Unexpectedly handy tools

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A recent article in Popular Woodworking ("Best $20 I Ever Spent") and responses to a recent thread "home shop on the cheap" got me thinking - what are some simple, relatively inexpensive tools or accessories that make your life in the shop easier? Of course we all need saws and clamps and chisels and all, but what are some things that might not be on all the lists of "basic woodworking tools"? For example, I broke down and spent $20 for a "Preppin' Weapon" sanding block, and though it sounds expensive for something as simple as a sanding block, I've been amazed at how convenient and effective it is. http://www.innovativeinventors.com/Pweapon.htm I also have a Rockler 4" engineer's square with graduations in inches - that may be the most-used, least-expensive tool in my shop. Sure it might be even more useful to have the sliding version from LV (3x the $) or Starrett (5x the $), but this little guy is always in my hand or my apron pocket. http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page 348 So what are your examples? Andy
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An electric pencil sharpener, because my pencils go where missing socks live.
Jim

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I'm not as sharp as i used to be, please explain how the pencil sharpener helps keep you from losing pencils. Am I missing the point?
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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snipped-for-privacy@fellspt.charm.net wrote:

I'm guessing he has a whole jar of pencils handy, and when he can't find the one he was using, he just grabs another one & sticks it into the pencil sharpener. In a few seconds he's good to go again.
How do I know this? Certainly NOT from personal experience. No. Not me. Nope. Just guessin' here. :-)
--Steve
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Adjustable bevel square.
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1. 2" engineer's square. It lives in an apron pocket and is really handy for machine setup and initial check of cuts. 2. Feeler gauge set, lives in the same apron pocket -- great for checking joint gaps and initial cut issues.
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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Steve has it right. Additionally, I scatter them all over the shop and I'm breaking the leads pretty consistently. I consider the sharpener a "must-have" power tool!
Jim
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I know where lost socks go. Ther're converted to coat hangers.
-Zz
On Mon, 3 Jul 2006 20:23:24 -0400, "Woodhead"

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Zz Yzx wrote:

and breed. they give birth to paper clips...
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Ha! That's so funny - or at least coincidental. I was just thinking the other day that I want to find one of the old class room type crank pencil sharpeners because I get so frustrated with our electric sharpener. It never sharpens evenly around the pencil unless you twist it while it's in the sharpener. Even then it doesn't simply grind down a nice point.
--

-Mike-
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On 05/07/2006 12:16 PM, Mike Marlow wrote:

http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p2281&cat=1,42936,42452
(while you're buying chisels or something :-)
Also nice pencils which seem hard to find these days:
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p2538&cat=1,42936
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Lee Valley's Veritas Saddle Square.
<http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pD836&cat=1,42936,50298>
I use it on almost every project, even on the lathe sometimes.
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On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 18:28:08 -0600, Dave Balderstone

At the risk of "me-too-ing" I have to agree on saddle square. About 10 bucks, IIRC, and except for a pencil and a tape measure, it's probably the most-used tool I own. Don't know how I ever got along without it.
To reply by e-mail, use jcarlson631 at yahoo dot com
John
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John wrote:

I have the LV Saddle Square also, and although I use it quite a bit and it is definitely handy, it just hasn't made my list of "stuff I use all the time". Maybe I'm still getting used to it... One thing I forgot to mention earlier is a Craftsman 6oz "Plastic Tip Hammer". I got it to adjust my Knight wood planes, and it's perfect for that, but I've also found a variety of other uses for it, when I don't want to mar what I'm hammering, but my dead-blow mallet is too much. http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?cat=Hand+Tools%2C+Carpentry&pid938298000&vertical=TOOL&subcat=Hammers&BV_UseBVCookie=Yes Thanks for all your replies - interesting and useful. Keep 'em coming. Andy
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Heart be still! When I opened the link to see what you are talking about, I was looking at a picture of my "most useful hammer". Mine is identical, purchased from Sears as a Christmas gift to me in 1973.
Bob
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Bob wrote:

I've got one of those too! I use it (the plastic side) to install frets in guitar fingerboards. Wonderful tool!
--Steve
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My epiphany came when I reached into my apron and it wasn't there, and I cussed myself for leaving it laying by the miter saw - again - and realized just how much I'd come to depend on it. Just for running a nice clean pencil line all the way around the board. Hunh.
Second on that list is the Bosch SCMS. I still say I don't NEED it, but man I sure use it a lot. Especially since I built it a little rolling station with fold-down wings.
Third is that tape measure with the numbers on both sides of the blade and the built-in pencil sharpener. I use both of those features all the time.
And that's my short list.
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RE: Subject
Without question, the thinking chair.
Lew
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you have a bathroom in your shop? *g* Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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