Preparing for the overhaul...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Tools I Use

I thought about going around and taking pictures of all of them, but then wondered, does anyone even want to see them?  Plus, too, my newest toy isn't yet out of its box.  Jim and Jackson went to Home Depot with me yesterday before work, and we got some MDF panels, too.  They're pretty good sports.

Jackson in his jumperoo; he turned 5 months two
London feels left out.
Yesterday, I purchased a Rigid 10" 15 amp table saw with a portable stand.  Due to my oft-discussed space issues, I'll be using it outside.  

I also have a MicroLux Tilt Arbor Table Saw, which is what I do most of my fine cuts on.  I bought this to replace the PREAC.  I had two PREAC saws for years, and was not happy with them.  My biggest issues were vibration and lack of variability.  I found it very difficult to achieve precise cuts, because the PREAC just wasn't calibrated right.  My MicroLux, however, is accurate to within 0.03 mm, which makes a huge difference to the final product.  Also, because it tilts, fits larger blades, has a variable speed motor, etc, it's much more versatile.

The only thing I miss about the PREAC is Pete Boorum's jigs, but jig making isn't that hard and you can always make your own.  Micro-Mark sells some pretty good accessories, including a nice feather board.  I also have their anti-vibration pad, which works great and is worth the comparatively small investment.  My workbenches are kind of old and warped--they came with the house, which was built in '38--and the anti-vibration pad even works in that less than ideal situation.

After experimenting with several different Dremel products over the years--I've owned an embarrassing number of tools that didn't quite work out--I settled on the Dremel 4000.  Not all Dremels are created equal, and the less expensive, less powerful ones aren't always up to the tasks I have in mind for them.  I love dremelling, and most of my projects, large and small, feature some.  I used my Dremel to create the arches in the greenhouse; I cut two arch pieces, placed them back to back, and used my Dremel to create the actual arch shape.  It's a lot easier to create a composite Gothic arch out of two pieces of wood, than try to get that perfect little point.

I have both a MicroLux electric mitre saw and a regular old box-style mitre saw.  I use the cheap one more.  Spending a lot of money on a mitre saw is, I've discovered, like spending a lot of money on a bottle of champagne or a serrated blade knife: past a point, not worth it.  Korbel tastes better than Veuve Cliquot, and our OXO serrated knives work great.  Our Shun knives, however, are worth every penny.

I love 3M sanding sponges.  The best sanding supplies are made for the automotive industry.

I don't have an airbrush, but I'm seriously considering getting one.

I like X-ACTO #11 blades, #2 pencils, and metal rulers.

I stopped using T-squares awhile ago.  Even the really expensive ones are often slightly off-angle.  But speed squares still rule--and, for some reason, are generally cheaper and better made.  Huh?

I only use Olfa self-healing cutting mats.

To be honest, my favorite brushes are the synthetic bristle ones available at Michael's.  It's all about the quality of the bristles and the actual construction of the brush, not the brand name.  A set of several costs about five bucks and, on the whole, they're better brushes than some brushes I've paid twenty times that for.  

Q-tips rule, and that is all.

Everything I make, I make with these tools. 


Giac said...

Hello C.J.
Thanks for the information. It's so hard to know what are good tools.
Big hug,

C.J. said...

Thank you! :-)