Your most used tools

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21 Apr 2020
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After not doing any woodworking since college days I finally got around to converting the garage into a workshop at the new (we have been here almost 2 years but had plenty of stuff to keep my occupied) house. Been a slow crawl since Feb building up my tool collection and getting it all ready to be used. The garage is finally cleared up, I've laid some nice flooring, built a workbench, some tool storage, a few basic jigs and got my first order of some decent hardwood in to get crafting. First project is only small, a keyboard case, but I am more just using it to familiarize myself with working with hard woods.

my real question is what tools I may be missing that could make life a lot easier. So what tools do you guys use day in day out that you couldn't live without?

I can list out what I already have but it would be a damn long list :p
Chisels, without a doubt. And therefore mallet. You could take away just about everything else, but without chisels (and a means to sharpen them) my workshop would grind to a halt.
My chisel set isn't the greatest but I do have a lapping set up already from my lapping my cpus and heatsinks so I'm keeping them super sharp they just dont hold it for too long!
It's a question that's really dependant on what you actually want to make, I can't say there are any "must-have" tools except for your general basic stuff such as chisels, a hammer, a hand plane, etc...

My most used tool is definitely the belt sander, specifically a Makita 9404. I've spent hours upon hours over the years using it to flatten off joinery and sand surfaces to a decent finish to the point where it's almost an extension of the arm. It's a bit of a merciless tool and will ruin workpieces in a split second if you haven't got the right technique but I honestly couldn't be without it.
Making will vary for me really from small things like catchalls, keybaords, chopping boards to big furniture items like desks, sideboards, benches etc.

My list of next buys are Table Saw, belt sander and Ryoba saw, just not sure what order. Most likely the ryoba will be next as it will offer the biggest improvement over what my current tools can do. Most things a table saw or belt sander can do I can do with what I have already just with more time.
Definitely tablesaw,planer thicknesser and dust extractor for machinery,for hand tools chisels,engineers square and marking gauges.Then routers and hammers and pliers ,oh and some brilliant screwdrivers off my Secret Santa a couple of years ago.If my wife asks I tell her all of them!I almost forgot my trusty pillar drill.
MikeG.":3araldtc said:
So is this "your most used tools", or in fact "what tools should I buy next?"?

its a bit of both, I already know what I'm getting next. Just interesting to see what peoples go to tools are that other may not have thought of and give me some ideas for cheaper tools to grab.
The essential hand tools and sharpening kit come first, and are all you really need.
When you add in power tools to save time, effort, or bypass the need to really develop your hand tool skills, the cordless drill gets the most use, a good 1/4" router is the most versatile and the one tool I'd hang on to until the end, just like it was the first "proper" tool I ever bought. Followed by (these days) a track saw which for me means you need a dust extractor too..
Step up to machines, and an accurate tablesaw and a pillar drill (even a pretty cheap one) are most valued. A planer thicknesser and a sliding mitre saw are both useful but eat up a lot of space and are by no means necessary. Machines usually mean additional, different dust extraction.

I prefer a random orbit sander to a belt machine personally. I owned and sold on a belt sander as I barely used it, but different strokes for different folks :)
chisels + thor hammer with plastic heads it has a hard/soft face, I think the hammer is the thing I use the most, and hand planes as well,

so it's

hand planes
marking knife
marking gauges
brace and bit

also don't forget sharpening stones, arguably the most important tool of all tools, and a proper workbench.
Possibly an interesting way to go about answering this question is asking
whom are the folks that you following instructions from?
At what point do you get to a stage that you will actually need a particular tool for the job.

For boxes and such I'd say a decent bandsaw would be much more preferable than a tablesaw.
Anything you need rip accurately can be done with a panel gauge and a plane.

My most used tools are about 4 planes, two 5 1/2's (a panel and shooter)
and two no 4's (rough camber and fine smoother)
A set of modern Staney chisels, these all have cranked handles that I have lapped flat
I have a Tesco one with a handle in line with the chisel blade for mortising, and a vintage with small lands for other jobs.
If I didn't have the cheaply bought vintage one, I would grind the lands down like Alan Peters did.
The rest of the Stanley's in the set don't have any duplicate sized chisels for other uses, as I have no need for them.
A bench grinder is nice as you can make tools quickly,
but some DMD hones bonded to something makes them usable, ED65 mentioned he bought really rough grits something like 150g off ali express for buttons.
Your cheapest honing setup was the thread it was in.
Axi make a nice engineers 150mm square for a tenner which is my go to now.
A nice analogue vernier calipers is a good tool to have, get one with tips that have a point, not heavily rounded tips, and that have a single locking screw, not the twin locking one as it makes tedious.

Might be a bit off topic but I mentioned the bench grinder as you can make your own tools like marking knives and cutters for instance, but that is your choice if you want to make tools that's easily made or buy them.

Above all is a good bench to work on and is the most used tool, along with decent lighting like a long reach angle poise lamp.

My most used tools are the ones that are directly in front of me on the 'Tool Wall', so rules, marking gauges, squares and knives, closely followed by the Veritas LA jack and try plane under the bench - Rob
I suspect it will be much the same for all of us woodworkers. I could get by with a handful of chisels, mallet, block plane and some sort of bigger plane: would probably choose a 51/2.

I think it is worth investing in decent rules, marking gauges and so on and at least one really good tenon saw.
If Les Dennis was asking the question then I think previous posters have covered most of the Top 10.

Obvious answers aside, my most used tools are my table saw and my router. I try avoid handtools, I simply don't have the skill or talent to use them but have a lot of respect for those who can.
Mines probably my stanley knife, it gets used every day for one thing or another
I think it depends hugely on what you make!

I make mainly ukuleles so my list is very different. In no particular order:

Steel rule
Marking gauge
1/4 inch chisel
Japanese pull saw
Veritas apron block plane (brilliant piece of kit!)
Cabinet scraper
Hot hide glue pot and brush
Loads of clamps

If pushed, I could make a uke with just these if someone would lend me a small hammer and drill for half an hour. Most operations use most of these.

Of course, I've amassed more saws, chisels and planes to make things easier, and some unusual kit (how many wood workers need two reamers?). Rasps are cool, I use a heat gun a lot, and I could do with a new soldering iron (but I don't need solder).

I've definitely not helped with the original question. But I'd say the best advice I received was not to buy anything until I found I needed it. That's saved me a few quid.

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