Reply by Charlie Kilian

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Posted on Expanding my tool collection. What should I get next?

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Charlie Kilian

86 posts in 1588 days

#1 posted 12-27-2016 08:53 PM

Cabinet building benefits greatly from pneumatic tools. Being able to fasten two panels together in about 5 seconds is transformative.

I agree with everyone else, though, that it should be driven by need. The tools in my shop that are sitting around collecting dust are the ones that I bought because I could instead of the ones I bought because I needed them.

But just because it’s a fun question, here are some tools I find myself using all the time that I wouldn’t have anticipated. In no particular order:

  • taper bits. Drill bits for #6, #8, and #10 screws that drill perfect pilot holes and have an adjustable counter sink built in. I bought them reluctantly when I was following along on a cross cut sled build, and the instructions insisted that if I wanted the promised results, I needed to use a taper bit. Since then, I found I use these three more than any other drill bit in my shop.
  • Edge guide for my plunge router. I think of it as the other half of my plunge base. The plunge base is incomplete without it. I don’t know why these are treated as afterthoughts most of the time.
  • Compound square. Originally bought one. I have three and counting now. Having a few that you can set for various depths of whatever project you’re working on is really useful.
  • Wixey digital fence for my table saw. I would never have bought this except I had a problem with my fence and needed to replace everything, including the railings that had the markings on it. This thing is transformative. I don’t ever have to account for blade kerf, even with a stacked dado set. I can just adjust the zero point of the fence instead. Also, when you find you need to reset the fence to the same width as a previous cut, this fence lets you do it with impressive accuracy. ALSO, my digital calipers really came into their own in combination with the Wixey fence. Both add and subtract in thousandths of an inch. Working in the same units really helps.

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