There are tools for under $20?
Next thing you know someone will have found a piece
of wood for less than twenty bucks.
When someone says there's a car that gets 25 or more
miles per gallon I'll be 7 feet tall from all the leg pulling.
A useful tool for under twenty dollars - yeah right.
Reminds me of a story.......
I had just started woodturning and we were very VERY poor at the time. I
drove over to Woodworkers Source in Phoenix to look at their wood for
turning. I found a real good looking block and wondered if I could afford to
pay the $7.95 that the price tag showed. I thought I would look around for
something less expensive. Well picking through the pile all I found were
$40.00 to $90.00 pieces. I looked again closely at the tag on my original
piece and saw the faded 6 in front of the 7.95, so it was really $67.95! I
went home and picked through my own wood pile.
Handy tools under $20.00? My stainless steel rulers.
I have to chime in. My MOST usefull tool in my shop believe it or not
is a Craftsman 15lb. magnetic pick up tool. Spend your time
metal/woodwortking in a wheelchair for a while and you'll know why. It
allows me retrieve all my other MOST usefull tools when I drop them.
Second behind that is the long reach grabber for stuff out of reach.
Lobby Dosser wrote:
A wheelchair is not a prerequisite for the utility of those tools. I seem to
have a singular talent for dropping small parts, and sometimes large parts,
behind my workbench, under a storage cabinet, etc.. Besides the two you
mention, I've also got a humungous magnet I got out of the "free" box at a
garage sale - for when I drop a "large" part :-).
But most useful low cost tool in my shop is an old Goodell-Pratt push drill I
use to drill screw starting holes.
It's turtles, all the way down
1. Good pair of sawhorses, sturdy and the right height -- free from
2. Straight grained wood frame for use as a sheet goods cutting base --
free panel/frame door from the scrap pile
3. 14" L-brackets, useful in many occasions (idea from John Carroll,
Working Alone) -- free from scrap plywood
4. Old brass hinge of the right type (tight hinge, square on the edges)
for use as a saddle square -- free from scrap
5. 5 gal. buckets to haul tools in -- free
6. Freud 7-1/4 or 8" thin-kerf blades for use in the TS -- $7 ea.
7. HF clamps -- $13 dollars (what, about 10?)
That hits $20 for me,
I opted to spend big money for a pair of saw horses.
They are by far the best saw horses I have owned and
seen. Light, strong (2500 lb rating*) and best of all, fully adjustable.
I was so impressed that I now own 3 pairs.
I do have to admit I am rather skeptical about the one ton+ rating but
it should handle anything I can put on it.
I've got to weigh in on #2.
I recently took a 6 panel door (used, thus no cost) busted out the
panels and attached legs from a ruined banquet table I pulled from the
dumpster (also no cost). The door is amazingly rigid and flat. I had
read about doing that in a couple of places, including the REC, but I
was pleasently surprised at just how handy this is. I use it:
1. To cut panels with the circular saw depth just slightly more than
2. As an assembly/glue-up table. The lower height is nice.
3. The open areas where I busted out the panels are great to clamp
odd shaped things down for cutting or routing.
4. It seems to be just the right height for my grandson to use a
handsaw and miter box.
One other VERY handy tool, not yet mentioned:
I have a wire wheel on an arbor turned by an old refrigerator motor. I
use it a lot. Just the time saved in rust removal makes it a real
time/effort saver. NOT that I ever let my tools get rusty, oh no, but
I seem to need to remove rust I a regular basis. Cleans threads really
good, too. The other end of the arbor has a beat-up grinding stone for
crude grinding. Lets me preserve the "good grinder" for sharpening.
My 6" stainless vernier caliper. It's my depth gauge, thickness gauge
and inside dimension gauge...all in my pocket. Maybe not $ 20,00....but
not much more than $ 30.00 for a decent piece. Don't bother with the
dial-equipped ones...learn how to read a normal one. It will give
1/128" accuracy...plenty accurate for woodwork.
Also.. a 12" stainless rule... about $ 12.00
A 2-pound plastic deadblow hammer, lead-shot filled. From the Snap-On
truck...about 20 bucks.Great for that definitive tap...non-marring
persuasion... when you want to move that biscuit-joined glue-up just
Those three tools are always where I know they are.... and of course,
my FatMax tapemeasure.
Inexpensive dial calipers are always in my apron for everyday use - much easier
to read, especially since we're all stuck on fractional measurements. (Quick
what's 5/8 + 7/32 in digital format...) The digital ones mostly live in their
case, used only on special occasions like measuring shims or aligning tools.
Since you mentioned that it reminded me that I always keep several
pairs of $5.00 reading glasses around, from 1.5 to 2.5 diopter
strength depending on what I'm looking at. 10 years ago they were
"handy"; Now they're essential!
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