Our favorite tools that make every project easier (and safer too!) With Black Friday soon to be upon us I wanted to put together a list of 11 items under $70.00 (it was supposed to be 10, but I couldn’t decide which to leave off!) that I use on a regular basis in my wood shop. Each of these items will make great stocking stuffers, secret Santa gifts or just something you can purchase for yourself to make your shop more efficient and safer. I have personally used all these items except the tape measure. I bought that for my son-in-law who uses it on a regular basis. I find each of these items serve multiple purposes for me in the shop to keep me safe, provide my accurate measurements and give me that extra pairs of hands that I need. You can find Amazon links below that will take you directly to the item. *DISCLOSURE: The links below are affiliate links. If you chose to click through and make a purchase I will earn a commission but there is no additional cost to you. It helps compensates the business for the time spent creating these posts. THANK YOU! SAFETY FIRST GRR-RIPPER 3D Pushblock for Table Saws, Router Tables, Band Saws, and Jointers by MICROJIG – $59.00 Safety is essential in the shop and these GRR-RIPPERS keep tablesaw blades, router bits and Jointer blades away from my fingers. No shop should be without them. I Have 2 and use them daily. 3M Peltor Optime 105 Over the Head Earmuff, Ear Protectors, Hearing Protection, NRR 30 dB $19.95 Don’t let the noise of your machinery ruin your hearing. I use these while running all the tools in my shop to protect my hearing. They fit well with safety glasses and are comfortable to wear for hours. MEASURING TOOLS Kreg KMA2900 Multi-Mark Multi-Purpose Marking and Measuring Tool Model – $42.11 Great things come in small sizes. I carry this little wonder in my apron for every project. It helps me make sure that my wood is all the same thickness when coming out of the planer. I use it to set the depth of my dado cuts. FastCap PSSR25 25 foot Lefty/Righty Measuring Tape – $9.99 This tape measure is great for someone that has issues with the smaller measurements such as 1/8, 3/8, 5/8, etc.. Left or Right handed, this item really measures up. 12 in Centerpoint Rule – $13.95 I picked this up on a whim while walking through a wood store one day and I have never regretted it. I find it hard to determine the center point of wood at times and this finds center every time without failure and with great ease. Find the full measurement on the top of the ruler and find the same number on the bottom and that is center. NO ONE EVER HAS ENOUGH CLAMPS Large Rockler Bandy Clamps, Pair – $24.99 I could never figure out what the fuss was for these until
To save money, we keep the temp in our shop down low when we’re not in it and crank up the heat when we return. But even when the air temperature hits 70 degrees F, the concrete floor is still Minnesota-cold. We tried a space heater under the bench, but it broiled the shins and still left us with cold feet. So we recently bought a foot-warming mat, and now our feet stay toasty warm. Plus, it uses a fraction of the electricity and is a lot safer than a space heater. The mat is produced by Cozy Products. The good folks over at Cozy suggest putting a chunk of cardboard underneath it if you use it on flooring that could fade from the heat, like carpet or wood.
Stanley produced this all-in-one layout tool between 1888 and the 1930s. It looks like a directional arrow from a street sign and was originally advertised as 10 tools in one (including level, depth gauge, try square, and compass). There are a few companies that make replicas, but originals can still be found on eBay for a couple hundred dollars apiece.
Your monster of a table is going to be HEAVY, so I strongly recommend moving it to its final destination in two pieces–lay a blanket down in your dining room, put the top on it upside down, then the frame upside down on top of that. Attach a couple 2×4 supports across the frame for good measure, then begin the frustrating process of centering the frame on the top. Once you have the top centered, attach your brackets–I did two on each end and three on each side.
Online plans can be easy, helpful, and can save you time and money if you put in the effort to usethem. But if you buy plans one by one, you might speed a lot of time organizing and searching for things to build as well as having to decipher different plan formats. You might learn a technique or two or improve your skills slightly, but you’ll forget everything by the time you go to find another plan. With organized lessons, however, you can always find the plans or instructions again easily, and come up with even more ideas of projects to build. Downloadable woodworking courses can save you money as well.
After all slots are cut, stand each board on end and coat the edge of jointed side with wood glue. Next coat the biscuits with glue. Insert biscuits in one side only of each board, then insert glued biscuits in the empty joint of the next board. Assemble planks in order until the top is complete. Don't worry about small gaps. Next, carefully lay the top down and attach pipe clamps at roughly 1' intervals. Slowly tighten each pipe clamp in a consistent fashion until the gaps disappear*. Small amounts of glue can be removed when dry; scrape up any puddled glue with a plastic putty knife. To minimize sanding later, avoid working glue into the top of the wood. Let the top set overnight.
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Just redid my dining room table with this technique and I an observation/suggestion others might find helpful. The boards did not line up well putting it together upside down, even on a flat concrete floor with me standing on the boards while they were screwed. I would have combined biscuits with the pocket holes to ensure a better alignment of the boards. Lots of sanding was required after assembly, and this might not be a huge deal with pine, but I used hard maple so it was quite a chore even with a belt sander. Also, be aware that the 1x2s around the edge may not line up perfectly -- I had to trim about an eighth inch from each side after assembly to get nice smooth, even edges. Not a big deal, but the top turned out a little smaller than the specifications I was give by SheWhoMustBeObeyed. Otherwise our table now looks great, and thank you for the post!