What do you think? What tool in the woodshop is neglected the most?

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Forum topic by docholladay posted 08-30-2010 04:09 AM 2171 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1287 posts in 4066 days

08-30-2010 04:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tools hand tools power tools

My friend “Helluvawreck” and I have been PM’ing each other and having some discussion about hand saws. In particular, we were talking about back saws and then even more specifically, we have been discussing dovetail saws. Anyway, he made the statement that he feels that the lowly handsaw (generic grouping) is probably the most neglected tool to be found in most wood shops. He might be correct in that we often keep using a tool, even though it is not performing as well as it should. The hand saw could be one of the worst about this because, many of us, have never really experienced what it feels like to use a hand saw that has really been tuned up and sharpened well. I remember the first time that I used one of my Disston saws after having it properly sharpened. It was a very eye opening experience for me. That started me to thinking. When I was primarily a power tool user, my hand saws would only be used when it wasn’t feasible or it would be too time consuming for me to use a hand saws. In those days, my hand saws probably were much neglected. I certainly was not good about keeping them sharpened. However, as I have become more and more hand tool centric in my woodworking, I find that my hand saws, as well as many other hand tools are maintained much better than they used to be. I am much less likely to keep using a dull hand saw or a slightly dull chisel without giving them a touch up to get them performing well again. However, I have to confess that I have pushed table saw blades, band saw blades, drill bits and router bits, etc. beyond the point of truly being sharp, as I have also done with hand tools. I have to think that the one tool, in my shop that gets neglected more than any other, would have to be my air compressor. It is kind of the out-of-sight-out-of-mind kind of thing. It sits under a bench and it just keeps on pumping air for my tools. I often forget to drain the water. I change the oil about once every year or two (when I think of it). What do you think? What tool in your shop gets neglected the most?

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

28 replies so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7137 posts in 4202 days

#1 posted 08-30-2010 04:44 AM

Greetings docholladay,

Probably the one tool that gets neglected in my shop is my scrollsaw…. It’s a Delta 788 (the yellow one)
I bought it about 3 years ago, and have used it one time….. I don’t like scrolling at all. It’s got the nice stand
and light and everything you’d need to scroll….My back is so bad, I can’t sit on a stool and do, and i’ts just
boring to me…. too slow…... Brand new….wish I could sell it to someone who like to scroll….....20” depth..

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 4066 days

#2 posted 08-30-2010 04:48 AM


I have to confess that my scroll saw doesn’t get a lot of use in my shop. Especially now that I have a band saw. It definitely would be in the top 4 of the most neglected tools in my shop. However, I was really thinking along the line of the tools that we do use, but we neglect in the sense that we do not do regular maintenance on them. That is why I mentioned my compressor. I use it regularly, but I don’t do regular maintenance on it like I should. I just keeps on pumping, even though, I neglect it very badly.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View ClayandNancy's profile


532 posts in 4023 days

#3 posted 08-30-2010 04:49 AM

ME! Just kidding, I have to agree with you on the hand saws, as a matter of fact I’m going to have to find them, it’s been so looooong.

View ABrown's profile


102 posts in 3918 days

#4 posted 08-30-2010 05:03 AM

My spray guns I’ll spray something and get to doing something else and forget to clean them out

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 4066 days

#5 posted 08-30-2010 05:07 AM

Aaron, I use my spray gun so seldom, I completely forgot that I even have one. However, while it is not used often, can’t say that I have neglected it in the sense of not maintaining. However, if used regularly, I can see how it could become a “chore” to clean them.

I used to live near Dalton, GA. I lived in Ringgold, GA for several years. I really liked that area in the state of Georgia. Great place to live.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7137 posts in 4202 days

#6 posted 08-30-2010 05:17 AM

Hey doc,
Ok….. I got you now…...I would say that the tools most neglected that I use all the time are my jointer and planer blades. I don’t have them sharpened near as often as I need to….It’s hard to send them out to get
maintanence when you use them nearly everyday. I don’t have anyone close that can sharpen blades, so I
have to send them out when I get a lull in projects….....

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 4066 days

#7 posted 08-30-2010 05:26 AM


You should check out Garage Woodworkers video where he shows how to sharpen these blades yourself using a jig and the scary sharp method. Here is a link for your.

He’s also on LJ’s as well.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3874 days

#8 posted 08-30-2010 11:52 AM

I’m sort of in a transition stage. I have loved hand tools all of my life but because of severe time constraints (I’ve always been a work-a-holic at work) I have not had nearly the time I would like to devote to my woodworking hobby so I have been forced to use power tools mostly. This would certainly also be the case in the woodworking I have done at work. Now that I have my weekends free I want to become a master at my hand tools more and more. As a matter of fact if I could find the woodworking fairy ;-) who would make me a master of all of my hand tools but had to trade in all of my power tools for the skills he gave me then I would let him have everyone of my power tools in a minute – including my beloved PM table saw. Unfortunately, there is no woodworking fairy with a magic wand that makes you a hand tool master over night so just like everything else it comes only by hard work.

In view of this it would be really hard to answer this question. I have had a nice scroll saw for over a year but have used it only once. I’m not really sure why I bought it. The air compressor is the last thing that I think of but it d*mn well better be ready to give me air when I ask it to. Don’t do much for my nail guns either except get aggravated at them if they act up. I knowingly over use my saw blades and router bits. But I do try my best to take care of my hand tools – some of which I have had for many years – to the extent that time constraints allow me. Of my hand tools, the ones most neglected would be the saws. This would surely have been caused by not ever having learned how to sharpen them nor would I have the slightest idea who to take them to around here to have them sharpened so if I’m going to go where I want to go in woodworking at this late stage in my life (I’m 60) I’ll have to learn how to sharpen my hand saws myself. It’s just like anything else – it doesn’t come free for nothing – it takes time and hard work to learn anything and time is one of our greatest enemies.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View mafe's profile


12928 posts in 4097 days

#9 posted 08-30-2010 01:01 PM

Hi Doc,
My compressor is a sure no 1 also, I had it for app.5 years, and I never did anything… I fell guilty now…
Drill bits, and it’s so stupid, since they perform so much better sharp.
For years it was my chisels, but it was because I only had a bad stone, so it was not possible to reach a good result. After I really took up the woodworking, I have changed the attitude, so now I have a water grinder, and this opened a new world. I also have to admit I gave away my planes and bought some for replaceable blades at that time… Now I’m on a new planet.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 4066 days

#10 posted 08-30-2010 01:05 PM


I once was referred to a saw sharpening service in N. Georgia by the guys at Highland Hardware over there in Atlanta. I don’t remember who it was, but you might want to call the guys at Highland. However, if I remember correctly, I contacted them for an estimate as to what it would cost. Based on the quote they gave me, I could have almost bought one of the premium saws new. That is one of the things that motivated me to begin to learn to sharpen my own saws.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4123 days

#11 posted 08-30-2010 01:43 PM

:-( once it was the compressor but learned the hard way to maintain it
my vallet sreamed at me the day I had to replace my big compressor
about 20k, kr. ~= 4500$ at that time so believe me when I say maintain them
the best possiple way you can, after I stopped my business that was one of the
things I brought home , not used at the moment but in the future I will use it
in the finishroom and it will be nursed like a little baby …lol

for now I think its my hand powertools I neglect little too much but they #@&%”@&@£# work when I need them …...LOL I´m too busy with learning
the cheisel , handplanes handsaws and scrapers to know in the limiited hours of shoptime I have :-)

take care

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4082 days

#12 posted 08-30-2010 04:02 PM

I have 2 power tools in my shop that I just never use, my scroll saw and a disk sander.

With respect to the scroll saw, I just don’t like scrolling. I really should sell that thing.

With respect to the disk sander, I have many options when it comes to sanding including a stationary belt sander, oscillating spindle sander, strip sander and numerous hand held sanders. I just never run into an occasion where the disk sander is the better sanding option. I should sell that thing also.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View rance's profile


4277 posts in 4168 days

#13 posted 08-30-2010 04:09 PM

Scrollsaw is the one for my shop. 2+ years and it is STILL unopened in the box.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View schloemoe's profile


709 posts in 3946 days

#14 posted 08-30-2010 05:52 PM

Mine would have to be my corded drills . since battery operated stuff came along I don’t use them at all unless I forget to charge batteries. 2nd would be my scroll saw I only use it once a year to do Christmas things for my wife….........Schloemoe

-- schloemoe, Oregon , http://www.

View Stonekettle's profile


135 posts in 3912 days

#15 posted 08-30-2010 08:52 PM

I’m with Schloemoe, corded power drills. I’ve got half a dozen or so. Never use them. Can’t remember the last time I used them. Second most neglected tool is the hollow mortising machine, I only do mortise and tenon joints once in a blue moon.

Still, he who dies with the most tools wins, so you know…

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

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