What tool or tools in your shop make you a better woodworker?

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Forum topic by Bearpaw posted 03-14-2012 03:38 AM 1954 views 0 times favorited 54 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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230 posts in 2808 days

03-14-2012 03:38 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question milling joining bandsaw tablesaw planer miter saw

I have two items that have improved the quality of my work. The first is a digital angle gauge. I am able to set a true angle on my table saw easier. The same for my bandsaw table and miter saw.
The other item is a digital caliper. I dress most of my material from rough lumber and this helps me to get the thickness I want.
I am sure there are other ways to do these two things, but since these item came into my shop it has been easier and better quality going out of the shop.

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

54 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

7022 posts in 2516 days

#1 posted 03-14-2012 03:47 AM

I can have all the latest gadgets and STILL screw up. But the sweetest little tools I have are the Wixie and the Miterset. And, the discovery of Tenryu blades has made the air in my shop less blue..

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View KMT's profile


595 posts in 1750 days

#2 posted 03-14-2012 03:53 AM

I have to agree, good quality angle guages and any good quality measuring tools for that matter make things easier.

I recently built my mitre saw station and added the Kreg stop block measurment system to it and it has made crosscutting much easier and repetetive cuts exactly the same.

I am always on the lookout for tools, jigs etc that will improve the quality of my work.

Good Topic,

-- - Martin

View Mike's profile


370 posts in 1775 days

#3 posted 03-14-2012 06:34 AM

A cordless drill. I know it seems odd, but it allows me to put together my work tables, assemble jigs, assemble and fix tools, and a ton more stuff. Without it would be an absolute nightmare to get things done.

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

View Clarence's profile


125 posts in 2194 days

#4 posted 03-14-2012 06:41 AM

My Kreg jig has opened up a new world for me. The sheer simplicity and effectiveness of butting two boards together.

-- Getting old is a good thing, but being old kinda stinks.

View patron's profile


13422 posts in 2429 days

#5 posted 03-14-2012 07:44 AM

sharp pencils
everywhere in the shop

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View thedude50's profile


3582 posts in 1566 days

#6 posted 03-14-2012 07:46 AM

my membership at and my library of great wood working books I’ll explained more about this when I I get online with my big computer and off the cellular phone

-- Please check out my new stores and

View 1978's profile


167 posts in 2697 days

#7 posted 03-14-2012 11:45 AM

My hands.

View Bertha's profile


12982 posts in 1781 days

#8 posted 03-14-2012 12:06 PM

I’d say a good square, a sharp marking knife, and a good marking wheel. I’m not skilled, so if I start accurate, it gives me a bit of an edge.

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

View kizerpea's profile


746 posts in 1455 days

#9 posted 03-14-2012 12:36 PM

my best tool is me…the will to do a project…take ideas from others an change them to fit my needs as every shop works we all have our own way of doing things..I—we ask advise on how to do projects an get lots of answers. then then bundle them togather an boom theres the answer.or maby find a new way from all the info..after all we are not just woodworkers…really we are so much more…i watch alot of the DIY tv shows an yes i pick up tips from them but sometimes i could show them a few things. that being said…we are mostly handymen…. unafraid to jump in over our head..if i dont no the answer…someone else doze


View MooreFish's profile


2 posts in 1353 days

#10 posted 03-14-2012 02:03 PM

I’ve always felt a good plan is them most important tool :)

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1938 days

#11 posted 03-14-2012 02:13 PM

I call them the Five Considerations. Understanding them has improved every act of cutting wood (and other materials).

1. The speed of the cutter

2. The angle of the cutter

3. The rate of feed of the material

4. How chips are removed from the cutting site

5. The cutting characteristics of the material



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View RogerBean's profile


1512 posts in 2041 days

#12 posted 03-14-2012 02:13 PM

One would certainly be my Swann-Morton scalpels. I have a couple of the #4 handles with 25A blades. For cutting veneer, trimming lining leather, inlaying, and precise trimming of all kinds. I’m not sure just why, but X-Acto knives and craft knives are not the same.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View StumpyNubs's profile


6592 posts in 1888 days

#13 posted 03-14-2012 03:02 PM

Sharpening system. Dull tools lead to frustration and compromised quality. A new woodworker will be amazed at the difference if he learns to properly sharpen chisels, planes and scrapers. Those things are the difference between a hobbyist and a “pro”, and they are useless without a good sharpening method.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' premiere online publications:

View brtech's profile


775 posts in 2010 days

#14 posted 03-14-2012 03:22 PM

I splurged on a one piece square from Woodpeckers. It’s milled out of a single piece of aluminum by CNC. It’s dead on. I find I reach for that tool more than any other. Even my Starrett combo square.

View a1Jim's profile


113822 posts in 2665 days

#15 posted 03-14-2012 03:29 PM

My first thought was none. that doing good work is always up to the nut behind the wheel so to speak. But I have many tools that do make it easier. What has improved my understanding of woodworking best in the last few years has been having a mentor ,Charles Neil and having a membership in his Mastering woodworking program. I’m self taught and never having worked for anyone in the trades I had to be self taught ,so up to that point of having a mentor it was all trial and error. Secondly I would say having been a LJ member has taught me a lot as to what’s possible and also different approaches to solving the same problem or task .

-- Custom furniture

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