Some of my tools

Starting with a circular saw

Here’s a little more info about the tools in my shop, I’ll just focus on the ones which I show in my shop tour video from last week. If you are interested, the total value of tools came to be roughly $3000. That’s a bit of money, but not all that much when you realise it is from the last 7 or 8 years of woodworking. Yep, I’m a tightass!

Lathe – $100

I bought this old lathe second hand after finding it on ebay. The guy selling it was cleaning out his father’s shop, his father was a woodworker while he was a metal worker, he had no need for it. I had spent ages trying to get my hands on a second hand lathe so I called him as soon as the advert was posted, I went and picked it up later that night. He was excited to sell it, but his wife was angry as they had a couple of other people call up after me, luckily I got in first.

It works well I guess, it just is old and not very user friendly. The tool rest slides and locks fairly easily, bt it does have a bit of a wobble to it. The end stop also tends to vibrate and loosen up after a bit of use. It can handle different speeds, but that is by physically changing the belt on the engine – I did it once and it just wasn’t worth the hassle. The main issue with it is the chuck, I really wanted to try turning vases and bowls, but it only has end points on it. The thread on it is too small for any standard chuck bought off the shelf that I can find. I have a plan to try and make my own, I just need to get access to and  probably some training on welding first.

I mainly just use it for fun and small projects. I find turning to be quite therapeutic so I have sometimes just chucked some wood in there just for fun and to make a mess.

Drill Press – $80

This came new from Masters, a now defunct hardware store. The brand is 999 which I only recently found out was called that because they offer warranties for 999 days. But I haven’t had need of one, this has worked wonderfully since the day I bought it. I originally bought this as I was making heaps of my arcade boxes and they require lots of tiny holes drilled into pcbs for soldering. I used to do it with a hand drill and ruined a lot of boards. Switching to this was a life saver, it makes things incredibly easy. It’s been a great buy.

Router Table – Scrap wood

I built this years ago based off of the design Steve Ramsay shows here. It was all made of scrap wood, I didn’t drop a dollar into it. That sort of explains the dark paint on it too, it hides the merge points of pine, to mdf, to random hardwood scraps. I also wired up power to it with a couple of extra power points. This was back when I only had the one power point in the garage so having these two extra ones was a huge game changer.

The router lift inside it was from Matthias Wandel’s design over pin I made it in an afternoon out of mdf. It worked perfectly the first time it as assembled so I have never gotten around to taking it apart to paint it. I think the gears still have the original template design printed out on paper glued to one side! It has outlasted 4 different (extremely cheap) routers, all I’ve had to do is change the hose clamp size to lock them in position.

Its a great design on both the table and the lift, while the fence on it is also very impressive. This was my favourite tool for years, up until the tablesaw came into play. The only problem for me now is the size of it. It takes up a fair bit of floorspace, I used to use it outside because the garage was unusable and it doubled as a bench, but now I’d like to have something smaller. I plan on taking the lift out and mounting it under a wing of my tablesaw instead.

Taurus Disc Sander – $130

I bought this off of advice from Paul Jenkins, the Wood Knight. It came from Aldi of all places, a discount supermarket. Every now and again they have crazy specials on whatever they can bulk buy, this was one of them. The original design is by Scheppach, which he tells me is also rebadged by Ryobi and others. It works as well as you could hope for. The only real drawback I see is the amount of give in the table for the disc sander, it’s pretty hard to get it to be flat. Once I have the whole machine mounted on a dedicated shelf, I will build a permanent table for it.

Rockwell Scrollsaw – $150

I found this one online as well, from a tool shop across town. It was one of the first tools I bought and I was incredibly excited to get something brand new. I’ve used it a lot, I had a lot fun cutting shapes and making things for the kids when they were smaller. Now that they are older, they are allowed to use it, with my guiding their hands. It takes pinned blades which is a shame, flat ones would be easier to work with I think. It’s been great though, I would definitely buy it again.

Bosch Jigsaw – $99

This beast has built many a project for me. It just keeps on delivering, everything I throw it at it just tears right through, it works really well. The bang for buck here is amazing. It even has that cool feature where instead of drilling a pilot hole first and then cutting, you can just lean the jigsaw into the wood and cut right through it. Pretty cool to see. I use this to rip down plywood, cut curves in hardwood, and just generally have fun with, it has never let me down. I’m still using the original blade on it too.

Ozito Impact Driver – $70 – Bosch Power Drill – $300

This little Ozito driver is a beast. It pretty much built my garage by itself. It packs an incredible punch for the cost. I’ve spent a lot of time using very high quality Panasonic and Makita impact drivers, the ones that are worth upwards of $800. While they are obviously a lot better than this one, it really isn’t all that far behind. I’ve had it for a number of years now and used it very heavily, I bought it with the expectation it would be used on the renovation and then would die and be thrown out, but it shows no signs of stopping. If you aren’t going to use it professionally 5 days a week, (Ozito is marketed at weekend warriors like myself), it is a great tool.

The Bosch one was bought out of a fit of rage around 8 years ago I think. I was building my first ever picnic table for my kids, and had 3 cheapo drills at the time. All 3 died on the job. Batteries would last 30 seconds, the motor just didn’t have the torque required, all sorts of issues. I cracked it and decided I would spend what I consider to be ‘real money’ on a new drill. I managed to justify it to myself by the knowledge that I’d be using it for years to come, on every job in the house. It has worked out that way.

The only problem now is that the batteries are starting to drain more quickly than usual. After 7 years use though, I’m happy to go buy a couple of replacement ones, it has served me well.

Ryobi Orbital Sander – $70

This sander gets a lot of use, every project probably gets a once over from it at least. That has really lasted and I’d buy it again if it dies now. I’ve taken it apart a couple of times and cleaned out all the caked on dust inside it, you can really tell the difference after you do that. I don’t think it is a bad design that it gets dusty in certain parts inside, more a problem that comes with the role it plays in the shop.

Ozito and a Wrap Up

The other tools in this shelf are mainly Ozito branded, I really like their prices! The circular saw has been in my shop for years, as has the belt sander and the trim router. I’ve gone through a bunch of routers over the years, mainly because I buy the cheapest ones, however the cheap ones which last are the Ozito models. My current router in the table blew up a while back, it was a knock off brand one. I probably will spend a bit more on the next router than I normally do, but if Ozito have a ‘top of their range’ model I’ll be happy to buy that one.

I don’t get the whole ‘check out my branded tools’ philosophy that some guys have. Brand envy is not a thing with me, if it does the job I want it to do, well, that’s good enough for me.

The way I see it, the electric motor has been around for donkeys years, it’s pretty much all innovated out. Engineers know how to build them to last, even those who work for discount tool operators. I’m happy buying Ozito because, (other than the Impact driver), I don’t work them all that hard, they get a little bit of use each week. They will last for a few years each, when I finally wear them down that will be the motivation to go out and upgrade to a better model.

So that’s the majority of the tools in my shop, hope you liked the insight.

The main exclusion here was my tablesaw but you can see more about that purchase in the video below.

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