility now, depends of what quick projects my wife might want me to complete for the house.

Hmm, there’s a Woodcraft sale coming up this weekend…

So, what do you think? What would you do? What tools would you get now? Which would you save for alter? Or should I just save my little dough and get wood and plywood?

THANKS!


4 replies so far

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Paul C.

154 posts in 2707 days


#1 posted 10-27-2010 05:16 PM

Just a note. I wouldn’t buy a truing stone, I just use plate glass with some grit on it. I use the LV stuff. Works a charm. Also, buy the best block plane you can afford, you won’t regret it. I have the LV and love it.

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Millo

543 posts in 2512 days


#2 posted 10-27-2010 06:50 PM

Thanks for your recommendation, Paul C. I’ve read about granite cut-offs as well. I will investigate that at glass/granite shops/distributors see what scraps I can get. I won’t have time in the next two weeks, but will scout on the 2nd week of November.

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Paul C.

154 posts in 2707 days


#3 posted 10-27-2010 07:35 PM

Make sure it is plate glass. It is flatter.

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Millo

543 posts in 2512 days


#4 posted 10-28-2010 06:56 AM

Are those drawer slide jigs (Kreg, Rockler) actually useful, helpful? Thanks!

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