WT112 – What Tool Should I Buy?

Special thanks to our show sponsors: Bad Axe Tool Works and Benchcrafted!

On today’s show, we’re talking about the trouble with buying tools, using scraper planes, and laminating solid wood for stability.

What’s on the bench?

Shannon’s building a vise and doing even more carving. He’s also spending a lot of time at the McMasterCarr website. Matt thought he would try something new when cutting half blind dovetails and totally regrets it! Marc finished up the footboard of the new platform bed and then spent the week doing screen caps for a upcoming SketchUp tutorial. Marc recommends Bob Lang’s Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp

Around the Web

Video of Mahogany lumber being harvest in Belize. Sent in by Tom Buhl.
“Love Letter to Plywood” video by Tom Sachs Oddly enough, this video does contain some nudity.
Minwax “Do Good with Wood” Award
Scott Meek to offer an online planemaking class via G+ Hangout.
Holiday Giveaway at RavinHeart Renditions Podcast.

Poll of the Week

Workshop Footwear


Stewart called in to ask a question about Veritas vises. Demented Woodworker called in to tell us his wife thinks we suck.


I recently acquired a couple of Stanley number 80 scraper planes, And I was wondering what suggestions you guys could give me regarding use and set up. I did not know when sharpening if I need to have a secondary bevel angle on it, Or if I only need the primary angle. Also any tips and Tricks you guys may have regarding it’s use And what tasks you like to use it for specifically. —– Aaron Cashion

My question is about wood for an entry door. I am thinking of using kiln dried Douglas fir (the door will be painted). What are your thoughts about using solid stock vs. laminating two pieces together to get the required thickness for the stiles and rails? Advocates of the lamination technique say it makes the door more stable by allowing the grain to be aligned to counter movement. Some even say to rip one full thickness piece of wood in half, flip it and glue it to enhance the stabilizing effect. Do you have any other suggestions for an economical, but appropriate wood choice for someone living in Southern California? —– Tom Collins

I am starting to see the limitations on my little saw. I would like to move up to something to do better weekend work with. Should I go with a more powerful, fixed stand contractor’s saw and build it up/modify it for dust collection and such; should I go with a hybrid saw; or is there an entry level cabinet saw that won’t break the bank?

I was considering the Grizzly hybrid saw until I found out that the insert plate was 1/8″ stamped steel like my craftsman, negating the ability to make zero clearance inserts. I have also been scanning craigslist for used saws. Any ideas? I was willing to plunk down the $725 (on sale) plus $100 shipping for the Grizzly so I am at around a$1,000 budget on the high end. —– Keith

The guys then go into a discussion on the diffulties involved in giving tool-buying advice. Matt recommends folks check out ToolSelect.com. Marc mentions an article he wrote a while back called, Common Questions Only You Can Answer.

iTunes Reviews

Special thanks to Tom Buhl, Dddtttsss, and RDR_82 for their awesome reviews! Want to have your review read on the show? Leave us a kick-butt review in the iTunes Store!

8 replies on “WT112 – What Tool Should I Buy?”

Thank You So Much for your kind comments on our recently uploaded video about the history of mahogany harvest in Belize. For those that that feel sad about how much Mahogany was ripped from the forests over that 200+ year campaign they will be glad to know that a 2 year long study by the US and Belize Forestry departments back in 1996 and ’97 showed that the british actually lost upwards of half of the material they cut to the bottoms of the rivers and lagoons they used to transport it to the coast. It is suspected that there is over 750,000,000 board feet of material lying in wait for us to recover. Your listeners can view another video about us that was shown as a segment on an environmental awareness program broadcast globally called “Earthrise”. It was very well done by John Goheen of Terranova Pictures back in December of last year. You can see it on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jefFzzfTpo. Sharita Hutton, the correspondent in the video, was a real trooper as she had never dived before and was dead set on going down to see one of these logs. She’s a former correspondent for the FOX news channel in Kansas City and did a great job of making this a really interesting and informative video about what we do down there. At any rate, Thanx So Much for the exposure and keep up the great work you guys do.

Great show as always, guys. I about had a wreck when Shannon said “meat at the tip.” I’m putting that one right up there with Marc’s interview with Chris Schwarz and he said he likes “the wood-on-wood action” of wood screw vices. Awesome!

Hi All,
Just a mention about Wood Magazines ” Review a tool ” website. It is slowly becoming a good source to get solid information about the tools being used in our woodworking shops. I myself have contributed nearly 200 reviews on the tools I use in my shop. So please don’t be shy about sharing your experiences with your tolls as well. I did this primarily for two reason. I get sick of repeating myself over and over again when someone asks what the best tool is, or what my experience has been with particular tool. I can now simply refer them to this site. I also wanted to establish an off site inventory of my tools for insurance and tax purposes. Works for me!

I was thinking when you guys were talking about your struggles with recommending tools that you could simply talk about some of the things to look for in a tool. I think if you’re at the point when you are willing to spend over $500 for a tool, you probably know enough about that particular type of tool but you might not know what type of characteristics to look for in that type of tool.

As an exemple, you could talk about what it means to have a 6 or 8 inch jointer or what the power of a table saw means. I think with some background in mind, we should get enough information to make an informed decision. Personally, if I were in the market for a tool, that’s really the type of information I’m looking for.

I have the Grizzly Hybrid saw you mentioned in your post. Mine is the Polar Bear series and I have been extremely happy with the way it performs. I bought it as a 220 volt and used it that way for 2 years before moving into a new house without 220 in the garage. I converted it to 110 volt and it has not missed a beat. I have not had an issue with the throat plate but I guess you could use some 1/8 hardboard with double sided tape. I was skeptical about the Grizzly at first but it has been a perfect upgrade from my old bench top saw without having to drop a couple thousand bucks.

I actually work with bare feet all the time. I never wear shoes in my house and my shop is part of my house and never have my shoes handy. I sometimes end up getting small splinters every once in a while but i haven’t had too much of an issue working in bare feet.


You’re in line with the guidance I was seeking. Most of the reviews online appeared to be about 4 years old so I was curious what had changed in the hybrid world. The older reviews seemed to focus on power and cabinet mounted trunions as being what was lacking on hybrid saws. After much review, I decided that one of the newer style cabinet mounted trunion hybrids would be a satisfactory uber-hobby tablesaw. 1.75 HP seems to be enough to handle all of my needs (I figure I can do a slower feed on thick hardwood if needed – I don’t do a lot of thick hardwood sawing). The 30″ cut width should serve almost all of my needs as well. I am in a garage shop and a 50″ cut width would just eat up too much real estate. I will use a skill saw with router cleanup if I need more than 30″

I kept checking Craigslist and found a Craftsman 22124 Hybrid for $350. This is comparable to their current hybrid saw but it has the cast iron top instead of granite. I am concerned about granite because I do use the tablesaw as an extra bench. I am excited to clean it up and get it going.


I am new to woodworking and trying to figure which tool to get next a bandsaw or a jointer 6″ or 8″. I have a 3hp TS any recomedations would be appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *