Hand Tools Archive

Re: A plea for more "user tools"

William Duffield
You must have buried that plane very deeply, because I can't see it. :D

Often, you can add a touch of class to a user-made tool without a lot of additional expense or effort, especially when you know you will use it a lot and just want to make it a little more comfortable to hold or a little quicker to set up. In anticipation of these "opportunities", I save fancy junk in a "potential tool parts" box or drawer. It is fairly simple to add a brass wear strip where you know it will prevent wear on a critically dimensioned wooden part. A knurled brass knob might be easily substituted for a galvanized wing nut. A scrap of exotic hardwood might be substituted for a block of OSB, MDF or Baltic Birch plywood. ou might find a small piece of curly crotch walnut that was right next to a huge knot from a branch, and thus tossed into the parts bin because a furniture component could not be cut out of it. A few strokes from a scraper, file or sand paper are often useful to relieve sharp arises to make the tool more comfortable also improve its appearance, and might not take more than a minute or two to implement. A quick wipe with your favorite quick finish (e.g., Watco or walnut oil or beeswax, etc.) can add some luxuriousness to a tool, but maybe not to a hunk of MDF. :D

Sure, if you only need it once, or if you are not sure it is going to work, just throw it together out of drywall screws and 2x4's, but show us and tell us how well it works, and also any functional shortcomings you have discovered while building and using it.

Rule of Thumb: For everything that you point out that you did wrong, also explain two things that you did right.

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