Desert Island Tool Choices

Desert Island Tool Choices

In the last issue, Rob asked what what would be your can’t-live-without-it desert island tool (assuming a table saw, jointer, band saw and drill press were givens).

For many readers, basic hand tools made the list. – Editor

“I’d be hard-pressed to work well without a tape measure.” – Rick Corbitt

“The item I would miss the most is a ruler. I could not use the other tools without one.” – Bernie Lasiewicz

“I would want something to measure with; it could be a combo square, but however it turns out, you need something to measure with and some good plans.” – J. Rouleau

“Putting myself under the sailor’s cap, I would say three hand tools: a drawknife, a handmade spokeshave and a half-inch chisel.” – Gary Peterson

“A box of good quality clamps would be my go-to want for that desert island.” – Kim Randall

“Several more tools would be needed to get very much done, but given thepower equipment that was specified, the one other tool I would need would probably be a screwdriver. Without that, it would be practically impossible to put any parts together.” – Moh Clark

“That would be a knife, my first woodworking tool and the most versatile.” – Lee Ohmart

Really basic. – Editor

“Betcha when you find that combo square, you would be looking for a pencil. That would be the tool I’d miss first. Then again, without a ruler, would you need that pencil to do math?” – Chuck Sanborn

Some based their choices on their knowledge or theories of the tools used by ancient peoples. – Editor

“My Japanese pull saw! I can cobble hammers, screwdrivers, even chisels and gouges, out of sticks and stones, and any good flat rock can work as a sharpener in a pinch, but a good saw is very, very hard to make. If you know the 3-4-5 principle, you can find a right angle. But our most ancient ancestors made saws by setting microliths into the edge of a thin board, which must have taken a Stone Age or two just to put together. Alternatively, a skilled flintknapper could cut a whole lot of little notches into the side of a stone blade. That would take skills that I don’t have.” – Louise Heite

“Tool I couldn¹t live without are my chisels. Even with those other human-powered tools, there will always be a need to fine-tune a finish or fit. In a pinch, chisels are the go-to item. I don¹t know for a fact, but I bet chisels were probably one of the first wood shaping tools invented. I can imagine a caveman scraping a piece of wood with a sharp blade to fashion a utensil as some us may do today to
achieve that perfect piece or weapon. ”- Ron Grover

Others found the “desert island” part of this “what-if” to be the most important aspect. – Editor

“So, one tool? My marking knife! But, if it were a Caribbean desert island, I’d want my bottle of rust remover! Having been a furnituremaker in the US Virgin Islands, I know how insidious rust can be, even in paradise!” – Clint Struthers

“A machete would probably be the best choice.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to get to any coconut milk to cry in.  Also, how else could you cut down palm trees for lumber?” – Keith McKinnon

And some went for the power tools – with the power supplied by various desert island sources. – Editor

“Why, an air nail gun, of course (powered by Mr. Thurston Powell’s mouth).” Wes Perreira

“I think a block plane or, if Gilligan could power another electrical device, a router would be nice.” – Al Phelps

“Router table with bits galore. No way can I do without a router. My prettiest stuff comes from what a router has a say in!” – Dennis Young

“Hands down, definitely a router. I would think the Professor could make an approximation of a combo square.” – Darryl Bartlett

“Number 1 choice would be a router, followed closely by my second choice, an orbital sander.” – Robert Hoffman

“I would have to say my lathe (and accompanying gouges, etc.). I have all the other stuff (table saw, et al.), but I rarely use them anymore, since I became addicted to turning. I still need to make a dining room set, and I’m trying to figure out how to turn it.” – Barry Saltsberg

And some got really specific on their tool choice. – Editor

“You chose a really tough one this time, and left a bushel of questions uncovered. Since the available wood source is unknown, maybe I will wish I had chosen a portable wood mill. But, accepting all the unknowns, then I would want a FlexCut Right-Handed Carvin’ Jack, folding multi-tool. I haven’t tried one yet, as I prefer to use a rigid spine tool to a folder any day, but I want my carving assortment — in my one tool.” – William Fish

“My go-to tool would have to be a Festool. More specifically, my Festool drill.  I have a couple of DeWALT drills and a Black and Decker one-half-in. drill, but they mostly sit gathering dust; sawdust, of course.  About the only job/project I do that doesn’t require the use of the Festool drill is when I’m working in my garden.  It has a built-in clip so I can hang it on my belt, leaving my hand free to carry all the other supplies, or at least most of them, that I will use with the drill.  I have no impact drill; I have tried one, but find that the Festool drill will do the job easier and without any fear of over-driving the screws with an impact driver. And I have used it in the garden: when I was putting the trellis together for the cucumbers and when I was assembling the frames for the raised beds.  It may cost more, but it does so much more than other drill motors, including not needing two drills to handle bits from one-sixteenth inch to one-half inch. This chuck will handle all of them. It is the most versatile tool I own.” – R.L. Hoyle

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