Mount Vernon, OH, US
On this podcast you talked about bargain tools that may, or may not be a real bargain. I firmly believe what Dad always said, "I'm not rich enough to buy cheap tools." While I firmly believe he was right about paying once for the highest quality tools you can afford, I do harbor some ideas about how to get around paying the freight on some tools that do a fine job for a very low price.
1. Bench brushes. The cheaper, the better.
2. Spring clamps, just like Asa mentioned, as well as handscrews, if you checked them out.
3. Acid brushes, for glue ups. (However, I just bought, but haven't yet tried, the new plastic glue brushes that supposedly clean fast and last forever.
4. Small machinist squares. Just bring one of your own, proven-square squares to check them in the store. My 4" machinist square has my initials engraved on it, so I never run into a problem in the store. And it's nice to have a few squares scattered around the shop, always within easy reach.
5 My all-time-favorite-cheapo-tool-of-all-time, magnetic parts trays. These simple magnetized trays have a simple job to do, and they perform exactly as advertised. I think that is the ultimate compliment you can give any tool, jig, or other implement of construction. I can't tell you how many times I have lost hardware in the sawdust before I started using these parts trays to hold all the screws, washers, hinge pins, escutcheons, etc., that I am installing on my projects. They are so stone-simple but they are such a help.
The main thing about this short list of tools is that, doggone it, they really are good enough. I would never harbor any thoughts about paying cheap freight when it comes to hand planes, for example, but for these shop staples, the cheaper, the better. In fact, I once bought a set of junk turning gouges just so I could practice grinding and sharpening them before I tried the same with my quality turning tools. They worked great for what I wanted; teaching myself to sharpen without fear of wrecking a good tool. Thank goodness for cheap tools!
Great podcast! I'm like a lot of listeners, I am catching up on all the early broadcasts and also listening to the newest ones as they come out. I love the humor, the sound effects and especially the conversation between serious woodworkers who take the craft seriously without taking themselves quite so seriously. Seriously, I'm serious!
I think of what it would be like and how great it would be if you were all in my shop, drinking coffee, sharing ideas and giving me pointers. Well, when I'm listening to the podcast in my shop, it's like you're doing just that. Keep up the good work!
PS - Ed, I heard you are going to add a lot of florescent lighting to your shop. My years of living in Las Vegas must have rubbed off on me when I moved out to Ohio and built my shop. I have so many florescent light fixtures in there, it's drawing airplanes off their flight paths. But it seems to be interfering with my wi-fi signal and I can't listen to my radio. Research tells me that it is probably because I have commercial-grade ballasts in all the fixtures. I understand that residential ballasts put out a lot less radio-frequency signals and won't turn your shop radio into a static-boming white noise generator. Just food for thought.
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