Dispatches From The Shop

A Few of My Favorite Tools

May 2021

Reed Manufacturing no. 104 Vise

A 110 year old vise I picked up a few years back. Just looking at it, I can tell it hasn't spent its life mouldering in an attic. It's taken a lot of punches and looks like it could give some too in another form. But despite its looks, the vise action is smooth, strong and never slips when used. That kind of toughness is what I love about these old tools. They were made to last. I was told by its previous owner that it originated in a machine shop at Boeing's Renton, WA campus. I like to think it was used to create some of the first airplanes.

Japanese Hand Countersink

Try doing hot yoga while fixing your car and that will give you an idea of what working on a large project during a Pueblo summer is like. This little Japanese countersink is perfect for grooving space for fastener heads in weird locations, where an electric drill with a counter sinking bit is too awkward or aggressive. Being a manual tool, it allows fine control that I've found can be lost with some electric drills.

Wesu 4" Machinist Square

I loved this little thing. A small German-made machinist square, I never imagined I would use it so much. The thick square base means it is stable when checking a surface for square while it's diminuitive size made it perfect for setting up tools in my shop. Sadly, it was lost in transit to Colorado. It you see it trying to hitch a ride by the highway, please let me know.

PowerSmith Collapsible LED Work Light

Know how actors fear their close-up for the flaws and aging it will expose to the camera? Well, woodworkers fear the opposite, not being able to see your subject clearly and honestly. You may miss a gouge that needs to be filled, a crack in a board ar a scratch in a finish. Having an overlooked flaw pointed out by a client is mortifying. This movealbe LED lamp has 6000 lumens and a long life for a pretty reasonable price. It is bright enough to mostly light my shop and when intense visibility is needed, I just angle the wings down toward my workpiece (though it feels like starting into the sun).

Incra 6" Marking Rule

Quite possible my most used to tool. A tiny, thin 6" precision rule manufactured by Incra with imperial increments in 1/16", 1/32" and 1/64"ths. This is the most precise layout ruler I have, and being small and light it is easy to hold still during marking. Its precision design also means I can use it to check for square in a pinch. It's so useful I bought an extra to always have one near at hand.

Mesazoic Designs 2020 Hosted by Gandi.net