With the holidays fast approaching, we decided to share our Christmas wish lists, in the hopes that someone (mom, are you reading this?) would be looking for last-minute gifts. And because a certain someone will likely not read this post past the first few paragraphs (mom, still reading?), I’m putting my own list first.
(Half my list is based on the fear that Chris will ban me from his tool chest.)
– Lie-Nielsen Router Plane (large and/or small). Out of all the tools I’ve learned to use over the past half-decade, I find router planes to be enduringly the most fun.
– Shapton GlassStones in #1,000, #4,000 and #8,000 grits, and the diamond lapping plate to match.
– Eccentric Toolworks dovetail saw (the one tool of Chris’s he won’t let me use).
– Grizzly GO555X 14″ band saw (sure, I’d like a bigger one, but my basement is vertically challenged).
– Benchcrafted Glide Leg Vise. I’ve been convinced that a hand-tool shop and Shakespeare can co-exist nicely in my study, and the pretty new bench I plan to build will need a little bling (not to mention that the Glide is the most awe-inspiring bench hardware I’ve ever had my hands on).
– An iPhone app that cleans the litter box (this is for the cats at home; I’m fairly certain my co-workers are potty trained).
– Lee Valley Low Angle Jack Plane. This is a running joke between my family and me. I’ve been telling my son he should get me one since he was four. He’ll turn 18 eight days after Christmas and I doubt he’ll come through this year. Maybe after he graduates from college and gets a real job.
– Starrett 12″ combination square. Semi-sentimental choice. I used to have my grandfather’s but it disappeared during a move. I have a 6″ combination and a 4″ double square so I don’t really need one, but it would be nice to have.
– Lie-Nielsen No. 140 Skew Block Plane. Good looking and gizmolicious , I don’t just want it, I really, really need it.
– Lie-Nielsen Chisels. I’ve been using a set of plastic-handled chisels I bought on sale in 1979, along with odds and ends for special uses. They’ve served me well, but they look like crap hanging from my tool rack and are an embarrassment every time I take them somewhere to teach. I need the whole set, the bevel edges, the fishtails, the skews and the mortise chisels, but not the corner chisels. That would be excessive.
– A real stereo for the Popular Woodworking shop. And if I could design it, it would have automatic controls to cancel out machine noise, or at the least be equipped with wireless headphones/hearing protectors.
It’s funny, most of the things on my Christmas list don’t exist (yet). Here’s what I want that would make my woodworking nicer.
– High-angle frogs for my small smoothing planes. The more I work, the more I prefer small smoothing planes with high bedding angles. If my Christmas wish were to come true, I’d have a 55Ã?Â° frog for my Lie-Nielsen Nos. 3 and 4 smoothing planes. Then I’d shut my yap forever.
– Steel split nuts. While brass split nuts look really cool on a backsaw, they are fragile. It’s easy to strip out the threads or ruin the slot that tightens the nut. That’s why I’d like robust steel split nuts instead of brass. Yeah, they wouldn’t match the brass back of the saw, but I could probably live with a steel back, too.
– A realistic table saw miter gauge. Maybe I’m different, but about 95 percent of my crosscuts on a table saw are 90Ã?Â°. Why, oh why, are the modern miter gauges designed to cut all these wacky angles with ease, but setting them back to square is an ordeal? Give me a miter gauge (or sled or sliding table) that is easy to set to 90Ã?Â°. It’s OK if it’s a pain to set it to 37.625Ã?Â°.
– A Clark & Williams square ovolo plane. I ordered this plane from the Eureka Springs, Ark., company more than a year ago, and I suspect I still have at least a year to go before my name comes up on the waiting list. But a boy can hope for a Christmas miracle.
– A wooden floor for my shop at home. Why didn’t I insist on a wooden floor? Concrete is the pits, and it makes my feet and back ache like crazy.
– A decent shop apron. Every shop apron I’ve owned is fatally flawed. All the pencils, rulers and small junk comes spilling out when you stoop or bend over. I’ve designed a shop apron that will make everything stay put but still handy. My Christmas wish is to find someone to make one.
I’ve been a good boy . . .
– A real dust collector – cyclone style, I should think 2hp would do.
– A vacuum pump with two set-ups – one for the lathe to hold bowls while finishing the bottoms and the other for pressing veneer with a bag.
– Oh, if only I could replace all my 30-year-old pipe clamps with parallel-jaw clamps.
– All the bench accessories needed to go along with a new workbench I want to build.
– A copy of “American Fancy: Exuberance in the Arts, 1790-1840” by Sumpter T. Priddy , Books of this quality have loads of great information, great color and B&W photographs and add to anyone’s furniture knowledge. Truthfully, I would gladly accept any museum-style book on nearly any furniture style.
– A Grizzly G0636X 17″ Ultimate Band Saw , This is the only band saw that I’ve used that I can say I covet. I would sell off my 14″ and 16″ tools if this machine were under my tree.
– Here is my shocker gift. Though I’m mostly a power-tool woodworker, I’ve found reason to ask Santa for a nice Lie-Nielsen small router plane. With my interest in inlay work continually growing, this hand tool would be a welcome addition to a small but growing tool list. Of course, I would like the extra blades, too.
– You cannot build furniture without great lumber , well, you can, but what’s the point. So I’m putting in a request for some of the old-growth mahogany that Greener Lumber LLC is reclaiming from the rivers and lakes in Belize. Having worked with a small amount of the material, I know I want more.
– Kreg R3 Pocket Hole Jig System. I used this system to build the “I Can Do That” Storage Bench from the June ’09 issue. Its portability and stability made assembling this project a breeze.
– Blue Spruce Mallet. Almost every person in our shop owns one of these, and there’s a reason. Not only are they extremely durable, but they look really nice, too.
– Marples Blue Chip 6-piece chisel set. I don’t own any chisels, and I think this would be a great “starter set” for me. Plus if I beat the crap out of them and accidentally chip a few it’s no huge loss.
– A good jigsaw and Bosch “Xtra-Clean for Wood” blades. I need a good jigsaw, and these blades cut extremely smooth.
– Jet 10″ band saw with the stand. When I start to build my home shop, this will be one of the first machines I purchase. It’s very small and portable, and because I have very little space, it will fit perfectly.
Jim Stack (Popular Woodworking Books)
– A good set of riffler files so I can get into nooks and crannies.
– A twist-drill sharpener that works. It’s just tricky enough to get the correct angle that I always mess it up using my grinder.
– A toolbox with fitted drawers to hold every hand tool I own, which would mean about 200 drawers.
– More clamps. As every woodworker knows, the availability of a clamp is inversely proportional to its need at that moment. Also, you just can’t have enough clamps, period.
– More wood.