Woodworking Tool Reviews

Great New Measuring Tools You Should Know About

 “Measure twice cut once” I always hated this saying, and despite the fact that I forced myself to adhere to it, it STILL cut boards to the wrong length. It used to aggravate me that no one made a tape measure for right-handed woodworkers. Imagine this for a minute, you have a board that is 30 inches long and you need to cut 15-5/16” off it. You pick up your pencil with your right hand and your measuring tape with the left and lay it out on the wood. All the numbers are up-side down. Can you think of any other single thing we do that is more ripe for making mistakes than reading numbers up-side-down?

Oh sure, we can all read numbers up-side down, unfortunately we often read them wrong don't we, that's why we measure twice and cut once, and hope that our brains and eyes were coordinated in seeing the numbers correctly. Well there is HOPE, finally some tape measure companies have realized that seeing the numbers the right way up might be of help to us woodworkers. Infact, some have even made tapes that are for both left and right hand people because they have numbers you can read EACH WAY.

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Kreg K3 Master Pocket Hole Jig System Review

Kreg K3“No self respecting woodworker would use any kind of short cut system to make joints” … that’s what I overheard at a wood show not so long ago. I thought to myself at the time, why would you discount something without ever trying it. I happen to love the Kreg Pocket Hole System and have used it extensively. I have even tested it against other joints, both with and without glue and have found that it not only stands up well but surpasses some joints. In many cases of testing joints with the Kreg System we found that the wood failed before the joint failed.

The real beauty of the Kreg Pocket Hole System is that it is easy to use, fast and accurate (with or without glue). Kreg has made it a point to make a tool that even a novice woodworker can use and make quality, solid joints.

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Bosch 1617EVS Router Combo Package Review

Bosch 1617EVSPKChoosing a router can be agony. There are so many to choose from … then do you choose fixed base or plunge? And what about collet sizes?

Well Bosch has made choosing a router easy with their 1617 EVS which can be either a fixed base or a plunge and if you buy the dual package you actually get both bases and the router also comes with both quarter inch and half in collets so you can use any router bit you want.

The Bosh 1617EVS is a rated at two and a quarter horse, but the real rating is that it is a 12 amp motor. Most outlets in the average home are 15 amp which is the maximum amperage they will take before they trip the breaker. The Bosh 12 amp is a powerful router but not so big that it is difficult to hold on to for those hand routing jobs.

Bosch 1617One of the trade offs with larger 15 amp routers is that they are much bigger and heavier. This means they are much harder to control and use when they are not being used in a router table. The Bosh 1617EVS provides more than enough power for most jobs while still maintaining a router that is easy to handle.

We liked the fact that this router also has both quarter and half inch collets which means you always have a choice for router bits. To also aid in making great cuts this router is also variable speed, a very important consideration for any woodworker who wants to lessen the possibility of burning wood. Burning wood, as any woodworker knows is a real problem because in many cases the only way to get rid of the burns is sanding, which is time consuming, tedious and, depending on the project may cause other problems of alignment or connections if too much material is sanded away.

The off on switch is easy to access for either right of left handed woodworkers, and for me at least, having a nice wooden handle to use on a tool just seems to be more fitting.

The only time we found this router to strain somewhat was when making raised panel doors. We still easily accomplished making the doors but we did it by making three passes along the wood and making a slightly deeper cut each time until the final cut was made. This is not a bad thing to do even if you own a router that can make the cut in one or two passes because making multiple passes helps to lessen the risk of burning the wood which is so prevalent with some species.

All in all we found the Bosch 1617EVS to be an excellent, versatile router that we would highly recommend for any woodworking shop. This tool can become a real workhorse for those willing to invest in a quality tool.


Rockwell SoniCrafter Review


You can always tell a “good idea” when others start imitating you. Such is the case with the Rockwell SoniCrafter Oscillating tool. If you are familiar with the original tool of in this ever expanding field, the Fein Oscillating tool then you will know what the SoniCrafter is like too, at least to some degree. Others have recently brought similar oscillating tools into the market place like Bosch and Dremel.

These oscillating type tools are often the kind of tool you think you will likely never need … until the time you finally realize just how handy and time saving they can be. True they are probably not the tool a woodworker might use every day, but for those otherwise very tough and time consuming jobs, these oscillating tools shine.

What we really liked about the Rockwell SoniCrafter is the vast range of accessories that makes this tool as versatile as possible. Not only does it cut things like wood, tile and similar products, it can also grind, shape, sand and polish these items that most other tools are useless at.

The SoniCrafer has a nice solid feel to it and thanks to the rubberized construction, is easy to hang on to. We also liked the fact that this unit was a corded one for one very important reason. We felt that similar tools that are battery operated, and yes battery operated is a nice feature … except when you have a tool you use infrequently (most likely like an oscillating tool) and the batteries are dead. It is far more inconvenient to have to charge a battery in order to get a job done than it is to simply plug the tool in and actually get the job done.This tool is very much a cross-utility tool in that DIY home reno users as well as dedicated “woodworkers” can get equal use from a tool like this. We found the tool easy to use and attaching the accessories and different cutting, grinding and sanding attachments fairly easy and quick to affix.  

It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a detail sander or are installing a new floor and need cut off the bottoms of door mouldings to fit the new floor, this tool is the perfect match. The variable speed control means that it has a wider breadth of applications when it comes to cutting and sanding. We have heard of complaints that the tool can get a bit warm to use after extended use, we did not find the heat excessive, but then we didn’t find any applications that we felt called for long usage.

All in all we found the Rockwell SoniCrafter to be a well put together tool with a nice variety of attachments, AND at a price that is very attractive for a tool of this type. Even for someone who is more of a casual user, there is a price package to fit your budget and you can get other attachments later on if you need them.