January is often seen as a good time of year to grab a bargain on, well, anything – but, here, I’m talking about woodworking tools, of course! Well, not exactly spinning circular saws or routers but the recent seasonal discounts offered by Axminster and Rutlands have allowed me to stock up on a few essential purchases, in addition to the brand-new Bench Cookies I recently added. These aren’t all intended to be used solely in the workshop; several items have been purchased with scribing and on-site fitting in mind and for general carpentry jobs that could become the ‘bread and butter‘ of my future furniture making business.
It all started with this set of Stabila spirit levels…
This set, to me, contains a good range of levels for anyone who’s starting out and a many tradesmen seem to have a lot of faith in the German Stabila brand. I purchased this set mainly for the 1800mm and 600mm levels. If you look at the individual costs of these two items, it actually amounts to a good £10-15 extra! What I’ll actually do with the 300mm level though, I don’t quite know… For now, it fits nicely inside the Metabo tool bag that came with my 10.8v drills. What I’d really like next though is a 600mm spirit level. What is interesting is that the 1800mm level only is guaranteed for ten-years… If it was to lose it’s accuracy after that time then, I’ve no doubt that it would still come in handy as a general straightedge – whatever happens, I’m confident it’s going to be an improvement over Wickes’ own brand level, which I’ve been getting by with for several years, now! For a long level, especially when held horizontally to mark a datum line on a wall, I can see value in one-day owning a level with a handle feature as part of the design.
Also included in this deal was a set of three carpenter’s pencils [viewed as inferior in my workshop, thanks to the Chattahoochee pencil!] the kind of level you might expect to find in a Christmas cracker… Well, it’s another ‘thing‘ to hang off my bunch of keys – it will probably serve as a talking point/conversation starter, in time!!
You’ve probably come across the Multiscribe tool by now. When it first appeared around four-years ago now, it received rave reviews in the UK woodworking magazines. I know of all the old scribing tricks involving washers and blocks of wood but I’m also keen to see just how handy this tool really is. If it does happen to fall flat on its face then, if nothing else, it’ll enable me to keep a sharp pencil to hand!! […Provided I don’t lose them all…]
One shiny Veritas product you may not have seen comes in the form of the Pocketwrench II:
If you don’t fancy carrying bags of small spanners around or, you’ve either lost of broken all your good ones, this could well be a tool for you. Whatever size you thought it was, it’s actually even smaller and can slip comfortably in to a pocket without any painful mis-haps otherwise associated with open-ended spanners… [Fortunately, I do not speak from experience, here!!]. What you’re also probably unaware of is that the tab on the right-hand end can be used to pry open tins of paint and varnish – see, there is a tool, after all!!! Though, I’m struggling to come up with a situation where you’d required the use of both a spanner and paint simultaneously…?!
Another one from Veritas [well, Lee-Valley, actually] is the magnetic Third-Hand Torch Holder:
For those of you who were already aware of the Pocketwrench tool, I bet you hadn’t seen this one before! Its name tells you all you need to know, really. While it is designed to be used primarily to hold torches, the only torch I could find to hand was actually too small in diameter. I bet it can hold other things, too, and there are bound to be plenty of situations in which this tool can be used in woodworking ‘shop.
There was also a third Veritas purchase during this new-year spree and, as surprised as I am to say this, it’s a product that I’m quite disappointed with… However, that’ll have to be the subject of a forth-coming blog post! 😉
While I have this odd feeling that there are a couple of items that I haven’t photographed [even though, my invoices tell a different story! – Perhaps this is an effect of the 2.5% rise in VAT?!?], one final addition to my workshop was a pin chuck set for my ED16B pillar drill:
This is a product that I’m certain I mentioned when I bought my current pillar drill, back in September. While I love the 16mm capacity keyless chuck that came fitted as standard, it does leave me unable to hold bits smaller than 3mm in diameter so, until now, I’ve had to rely on the accuracy of my hand drilling(!!). It comes with three different sized collets (similar to a thread-cutting tool or ‘tap’) capable of holding bits up tom 2.5mm round and, after a brief test, it does appear to run true with no obvious signs or run-out and no need to balance the tool, as you might when fitting a collet extender to your router. I don’t currently see why these couldn’t be used in hand-held drills… Like the main chuck on my drill; all bit changes and tightening are totally tool-free.
That’s probably it for tool purchases in the near future – as much as I would like to lay my hands on one of these plunge saws (another essential for fitted work, in my humble opinion…). I should have a couple of new blades for my table saw coming this week and, most importantly of all, I will finally be looking to purchase a load of treated timber so that I can finally sort my workshop out!! Weather forecast is looking positive towards the end of this first week in February, as well.
Thanks for reading.