530 – Should We Trust Tool Reviews?

It’s show #530 On today’s show, we’re talking about tool reviews, options for resawing a wide slab, smoking with project scraps and straight edges.

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What’s On the Dining Table

The guys discuss the world of tool reviews and how we personally view them both in performing them and when looking to buy a tool.

Emails and Voicemails

  • Dan needs to resaw a 12/4 piece of Walnut that is 24″ wide and needs options on how to pull it off.
  • Brad asks is he can use scraps of Cherry from a project for smoking meats.
  • David is frustrated with steel straight edges and what material would be best to make his own.

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8 replies on “530 – Should We Trust Tool Reviews?”

Short answer: yes
I am new to woodworking, and I am relying on your experience and expertise to guide me to what I need and how to use it. I think that whole “journalistic integrity” and “unbiased review” has been a fantasy from the beginning of time; everything has a bias, and as long as you disclose any conflicts of interest, I am going to take your review on good faith.

In my 10+ years of using YouTube to research almost every product I buy, I can’t even think of a single time where I bought a product and was incensed by the dishonesty of a reviewer. Even if the tool/thing was provided to them free, as long as they say that up-front, I’ll take their review as credible.

As far as tool reviews go:

Once you have found someone who is not simply a shill I think its really important to look at context. What does that person build vs what do you build. A plywood cabinet maker is going to have vastly different needs and valuations than someone who makes small boxes.

Or even someone who makes large pieces vs small pieces in hardwood. ornementation like carving or inlay? or still in the plywood and brad nail phase?
Certain woodworking activities they enjoy that maybe you dont?

I am sure everyone gets the point. I stil find reviews helpful(and have listened to many from Mark and Shannon) but its helpful to understand the reviewers perspective.

I like Project Farm and AvE’s approach to reviews. Many of the tools reviewed are either viewer requested (and funded, through the likes of Patreon) or purchased with their own funds. But either way they are not emotionally invested in the tool and take fairly scientific and objective measures when critiquing or rating tools.

I find Project Farm’s upbeat nature and comprehensive shootouts are very informative when choosing “this over that”, and AvE’s cynical whit and deep dive dismantling gives one a good glimpse into the good bad and ugly hidden beneath the shiny exterior.

regarding the guy with the slap he’d like to resaw, what about finding a shop in his area with a large bandsaw to do it for him?

Re: Resawing
I got beef with Shannon’s recommendation to resaw by hand. Sorry.
I’ve been following all 3 of you for a number of years as I plow my way through learning how to build things. I enjoy the podcast greatly.
I have a Bad Axe Toolworks Roubo 30″ frame saw that I made the frame for. Likely that is the problem area however I’ve remade it three times so I’d like to think I’m not THAT incompetent. Out of a 2″ (2″x24″x 60″ Big Leaf Maple) slab (all kinds of knots and figure) I barely got two 1/2 inch panels. I can not keep the saw running straight. I ended up using my large rip saw instead. I’ve tried it on smaller easier grain boards as well with hardly any better result. It now hangs on my tool wall and collects dust.
I’ve watched Shannon’s live resawing video that gave me some good points but didn’t improve it’s usability.
Any more tips would be great. Otherwise, find someone with a mill or bandsaw capable of doing it.

I was getting kinda worried about how worked up Shannon was getting in his rant about how the guy should resaw his 12/4 slab.

“Geez, Shannon has some real serious feelings about this,” I thought, “or else he’s just had too much coffee.” 

Then I realized I was listening at 1 1/4 times speed.  Shannon seemed much more relaxed when I slowed it down to normal playback.

Love the show, guys. I even trust your tool reviews.

Shootouts are great, as are the reviews like Project Farm or the Katz-Moses sandpaper.

One super important thing for beginners that would be super helpful for beginners is what features are important in a _____ tool. What do I need to look for in a miter gauge or a hand plane. What features are a must have, what can be skipped, what needs to be closely inspected on a used tool, etc.

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