My favorite things – 2014

Sometimes I get a bit self-conscious about my writing. The thing that crosses my mind second most of all (after, can I try sucking less at it?) is that I might come across overly negative. It would fit me, with my thoughts on my technique and the physical aspects of the shop. I’m not generally a negative guy, though. I hate to seem like I come off that way, it’s just the nature of my subject and of my writing.

As such, while I’ve been thinking of an unrelated question posed to me, I shared my thoughts on something I like in my shop very much. As an extension of that, as it brought a smile to my face, I thought I would share some things I really adore about and in my shop.

First up, and subject of the question, is the Veritas line of saws. I only have one, the 14-tpi crosscut saw, but I love it. I’ve been meaning to add more to the arsenal, and I think I will follow through on that in a few weeks. I like them (or at least the one I own) because of how well it cuts. The bubinga handle fits perfectly in my hand, and the molded spine just looks so modern. This is my go-to saw for finer woodworking, the others are mainly for construction-type cuts, outside the purpose-built ones like the flush-cut or pull. Best part is, that while they are not cheap, they can run orders of magnitude cheaper than other highly-rated saws.

The Dewalt 735 is an awesome planer. I like it for its three-knife head, and for how easy it is to get to said head. You loosen four star screws and remove the top panel. Three more hand-twist screws for the interior dust hood/blower, and there it is. The only tool you need is the included T-handle screwdriver, which also has magnetic catches for I assume knife changes. The chip ejection blower can inflate a steel trash can, and no dust extraction is really required. It might help, but it isn’t required. The height wheel, located on the side, is easy to use. Back to the knifes, they may be soft but you could always install a helical head. For those reasons I consider this the top of the line ‘portable’ planer.

I don’t do a lot of hand tool work lately, but I still find reasons to use my Gramercy holdfasts. I wish I could say more positive things about these, but for 3/4″ dog holes, I wouldn’t use anything else. Cheap, well made, good looking…what isn’t there to like?

I really was missing out not purchasing my GluBot before I did. You look at a common and simple task like glue-ups, and you overlook areas for improvement. I greatly enjoy not having to store a glue bottle upside down in a dog hole to have glue handy, and the mess it would eventually bring. If I thought I would ever need more than one, I would certainly buy it again.
I do have one negative about an item, but it really is because they aren’t making it anymore: the PC390K ROS. Light, ergonomic, low profile, and powerful. This is my all-purpose sander currently, and eventually it will go to being a low-grit workhorse. It is the best of most worlds. I haven’t experienced the fatigue some get from vibration, but perhaps I don’t know better. Why did you stop making this excellent sander, Porter Cable? Works very well with my Bosch hose, just need to secure the dust port slightly.

Narex chisels may be the best value in woodworking. I have the complete lineup of their basic bench chisels, mortise chisels plus skew and corner. As I said, I have the complete set. The bevel edge would have been nice, but that was the choice I made. Perhaps if i find myself during a particular size of dovetail, I’ll get it in the bevel.

The MFT may be my favorite Festool, just because of the versatile holding ability. All the other Festools almost compliment the MFT, rather than the reverse. I use it every day, from assembling, gluing, sanding, or just having an additional spot to set something on.

My Thein baffle saves me a ton of effort emptying my vacuum, and that is something I certainly love. I empty the can instead of the vac at about a 10:1 ratio. It was pretty simple to make, and dirt cheap. It was a huge addition to my efforts at capturing dust and debris.

My heater was worth the drive to a different Sears to pick up. I am comfortable leaving it on unattended, and does a good job at making my shop more comfortable. The overhead lights I installed are a huge help, and I hope to add a couple of more. Having a well-lit space without shadows is essential.

Finally, I absolutely love my Milwuakee safety glasses. They are so comfortable, I often find myself wearing them inside my house after I get done. Unfortunately these, too, are discontinued. I keep an eye out on Amazon for any restocking, but it is rare. They are no longer the $5 I paid once, but even if they were to pop up at $15 I would buy a pair or two to store away. One thing to note is that the Uvex glasses recommended below the Milwaukee’s that are out of stock are extremely similar. I have a set, and it is about 95% as comfortable. Just enough difference to feel.


I have linked to all of these items for sale, where available. The Amazon links are affiliate links. Anything you buy helps me out, albeit not a ton. I think I’ve made $10 over three years. I do appreciate it all the same.



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