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
One of the best stud finders you’ll ever use is the Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710. It’s unique in that there’s a whole bar of red lights that light up whenever it detects a stud. Unlike other sensors, which have a single light that stays on as it passes over the wood, the lights on the 710 tell you exactly where the wood stops and starts. No guesswork. Push a button, drag it over the wall and those hidden mysteries reveal themselves. You won’t even need to read the directions!
Add the ultimate in convenience, power, and safety to your router lift! JessEm's new soft-start, 3.25hp router motor puts the variable speed control and power switch at your fingertips. The control panel attaches directly to INCRA Router Table Stands and is easily adapted to other router table installations. Compatible with router lifts designed to accept the Porter Cable 7518 motor. This router is not for hand held use.
Open rafters and trusses are an endless source of falling dust. So if you’re working under an open ceiling, hang plastic sheeting above. Keep the plastic at least 12 in. from light fixtures or remove the bulbs. Sometimes, adding plastic ‘walls’ is a lot easier than cleaning up the entire area. If you’re using oil-based finishes, hang the sheets about a foot from the floor to allow for ventilation.

Verdict : Ted’s product is EXTREMELY extensive with 16k plans and there are tons of projects to choose from. Not every woodworker online loves it, but it’s cheap and perfect for every level of experience, I love it because this is basically the only resource I need. I highly suggest it. They also offer a really solid money back guarantee if you don’t like it after all.
Attach all four legs and set the top on the base with equal overhang on all sides. Carefully trace the leg tops on the bottom side of the planks and then flip it over onto a work surface. Drill a 1/2” hole with each square mark near the line but not touching it. Using a jigsaw, carefully cut out each square. Because leg tops will nest snuggly in these squares, be sure cuts are slightly undersized. Flip the top back over and attempt to set it on the base. Using a flat wood file and chisel, remove small amounts of material as needed. Once the top nestles down on the gutter structure without excess force, run a small bead of wood glue on the top edges of the gutter, reposition the top and shoot 15-gauge finish nails through the inside edge of the gutter into the bottom of the tabletop. Fill in small gaps between the leg top and table planks with wood filler or small wood shims.
Google is probably the first place where most people would start searching for woodworking plans, but often the top results can be a mix of articles and how-to pieces that just aren’t detailed enough. Sometimes they’ll link to the plans (like we try to here at Lifehacker), but other times, they’re just showing off a cool project. There are better, more precise ways of finding what you’re looking for.
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Even a small tabletop presents a challenge if the boards you glued together  have stepped-shaped misalignments where they meet because of warping. Yes, you can sand these off, but the more topographical sanding you need to do, the less flat and regular your finished tabletop will be. The flatter and better aligned your boards are when they’re in the clamps, the happier you’ll be later. This is where end clamps and gluing cauls can help.
Drilling into tile is sort of a three hand operation: hold the drill, spray the water, and make sure the water stays were it’s supposed to. The Aqua Shot from Miyanaga is a great solution to your ceramic drilling woes. The Aqua Shot drill bit has a built-in water tank that feeds water to the drill as you operate, making the whole process much smoother. Just load the chamber up with water, flip a switch and drill away. The Aqua Shot works with impact drivers and the individual tips can be replaced when they get worn out without having to replace the whole tool. The Aqua Shot is available online for $82.80. Click here for a video of the Aqua Shot in action.
The result of this project is what your wife or girlfriend would call a “Rustic,” “Barn,” or “Ranch Style” dining room table. I call it a man table, because it’s made from inexpensive wood, can take a beating, and one day your grandchildren will be serving their kids Thanksgiving dinner on it. Being the man that built that table is, well, manly. I’ve found a few similar tables on Craigslist and furniture sites, starting at around $1200. That’s absurd. I built mine for less than $200, including the chairs I bought for it.
A layout square, or combination square, comes in 6” and 12” sizes. Most woodworkers use the 6” model, simply because it’s easiest to carry around. Also, most of the stock you’ll use will be no bigger than 6” wide, so 12” is overkill. The layout square is a triangle that you can use to mark square cuts on stock. Once you measure the length of the cut, you line up the layout square with the edge of the board. The short side will give you a straight, square cut across the end grain. You can also measure off angles with the layout square. This helps when you’re trying to measure for a bevel on a table saw, or marking a cut for a miter saw. You can even use your layout square to determine an existing angle. Just be sure to buy one made of metal. The plastic ones are not only fragile, but they also can warp, making them pretty useless.
Do you enjoy splinters or cuts from metal flashing? Nope me neither. THESE GLOVES ARE THE SHIZ NIT! I have yet to get a splinter when handling my rough-edged plywood. Not only are they cheap but extra reliable. Mom these gloves are for you (My poor mom always gets splinters when she helps me DIY). This is one of the unique tools you’ll be happy you own.
With a pencil and a protractor, divide the larger disc into 30-degree wedges to create 12 center lines for the bottle indents. Center and trace the smaller disc on top of the larger disc. Next, with a drill press, drill 3/8-in.-deep holes on the 12 center lines with the 1-7/8-in. Forstner bit, spacing them between the disc’s outer edge and the traced circle. Next, divide the smaller disc into 60-degree wedges and drill six more 3/8-in.-deep holes with the Forstner bit.
The reclaimed wood boards are glued together, side-by-side, to form the table top. Use a biscuit joiner to cut matching slots along the board edges (Image 1). Because this tool can be set to cut the all of grooves at the same precise depth, when you insert the biscuits in the slots and pull the boards together the result is a smooth, level surface (Image 2).

Im am so glad you posted this! I bought a cheap dining room table from good will to use for my desk, it has a leaf in the middle to make it longer. I wanted to glue the leaf to the other two sides and thin fill in the holes with wood filler and I was advised by mom friend that it wouldnt work, but now I have proof cant wait to try it out!!! thanks 🙂

If you’re looking for ways to rehab an old table, this charred wood table is a fairly simple project that requires just a few hours of work. I used the charred appearance boards to create a new tabletop for my porch table. The old table top needed to be painted or replaced, so I thought these boards would make for a gorgeous, fresh look for the table. The table base is actually an antique from Europe. I love rescuing old pieces. Using the charred wood for a new table top is the perfect way to update it and make it usable again.
This is a very colorful and fun project. The idea is to use an old table with a top that you don’t really like and to give it a makeover. You don’t need paint for this project, just a lot of colored tape. Use it to make stripes to cover the entire surface of the tabletop. You can also wrap the edges in tape. You can also cover it with lacquer or add plexiglass on top to protect the design.
Begin by cutting off a 10-in. length of the board and setting it aside. Rip the remaining 38-in. board to 6 in. wide and cut five evenly spaced saw kerfs 5/8 in. deep along one face. Crosscut the slotted board into four 9-in. pieces and glue them into a block, being careful not to slop glue into the saw kerfs (you can clean them out with a knife before the glue dries). Saw a 15-degree angle on one end and screw the plywood piece under the angled end of the block.
Using pocket holes to attach the stool base to the stool top prevents the top from moving during seasonal changes. It’s also not a good idea to drive screws through the edge of the apron into the table top. Over time the top could crack or the top could have enough force to push or pull the joints of the base apart. Skate over to Mistakes with Wood Can Cause Your DIY Furniture to Crack to see more about how I incorrectly attached the top on the stool.
It’s important to have an understanding of wood when building DIY furniture projects. Not just how to cut, and assemble with wood but also to understand how it works. In Mistakes with Wood Can Cause Your DIY Furniture to Crack we talked about how wood is hygroscopic. Simply put, hygroscopic means it absorbs moisture from the air. Seasonal changes cause wood to absorb and release moisture.
I am so glad to see this. It is exactly what I have been looking for. I have had a similar idea in my head for years but didn't know how to bring it together, and I wasn't sure how it would actually turn out. Yours is beautiful. It is nice to start with an idea of how the project will actually look when I am done. My table is 25 years old with a laminate top. The reason I want to cover instead of replacing it does that it is the first purchase my husband and I made together. It has seen 25 years of abuse by three little (now big!) boys and by me, the messy crafter. But I cannot imagine ever getting rid of this table. Plus it's not like I'm going to get less messy, so investing in an expensive table would be crazy. I love how I can take this top off and still do the messy damaging things on it. I am bookmarking this and if I ever get around to actually doing it LOL, I will send you pics 

No, it’s not a blood pressure tester. It’s an inflatable shim sold by Calculated industries. What in the world would you do with an Air Shim? Well, you could hold a window in position (by yourself) while setting the permanent shims, or prop up a door slab during installation without scratching the hardwood floor. Use it to align base cabinets or level appliances. You could even trick your big, burly buddy by betting him that your 10-year-old can pick him up off the ground… you will win that bet because the Air Shim is easy enough for anyone to pump and it holds up to 300-lbs. Deflate it as slow as you want for uber precision adjustments.
After sanding, I wiped down the table to remove any dust. Then I stirred the polyurethane and brushed it on the table top, including all four sides. After the polyurethane coating dried, the table was ready to be used. I used the poly coat because the table is being used on an outdoor porch. It is a covered porch, but sometimes there is a blowing rain. I also wanted a protective coating because the table is being used for food and drinks. I didn’t want to worry about anything being spilled on the table.
If you have some basic carpentry and tool usage skills, take advantage of Ryan's custom woodworking plans and the opportunity to build a custom entertainment center yourself with entertainment center plans, media center plans and woodworking plans designed and published by Ryan. If you don't, now is a great time to start. Its not as difficult as your may think.

If you already have a workshop and the skills for woodworking, you will need to make sure that you have some reliable woodworking plans at your disposal and the necessary woodworking tools to complete the projects you wish to make. There are some websites that offer free woodworking plans, but they are often incomplete or lack sufficient detail to understand properly and this will lead to frustration and loss of interest in woodworking. After spending many years building up your collection of fine woodworking tools and learning to use them, you will no doubt have some neat skills under your belt. Now to make full use of these skills, you will need to find a nice project to work on, one which will do you proud and show off your fancy woodworking skills.
While the top is drying, measure the thickest portion. Add 1/16” to this measurement and mark a horizontal line with a framing square across the tops of the table legs. This line marks the gutter structure mounting depth. Legs will protrude 1/16” above the plane of the tabletop. Ask a helper to hold the leg tight to the inside corner of the gutter structure with the mark at the top of the gutter. Drive at least two wood screws through the inside face of the gutter into the sides of the leg.

Screwdrivers are another must-have in the woodworker’s set of hand tools. Not only will you need Phillips and slot, or flathead screwdrivers, you’ll need star drivers and Torx drivers, too. A quality construction is vital to a good set of screwdrivers. So many of them are made out of soft metal, and the first time you put any “oomph” behind them, they strip out, becoming absolutely useless.
This DIY has a bit of a backstory: In my basement workshop—as a byproduct of about a half dozen previous projects—I’d managed to accumulate a small mountain of scrap wood. Though the pieces varied in size, most were 2×4 boards. For weeks, I pondered the question of how to use them. There wasn’t enough material to build anything substantial, but at the same time, this was much more wood than I would feel comfortable chucking or committing to kindling. I suddenly seized on the idea of turning those leftover boards into a rustic tabletop, but then I let the project momentum slow to a creep, and in the blink of an eye another few weeks had gone zooming by. Things finally came to a head one day when I was scanning the local giveaway listings. There, I discovered that one of my neighbors was trying to get rid of an old metal garden table. Upon seeing the pictures, I knew immediately that this would be a great table to top with the scrap wood surface I’d been planning to make with all those 2x4s!
With a pencil and a protractor, divide the larger disc into 30-degree wedges to create 12 center lines for the bottle indents. Center and trace the smaller disc on top of the larger disc. Next, with a drill press, drill 3/8-in.-deep holes on the 12 center lines with the 1-7/8-in. Forstner bit, spacing them between the disc’s outer edge and the traced circle. Next, divide the smaller disc into 60-degree wedges and drill six more 3/8-in.-deep holes with the Forstner bit.
A dispensing gun allows you to save foam if the job requires less than a full can. Once the job is finished, just set the gun aside until the next time you need it. Leave the can on the gun if you know it will be used in less than 30 days, or pull the can off, cap it and then clean out the gun with cleaning solution. Besides saving you money on foam, the dispensing gun provides much greater control because you’re not working with a flimsy straw, and the trigger can be adjusted with a turning setscrew to control the rate of flow—nice! Spray foam dispensing guns are available online and at home centers.
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