Contest: Show Us Your "Cool Tools" - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Contest: Show Us Your "Cool Tools"

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With Thanksgiving just around the bend, the pressure is looming for one of the hardest jobs of the year , holiday shopping. I’m not sure which is more difficult ,choosing what to purchase for your loved ones, or convincing them how much you need that new Lie-Nielsen plane. Although I can’t offer much help with the first problem (I can only recommend against pink bunny costumes) here’s hope for the latter.

Starting Thanksgiving Day through November 30th, DIY Network will be airing a “Holiday Blitz” of their show Cool Tools.  For four days host Chris Grundy will show you nothing but the coolest and most innovative tools on the market. This is a great chance to do some heavy hint-dropping to your loved ones , or at least to find out which “presents” you want to gift yourself.

If you can’t wait for the Holiday Blitz, head on over to the show’s web site ( and take a look at the videos. I got a chance to poke around the “Woodworking Tools” category of videos, and although I was expecting to see only power tools featured, I was shocked and impressed to see an awesome video tour of Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. This is definitely a show to watch.

So what are your favorite “cool” tools? DIY Network wants to know and so do we. They’ve given us three brand new Komelon SS Gripper tape measures to give to our readers who submit their votes for coolest tool. So click on the “Comments” link at the bottom and tell us your favorite tool for a chance to win. The winners will be randomly selected and contacted via their provided e-mail addresses , so make sure you fill in that line if you want to win.

,Drew DePenning

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Showing 32 comments
  • Green Hill Hayslip III

    Without a doubt, for me, my favorite tool is The Kreg Jig Master System. I have built so many items with this awesome tool. It’s not just for face frames either. Excellent quality and easy to use.

  • Bikerdad

    Oooh, got me a modest bundle.

    Five, nay, six really stand out.

    My Nupla 2lb steel/rubber faced deadblow hammer. I call it my "Persuader".

    Bosch 10.8v(now 12v) Lithium-Ion drill/driver. (The case sucks though.)

    Incra 6" T-rule

    Centerpoint 25′ Tape Measure.

    Stanley 10-179 High Visibility Retractable Utility Knife. (BRIGHT Green). Lufkin makes a similar knife in ORANGE. Both are quality utility knives that don’t allow the stored blades to slip out and slice ya, plus their color makes it easy to see where they are hiding.

    Jorgensen ISD Bar Clamps – Far better than Quick-Grips.

  • James

    The one and only shooter.
    Lie-nielsen Iron Miter Plane.

    Thank you and goodnight.

  • Joshua Steinbart

    I recently purchased a Drill Doctor sharpener and its the best for dull bits. I sharpened 2 cases of drill bits and it is neat to see how fast they cut.

  • Ron Ecke

    Freud’s new "Doweling Joiner" is the newest Cool Tool for me ! I think this will give biscuit joiners a run for their money !

  • Dan Locaputo

    One of my favorite tools is The Automatic Flute spacing Jig. It automatically spaces flutes in boards up to 12 wide. It spaces 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch flutes. It’s a tool you don’t use every day, but when you need it, it’s worth every penny. Cost is $40.

  • Jason Young

    My favorite tool is my new Veritas Medium Shoulder plane. I don’t know how I lived without this tool for so long. It’s great for trimming shoulders, paring tenons, cleaning rabbets, Cleaning up raised panels and the list goes on.

  • Wayne Kendrick

    My "cool tool" selection is my Wixey Digital Angle Gauge. Never could afford the best tools, but with the Wixey, I can quickly and accurately set any angle. It works great on all blade bevels for my miter saw, table saw, jointer fences and band saw. It has a resolution of 0.1 degree. No more eye-balling for me.

  • Rob Porcaro

    My very "uncool" Starrett 24" straightedge, with its ultra-reliable accuracy, is the Constitution of my shop; the accuracy of almost everything else in the shop is ultimately referenced to it. How cool is THAT!

  • Harry A. Houghtling

    My favorite "cool tool" is my table saw, SAWSTOP, when I’m done work I have all my parts right where they belong.

  • kenneth mcpherson

    My favorite "cool tool" is the pattern maker vise on my bench. It came out of a plant and was used to make wooden molds for fire brick. It has wide jaws, rotates 360 degrees, can be swung up so the jaws are parallel with the bench, the jaws can be angled and it has built in dogs.

  • Ken Alcott

    My favorite tool is my Ridgid TS3650. I have been able to learn so much as a newbie and this saw has been a lot of fun to work with.

  • Edward Humeny

    The best tool I can think of is my subscription to Shopnotes. From it has come the greatest improvements to my shop, and woodworking abilities, imagineable. Efficient dust collection off the blade of my unisaw, a super break-down multipurpose work stand that makes me laugh at the thought of sawhorses, and so much more. It’s a cool new tool every two months.

  • William M Flory

    My coolest tools aren’t manufactured outside my shop. I just finished a glue press that will allow me to do segmented project assembly to 24" by 24" on my press. Does that count? Everything but the press table is 4/4 red oak.

  • Ken Strong

    11/12/2008 8:20am (central Standard time)
    My 2008 best "Cool Tool" is my Fuji miti mite 4 HVLP Turbine Spray System. Besides being a low-to-no overspray system, it has allowed me to go "Green", using waterborne / non-flamable finishes. Hands down, this is the biggest improvment in a small shop, that you can make.

  • George Adams

    I never thought I would be using dowels for building furniture. This is until I was introduced to the DowelMax while on vacation last winter. This is a doweling gig that allows precision hole alignment for making fast, acurate joints. The first time I used it was to hold the jaws that I was installing on my new Veritas twin screw vise. I was amazed that the holes lined up even though they were 8 inches apart.I was sold. I now us the DowelMax for just about evrything. The Dowelmax is machined of quality materials with an excillent finish. I had noticed while looking up the website, that shipping is free till the end of the year.

  • Bill Dalton

    I really like the show and I was suprised when they did the piece on Lie Lielsen planes which I’m hoping to get for Christmas, the 60 1/2. The PowerMatic 3520B is another favorite. I’ve had it for about a year and love it. My next toy for it is the 18" extension.

  • Mike McGrath

    A "Cool tool" should be something easy to use by anyone. It should have multiple uses, and not cost a fortune. My favorite cool tool is the box joint jig from the Router Workshop, sold by Oak Park. This simple jig allows everyone with a router to make perfect box joints from the start. The jig also allows you to make sliding dovetail joints for drawer supports, table extensions, push sticks and more. A simple tap with a hammer to adjust, quick and easy set up due to the locator holes, the wood slides across it like it was on bearings. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

  • Rich Karas

    My favorite "cool tool" is my Grizzly 1023SL table saw.

  • Josh

    My taiwanese wood-bodied jack plane from Lee Valley is my favorite "cool tool." It’s simple to adjust and use, as well as nice to look at too. Mmmmm…rosewooooood…

  • Derek Hall

    I just got a Stanley No. 7 Jointer plane for $10, so it’s a cool tool and a great bargain! It’s a type 8 made between 1899 and 1902. I hope to use it for many years to come.

  • Gordon Conrad

    There’s no tool like an old tool. With twenty some planes, my newest favorite is my Stanley 5-1/2 which is a great smoother and with a Hamler fixture will become a super scraper.

  • Rob

    Favorite new tool is my new byrd cutterhead in my 15" planer. No more blades to sharpen! No more setting knives! No more tearout!

  • Mike Tarter

    My favorite tools are my Ryobi 16 volt lihium ion battery drill. I’m also very pleased with my 18 inch Jet badnsaw.

  • Harry Beck

    A #5 Stanley bench plane from about 1912. Found at a flea market or garage sale, I refurbished it just like I have my other (20 or so) old planes, but there’s something special in this one – just the way it works. If a plane is like a musical instrument this is my Stradivarius. A close second would be a #4 1/2 Stanley smoother that I have been tweaking for years and is "almost there".



  • Thomas Kathan

    I have been woodworking for a few years and would class myself as an intermediate – good with the yard items but not expert enough to make real intricate home furnishings – yet

    My son bought me a biscuit joiner and boy I love that – sure is a simple and secure way to join wood as compared to some of the more complicated techniques – e.g., mortise and tenons

    and secondly is my router and router table – once I tried it I feel in love with it – so many wonderful things can be done with a router

  • WC Parker

    Hands down, I love my Delta 2-speed planer. Consistent thickness and almost-ready-to-finish surfaces every time.

    The Veritas low angle block plane is a close second. I use it on virtually every project.

  • Dave Miller

    For me it’s a digital angle gauge. I have a Wixey, but there are similar ones with other names. With the magnetic base, I can easily zero it out on my table saw and precisely set my blade to 90 degrees, or 45 degrees, or anywhere in between. Much easier for me than fussing with adjusting stop screws that can get caked with sawdust anyway.

    It also works great for setting up my jointer fence. I zero it out on the jointer table, use the magnetic base to attach to the outfeed side of the fence right behind the cutterhead, and adjust to a perfect 90 degrees.

  • fred snyder

    I have some simple power tools but I can do almost everything I want with them

  • Joel Wetzel

    My cool tools never let me down:

    DeWalt 735 Planer

    Veritas Low Angle Block Plane

    Triton Plunge Router

    Starrett 4" Double Square

    .5 mm mechanical pencil

  • LizPf

    I’m a beginning woodworker, so my knowledge of tools is limited. Saying that, here are my current favorite tools, in order:

    – my brain. With this tool, I can think my way around my lack of skill, and acquire new skills. I can re-design projects so I can build them with my other tools and abilities. And I can learn more.

    – my bandsaw. Actually, it’s my husband’s saw, but I’ve taken it over. I can cut wood in a surprising number of ways with a bandsaw, and I feel safe using it.

    – my block plane. This is a Craftsman "beater" plane that I’m learning to tune. But even in its condition, I can use it to fine tune joints, shape wood, and smooth it. And it’s good practice for when I can afford better planes.

    Finally, the can’t live without tool I need to buy most — a set of cabinetmaker’s chisels.
    I’m taking a woodworking class, and I use the chisels there all the time. But they are Stanleys, and I can see where better chisels would be nice.

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