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An appetite for apps

If you’ve ever found yourself wishing for a specific woodworking app, chances are good someone else has wished for it, too – and created it.

In a recent blog I mentioned in passing that I’d used a phone app to calculate angles for cutting coves on my table saw, and almost immediately got a couple emails about it. The app is called, simply, “Cove Angle Calc,” and it’s available on the App Store for the iPhone.

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The app literally takes out all the guesswork typically involved with setting up these angles by line-of-site on the saw table. You just input your blade diameter, kerf width, and the desired cove depth and width, and hit “Enter.” Boom. Done.

This is one of a dozen woodworking apps I have on my phone, but I have to admit that I mostly just use the ones that handle tasks I’m just not very good at. Cove angles are just one example.

Other apps on my phone include a board foot calculator, fraction/decimal converter, cut list and sheet goods optimizer and, in case you didn’t already catch the drift, a few others that involve math. I also have a wood species app, as well as a plant identifier which has never failed to identify exactly what kind of tree I’m looking at with a quick snapshot of a leaf. I even have a woodturning game that comes in handy when I’m bored waiting at the dentist’s office, and a stud finder (actually, a nail finder) that I’ve used several times away from my shop.

Like any other tool, phone apps work best when they supplement your woodworking, not take the place of it. I try not to rely on them all the time, except the math stuff, and often do things myself first and then use the app to verify my own results. Still, I’m glad I have them available when needed just by reaching into my pocket.

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There’s such a thing as “Too Much Information.” Right now, though, I’m experiencing a different kind of TMI: Too Many Ideas.