Unexpectedly handy tools

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Dollar store rubber mallet
plastic Harbor Freight center finder
cheap spring loaded center punch... (wow, 1 hand punching, whataconcept!)
handful of assorted size rare earth magnets
Mac
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mac davis wrote:

Couple of lignum vitae cutoffs.

--
--John
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Combination Square. It checks 45* and square, is a 12" ruler, a little level and a marking gauge all in one. I see a lot of folks with speed squares running around, but they're not half as versatile. I've had a Stanley one for about 7 years, and it's still accurate, despite spending most of it's life in a tool belt on construction sites and getting it's fair share of knocking around.
Second best cheap tool that makes life easier is an adjustible drywall square. You can set it to any angle you need, and it's got a 4' straightedge built in. Granted, I got it for cutting drywall, but it's been known to do a little layout work on sheet goods or act as a clamp-on fence for a circular saw more than a couple of times. The important aspect of it is that it is adjustable (which also means the cross bar can be removed to use just the 4' ruler). The regular rigid drywall T-squares are not half as useful, IMO.
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Prometheus wrote:

Yup, I have two of them big honkin' Johnson adjustable squares. In the solid surface countertop business, no lay-out tool works as hard as that one. Sturdy enough to run a circular saw along its straight edge. The one I have, has a notched cross bar, which locks onto the main leg to form a reasonably accurate 90-degree T. When I attach the cross bar from the other set, I end up with a huge caliper... useful in measuring the width of odd-shaped stuff, like sinks.... but we're well over 20 bucks here..
r
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Andy wrote:

Remakably handy for a variety of grinding and rough sharpening jobs. Perfect for sharpening lawn mower blades and garden tools. No, its not a makita, but it's a remarkably well made tool for $15.00. My ebay pencil sharpener. It's a Dixon Enduro No. 20. Far superior to the common Bostons. Sturdy support on both sides of the dual cutter head and an adjustable stop for the perfect point. Scott.
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My most unexpected handy tool is a cheap ($10) little flush-cut pull saw. I hadn't used anything like it, and wasn't going to spend $$$s on a Japanese saw when I didn't really know what to do with them. I still use that little saw for all kinds of trimming and small saw cuts - and have since purchased more Japanese pull saws, too.
--
JeffB
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Good point! I picked up a couple from Harbor Fright on sale and then bought the "shark" and a few extra blades...
Great for flush cutting dowels and small miters, one you remember which way the teeth are pointed.. *g*
I use them on the lathe, too.. great for parting off stuff.. Mac
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Laminate flooring strips make great straight edge guides for router and circular saw. Factory edges are very straight, the ends snap together to make unlimited lengths and they are thin and cheep. Clamped on the end in the right place and the strip curves down, providing a nice ramp for an outfeed support for the portable table saw.
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Two of these little multi-squares.
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/MULTIPURPOSE-ANGLE-SQUARE_W0QQitemZ150004638981QQihZ005QQcategoryZ63915QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
One set permanently at 45 and the other at 90. Since most of what I do is make little boxes these are the two angles that matter most and I'm forever setting up something to acommodate one of them. Having it pre-calibrated saves time and gives me a degree of consistency.
FoggyTown
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A Stanley 10-779 knife for about $5.
Barry Lennox
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A friend of mine wanted some metal rods in a headboard he was making. He settled on some very large nails (spikes), maybe 7/16" diameter. He cut the heads off, leaving about 4" of length. I keep two of these in a little bowl on the workbench, along with other detritus like the odd extra nail and a candle. Every now and then I need to bang something and these things fit the bill more often than I ever could have predicted when I got them. I guess the bowl is also surprisingly useful, since sometimes I need a random nail and there they are right in front of me and not scratching under my workpieces. BTW, it's only full enough to cover the bottom.
- Owen -
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A box of rubber bands, I once had to glue a 1/4" bead moulding to the top of a 10' peice of crown moulding, a bunch of rubber bands held it fine. Also I raided SWMB's clothspin bag (spring type) and used them to clamp small projects.
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Jerry
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