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
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.
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
Don't laugh, but the $15.00 4" angle grider from Harbor Freight.
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.
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.
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..
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.
Two of these little multi-squares.
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.
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 -
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
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.