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Playing favorites

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We all have our favorite things in life, and the woodshop is no different. Herewith is a list of a few of my favorite shop things.

Favorite wood: Oak, hands down. It’s strong, stable, looks great, is easy to work, and is suitable for any type of project. Second place is walnut for some of the same reasons, plus I like how it smells when you cut it. My nomination for most underappreciated wood: poplar.

Favorite cutting tool: Band saw. The band saw was my first major power tool, and I learned to master it long before I got my first table saw. It’s the only saw that, with very little prep, can crosscut, rip and do curves with equal quality on almost any workpiece.

Favorite so-called shop “chore:” Sanding. Everyone else seems to gripe and moan about the sanding stage of a project. Not me. It’s at the sanding point in a project where you truly begin to see the finished piece. Plus, I find that using a random-orbit sander is relaxing, and the perfect final task before closing shop for the day.

Favorite no-brainer shop trick: Using a piece of scrap as a backer board on the router table.

Favorite minor shop accident that’s become a great story to tell: Dropping a router on my head.

Overall favorite tool: Bosch 10.8-volt mini driver. I rarely use any of my regular drill-drivers anymore for driving tasks. For drilling, yeah, but for driving screws this little blue guy is always within reach. If I need a few tools for working away from the shop, this will always be part of the team.

Favorite shop decoration: Rubber chicken. They tend to dry out and crack after a few years, so you have to replace them periodically. I’m on my fifth one.

There’s some of mine. What are yours?

Till next time,


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