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Your best (and worst) / most surprising woodworking related purchase this year

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sawdustandwax

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As per the title what's been your best purchase in terms of time-saving, value for money this year. Have any surprised as being better made than you thought they would be, so that they've become 'invaluable' and you wonder why it wasn't bought before? Old or new. Same applies to the absolute lemons as well. Could be tools or consumables.
Was thinking about this earlier as, one it may well help with gift ideas/what to buy/avoid etc, and two it could help save some time.
Best and most surprising for me was some Mirka Abranet Sanding Rolls. A job that usually takes half a day, and so was being put off became at most 90 minutes. Excellent product. Genuinely surprised at how fast the Makita half sheet sander removed material. Cut some to fit a small detail sander made it almost a pleasure to use.
Worst, a cheap screw..x angle grinder. The slide switch is terrible, in fact difficult to stop and the noise, but it was cheap.
 

bp122

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The Shinto Rasp thingy after watching Paul Sellers' router plane videos. That thing is awesome. So easy to use, doesn't clog up and works really well whilst being very reasonably priced.
 

kinverkid

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The Shinto Rasp thingy after watching Paul Sellers' router plane videos. That thing is awesome. So easy to use, doesn't clog up and works really well whilst being very reasonably priced.
Mine is also the Shinto rasp. I will normally find an interesting piece of wood and replace the knob and handle on any used plane I acquire (I keep the original, if it's not broken, in a drawer). This rasp has taken so much work out of shaping the handle. I haven't bought that much this year and nothing comes to mind that I regret.
 

Jameshow

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Best :- myford lathe

Worst :- titan table saw not sure it was this year but will still be worst in a decade. Problem is it isn't very bad like it cuts straight enough and square enough, it's just not pleasant to use.

Letter to Santa required!!!

Cheers James
 

Spectric

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Some of my best were free, maybe not at the top of a list but equally as important and that is information picked up on these threads so thanks to all and keep it flowing. Already an example is the Shinto rasp, only just heard of this.
 

Kicked Back

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Best: Festool OF1400 router. I don't think i've seen a single bit of sawdust escape its dust collection yet. Genuine pleasure to use.

Worst: Nothing this year. Learnt from previous years not to cheap out on tools.

Most surprising: Festool Kapex KS60 mitre saw. I'm not surprised it's good. I'm surprised by how I managed to go so long without a mitre saw, since my only other saw is a bandsaw and cross cutting is terrible.

Honorary mention: set of Liogier hand-stitched rasps. Haven't used them that much yet, but I just like to appreciate the craftsmanship.
 

D_W

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Best - 26c3 steel - bought in exasperation to find something that isn't O1 steel knowing that was something to fall back on, but trying to figure out how to match the vintage chisels (like really vintage) in fineness and crisp edge.

It turned out to be tougher than O1 at a higher hardness level (unexpected) and very easy sharpening at high hardness. Makes chisels that are an absolute pleasure to use in wood

Worst? Can't think of anything- one gets a bit along and finds out how to avoid junk (thinks like cut price power tools or mid-market stuff are off of my radar. Not because I am too good for them, but rather that I don't do much with power tools other than grind metal or drill, and that's not demanding).

Other dandy purchase that gets honorable mention is a right angle ryobi die grinder. Not going to satisfy people who want pencil type orientation, but for me, it's superb - uses 18V batteries, high speed and tons of power. great on wood or metal with a small drum. Far stronger than most air die grinders and quiet. Not cheap for ryobi, but cheap compared to "good brands".
 

danst96

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This is an interesting question since my woodworking revisted journey started in February this year so I have bought literally everything this year. I have been through 3 table saws in the time 😄 but I think the best has been my 4 festool purchases, TS55, DF500, Rotex 150 and CT36. They bring me the most joy and satisfaction to use. Close behind though is my Laguna Fusion 3 table saw.

Worst purchase was a Clarke POS table saw. Note to anyone starting out and is fairly invested into following woodworking, skip the cheap table saw and get a decent track saw like the Festool TS55 for not much more money or go straight to quality cast iron top unit, your bank balance will thank you in the long run
 

Inspector

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I've had a best and almost best this year and no worst that I can remember.

Best deal was from a church that was renovating. They were trying to get rid of the White Oak pews. The pews were on the front lawn for at least a couple weeks, maybe more. They had adds in FB Marketplace and other on line places. They also had their big announcement sign saying they were taking offers of $400Cad each. 🙄 The pews were in two parts 5 1/2' and 11 1/2' long. There were no takers and I had the chance to get some for a donation. I offered $250Cad for six and they said okay. I should have said a dozen for $500Can. There hadn't been any rain for months and I was sweating like mad, it was 40ºC, breaking them up to fit in my truck. Took 2 the first load and 4 the second. Picture below is of the second load before unloading.

IMG_5070.jpg


Almost best was an 812 RBI planer/molder about 20 years old that I got for $300Can. It is a 3hp, 12 1/2" wide planer (thicknesser to you) that can thickness 8". The planer head can be removed and replaced with a shaft holding 2 heads that a molding knife can be fit into up to 4" wide. The 2 heads can be used together to do two operations side by side. One cutting the 38º and 52º angles on the back of a crown moulding and the face on the second for example. Shafts for saw blades were sold for gang ripping stock and a sanding drum was also available. Neither came with the machine. There were also 13 different knives with it and a small head that takes the 3 knives from one of this table saw moulding heads. That gives me another 8 profiles. The only reason I said Almost best is because the in feed/out feed rollers are bent a little. I can get replacements from the US when they get them in which may take a while. If they weren't bent I would have them recovered with new urethane locally. They still make one of these machines but it is 20 1/2" wide and a bit expensive. Woodmaster make similar machines. I don't have a picture but they can be looked up easily enough.

I'm on the lookout for more good scores. 🤫

Pete
 

Cabinetman

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Hi Pete, just looked up the exchange rate 60p for one of your Canadian dollars so you got all that for £180, very nicely done!
My favourite and so very useful, we’re a pair of Gramercy holdfasts that I brought back from the States, $40 the pair, proper forged ones that will last for - well probably forever. Ian
 

clogs

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Vamos, Crete, GREECE.......
Pete,
regarding ur bent shafts.......
I bought a huge Wadkin, year plonk P/T....it had the most awful and damaged ribbed infeed roller imaginable.....
I took to a works that did the rubber /eurathene recovering for printing rollers....
they machined off the ribs, prob 1/2 in dia and recovered it bringing it back to original diam....
so perhaps u could do the same for ur bent ones......
my cost was £250 Brit pounds around 15-18 years ago.....good luck......
I like the wood and the truck, couldn't afford the fuel this side of the pond.....
Just love a smallish Dodge, only becouase it has a Cummins in it....hahaha....
is it snowing there yet....?
also have the bears gone to sleep yet.....
just foolin......
 

bp122

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Hi Pete, just looked up the exchange rate 60p for one of your Canadian dollars so you got all that for £180, very nicely done!
My favourite and so very useful, we’re a pair of Gramercy holdfasts that I brought back from the States, $40 the pair, proper forged ones that will last for - well probably forever. Ian
Forgot about the holdfasts! Mine as well.
 

robgul

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Best: (Actually a sort of set) - Einhell cordless tools - about 7 of them
Worst: Japanese saw from Lidl - what was I thinking?
 

brittonc

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My best purchase (well, a gift from my partner) was a 1/2" fingernail bowl gouge. I'm still new to turning and had been using carbides. What a difference it makes!

Also got a nice selection of wood from work and my brothers small holding for free. A mixture of white poplar, field maple, ash and crab tree. Cut up into smaller chunks, sealed and left to dry. Not as exciting as some of your finds/buys but nice to see things in my workshop starting to take shape and having a pile of wood drying will keep me busy next year! :)
 

Just4Fun

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Worst: Japanese saw from Lidl - what was I thinking?
Possibly the same thing I was thinking when I bought one a few years ago. Horrible thing, and being my only experience of pull saws it has put me off them to the extent that I have not tried any others.
 

Just4Fun

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Best : a set of old auger bits. I really enjoy using them. They came with a brace and a load of other stuff in an old carpenter's toolbox I bought at a flea market. I didn't really need or want the other stuff but I am glad to have the augers.

Most surprising : a 25mm engineers square. It looks too small to be useful for anything serious but I find I use it all the time, both for marking out and for checking I have removed all the waste from dovetails etc. I wouldn't be without it.

Worst : a #3 plane. It came with a #6 plane, another flea market purchase. The #6, which is what I actually wanted, is OK but the #3 is scrap. It was in a bad state and when I cleaned it up I found it had been dropped, broken in 2, and welded back together. The sole is, predictably, nowhere near flat and is beyond salvage.
 

akirk

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difficult to know - it has been a year of fitting out a workshop - so everything is exciting. I do tend to over-research, so there is not much that comes through the door that I then regret...
- most used item is the shop vac (given to me free!)
- most exciting item is the Coronet Herald lathe which was my 50th birthday present - and which I love!
- most scary, the router table :)
- most beautiful - probably the hand files from workshop heaven (dangerous website!)
- most likely to be upgraded - the c. £80 draper bandsaw (but it was given to me by our chippy who got it from another client boxed and shrink wrapped - so it has actually been excellent value for money!)
- most likely to be commented on by others - the laser engraver
- most functional - sander or mitre saw - just do what they do and do it well...
 

jcassidy

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Absolute worst was a slab of beautiful spalted beech bought sight unseen at auction, and turned out to be worm ridden. £45 down the drain not including the trip to collect, and now I've several tools put aside waiting for new handles...

Best was a Disston 26" panel saw €5 at car boot, cleaned up and sharpened for an aggressive 8tpi rip cut, it tears through wood like butter and is easy to keep on track for some reason. Altough I have to kneel on the bench because my saw stools don't have enough clearance underneath lol

Most funtional are my rubbishy oft-fixed Lidl workmates. Used all the time, outside and inside for all sorts of jobs.

I must check it thoserasps...
 

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