What is your indispensable hand tool?

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
There are lots of brass gnurled nuts available. Measure the diameter of the post without the nut and try one. You may have to take a gamble/guess about the thread size and buy a couple.

 

David Justice

David
Corporate Member
I can't believe no one has mention the block plane. My Lee Valley Low angle block plane is truly indispensable. I use it on every project at some time. Great for chamfers and round overs, or to get a part to fit perfectly. I even use it on my shooting board.
 

BWhitney

Bruce
Corporate Member
Mike, you are an instigator. I can't get that question out of my mind so here goes.

My shop is a small overcrowded carport-to-garage-to-shop with limited space. I don’t think there is any one indispensable tool but there are rather indispensable categories of tools. Since my shop is so small, some of the activities take place in the driveway out front. I also do very little cabinet size wood working. Most of my projects are less than 24 inches square but I still have to break down panels and boards.

The one, over all others, number one, and indispensable tool is the grey matter between my ears. I have found that when it is not engaged, bad things happen. From there on down my tools are these..
  • Work surface. Every project needs a work surface. Mine are:
    • Work bench, Radial Arm Saw table Large and small tables for sawhorses out front
  • Measuring and Marking. Not every project needs a tape measure or ruler. My measuring and marking devices, in part:
    • 6” ruler, 12” ruler, 16’ tape measure, Incra 6” T-square ruler, Dial and analog calipers, Carpenters square, 4” Rockler machinist square
    • .5 mm and .7 mm mechanical pencils, Shop made marking knife,
  • Cutting and Shaping. Almost every project requires something to be cut to length, width, or thickness. Therefore:
    • Saws. I use two pull saws. A SharkSaw double sided for crosscut and ripping and also a dozuki pull saw for fine work. Occasionally I have to pull out my Xacto razor saw for extremely fine work or western style push saw for breaking down lumber.
    • Planes. How many planes does any one person need? For that matter, how many #5’s does any one person need?
    • Chisels. Not used as often as planes but certainly indispensable for the job they do.
  • Hole Making. Most projects require some hole making. I mostly use power tools for this but occasionally break out the: Brace and bits and Egg beater.
  • Fastening. Very few projects require no fastening beyond a good fit and friction.
    • Adhesives. Usually Titebond but other times a specialty adhesive is called for.
    • Screw drivers. Usually powered but have several hand powered sets including Yankee style.
    • Nut drivers. Again usually powered but have a basic manual set.
  • Sharpening. Again, I do a lot of my sharpening with power tools, but also have these: Sand paper and plate glass. Saw sharpening vise, files, etc.
  • Striking Tools. I have lots of hammers and mallets: Sledge hammers 4 and 6 pound, claw hammers 20 and 16 oz., ball peen large and small, brass mallets, rubber mallets, small hammers used in clock and watch making, square and round headed mallets with handles, turned round mallets from big to smaller.
After that it basically gets into the power tool realm. Our ancestors are still proving that fine woodworking can be done solely with hand tools. We are proving that it is usually faster and more convenient to use a mixture of hand tools and power tools.

Are computers considered hand tools? Most of my projects start out being drawn up in Sketch up.
 

BWhitney

Bruce
Corporate Member
Trying to pick something more uncommon. I've had the same one for probably 20 years. Lost the locking nut. Still so darn useful I just use it without.

Mark, I think I have that identical tool. I'll check the size of the locking nut against some knurled nuts that I have on order. I'll get back to you on that.
 

BWhitney

Bruce
Corporate Member
Trying to pick something more uncommon. I've had the same one for probably 20 years. Lost the locking nut. Still so darn useful I just use it without.

Mark
It appears that my locking nut is M3 with a .5mm pitch. McMaster-Carr part (McMaster-Carr) should be what you need. $1.47 and no, I don't have any of those on order.
Probably less trouble to just buy a new protractor.
 

marinosr

Richard
Senior User
My coarse Liogier rasp? Always using it to make things "just fit", shaping router templates, roughing out curves, rounding over. I subject it to a good bit of abuse around the house as well as in the shop.
 

Tarhead

Mark
Corporate Member
Mine is a small ~6"X8" plywood shooting board I use with my block plane for sneaking up on the length of small stuff with a bench hook on the opposite side for quick handsaw and chisel cuts.
 

McRabbet

Rob
Corporate Member
Safety glasses, 29 dB Peltor Ear Muffs and Gervin half-face respirator are always in use whenever I am working in my shop = Indispensable.
 

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