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Tools that will make your day ------ $20 or less

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  • Tools that will make your day ------ $20 or less

    Feel free to add. Here's the things I've found were incredibly useful, and didn't cost a fortune

    a) Bessey - 4 piece clutch clamp set (Home Depot)

    True - there's a difference between Bessey and BESSEY. I have both. However, this little set delivers
    pretty good value for $20. There's similar sets from DeWalt, and I'd guess Irwin. These clamps deliver 600 lbs
    of power - which is fine for most applications. For big glue-ups, I have special clamps.

    b) Irwin corner clamp (Lowes)

    True 90 degree joins have always given me fits ---- until I got this. I built a bookshelf in half the time it usually takes.
    I absolutely love this tool.

    c) 3/8" dowel drilling kit (Rockler)

    I have tried a lot of different approaches for jonery ---- the dowel is my go-to.
    This handy little jig often goes on sale. It's worth every penny.
    I like this more than my fancy auto-center jig. The clear plastic is super easy to align with the pencil mark.
    This jig doesn't take any time to get onto the wood. It'll always be spot-on ----- as long as you're using true 3/4"

    d) Empire true blue speed square

    My eyes are getting old -------- so small print is awful for reading. Empire totally made my day when
    I picked up their blue speed square. I can read and cut quickly, again.
    Stanley and Milwaukee make some high visibility squares, as well.
    The blue is perfect for my eyes.

    e) Gent's saw (woodworking store of your choice)
    I picked mine up on sale at woodcraft. Great little saw that allows me to work close-in.
    When I feel artsy, I do hand-cut dovetails with it.

    f) Vertical Pen Blank Drilling Jaws
    I make pens - which means I need my pen blanks centered on the drilling vise.
    Penn State industries offers these really cool inserts for just $13 ------- they have a perfectly vertical
    slot, so your blank gets a straight hole in it. My pens come out much nicer, now that I have centered holes.
    If you ever need help drilling a centered hole ------ this is going to help you a ton.

  • #2
    Kreg auto-clamps--no adjustment, one handed operation.


    • #3
      Concerning the 12 inch speed squares, I have two of these:
      I was looked for my spray fluorescent paint to paint them last year but did not have any on hand - that I could find. Instead, I painted them White! Best thing I could have done. Easy to spot and reading is surprising good. Now I don't need a third one.

      BUT I almost bought an Empire on several occasions, simply because they were easy to read.
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


      • #4
        a) Spring Tools 32R02-1 Nail Set and Counter Punch (online at various suppliers) Under $11

        My wife bought this for me as a birthday gift. Caught me by surprise because I already had an automatic center punch. Not only didn't I ask for this, I didn't even know it existed.
        I rarely use my automatic center punch anymore, I like the action of this more. But even better than that, the nail set function on this is so much better than using a nail set and hammer! I can control the action so much better, and actually end up getting nail setting done faster and cleaner. Never would have believed it.
        I think the wife searched online for neat tools and found somebody recommending this. I concur. One of my most appreciated tools.
        I see they have a chisel to... hmmm, might have to check that out!

        b) Clamp-it clips, 3/4" GRP40609 (Rockler) Under $10

        Picked up a set of these in anticipation of building a bunch of new kitchen cabinets with the wife. Figured they might be helpful. The wife was helping with assembly and saw how handy they were. "Do you haven any more of these?", she asked. I only had a set of four, but after seeing how effective they were, I'm ordering more. They held the 3/4" plywood panels that I was assembling at right angles firmly, and most importantly, at accurate right angles to each other. Made assembly much lower stress. I've use the Craftsman corner clamps (similar to the screw style Irwin corner clamps) but these clips are much faster and easier.

        c) Rockler Silicone Glue Brush 45624 (Rockler) Under $5 / 3-Piece Silicone Glue Application Kit 43662 (Rockler) Under $15

        Didn't know what I was missing without these silicone glue applicators. They aren't so much different on the application side - I've used acid brushes for that before, and made crude "glue rakes" for surface glue spreading. Hence I can't say that they made a big improvement on the usage side. (But I do find them somewhat easier to use). The real savings is in cleanup. The silicone just makes it easy to clean up. I like them so much that I no longer use my finger to spread glue (which causes other problems).


        • #5
          On the Clamp-its, Jet has something similar, but larger and it self-adjusts to any thickness. I don't know about you, but I don't mill to some precise thickness. When it all looks good, that's the thickness it will be. The Jets use a big flat metal spring clamp to hold in place. Because they are strong, they hold even while moving your project around.

          +100 on their gluing kit, the tray and small brush are in constant use here.


          • Slik Geek
            Slik Geek commented
            Editing a comment
            I use these Camp-Its for gluing up 3/4" plywood panels, haven't tried them on "real wood". They fit well on the 23/32" thick panels that I am assembling right now. Rockler claims that they accommodate 13/16'' (26/32") max - I expect they would fit tightly on those. They have some resilience so they accommodate some range of material thickness.
            I'd seen the Jet clamps a while back. Also saw some harsh reviews that they broke easily. Apparently they are quite a bit more expensive than the Rocker version - I can't tell for sure because they may have been discontinued. I think they may have been two to four times the cost. Part of what attracted me to the Rocker version is that at $2.50/each, the price point was low enough to make it easy to say "yes!" I didn't have that reaction some time ago when I saw the Jet version. I ordered additional ones today - they were so handy!

        • #6
          Clamp-it clips, 3/4" GRP40609 (Rockler)
          I looked these up ----- really interested, and will check them out the next time I'm at Rockler.


          • Slik Geek
            Slik Geek commented
            Editing a comment
            I also bought the 1/2" version for shop drawer case construction. Haven't tried them yet, but I expect I'll love them too. The best feature is that the slip into place in a fraction of a second. During glue-up positioning they barely distract you for a second to install. Not like the slow screw clamp of older designs.