As many of you may know, I’m the midst of redoing my kitchen; its age and decrepitude (“drecrapitude?”) was a common “complaint” about the house during my months last summer of trying to sell it. (I suspect that, once I get the kitchen done, the lack of a driveway will take primacy, but there’s only so much a girl can do.)
So I’ve been tearing our cabinets and flooring, building cabinets and deciding on new flooring, fretting about hardware, fainting at the cost of drawer slides, etc., for the last couple months. But it hasn’t been too bad, really – after all, I have a nice, large shop in which to work (would that it were in my backyard, though), access to excellent tools and a couple of fellows in adjacent cubicles who are always happy to respond to any questions I might have (with differing answers – that’s fun).
But I can only do so much of the work at work (and only, of course, after hours and on weekends). Much of the case assembly has been done at home because my Subaru can’t fit the larger cabinets. And the face frames (and soon, goddess willing, the doors and drawer fronts) have to be built and fit at home (because I don’t trust my measurements – I like to show the work to the work).
So I’ve developed quite a shopping list of tools I wish I had – not that I can’t do what needs to be done with my current complement of stuff…but there are certainly things that would make it faster, easier or both.
I could use a full-size table saw with a nice, large outfeed table, an 8″ jointer and a planer – not to mention a dedicated assembly table – but there’s no place in my house to put them. (The kitchen floor is my assembly table.)
I have a perfectly serviceable vintage Stanley No. 5 and shooting board setup that I’m using to shoot the rails and stiles for a perfect fit…but a Lie-Nielsen No. 51 or Veritas Shooting Plane would come in awfully handy – that way I wouldn’t have to keep switching blades in my one jack. But I’m parsimonious…and anyway, I’ve spent all my available cash on hardware and drawer slides.
A chisel plane would be awesome for flushing the case fronts for the face frames…and what bites is that I had one but sold it – because I never used it (there’s the lesson in this post). Instead, I’m using a block plane, and it works…but it gets a little tricky to hold down at the toe kick end of things.
Believe it or not, I could also use a 1/2″ or larger chisel – a cheap one. I have a set of Lie-Nielsen bevel-edge chisels, which I adore. But I love them so much that I refuse to use them for what they were needed in the kitchen: chiseling out plaster for new outlets. And instead of heading to a home center for an inexpensive tool, I used a flathead screwdriver that I ground to a sharper edge. Yeah, it worked – but not as cleanly as I would have liked…plus it took a while to work my way around the knifed-in lines with a 1/4″ tool.
Tomorrow, I need a hammer drill; I’m taking the day off and my kindly electrician neighbor is coming over to install some new GCFI outlets along the sink wall…which is plaster over lathe over brick. Simultaneously (or almost so), I’ll be installing the new cabinets, the sink and the disposal. I’m guessing I’ll be short a plumbing tool or two.
Let’s not forget clamps – man would I love to have a lot more clamps. (Also, I’d like to have a electrician and plasterer at my beck and call…and a proper cabinetmaker to build these for me so that I can spend my time building what I like: furniture…but my checkbook won’t allow it. )
Also, one or two more tape measures…because the two I have keep getting buried.
And time – that’s what I need more than anything, but it seems not to be for sale. I was hoping to have the house back on the market on April 1 – not gonna happen.
I guess it’s good that I’m learning all of these things I need now – if/when my house sells, I’ll use a little bit of the profit to buy them. Because when I move, I’ll be moaning about a whole new set of tools I’m missing. That “new” house is likely to be at least 75 years old and in need of … everything. I suspect a drywall lift and a good therapist will then top my list of needs.
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