Tools I wish I never bought

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

Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Enrico Schiaffella » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:14 am

I see there is a post about the best/most used in the shop. I’d like to do the opposite. I am so mad at myself for wasting the money in purchasing the vacuum work holder from lmi, I just would like to warn everybody about this tool. I can never use it. An unfinished guitar does not hold well. Mdf does not hold. It is clumsy. I am reluctant to use it on new guitars. So, I basically I have never used it. I would love if somebody here could contradict me. In that case, what is your use for this tool? Also, what is your worst/least used tool in your shop?
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Brian Evans » Mon Jun 25, 2018 8:11 am

Something like that is going to need a glass-smooth finish, or at least a fully sealed and very flat surface, to work. Probably two coats of shellac would seal unfinished wood enough, or that MDF with the vinyl contact finish on it. They say nothing about this on the web page. I think it is for mar-free clamping of fully finished instruments.

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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Matthew Lau » Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:34 pm

Enrico Schiaffella wrote:I see there is a post about the best/most used in the shop. I’d like to do the opposite. I am so mad at myself for wasting the money in purchasing the vacuum work holder from lmi, I just would like to warn everybody about this tool. I can never use it. An unfinished guitar does not hold well. Mdf does not hold. It is clumsy. I am reluctant to use it on new guitars. So, I basically I have never used it. I would love if somebody here could contradict me. In that case, what is your use for this tool? Also, what is your worst/least used tool in your shop?


I think this is a very useful thread.
As a new builder, I wasted a ton of money on stuff that I don't use, or was made not all that well.

Tools that I tossed (worse than no tool)
- LMI plane gluing wedge clamp setup.- Mario's tape trip works way better, easier, and cleaner. A handful of nails and a hammer work way better.

Tools that I very rarely use, and will replace:
- Stew mac dremel base-- feels sorta cheap; It's probably just me as the user. I'd rather get the Lee Valley Base if I keep building
- Dremel-- I hate this stupid thing. No torque, overheats, shoots sparks all over despite being used all of 4 times in 10 years.

In contrast, here's some non-guitar specific tools that work amazing:
- Diamond bench stone-- for flattening frets; Fast, chatter free, $20.
- Blue Tape-- clamping, masking, yup. Good stuff.
- Lee Valley plow/router plane combo and a 6mm blade-- way safer and easier than a router for the truss rod.
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Matthew Lau » Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:43 pm

Enrico Schiaffella wrote:I see there is a post about the best/most used in the shop. I’d like to do the opposite. I am so mad at myself for wasting the money in purchasing the vacuum work holder from lmi, I just would like to warn everybody about this tool. I can never use it. An unfinished guitar does not hold well. Mdf does not hold. It is clumsy. I am reluctant to use it on new guitars. So, I basically I have never used it. I would love if somebody here could contradict me. In that case, what is your use for this tool? Also, what is your worst/least used tool in your shop?


Also, I'd be curious about how the gaskets are shaped?

If you google it, the FOG (festool owner's group) has a thread where they made their own vacuum clamping system (since the Vac-Sys was not available in north america) use a Lee valley carver's vise, vacuum clamping pads, and a joe woodworker vacuum clamping kit.

We have a guy at our NCAL luthier group that uses a vacuum clamp (I think it's DIY) with no trouble on unfinished wood.
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby John Clifford » Mon Jun 25, 2018 5:47 pm

Cheap Ryobi router - lasted about a month before I bought a Bosch

Bosch router table - pure frustration, but at least it taught me what I needed to do when I made my own

Bench-top drill press - perfectly good tool, unless you're making guitars; then you really need a floor model with at least 8.5" throat depth

Any number of cheap crappy chisels, planes, files, etc. Yes, Lie-Nielsen and Veritas are worth the price.
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Steve Sawyer » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:15 am

I had a chance to uae the new Festool vacuum clamping system a couple of weeks ago.

Wow.

Imagine a ball-and-socket style carvers vise that clamps to both the bench AND the stock by a foot-operated vacuum switch. Holds MDF and unfinished and unsanded wood so hard you can't dislodge it with all your strength (well I can't budge it!)

Like all Festool stuff it costs an arm and a leg, but if you already have a vacuum pump setup, you can get into this for a (mere, trifling) $550. I will say that the vacuum pump Festool makes is fabulous - tiny and runs almost silently, but it adds at least another $500 to the price.
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Bryan Bear » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:39 am

This is a great topic but the question is hard for me to answer. I have a lot of tools that I no longer use, but I can't say I regret buying them. Starting out, I bought many cheap woodworking tools. Now that I have replaced them with real tools, I no longer have a need for them. But, I was able to get a start with them; If I hadn't had cheap options, I would never have gotten into the craft.

My first bench plane was a smoother sized plane from harbor freight. To me now, it is junk but at the time I was able to get workable results with it. I now have better planes that offer much less frustration, but the lessons I learned about getting a bad plane set-up and usable are directly responsible for my preference for hand tools now. Most of my bench planes now are vintage Stanley planes; the modern premium planes might offer me even less frustration. Who knows, maybe someday I'll regret buying what I am using now.
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Peter Wilcox » Tue Jun 26, 2018 12:16 pm

Scroll saw. Had it for years, brand new, never used it. But it's there, taking up space, just in case.
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Brian Evans » Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:54 pm

You can use it for F-holes when you make an archtop...
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Peter Wilcox » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:01 pm

Brian Evans wrote:You can use it for F-holes when you make an archtop...


I guess that's as good a reason as any to go down that frustrating road.
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Ed Minch » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:28 am

Matthew

Where did you get a diamond bench stone for $20? Are you happy with it? Do they offer various grits?

Ed
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Matthew Lau » Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:48 pm

Ed Minch wrote:Matthew

Where did you get a diamond bench stone for $20? Are you happy with it? Do they offer various grits?

Ed



Sorry for the late reply.

It was about 15 years ago at the Japan Woodworker in Alameda.
They had a pile of "reject" sharpening stones and other stuff on clearance.
While the stones aren't great for sharpening (some bits of substrate are knicked), it's ideal for flattening frets.

If I were to get a new stone, I'd be looking into the Atoma line from Japan.
The diamond sharpening films from Lee Valley would also be a tool of interest...just add onto a flat substrate.
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Dale Penrose » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:01 pm

A power jointer. Ended up replacing it with a jointing plane, no. 7 I believe. Can join backs in half the time with a much better joint, and the hand plane cost me 1/2 what the power tool cost!
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Aaron Helt » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:50 pm

Cam clamps. Never found a need for them.
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Greg Steil » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:56 pm

Cam clamps?....really?.....I have made over 50 of them and find them very valuable. I also have modified them by makin
g the lower jaw tapered with a small nail that will hold a cleat.
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Re: Tools I wish I never bought

Postby Aaron Helt » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:00 am

Different methods of building I guess. I use plenty of the Irwin type clamps but no cams.
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