10 More Top Tools Every Woodworker Should Have
Last year, Wagner Meters wrote about the top 40 tools no woodworker should be without. Now, in 2015, we’re bringing you 10 more essential tools that will help make any job easier, safer, and more efficient.
1. Dust collector
Since breathing wood dust is considered a serious health risk, tool manufacturers are introducing affordable dust collectors, cyclones, and tool-triggered vacuums that not only suck up the dust at the source, but also keep it contained using ultra-fine filters.
Dust collectors are now available for miter saws, sanding drums, drill presses, table saws, band saws, and other dust-spewing tools. All are designed to help remove airborne debris and dust from the air. Many of these tools can be equipped with special dust collection hoods, articulated hoses for hard-to-reach areas, and special filters to capture wood debris and even the finest dust particles.
Cyclone dust collectors are perhaps the cleanest and most efficient dust collectors available. Their cyclonic separation process captures 99.9% of all wood chips and dust particles that enter it.
2. Pocket-hole jig
This tool provides a fast, strong, and easy way of joining wood when you don’t want to show any screws.
It can be used on many different types of projects, from building a chair or cabinet to repairing a squeaky floor. Basically, you drill a hole at an angle into one board and then join it to a second board with pocket-hole screws. Adjustable guides and stop collar bits help manage the width and depth of the hole.
A pocket-hole jig eliminates the need to clamp a joint for hours waiting for glue to dry, though glue can still be used. Since only one board is machined, there are no frustrating alignment problems to deal with, no lining up dowel holes, and no spending time cutting a perfect mortise and tenon. Simply drill the holes and drive the screws. A leading brand is the Kreg pocket-hole jig.
This woodworking hand tool is designed for curved work, such as shaping chair seats and legs, wheel spokes, and even canoe paddles.
A variation of the hand plane, a spokeshave typically comes with side handles and a very short sole (flat-bottom, concave, or convex). This makes it especially useful when rapid short strokes are needed, and in areas where a plane would be awkward to use. One generally pushes a spokeshave through the cut, but it can be pulled when the grain abruptly reverses.
Blades on spokeshaves are both detachable and replaceable. They also can be adjusted for depth of cut and thickness of shavings.
4. Cordless tools
With innovations made in battery technology, battery-powered cordless tools are small and portable enough to lug around anywhere, but powerful enough to pull off big jobs. With cordless tools, there’s no tripping over wires or being out of reach from an electric outlet.
Many manufacturers offer them in small kit form, allowing users to purchase several tools at once with one or two batteries in a kit at a lower price. This also makes for easier storage and safety.
Cordless tools come in a wide variety, including screwdrivers, screw guns, nailers, impact drivers, drills, wrenches, and saws. When buying cordless tools, look for ones with fast chargers that come with a lithium-ion battery for longer life and less weight.
5. Edge bander
This tool allows you to easily attach adhesive-backed, hot-melt veneer edging to straight edges. It comes in both an automatic and manual mode.
It works efficiently and accurately on many different types of straight-edged woodworking projects such as cabinet facings and shelving. It increases productivity and accuracy, reducing the amount of lumber discarded due to improper veneer installation.
6. Japanese hand saw
Unlike Western-style saws that cut on the push stroke, a Japanese hand saw cuts on the pull stroke. With its thinner blades, it cuts more efficiently and leaves a narrower cut width. Japanese hand saws also track straighter and make it easier to start a cut.
Because it comes with thin blades that flex slightly for making flush cuts, it leaves no errant scratches on the wood because the teeth have no set. Although the blade is somewhat flexible, it’s stiff enough to hold true for joinery cuts.
There are several types of Japanese hand saws, including the back saw, keyhole saw, and multi-purpose carpentry saw with two cutting edges.
7. Wood H2O app
This handy and FREE mobile app from Wagner Meters allows woodworkers to calculate equilibrium moisture content (EMC), view helpful resources, and troubleshoot common wood moisture problems including fuzzy grain, sunken joints, adhesive failure, and more.
The EMC calculator is simple and easy to use with no on-screen tables or calculations to interfere with the information you need. Instead, you make a quick and simple calculation of necessary temperature and relative humidity for EMC. (EMC is the level where wood neither takes on nor loses moisture when exposed to air – so it’s very important to know before starting any project.)
The Wagner Wood H2O app also provides links to Specific Gravity settings, manuals, and other wood moisture-related resources for a one-stop mobile tool. Download here for your FREE mobile app.
8. Low-angle jack plane
One of the most versatile among all bench planes, the low-angle jack plane’s length is ideal for removing the machine marks from boards that have been jointed on a machine. At 15 inches, the low-angle jack is perfect for flattening rough boards that can’t fit over your jointer. In addition, with a specially formed lever cap shaped for shooting, the low-angled jack is ideal for shooting applications.
The massive blade is set bevel-up in the milled bed at 12 degrees, giving you maximum support of the cutting edge and a low angle of attack. The precise depth adjuster, moveable shoe for adjustment of the mouth opening, and the hefty blade allow you to tackle the most difficult jobs with the power of a jack and the finesse of a smoother.
The trick to getting the most out of this plane is to have multiple blades honed to different angles for a variety of tasks. For example, 25 degrees for end grain work, 33 degrees for smoothing, 38 degrees for tackling wavy grain with less tear out, a toothed blade for aggressive removal of material with less effort, and a 90-degree scraper blade.
9. Utility scissors
A pair of thick utility scissors will easily cut a variety of materials, including sheet metal, plastic, aluminum, rubber, wire, and packaging that houses the tools you buy. They typically come with a safety tip to assure material will not be damaged during cutting and feature big, comfortable, ambidextrous handles to fit larger hands.
10. DVR drill press
Manufactured by Teknatool, the DVR (Digital Variable Reluctance) drill press features a switch-reluctant motor controlled by a microcomputer. Because the DVR drill press has no belts or pulleys and comes with its own load sensors, it won’t vibrate and is exceptionally quiet.
The internal microcomputer constantly monitors conditions, so it knows where the spindle is at all times. This enables it to save up to 80% energy over a conventional AC motor and provide superior safety features.
Knowledge is yet another important tool you can bring with you to your shop.
To help you gain knowledge about the latest in woodworking news today, Wagner Meters invites you to sign up for its FREE Woodworking Newsletter at https://www.wagnermeters.com/woodworking-newsletter/.
Ron is an application specialist for Wagner Meters, and has over 30 years of experience in instrumentation and measurement systems in different industries. In previous positions, he has served as a regional sales manager, product and projects manager, and sales manager with manufacturers involved in measurement instrumentation.