Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Questions about tools and jigs you want to buy/build/modify.

Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Matthew Lau » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:07 pm

Hey MIMFers,

I just wonder what's the coolest or most useful tool that you have?

For me, it's my NSK Ultimate XL dental micromotor--- a foredom on steroids!
If you can get one, they are the ne plus ultra of shaping and sanding swoops into wood.

Anyways, I'd love to hear/see your favorite tools!
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Mario Proulx » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:58 pm

My most useful, and most often used, tool, is a pencil..... :)
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Brian Evans » Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:10 am

my most useful tool, and the one I lose the most often, is my 24" flexible steel ruler. My coolest tool is my antique toothed blade veneer plane. No tearout, ever, on any wood in any direction.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby David King » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:22 pm

I couldn't live without my patternmaker's swivel jaw vise.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:53 am

My most useful tools are the ones at the ends of my arms. They are amazing, and although somewhat worn and abused they have served me well for 60 + years.
My newest "toy" is an old Spiers infill smoothing plane I am enjoying playing with. Probably older than my hands it still works remarkably well.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Mark Fogleman » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:26 am

Mine is a ~4"X6" shooting board/bench hook combo. One side is a block plane shooting board for small parts. Turn it over and it's a bench hook for western (ie: push style) saws. It's also the de facto cutting surface when whittling or chopping instead of my bench top.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Matthew Lau » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:38 pm

Mario Proulx wrote:My most useful, and most often used, tool, is a pencil..... :)


Mechanical or analog?
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Simon Magennis » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:17 am

An old (Stanley) block plane with a toothed blade. Combined with a cabinet scraper my most used thicknessing tool. I've had it for decades.

More recent but superb: a Zyliss vice/clamp. Looks kitchy/gimmicky but once you have one you realize how useful they are. Any table/board becomes are workbench with a vice. In the Romanillos build book you will see various pictures of it in use.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Aaron Helt » Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:17 am

My best and most recent acquisition has made the most impact, even though not used the most. I bought a granite flat surface off Amazon. It's about 12 x 12 and 40 pounds. Now, after years of struggling, I can get razor sharp chisels and planer blades. 1200 to 1500 grit sand paper and a Veritas guide and a couple minutes. I used to test my sharpness by shaving the hair off my arm. I know... but it's what I handy. Now, the blade doesn't even touch the skin and the hair just spring off when contacting the blade.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Dan Smith » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:18 am

I would not want to be without my nut slotting files.
I tried all kinds of things with poor results.
Ever-body was kung fu fight-in,
Them kids was fast as light-nin.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Glenn Cummings » Sun May 06, 2018 4:20 pm

Compass Plane.
I have three old ones. Don't get used much.. but they are cool.
For those who find this a new and unfamiliar tool, the sole plate can be adjusted from convex.. through flat... to concave

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=co ... pass+plane
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Matthew Lau » Tue May 22, 2018 4:41 pm

Good to see the tips.

Hey Clay-- I wouldn't recommend getting a Norris infill. IMHO, the adjuster is really finicky and sorta sucks.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Steve Sawyer » Tue May 22, 2018 7:05 pm

I hate these kinds of threads - kinda like asking which of my kids is my favorite.

However, I have to say that my 1-2-3 blocks and brass setup bars, together with 6" and 12" milled steel bars are pulled out more often than just about any other tool, save a pencil (mechanical).

I almost never use a ruler or tape measure to do layout when I can stack these things to yield a perfectly repeatable scribe, score or mark.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Bryan Bear » Wed May 23, 2018 10:53 am

Matthew Lau wrote:Good to see the tips.

Hey Clay-- I wouldn't recommend getting a Norris infill. IMHO, the adjuster is really finicky and sorta sucks.


I have a Norris style adjuster on my Stanley No. 62 (it's the newer sweetheart 62 not a vintage 62). It just takes some getting used to. It is different than your typical Stanley Bailey adjuster but that isn't necessarily a bad thing just something you have to get used to.
PMoMC

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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Steve Sawyer » Wed May 23, 2018 11:14 am

I have Norris adjusters on several Veritas planes, and really like them.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Matthew Lau » Wed May 23, 2018 6:47 pm

Hey guys, I'm a Lee Valley fan too (along with their Norris adjusters).
It's a matter of their execution---Lee Valley does it really well!

But yeah, as a very inexperienced, wannabe, armchair "luthier," I figure that I should learn.+
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Bob Hammond » Fri May 25, 2018 8:41 pm

in some ways, a cool tool is my Rockwell Uniplane - it can surface just about any wood in any orientation, and down to very small pieces. Woodturners such as Max Krimmel (he's also a guitar builder) use them to surface and build up stock by gluing small pieces together. I have also seen a video where one was used to mill an aluminum block.
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Re: Coolest or most useful tool that you have?

Postby Steve Sawyer » Sat May 26, 2018 3:53 pm

There are so many dimensions to answering this question (note how it was phrased).

There are some tools that aren't particularly innovative, and may not be something that gets used every day or uniquely solves some problem, but are simply a joy to hold in your hands and use. For me, there are several that fall into this category.

One is my skew block plane. All Veritas products are beautifully made, but this one in particular feels nice in my hand, and does a beautiful job whether using it for a rabbet (as it's designed to do) or simply as an all-purpose block plane.

Another is a very l-o-n-g chisel I picked up at either an estate or garage sale, or maybe at one of the Midwest Tool Collector's Association bi-annual meets. It is only about 1/8" wide, and is shaped like a mortise chisel, MUCH taller (about 1/2") than it is wide. It takes a very good edge, and being so long (it's probably 10" at least) and robust it can be used for very fine work with great control. I'll use it to undercut the tenon shoulders on mortise-and-tenon joints and undercut the glue faces on dovetails.

Lastly I have this small brass mallet that came from Grizzly a long time ago. It's cylindrical, about 1 1/8" in diameter and 1 1/2" long with a short handle so the entire thing is only about 6" long. I hold onto the head when using it. I've stripped out the threads that held the head onto the handle, and keep sticking toothpicks in the hole to shim it up. Someday when I'm looking for something to do in the shop, I plan on turning a new handle for it out of some hard maple and pinning it together with a brass pin. This little beauty is wonderful when something delicate needs a little persuasion.
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