Tool Reviews

A woodworker is only as good as his tools. In a world with enough woodworking tools to fill entire big-box stores, it’s important to know what you should buy (and what to avoid) so you can produce the best pieces possible and save money. Our tool reviews are different. Rather than use pseudo-science, we use the tools in the shop (we’re all experienced woodworkers), and report back how they perform. So whether you are in the market for a new set of chisels or a powerful table saw, we’ve got the best tools covered.

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Vesper Double Square with Mini Blade

by Christopher Schwarz p. 18 Many of the difficult measuring jobs we face are too big or too small for us to accurately assess. For big jobs, I end up making my own giant wooden straightedges or try squares. For the tiny problems, I reach for the Vesper Double Square. This beautifully machined adjustable square...

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Jennings-pattern Auger Bits for Braces

by Christopher Schwarz p. 18 Finding good auger bits that work in a brace is almost impossible in places of the world that don’t have a lot of vintage tools (such as the Midwest and West). And even if you do manage to get some of these bits, they are frequently bent, misfiled, used...

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BT&C Hardware Store Saw

More than just a saw, this tool offers (useful) infomercial-like functions. by Christopher Schwarz page 14 I’m not a fan of multi-tools. In my experience they are marketing gimmicks that do nothing particularly well. But the new Brooklyn Tool & Craft Hardware Store Saw is a huge exception to that rule. This short panel...

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Ridgid 18-volt ‘Hyperdrive’ 18-gauge Brad Nailer

by Megan Fitzpatrick page 16 If you’re working with access to electricity, it’s easy to plug in an air compressor and run a hose to a brad nailer. But if you’re working on a site with no electric, or your compressor hose is too short for the task, well, a cordless nailer is nice...

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Lie-Nielsen Toolworks Honing Guide

by Christopher Schwarz page 16 Since the mid-1990s I’ve been married to my inexpensive side-clamp honing guide, sometimes called an “Eclipse” guide after the firm that developed it. So when Lie-Nielsen Toolworks began showing its side-clamp honing guide around, I resisted even picking it up – I don’t like to mess with my sharpening...

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‘The Secret Mitre Dovetail’

David Charlesworth’s new video is groundbreaking instruction. by Christopher Schwarz p. 14 The “secret miter” dovetail is considered the most elegant and difficult of all the dovetail joints to make. As a result, many woodworkers hesitate to even attempt the joint, which can seamlessly wrap the grain around a furniture carcase to a beautiful...

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Veritas Stainless Steel Trammel Points

by Megan Fitzpatrick p. 16 These clever stainless steel trammel points (for scribing large arcs and circles) from Veritas work a little differently than my vintage set, which fit only on a fixed-sized beam. The narrow-bodied heads are open on one side, and can thus be attached to any flat piece of material up...

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Sterling Tool Works Stainless Steel French Curves

by Christopher Schwarz p. 16 I like using French curves for laying out hyperbolas, ellipses and parabolas when designing furniture details. These curves are not static arcs – they are segments of the Euler spiral – and so the shapes they create have more spring and life. The typical set of French curves consists...

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Kreg Precision Router Table

Simple micro-adjust feature and a solid base make this one a contender. by Christopher Schwarz page 14 Some router tables have gotten so complex and expensive that they actually rival a decent shaper. I’ve always preferred simple router tables, so I was curious to assemble and use the new Kreg Precision Router Table. Like...