A trusty pair of Electrician Scissors is the most used tool of many of the low-voltage electricians that we’ve talked to, and Klein seems to be the go-to brand. If you’ve never heard of electrician scissors, here is a primer: Of course like any scissors, Klein’s new Electrician Scissors can cut through stuff with the blades, but they also have a cable cutting notch so you can rip through wire up to 14 AWG. They’ll strip 19 and 23 AWG wire all day long and have a notch in the tip for de-burring electrical boxes. There’s also a scraper on both blades for convenient wire cleaning. Klein’s All-Purpose Electrician’s Scissors are available online and in home centers for $24.35.
A heavy-duty hardened steel chain with hexagonal links will thwart nearly every thief with a bolt cutter. Hexagonal links (or square or trapezoidal) make it impossible for bolt cutters to get a grip. You may be tempted to buy chain by the foot at the hardware store, but it’s designed for lifting and towing, not theft resistance. Even the thick stuff is likely to have round links, and frankly, if a hardware store clerk can cut the chain easily, a thief can too.
Every woodworker needs a couple of levels. You probably won’t need one of the 6-foot levels used in construction, but 48” is a good length for many of the woodworking projects you’ll do. Usually, you’ll also need an 8” level too, usually known as a torpedo level. You’ll check the level and plum of your construction. Level means horizontal, and plumb is vertical.
There was a big crowd, rocking music, and a lot of excitement over the Extreme Post-it Notes at the 3M booth at the 2018 International Builders Show. Apparently these things stick to wood, hot stuff, cold stuff, wet stuff, brick, metal, plastic pipes, ladders, stair treads, flooring, the side of a truck, copper, tools, siding, co-workers, concrete, tile, drywall, asphalt, house wrap, light fixtures, switches, cabinets, leather belts, windows…well, you get the idea. Post-it Extreme Notes will be available at major retailers beginning in March 2018.
Finding a toolbox for a mechanic, for his hand tools, is not a big challenge at all - there are dozens of the tool boxes available on the market, from huge roll-around shop cases to small metal boxes. Plumbers, electricians, and farmers are well served, too, with everything from pickup-truck storage to toolboxes and belts. But, if you are a shop-bound woodworker then the case changes. You get to need a tool box that suits the range and variety of hand tools that most woodworkers like to have. For those who deny making do with second best, there's only one solution, you’ve to build a wooden toolbox that should be designed expressly for a woodworking shop.
This tool is specialized for the task of making shingles. The strange name comes from the antiquated word "froward," which means "away," in reference to the direction that the tool cuts. To use it, place the froe, blade down, on the edge of a log length, then hit the top of the blade with a wooden club, forcing the froe into the log. Next, pull the handle toward you and pry off a thin slice of the log. Voilà... shingle! Since buying a box of square-edged shingles is significantly less effort than making each and every one by hand, this tool has long since passed its heyday. But it still can be used to build up the kindling pile.
To corral shelf-dwelling books or DVDs that like to wander, cut 3/4-in.-thick hardwood pieces into 6-in. x 6-in. squares. Use a band saw or jigsaw to cut a slot along one edge (with the grain) that’s a smidgen wider than the shelf thickness. Stop the notch 3/4 in. from the other edge. Finish the bookend and slide it on the shelf. Want to build the shelves, too? We’ve got complete plans for great-looking shelves here.
With the stain dry, I began to build the tabletop. Others might have chosen to build first and stain second. But I felt that, given the combination of colors being used, I was most likely to achieve satisfying results—or less likely to mess up—if I stained the boards before I joined them together. The picture above shows the unfinished undersides of the boards after I had almost finished fastening each one to its neighbors. First, I marked off where the pocket holes would be located. For each regular board, I planned to put in at least two pocket holes. I needed to put additional holes in the boards at the two long edges, because those boards would need to be secured not only to those in the adjoining row, but also to each other. Finally, after creating the pocket holes, I assembled the tabletop one row at a time, driving in the screws that magically brought the disparate pieces together into a cohesive surface.

Most construction tasks consist of a series of straight lines, but occasionally you run into a situation that requires an arc or a circle. A trammel is usually the best tool for the job, but there’s only so much room in your toolbox. M. Power makes the Tri-Scribe, which hooks onto tools you already have, like the tongue of a square or a metal ruler, and transforms it into a flat-lying trammel. Strike a circle or an arc from 1 in. to 6 ft.—you’re limited only by the length of your rule. You can either make your mark with a pencil or insert the knife blade and score the surface. Best of all, they take up hardly any room in your toolbox.
The Wilton ATV All-Terrain Vise is a tool for those of you who work out of your pickup at job sites and need a serious on-site vise. And this vise is worth the price! It slips into any 2-in. receiver hitch and has a sizable flat anvil area for pounding. It comes with a bracket for attaching to any sturdy surface, such as a trailer, if you don’t want to use your truck.
To corral shelf-dwelling books or DVDs that like to wander, cut 3/4-in.-thick hardwood pieces into 6-in. x 6-in. squares. Use a band saw or jigsaw to cut a slot along one edge (with the grain) that’s a smidgen wider than the shelf thickness. Stop the notch 3/4 in. from the other edge. Finish the bookend and slide it on the shelf. Want to build the shelves, too? We’ve got complete plans for great-looking shelves here.
There are lots of clear finishes. But for a combination of usability and durability, you can’t beat polyurethane. Oil-based poly, which dries slower than water-based, is best for beginners because it allows more working time. The other important difference is clarity: Water-based poly is absolutely colorless, while oil-based has an amber tone, which can be good or bad depending on the look you want.
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!

Cedar Mini Decorative Planters/Boxes Using Interlocking Dovetail Joints Having a cedar mill within an hour of my shop allows me to work with some very nice wood. While cedar can be brittle, it is wonderful to work with and makes putting these decorative boxes together a breeze. When working with cedar I am always looking for pieces that have what is known as “heartwood”. This is the red portion of the wood. When first planed or sanded, this heartwood is almost pink in color but takes polyurethane or spar finish well giving a vibrant dark red when applied. If left untreated, cedar will turn gray in direct sunlight and a dull red color from normal household light. These boxes have been treated with a wiping polyurethane mix that allows me to apply it with a cotton rag instead of a brush. It’s faster to apply, doesn’t run and dries fast enough to apply two coats in a day. So applying 5-6 coats only takes 2-3 days to accomplish. I assembled the boxes using a dovetail joint which provides both strength and decorative at the same time. A fan shaped tenon that forms a tight interlocking joint when fitted into a corresponding mortise. The dovetails on these boxes are shown on the length of the box and not the end where the handles are located. I use a dovetail jig and a router to make these joints which is more efficient. Depending on how the client will use the box I may or may not drill two holes in the bottom of the box. If they are built to be used as outside planters then I drill 2, half inch holes in the bottom for water to drain. If they are to be used inside as a table center piece or fireplace mantle decorative box, then I do not drill the hole. In the end they are strong, durable and beautiful no matter how they are used.
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