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.

Texas Heritage Woodworks Saddle Bag

I’m a fan of having my tools out and at hand in the workshop. It’s easy enough to mount the saws to the wall, whip up a chisel rack and tuck the planes on a shelf, but the small items rarely have a good spot to sit – so they end...

Hands-on With The Shaper Origin – Exclusive Review

The Shaper Origin looks like a router but acts like a CNC. Up to now, CNCs were large, heavy, complicated tools that take up a lot of space in a shop. The Shaper Origin is something quite different. It’s a hand-held, easy-to-use CNC that you take to your work instead of...

Next-generation Bessey REVO Clamps

by Megan Fitzpatrick page 14 We love the original wooden-handled Bessey K Body clamps. But they became unavailable in 2008 when Bessey released the Revo clamps, which had a larger clamping surface (of about 30 percent) than the K Bodies and a soft-grip handle that allowed for easier and more comfortable...

Lixie Dead Blow Mallet

by Brendan Gaffney page 14 Well-fit joinery (not too loose, not too tight) and well-planned glue-ups rarely need much persuasion – but I am not always lucky enough to find myself with either of those. In the past, I’ve used big rubber mallets, small sledges and framing hammers (with a block...

SensGard Ear Chamber Hearing Protection

by Rob Porcaro page 18 Before reading why these SensGard hearing protectors are so good, consider if you share some of the problems I have had with other protectors. I do not like stuffing things into my ear canals, such as foam plugs that must be compressed with often dirty fingers,...

BearKat Wood’s Chair Scraper

by James McConnell page 18 There is no doubt in my mind that a chair scraper from BearKat Wood should be in every chairmaker’s tool chest. Card scrapers have long been the secret clean-up weapon of woodworkers, and it’s clear that this one was designed by someone with an intimate knowledge...

Preview: The Shapeoko XL CNC

A Desktop size CNC at an Entry Level Price One of the questions I’m most often asked is “would you do a review of an affordable CNC?”  Up to now, there’ve been few choices for woodworkers on tight budgets with small home shops. Here’s the thing: as woodworkers, we do pretty...

robin wood axe

Robin Wood Axe for Carving (and More)

As a bowl carver, I am frequently asked about recommendations for beginner sets of tools. Though the Robin Wood Axe is always on that list, it’s not just a beginner’s axe. Weighing in at 1 pound, 9 ounces, it is a midweight carving axe, and considerably lighter than the Gransfors Bruks...

Microjig Matchfit Dovetail Clamps

A lot of the work in any machine-oriented woodshop revolves around creating and improving jigs. While I’ve used hold-down and F-style clamps in most of my shop fixtures, the Microjig Matchfit Dovetail Clamps offer a new means of integrating adjustable clamping into a jig, securely and out of the way of...