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Thread: What is Your Favorite Tool?

  1. #71
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Favorite tools. Of course the first thing is that there can't be only one.

    My main wannabe is woodcarving sculptor. If Dorothy's fairy godmother showed up in my shop with her wand and one magic-fulfilled wish, it would be for all the signs and planets to align such that I might have a giant piece of worthy and attractive wood suitable for a long-term carving of a large and complex and detailed and nuanced human figure, depicting something worthy of commemorating in sculpture, like winning the very first marathon. I want to elicit a critique that includes casual viewers to coo "oh, wow, this is cool." [overheard in an upscale gallery] "I really like it, and it's done in wood, wow. And look at the grain." (They usually mean figure, not grain.) Wow."

    Among sculptors, it is my very limited experience that there a distinction, and a worthy one, between additive and subtractive media and technique. Frinstance, marble can only be subtractive, at least at my scale, you chisel off the waste, while clay can be both, and each, before and after drying. You can always soften it with water and add or scoop off, or carve it dry, re-wet it, etc.

    Since that planet aligning thing won't happen, ever, I do what I can, and my hand tools for the carving I do get to do, the set of gouges in particular, and the wide sweep ones, in more particular, are my favorites. It has to be said, and I know this isn't news to anyone here who uses tools, and particularly hand tools: the actual time in use, that part of the day, of the week, is a time for a mental, yay, spirit feeding, a retreat, a meditation. No matter what you work on, the work will benefit or suffer, be enjoyable or not maybe, depending on the frame of mind you bring to the time and space. Which is why it's important to me to have my dinky shop 'decorated' in work, in stock, in tools, and in silence or with the right tunes for the moment, and without overseers.

    She has a very close, long-term friend, a woman our age, who was a fellow student while She was at the school from which they graduated together. Her friend is an actual full-time minister, and She is certified by the State of California to carry an open bottle of communion wine in the car, but is a civilian and doesn't minister per se.

    The friend stops by on her way to someplace, for a conference or something, and they get to visit for a day. The last time, prolly a year or more ago, as they were on their way out to lunch, walking past my shop, the single car garage, with the big door open, while I was actually engaged doing some woodworkerly thing, the friend paused when she saw me, to say hello.

    Then, as if drawn by some ineffable force, took the few steps from the driveway to stand at the open door gazing around, and then exclaimed, in what sounded like wisdom and some little bit of admiration, which is her forte, the wisdom, not the admiration, "oh... " looking around at stuff, before turning to address me, "You've created a shrine." And she blathered pleasantly for a bit. And so, goddammit, she was right. There's a reason she is Her best friend.

    Here's an uncanny thing. This friend of Her's bears a close resemblance to my next most recent Ex, whom She has never met nor seen pics of. If I was in any danger of philandering, it could be problematic. This isn't anything to do with my current mental state this morning.

    *****

    The one tool I'd like to have, I can't afford. A new one would be a couple of hundred bucks, at least, from somewhere like Lee Valley. I don't have the patience nor inclination, any more, to surf craigslist. It isn't like I just need it for a particular thing right away, or like there's any financial profit motive behind my selection.

    This leaves finding one on a footpath in the woods, or stealing one from a fellow woodworking sculptor, or breaking into a woodworking sculpture supply warehouse at midnight. As far as I know none of those thing exist in my universe, and I only break in to secure government installations, and that only when on duty, bored, and in no way motivated by anything malicious. Still a federal crime, so I don't do it anymore. Also, the last and only time was half a century ago.

    A short-handled, as for a hatchet or three-pound trouncer, bowl-carving adze. I don't want it for making bowls. But the deep, wide sweep, the compound curve of the blade and it's cutting edge, would be very useful for removing large amounts of waste from a lump, the getting to the human figure part, quickly.

    I also have a plan to make one. I salvaged a head off an old mattock, and sawed it in half diagonally so as to render two heads, one that looks like a flat-edged adze, and one that looks like a carving axe. Both have the right size and starting profile, and I will use both once they're handled, but the adze needs to have the compound curve. So I have a propane fired assay kiln, used to smelt ore of precious metals, and a piece of old salvaged railroad iron, not a section of track, for an anvil. I'm not a metal worker and know the time and temperature and amount of hammering are all important to get right or it will be junk. But if I get it right, it will be golden.

    Except for the bandsaw, which has to share being the favorite for all the variety of daily use it gets, for all sorts of projects, both woodworker and homeowner. And if it can't be cut on the bandsaw because it's too large, I'll cut it down, it being a log or chunk, using my handsaws, the two, cross-cut and ripper, being the only other tools I bought new. I did buy a pair of saw sets for whenever I've used them enough to warrant, resetting and sharpening.

    Figure in ash. This is part of why the beech handles on the big gouges are shorter than when they came from the store, and the smaller ones that have circles of half-inch galvanized pipe on the ends.




    Gouges and hammers




    Gouges and mallets.



    The little mallet has a pound of lead poured into the top of the head, for authority in tight spaces. Turned on the lathe from apple wood, I melted fishing weights. The larger mallet in the pic is one of two nearly identical ones I made from sycamore. This is the go to for most carving, The other one made at the same time from the same wood stock, has a pound and a half of lead in the center of it's head. Poured into the hole for the mallet's handle before assembly, it's for more authority on bigger stuff. The other two mallets and the steel hammers are pounding everything but sculpture. Cabinet assembly, nails, spikes, vampire stakes.



    Never, ever, put your coffee mug down on the bandsaw table.
    Speak softly and carry a mouthful of marbles.

  2. #72
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    hmm, Jim yer fake breast is better lookin than my fake breast. The grain !

  3. #73
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    I am impressed, how do you get tire shaped rocks?
    Round explosions.

    It's the top plate for the Magnum Buster unit.

  4. #74
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by offbelayknife View Post
    Round explosions.

    It's the top plate for the Magnum Buster unit.
    ok you win for Who’s Having Fun At Work.

  5. #75
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    hmm, Jim yer fake breast is better lookin than my fake breast. The grain !
    looks real to me, I mean, for wood and that’s real.

  6. #76
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    I'm a big fan of my workbench too.

    Massive (8' long, 2x6s laminated on edge into a thick top that sits on a base of 6x6 posts and doubled 2x6 stretchers), a great height for me to hand-plane, row of square dog holes the whole length, sawn into one of the 2x6s before glue-up. Built when my now 23 year old apprentice carpenter son was a baby, he was commenting on its awesomeness the other day as we were in the shed hand-planing some stock.

    Made it when all our kids were wee, and I knew I couldn't make most things with power tools without one or another of them being in peril - and besides, I couldn't afford decent power tools. I read enough about hand-tool oriented benches to make it a pretty good height for me, and heavy enough that the mortised top just sits by gravity on tenons on the top of the legs. And the thing won't walk across the floor while you're planing or etc.

    Love the thing. Makes every other tool I have work better.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  7. #77
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    so tom, is it built for wood bodied hand planes or them new fangled metal bodied planes?
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  8. #78
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    New fangled. Sigh.

    And wouldn't you know, when I was trying to make some nice long runs of molding with my old hollow and a beading plane, it was a couple of inches high.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  9. #79
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    the evolution of the woodworkers bench, cabinet makers bench, joiners bench is fascinating to me
    then there's the relatively modern developments skewed towards specialist joinery, especially dovetails
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  10. #80
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Don't forget the humble saw horse. The split top I threw together recently has gotten a ton of use. Being able to sit or step on things opens up a lot of options.

  11. #81
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    The longer I use it, the happier I am that I made it really simple. Making it now, I'd tweak a couple of things - would reposition the legs so I could make a leg vise, and I don't think I'd make a tool tray along the back again. Other than that ...

    I might sometime make a "Moxon" vise to hold stuff higher for dovetailing or etc, so I don't bend over as much. I'd made a saw-filing vise that sits up that much higher, and I like it a lot ... especially when I bring the movable light with a magnifier over so I can actually see the saw teeth...

    It's time to make a similar thing to hold a wood lathe - probably the next project I'll do for the shop itself.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  12. #82
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    A great read, and would really like a number of items listed.
    This may not be my most favorite tool; but it is the most adaptable and useable for me.
    The lowly tongue depressor.

  13. #83
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    The longer I use it, the happier I am that I made it really simple. Making it now, I'd tweak a couple of things - would reposition the legs so I could make a leg vise, and I don't think I'd make a tool tray along the back again. Other than that ...
    Did the tool tray in the back turn into more of a junk and sawdust collector?

  14. #84
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by offbelayknife View Post
    Did the tool tray in the back turn into more of a junk and sawdust collector?
    Yup. While I had all these great intentions to sweep all the shavings and dust out every time, or to not let tools or fasteners or bottles of glue or etc accumulate ... well ...

    I'm gonna make a standing desk adapted from Jim Tolpin's design, to stay in the shop and draw designs on. Best part of Tolpin's desk for that intention is that it's a slant-top, so I'd really have to work to let it become the foundation for yet another pile of junk.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  15. #85
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    My current favorite tool is my new power plane: Making some oars currently and the plane makes it easy.

    For removing finishes I like my heat gun

    My favorite tool of all time is my Finnish puukko, a gift from my late brother
    Elect a clown expect a circus

  16. #86
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Like most here, I have some duplicates. So I have a favorite block plane, a favorite hammer, ratchet, and so on and on.

    When I got started in this wooden boat malarkey, I read Walt Simmons on lap construction, and he mentioned that he liked a 2" chisel, and I read Bob Smalser, and he was partial to T.H. Witherby chisels, and so I was off to eBay. The 2" proved elusive, at least for a while, so here is the first one I bought that qualifies as my grand champion overall favorite.

    1024210754~2.jpg

    T.H Witherby, 1-1/4" bevel edge socket chisel. The handle is blue beech ironwood that I took form my old homestead in CT, the hoop is plain old 3/4" black iron pipe, (I have no problem whalloping this with a steel hamer) and the finish is Cetol, which I like for tool handles for its rubbery tactility.

    I do not know if we get our spirit from the tools that we use, or it is vice versa. The Supernatural Carpenter may have some thoughts on this.

    0721211611a~5.jpg

    Perhaps it is a two way street.
    Last edited by SMARTINSEN; 10-26-2021 at 05:34 PM.
    Steve Martinsen

  17. #87
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    There were days when my favorite tool was my snow blower.
    "alternative facts (lies)" are a cancer eating through a democracy, and will kill it. 1st amendment is not absolute.

  18. #88
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    I s'pose that I will be jeered outta the room if I say that my favourite tool is AutoCAD, right?
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  19. #89
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Jim, nice to see that Boice-Crane bandsaw. As you probably know, I’ve recently become a Boice-Crane fan.

    D1AA907E-ADF0-4536-BA8B-55AF1A63BF42.jpg

  20. #90
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Been thinking about this and I have concluded that my garden fork is the most used and hence my favourite.

  21. #91
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    If I can pick a pair of tools, I'll go with knife & fork.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  22. #92
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    The tool I like to use the best is my axe. Especially when it is freshly sharpened.

  23. #93
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by JOBBER View Post
    A great read, and would really like a number of items listed.
    This may not be my most favorite tool; but it is the most adaptable and useable for me.
    The lowly tongue depressor.
    Just remember to wipe off the epoxy before checking your tonsils…

    Probably a really good idea if nobody asks me how I know this.

    Jeff C

  24. #94
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Another candidate: If there can be only one, it might have to be the McLeod.


  25. #95
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Hells yeah!

    ETA: although wothout the fancy writing, please.

  26. #96
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by leikec View Post
    Probably a really good idea if nobody asks me how I know this.

    Jeff C
    "
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  27. #97
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    I say that my favourite tool is AutoCAD, right?
    More like modus vivendi

  28. #98
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    I’m not embarrassed—it’s just a little armine blush…

    Jeff C

  29. #99
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    people who swab epoxy together, stick together.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

  30. #100
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by offbelayknife View Post
    Another candidate: If there can be only one, it might have to be the McLeod.

    That's worth knowing about, would fill a gap here very nicely.

  31. #101
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Yeah, I use my McLeod quite a bit for trail work, gardening, fire line …

    Alas, mine doesn’t have the built-in bottle opener or serrated edge tine (what the heck is that for?) like that fancy one.

  32. #102
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    My favourite tool, even if I do not use it all that much. A japanese woodpecker pull saw. It's perfect for starting a cut in the middle of a piece of wood, as that is what it was designed to do, but also small enough, sharp enough, and thin enough for many small cuts around my various projects.

    #2 would be my Cordless Mouse sander.. only because I use it so often.
    "If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito"

    -Dalai Lama

  33. #103
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    This hooked rule, from Lee Valley. It's the foundation of all my shop projects.


  34. #104
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by J P View Post
    Yeah, I use my McLeod quite a bit for trail work, gardening, fire line …

    Alas, mine doesn’t have the built-in bottle opener or serrated edge tine (what the heck is that for?) like that fancy one.
    In a similar vein, the Extractigator is highly valued around this place.
    Panga/Cane knife ( top of my list)and Extractigator. I've pulled thousands with that over the year or so we've had it.
    20211028_161255.jpg
    Last edited by John B; 10-27-2021 at 10:16 PM.

  35. #105
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    Default Re: What is Your Favorite Tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by cathouse willy View Post
    ^^^

    Jay, that's a nice knife! How do you keep it sharp?
    Sorry Willy- computer wouldn't let me do the reply with quote thingy for a couple of days- repairman has advised me to begin getting my affairs in order and abandoning ship ASAP I strop my leather work blades on the inside of a piece of medium weight cowhide, glued to a piece of ply and rubbed with green jewelers rouge. A couple of quick strokes every time I pick up the knife. JayInOz

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