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Unused assets

There are multiple ways to achieve a single result, and in woodworking that means favoring one method while others go unused.

In some cases, a particular means of doing at task isn’t used simply because you lack something required for that method. If you don’t own a jointer, say, you might instead do the same job with a router or hand plane, just to mention two alternatives. But more often, it’s a matter of personal preference, and I’m betting every woodshop owner reading this has a list of things they could use, but simply favor something else instead.

I don’t use scrapers, for example. In fact, I no longer even own one. I’ve tried using one on occasion years ago, but never liked the results and found them too finicky to tune properly. Instead, I get the job done with sanding, which I find faster and – for my purposes – easier and more efficient.

And, in no particular order, I also don’t use lacquer finish, several common hand planes, laser levels, a moisture meter or non-orbital hand sanders. I own all of those (except lacquer), and use them so infrequently that they’re more or less stored away permanently.

The same principle guides other methods used in my woodshop. I prefer router table to hand-held routing and use a table whenever possible. I’ll use a cordless tool anytime over a corded one. I’ll almost always use a miter saw over a table saw for right-angle cuts in narrow stock.

The important thing is that I know how to use all of those tools I never, or rarely, use. And since I own them, I could put them to work anytime I please. I have simply learned what I prefer and what works best for the way I work.

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