WT447 – Are Honest Tool Reviews Possible Anymore?

On today’s show we’re talking about: hard vs soft maple, jack or smoother, router bit storage, and smoky mortise bits


  • Matt sent us some information about an exterior rot and bug resistance product called Log Oil


  • Ryan asks why router bit storage trays aren’t labelled
  • Bill is cutting a lot of mortises and his bit has lost it’s temper
  • Jeff asks Marc what features he likes about the Incra miter sled
  • Greg asks whether his next plane should be a Jack plane or a smoothing plane
  • Alan asks if we make our own dowels and if so how we make dowels

Stuff We Hate

Is it possible to do honest tool reviews anymore?

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4 replies on “WT447 – Are Honest Tool Reviews Possible Anymore?”

Comment for honest tool review:

I know This old house does block out tools because it’s about the project not about using a Festool tool or another expensive tool. It’s about using what you have around the house. My grandfather had a lot of craftsman tools and was able to do a lot of projects. But he was also a contractor, so he did have some expensive equipment, but they were for work so if they got dropped they wouldn’t break.

I really appreciate the honest tool reviews sharing positive and negative perspectives after real use/experience. This is engenders trust and his helpful to many of us.

Kickback on the dowel question:

I have a weird fascination with dowels, so I’ve spent some effort making them and here are my thoughts:

Making dowels with: (in order of amount spent)
– Veritas® Dowel Maker ($400) – Probably works as well as the next item, but I’m not willing to spend THAT much.
– Veritas® Tapered Tenon Cutters ($46.50) – These are awesome! But you can only do one size. I did a 4′ 3/8″ dowel without much of a problem. Make the guide rail as per the instructions with the product.
– Router Table with cove bit ($40? router bit) – Not my thing, fixed sizes and I’d be afraid the wood would rotate while routing on the last pass… scary.
– Router with bull nose bit ($40? router bit) and homemade jig – I’ve made a fancy version of this and I don’t use it. It can only do the 5? sizes that it is set up for and is fussy to set up. I can do the next option in the same amount of time and no router setup. See: https://www.finewoodworking.com/2005/10/25/making-dowels-with-the-router
– Block of wood and wide chisel jig (free) – I’ve had really good success with this and can make any size. Thing to keep in mind, is that the jig wears out and is finicky to initially set up. So I make one when I need it, and chuck it when I’m done. Also, use a hard wood for the jig, 2×4 material won’t work. See: https://woodgears.ca/dowel/making.html (half way down the page)

On that note… I make wood bolts and such. The hand threader sucks, or maybe it was the one I bought. After attempting to make (5) 1 1/2″ bolts, and eventually broke the brass adjustment bolt, I gave up on it. I then find out that the threader didn’t quite match the tap, so I was never going to get the fit of the Beall Threader would give me. Go figure.

I already had the Beall Threading jig (http://www.bealltool.com/products/threading/threaders.php) for smaller threads which works really well, so I upgraded that. But keep in mind that the threads are not the same with the hand threaders.

Thanks for answering my email Guys and for offering your thoughts on low angle bench planes. I’m leaning towards Mark’s suggestion, he nailed my planned usage for the plane and at the same time identified that I am bridging my use of power tools and moving more toward hand tools. I guess it’s time to purchase Mark’s latest book on Hybrid Woodworking.

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