What are some of the little things that make woodworking better, easier, more comfortable?

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Forum topic by OldBull posted 06-03-2020 05:49 PM 3572 views 0 times favorited 66 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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516 posts in 510 days

06-03-2020 05:49 PM

As a beginner I have made several charts to print out. I have one as my desktop image so I look at it all the time (actual wood sizes). I am going to purchase a headset (I shoot 556×45 as well) that has music (bluetooth) but can hear voices (actual voices, no demons:) but still block out loud noises.

What little things do you do while woodworking that has become habit or makes it more enjoyable or more accurate. Pencil behind the ear, music, calculator, android tablet, take a break, treat yourself to lemonade, keep the vacuum handy, favorite shoes that don’t get wood in them as much, apron, special shirt, pet, etc etc. Maybe something you taught yourself or learned on your own you would share.

Thanks for even the smallest suggestions to make my woodworking more enjoyable.

66 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile


19118 posts in 2353 days

#1 posted 06-03-2020 05:58 PM

Funny you mention pencil behind the ear. For decades, I had a pencil behind my ear when I was in the shop or working elsewhere. If I had on a ball cap, the pencil was tucked into the cap behind my ear. But, this year Father Time caught up and I had to get eyeglasses. As much as I LOVE being able to see again, my pencil will no longer set on my ear. I can wear a cap and tuck it in but it has to be further back and it’s just not the same… Funny the kinds of things we get used to :-)

But more relevantly, I would recommend keeping a box of nitrile gloves in the shop. It’ll keep glue and finish off your hands and will also keep you from transferring dirt you didn’t know was on your hands to your finish. Also keep plenty of rags on hand. Disposable or washable either one but make sure you always have something clean to wipe your hands on or wipe your work off. And a bench brush. Have some sort of brush that you can use to clean your bench or tools off after covering them in saw dust.

I could probably go on at length but those popped immediatly to mind :-)

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View Dave Mills's profile

Dave Mills

89 posts in 614 days

#2 posted 06-03-2020 06:18 PM

Good ones…. how about acid brushes for glue-ups, a couple rolls of blue shop towels handy. Also rubber mats on the floor. Some may not need this, but for me general organization “everything in it’s place” does good for my enjoyment. Noise protection with music, definitely a good one too.

-- Dave

View HokieKen's profile


19118 posts in 2353 days

#3 posted 06-03-2020 06:36 PM

I’ll add, with caveat, cold beer :-) I don’t allow myself to set around and drink but I do enjoy good beer. So, I treat myself to one or two sometimes when I’m working in the shop. Caveats: never more than two and never turn on a power tool when you have a buzz.

Dave is spot on with “everything in its place” too. Few things frustrate me as much as trying to work in a messy shop. Just taking 30 minutes before starting a session and putting everything where it belongs and sweeping up makes for a much more relaxing and productive time in the shop for me.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View sansoo22's profile


1748 posts in 869 days

#4 posted 06-03-2020 06:55 PM

I really like the charts idea. I’m planning to pick up a laminating machine soon so i can do the same thing. Simple stuff like router bit speed chart, pilot hole sizes for hardware, dado stack chart, etc.

Two of my favorite things in the shop are my finishing supply rack.

And my cleaning and maintenance supplies area. This is all on french cleats so i can pop off a caddy and take it with me

I also have a 42” TV on the wall hooked to an old PC built into the top of a tool cabinet and a roku soundbar attached to it.

Didn’t mean to turn that into a show and tell reply but sometimes pics are better than words. Since I dont have a big DC yet cleanliness is key for me. Knowing where my brooms and brushes are at all times is a huge help.

View Ocelot's profile


3350 posts in 3853 days

#5 posted 06-03-2020 07:32 PM

Light, light and more light!

(old eyes need it)


-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View BlasterStumps's profile


2116 posts in 1654 days

#6 posted 06-03-2020 07:40 PM

I agree with having a place for things and keeping things picked up.

An apron for certain tasks so you can keep your clothes clean.

I recently added a small window A/C and an air filtration unit.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." MIke in CO

View pottz's profile


20130 posts in 2199 days

#7 posted 06-03-2020 07:52 PM

music is a must,i have a frig with with refreshments,rubbber mats at all the main machines,as ocelot said good light.good dust collection pets you mentioned allowed when working,dangerous.i have a computer which is good for talkin to you guys and looking things up im building.lots of pencils and tape measures in various places to avoid running around tying to find one.these are my main things i can think of right now.welcome to lumber jocks oldbull.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


2836 posts in 762 days

#8 posted 06-03-2020 10:36 PM

The number one woodworking asset is blue painters tape, 1000 and 1 uses.

-- WWBBJ: It is better to be interesting and wrong, than boring and right.

View AndyJ1s's profile


485 posts in 970 days

#9 posted 06-03-2020 10:53 PM

My paternal grandfather’s motto was “Every tool is in it’s place, which is where I last used it.” Worked well for him. Not so much for the rest of us that tried to use his shop, which frustrated him, since we often would forget where he last used it.

My maternal grandfather used the more traditional definition.

My dad’s definition was closer to his father-in-law’s, perhaps from having worked in his father’s shop too much.

I’m kinda in between… If it is not in its place, then it is where I last used it.

-- Andy - Arlington TX

View 987Ron's profile


1978 posts in 531 days

#10 posted 06-03-2020 11:27 PM

+ on blue painters tape. White charcoal pencil for dark woods. 3 remotes for the dust collector, one by the table saw, one by the sander and one near the miter saw. Organized storage of tools and supplies….still gets lost.

Been thinking of a log to keep track of where I stored tools and items not used much…. old age and memory? Probably forget where the log is.

Just being in the shop with the memories of Granddads, fathers and their work.

-- Ron

View Walker's profile


465 posts in 1687 days

#11 posted 06-03-2020 11:40 PM

Lot’s of good replies about ‘things’ already, so I’ll add one that is more intangible… presence of mind.

By that I mean the self awareness to know when I’m losing focus. At that point I need to stop for the day. Too many times I’ve been in the shop for hours (without realizing it), I begin to lose focus and make mistakes. That leads to frustration which leads to more mistakes. So for the sake of woodworking staying enjoyable I need to stop, put everything away for the day, and start with fresh eyes tomorrow.

-- ~Walker

View farmfromkansas's profile


220 posts in 829 days

#12 posted 06-03-2020 11:51 PM

Good DC system. And good sanders. My ROS is a Bosch ros65vc. Had an earlier Bosch, good sander but the new one is so smooth, can use it one handed. I have a fridge, with beer, but only have one when finished with machines for the day. Try to keep it down to one a day. I put my pencil in my shirt pocket.

View Woodmaster1's profile


1851 posts in 3802 days

#13 posted 06-04-2020 12:31 AM

Shop has a bathroom, refrigerator, microwave, and a 52” tv. All the comforts of home.

View hcbph_1's profile


100 posts in 529 days

#14 posted 06-04-2020 12:55 AM

I’m doing a lot more cleaning than I used to do. Lately I’ve started making storage containers for some of my stuff. I made a wooden box to keep my lathe chuck, face plates and other lathe related items organized in. Other things like adding t-track on the shaper fence for Board Buddies hold down. I have not spent more time in the shop working, rather more time organizing which makes things easier to find down the road.

View jkm312's profile


104 posts in 618 days

#15 posted 06-04-2020 12:58 AM

At the end of the day no matter how tired or frustrated if I didn’t finish what I set out to do. I always make myself clean and straighten the shop up. Put things back where they belong. Clear the clutter off of the benches. Starting out in chaos first thing in the day just never set right with me.

Avoid letting others set unrealistic deadlines and schedules. Quality workmanship takes time, effort and “presence of mind.”

Walker is spot on about presence of mind. Well stated sir.

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