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Wrong tool, right job

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You can always count on me to use the right tool for the right job. Except when I don’t.

To expect the best results in the woodshop, everything about a project should be matched. The right blade, appropriate wood species, cut at the proper speed, the correct angle, efficient feed rate, etc. You wouldn’t use a drill to rip a board, or a table saw to bore holes. But sometimes a tool created specifically for one kind of work can be perfectly useful in another.

I made a pizza peel, the front of which had a long, shallow, curved bevel across the width. You could achieve this bevel any number of ways, the most common of which would probably be to use a grinder or belt sander to quickly hog off the waste. I don’t own a grinder, and just didn’t want to use a belt.

So instead, I grabbed a recip saw. With the workpiece in a bench vise, I neatly sliced off most of the waste at an angle in one quick swipe. Bingo. Done. All that remained was refining the bevel and smoothing it with a sanding block.

Generally speaking, a reciprocating saw is a deconstruction tool, one used to destroy things rather than create them. But in this instance it was the perfect tool – fast, easily controllable and, in spite of the fact that no setup of any kind was needed, pretty accurate for the cut I needed. Unlike the other more likely methods I noted, it was far cleaner with just a bit of sawdust and a single piece of waste.

The old phrase “right tool for the right job” is a good one, and always true. What it doesn’t say, though, is that sometimes something you might not expect could just turn out to be the right tool.



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