Woodworking Tool Reviews

DeWalt 18Volt Drill DC720KA

DeWalt has worked hard over the years to establish itself as a reputable tool provider and their efforts have paid off. The DC720KA is a real workhorse in the DeWalt line. Packing 18 volts of power means this drill will do almost any job around the house and for more serious woodworkers, this unit is serious work tool.

 Despite the fact this tool is carrying 18 volts worth of battery power and yes, it is somewhat heavy at 4.8 lbs (at least in our opinion) as can be expected, DeWalt seems to have been able to offset the weight issue by keeping the balance and grip of the tool such that it is easy to handle. We found the drill easy to use for extended periods and the extra power and battery life made this tool a must have.

 The unit has two speed settings, a high speed setting used more for drilling, particularly through wood and a slower speed setting often used more for power work or for driving screws. The speed selector switch is readily available and slides easily between positions.

One of the things we look for in testing cordless drive / driver units is the maximum speed of the drill. In this case the DeWalt DC720KA has a variable speed range in both high and low speed ranges and peaks at a very nice 1700 RPM. To compliment the speed setting is a 17 position  clutch setting which again works in both high and low speed settings, and when combined with the variable speed trigger, this drill can be used for almost any conceivable drilling or driving application.

 One nice feature of this tool is the LED light which, at first, we thought was not all that useful but then began to thing of all the number of times we are in confined areas, trying to drill holes, or more … trying to drive screws and having a light on the drive to actually see what you are doing in huge benefit, so to that we say Great !

 The last thing we look at is the chuck. For general purpose drill / driver units we prefer keyless chucks and this unit provides that. One of the disadvantage with some keyless chucks is their tendency to loosen with use, we did not find that with this tool. Both drill bits and drive bits were gripped firmly until we elected to remove them.

 Overall we were quite happy with this drill, we liked the power, the gripping power of the chuck and found the battery life for our testing purposes was excellent. From out testing this appeared to be another great tool from DeWalt.

Lie-Neilsen Low Angle Jack Plane

This a fairly "specific-use" tool, but really top flight. They used to be called butcher-block planes because they were used mostly to flatten endgrain maple butcher block. I carve large pieces of poplar with alot of end grain glue joints and with my regular compliment of planes and sanding equipment, I wasn't able to get really dead flat joints. The low angle jack plane is a very well machined handplane. It is a "simple" block plane with an iron body that has an adjustable throat, a bronze lever cap and cherry handle and knob.

The blade is a hefty 3/16 " and is adjusted with a bronze knurled screw. There is no lateral blade adjustment, but the bed is ground so true and the forward adjustment is without any slop so you dont need it. Every piece of the plane is rock solid so even on end grain you get perfect curls.

I also use this plane on tough woods (curly and birdseye maple) long and short grain with great results.When I look at this plane as a machine, with the exception of a few carving tools, nothing I own is as well made. I had always looked at $225 planes like jewelry, nice but unneccesary. But You really do get what you pay for atleast with this plane. On a 1 to 10 scale it's an easy 10. If you use hand tools extensively (you caveman!!) certainly try out one of Lie-Neilsen's planes. The only downside is the price, but it will last your lifetime. Incedentally, this plane did not need any "tuning" before use, five minutes on the blade with a leather strop and it was perfect.

Jet 10 JWTS-10JF 10" Table Saw

 For a mid-level price saw, in my opinion, you cannot beat this saw.  The motor. 1 1/2 HP is  quiet compared to other saws we have tried.We also like the positioning of the off/on switch, although it did take a while to get used to, but we soon remembered where it was and found it to be in a handy, convenient location.

After assembly, it gave me true and accurate cuts right out of the box. something that I was impressed with, but you should check your own, you might not be so lucky.


Although the fence system is good, it not fantastic. Like most fences I wish it was a bit longer, but then I wish that about my sailboat every time I take it out too. I like the saw because it is sturdy and well built like all Jet equipment and feels comfortable to use.

The trunions (which hold up the blade assembly) are extra heavy, which is one of the primary features that sold me on this saw. Nothing is more annoying than having to re-aligh the blade every few cuts and this one will really button down that trunion assemble unit.


If you watched the video, you have seen the features this saw has.

All in all, this is an excellent saw and an excellent value.

Collins Complete Woodworkers Manual

Submiitted by GRUE Collins Complete Woodworkers Manual by Albert Jackson and David Day Format: Hardback Price: £24.99 UK Publication Date: October 3, 1996 Imprint: Collins ISBN: 0-00-414005-2

USA released as - The Complete Manual of Woodworking
I was looking for some up to date references for my woodworking classes and came across Collins Complete Woodworker's Manual.

YES! Printed in a way that would attract 21st century teen-agers through to seasoned veterans. It's comprehensive, with up-to-date illustrations on woodworking and includes stunning colour photographs. A special feature is a chapter detailing with the characteristics of a huge variety of timber with plates clearly showing each, and the effect of applying a clear finish.

To give you an idea of how well the book is illustrated, a lecturer in publishing commented: "I would recommend that anyone interested in the design and production of explanatory drawings should take a look at this book by way of example."

Importantly the book deals brilliantly with design, and provides ergonomic data, using actual three-dimensional designer's sketches, to illustrate the basic principles of chair, table and storage-unit construction. Gee this is well done! There are ideas for selecting everything from the best joint for the job to the most efficient order of assembly.

For the tool buffs, this book boasts an unrivalled illustrated survey of every type of tool “ from the bench plane to the power router, and a Japanese saw to a universal machine “ and each is comprehensively described to help the novice, inform the tool buyer and assist the experienced woodworker to plan and stock a safe machine shop.

There is great chapter on joint making with photographic examples, working text and step-by-step drawings of every type of joint. It even shows you how to set out a beveled dovetail!

Whether it is turning, woodcarving, veneering or marquetry, bending or finishing wood, the book provides detailed coverage of those crafts and would be appealing to every woodworker. There is even advice on using such materials as metal, glass, marble and leather in combination with wood. Add to this a comprehensive range of fixings and fittings – from the latest in adhesives to locks and handles “ and you have everything you need to complete the job.

Looking at other reviews the book is variously described as "A fine book", "Well thought out and well designed", "A friend to lean on", "Thoroughly authoritative, well-illustrated and well-produced" and "An absolute must for the bookshelf"

The authors, Albert Jackson and David Day are the authoritative writers on DIY, home improvement and maintenance. They have made many television appearances, and have presented two major BBC series on furniture making and renovation. Their best-selling books include the ˜Collins Complete DIY Manual'