If you’re a carpenter, joiner, cabinet maker, or woodworker then you will have the same innate passion for buying new equipment like me. For some reason, it’s ingrained in me that I need to buy the latest bit of kit every year. Despite this, I usually end up using my trusted tools instead of anything new that I’ve been testing because I know them and they’ve been in my bag for years.
There are a few tools, however, that have made it through the testing stage and I’ve continued to use. Those tools are what I’m going to highlight in the following article.
I’ve been using a router for years but I’ve always used them by hand. I knew there were other options out there but I just trusted my own ability to get the job done. Recently though, I’ve been trying out a few router tables and I have to say my workshop has been transformed. I had a conversation with the experts from https://toproutertables.com/ over which ones I should be trying out and I came to my decision with their trusted help. Making shaker panel doors has never been so easy and it’s frustrating that I never opened my eyes to this before. A router table is a specially designed flat top table that has a router mounted to it, this allows me to work with a huge variety of different angles instead of holding it with my hand. One of the best decisions I’ve made this year was to invest in a router table.
I make a lot of furniture which means I’m often in the workshop holding things together and trying to keep the angle right when I’m drilling or screwing things up. Everything has to be perfect when it comes to making furniture and it was always difficult getting my long clamps to hold anything at a right angle so when I discovered corner clamps, otherwise known as right angle clamps, my world changed. Never has it been so easy to screw up the carcasses of my wardrobes or make sure my shaker panels were spot on. If you’re making cabinets without these, then you’re missing a trick.
Usually, I would have left this job to the workers in the shop where I buy my wood as they have impressive industrial tools to do so, but recently they’ve started making small workshop sized thickness planer and I had to get one. It ends up saving quite a fair bit of money.
Essentially, it’s a machine that trims down boards to a consistent thickness throughout the entire length, ensuring it’s flat on both sides. There are many advantages of a thickness planer compared to others such as a surface planer or a jointer, as it avoids producing a tapered board.
This thing has so many names so if you haven’t heard of one, you’ve probably heard it referred to by one it’s other names – track saw, rail saw, or guide saw. These things are brilliant and If you think it’s just a circular saw then you would be mistaken. Take your standard circular saw and add a guiding system onto it, ensuring that your cut is dead straight every time. Not only that but the majority of them have state of the art dust extraction additions meaning clean up time is cut in half. The tracks have a non-slip bottom to them and will stay still throughout the entire process. The best thing about this bit of kit is just how clean the finished cut is. If you’re a woodworker then you’ll understand the frustration of using a circular saw and having chips all over the place, even if you use a table saw! The plunge saw, however, is neat, clean and tidy every time.
Orbital Hand Sander
You’ll spend hours sanding down roughly planed bits of wood to try and get it smooth, you’ll even spend hours on a beautiful piece of oak ensuring it looks perfect for your customer. Sanding is an arduous task and we all know it which is why this is such a perfect addition to the workshop. The majority, like the plunge saw, come with dust extraction which is absolutely essential if you’re trying to get a high gloss, perfect finish. The best thing though is the amount of time you’ll save using one of these instead of the old sanding block.
Woodworking is an incredible hobby and an amazing career. Not only can you build anything out of wood, but you can also improve your home and renovate without the cost of a contractor. Certain tools make things much easier and will only speed your work rate up. I would suggest getting everything on this list to make your job easier and your products better.