It’s easy to get grumpy about the way you work in the shop and resist the newfangled features that appear on tools. To be sure, some of these “innovations” are boneheaded (the bench chisels with rasp teeth on the blade spring quickly to mind).
But other ideas are great, and you just have to give them a chance.
This month, I embraced two innovations that I resisted for a decade. I actively mocked these features on tools in both public and private. I went out of my way to avoid buying them. I rolled my eyes when I saw them on tools in other woodworker’s shops. Now I see my error.
1. Lasers on miter saws. We’ve had a dozen laser-guided miter saws in our shop, and they never did anything for me. But after we installed a version with two lasers , one laser on each side of the kerf , in our miter saw’s stand did I swallow the bait. I stopped marking out all my cuts with a try square. I simply laid my tape on the work and lined the laser up with the marks on the tape.
2. Integrated lights on drill/drivers. My first router, an inherited 1970s Craftsman, had a light on it. But the openings in the base were so tiny that it was like peering into a really well-lit shadowbox, which was shooting chips at you. But somehow an impact driver ended up on my bench with an integrated light. I love it. While working inside cabinets I can now use both my eyes and my fingertips to get screws in their holes. It’s much easier and faster with a light showing the way.
Egads. What could be next? Taiwanese moulding planes? Belt sanders? Chardonnay?
– Christopher Schwarz