Go-to Tools Shared

Go-to Tools Shared

Rob revealed last week that his 12-in. combination square and small tape measure are “must have” tools for his projects. This week, some of you share your top tool picks. – Editor

“I like to build models because they’re time-consuming but don’t need a lot of wood. Years ago, I bought some brass measuring blocks in sizes from 1/8 to 1/2 in. I find I am always using them for setup or checking measurements. Recently I bought a lot of workshop tools from an estate, and in that lot there was a complete set of Lee Valley Veritas measuring blocks from 1/32 to 1 in. I thought I would never use these, but already they have found a prominent place on my work table.” – John van Veen

“I guess the 6-in. combo square is one of mine as well. But more often I really like my 6-in. steel ruler with center finder on the flip side. Like you, I get annoyed when it is not in my apron pocket where it belongs.” – Greg Smith

“I walk in and put my wood working apron on.  ALWAYS in it are: closeup reading glasses, safety glasses, pencil and that small tape measure — likely similar to yours. All other things are added depending upon the needs of the project at hand.” – Rick Corbitt

“My go-to tools are: 1) 0.5 mm or 0.7 mm mechanical pencil; 2) a small (8 oz.?) hammer, replete with random paint spots; 3) a 24-in. or longer straightedge; 4) a sharp chisel and 5) foam sanding blocks. And lest we forget: reasonable heat, a good work table, good lighting AND C-CLAMPS.” – Tom Triola

“This may be hard to believe Rob, but here it is: The tool that I use the most is a 59-cent hammer that my Dad got many years ago from what is now called a Dollar Store. After he passed away, I picked it up in his little 8 x 8-ft. basement shop. I use it many times every day. I’m 82 and plan on passing it onto the next generation.” – Lowell Taylor 

“My Stanley 12-ft. x 3/4-in. tape measure is a must have. I have two on the table saw and two more in a drawer as spares, just in case. My other favorite tool is my DeWALT 12-volt screwdriver. I love that thing. It gets used on almost every project lately. After that, it would have to be my table saw. I have had it for almost 40 years now, and we are old buddies. It is a Delta Rockwell contractor’s saw that I tuned up to a fare-the-well, added a Biesemeyer fence and an Accumiter miter gauge. I don’t need my tape measure for most of my cuts with that setup.” – Robby Wright

“I keep a small combination square at hand (usually 6-in., but I have a 12-in. nearby). I keep two other things close: one is a marking knife and red pen so I can see my marks (it’s getting harder to see as I get older), and the other is a small keychain tape measure (it only measures 3 ft., but I have others when needed). Of course, I always have my trusty pocket knife (I grew up at a time when everyone carried one, and it was a rite of passage).” – John Root

“I have four go to tools: 1) folding rule, which I think is much more accurate than a tape measure; 2) 6-in. combination square; 3) 12- or 18-in. straightedge; 4) a sharp pencil. These items are mainstays on my workbench.” – Dennis Sheehan

“My go-to that I just cannot do without is actually two. They are always in my pocket. Woodpeckers Delve Square and Wood Smith’s 6-in. steel ruler. Both of those are indispensable for me.” – Bill Self

Workshop tape measure, knife, pencils and flashlight

“Here’s a photo of my four most-used tools. They are so important that I always have them with me in the shop, and out. 1) These oversize pencils are intended for children to easily hold. They also fit well in my oversized hands. And because of my excellent but short memory, they are essential for writing notes or sketching ideas. 2) The flashlight helps me read small print on labels, look for dropped things, set up machines and search for anything in the far, dark corners of my shop. 3) The small 6-ft. tape is one that I use the most for all areas — from working with Habitat for Humanity to projects with children. 4) The little folding utility knife has five spare blades in the handle. I seldom need anything bigger. I started with bigger versions of these tools many years ago, but I gradually downsized to better meet my needs.” – Bob Hartig

“I too have a small (12-ft.) tape measure that I use religiously. It’s my dedicated ‘woodworking’ tape, as opposed to larger versions that I use more on DIY and construction work. That small one stays in my shop, so it doesn’t wander off or go out of whack from getting dropped/banged/hammered/etc. I also use both my 12- and 6-in. combination squares on nearly everything. Honestly, I just use whichever one is closest unless the work requires a longer one. But my real go-to lately is a pair of 6-in. Irwin one-handed clamps. I find myself using those two clamps (or more) to hold so many things in place while I glue, screw, nail, measure, scribe or whatever.” – Brian Sigmon

“These are my must have tools for wood working: cabinet scraper, superglue for fixing mistakes and superglue debonder for getting my fingers unstuck. If there is goop, my fingers will find it.” – Ken

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