I wish I used you more

A few weeks ago, I waxed poetically about the first four tools I reach for when I head out to the shop. But, I got to thinking after I posted that article, “Ya know, there have to be tools that I bought but I never really used as much as I thought I would.”

Sure enough, I headed out to the shop and took a quick scan around the tool storage areas.  Oh, yes, there have been tools I can remember that made my pulse race when I first saw them.  How the glistened and gleamed and called to me! For each of these tools, I have invested money – serious money, in some cases – into that have not served me nearly as well I had wished.

In no particular order, here are the four tools I have identified in my shop that have left me scratching my head as to why I was so crazy to buy them.

My lock miter router bit.  ‘Nuff said.

My 12″ Ridgid compound miter saw.  The one good thing about this baby was that I got it for a song on one of those Black Friday post-Thanksgiving sales over at Home Depot.  I can’t knock the saw… it’s a great performer. It makes nice sweet cuts. But, I had envisioned so much more.  I have still to get the laser perfectly aligned with the blade. I store it under my workbench, which may be another reason I don’t use it nearly as much as I should. I have used it for some box building chores, and perhaps one day I’ll build a dedicated roll around table for it. It’s just too easy to break out my crosscutting sled and make the cuts on my table saw.

My benchtop drill press.  Again, another ‘MUST HAVE’ tool I had bought because I really, really, REALLY needed it. Well, I have used it in the past, and I have built a roll-around table for it.  The problem is that I built such a great little lower shelf for it, and the drill is a back breaker to drag out.  I will bring it out from time to time to cut plugs or make big holes, but I have found my hand-held drill does such a good job when I need to drill the quick hole.

My corner-cutting spring loaded chisel.  I admit, Norm talked me into this one. For a while, he was using one of these babies for nearly every project to square up a rounded corner mortise he had cut with the router.  But, I have discovered that using just a plain old regular bench chisel is a little faster (I don’t have to dig it out of the drawer) and gives results just as good at what I can get with this unitasking gizmo.

Don’t count on sending me an e-mail to see if I want to sell these babies (I may have already thrown out the lock miter bit by the time you read this) – I may just need to sit down and look at my shop organization to see if there’s any way I can turn these zeroes into heroes!


5 thoughts on “I wish I used you more”

  1. Just goes to show, “Different strokes for different folks.”.
    I don’t have a lock miter bit or a spring loaded corner cutting chisel but, I use my miter saw quite often and my bench top drill press on almost every project.
    My least used tools are….Planes (I have four cheap ones), pin nailer (used at an auction), taper jig (I made one that works allot better than the purchased one), scribing knife (a mechanical pencil is much easier and faster) and I used my dove tail jig so little that I gave it to my brother!


  2. I’m right there with you on the corner chisel and the lock miter bit – just taking up drawer space. But my miter saw and drill press are permanently mounted so they are always available, and since they are handy, they get a lot of use.

  3. I bought a locking miter bit for one job fifteen years ago, used it for that job and it has never been out of its holder since. Someone gave me one them corner chisel dodads and I used on a hotel job were I was hanging a lot fire doors that had square hinges to cut the corners square after I routed for the hinge, it worked great for that, but I have never use it for anything else. I keep it in my door router kit. I have some tools that are very task specific that never hardly get used and funny thing is I find the more specialized the tool the more it cost. I am very careful now of what tools I buy asking myself if, and how long will take for that tool to pay for it self in time saving. If takes more that a job or two I don’t buy it unless it’s one of those no other tool will do the job case. We all get seduced by tools I know the flea market gets me and I seem to buy old tools that I know I don’t need like the Stanley # 45 setting on my shelf i got for $15, or the ten hand saws I have that all cost me $1 or under and all very good handsaws, and at them prices I just couldn’t say no.

  4. Tom,
    I’m with you on the Lock Miter bit and corner chisel.

    As for the Miter saw, I probably do a bit more trim and general carpentry with, but I wouldn’t give mine up . . . ever.

    My drill press isn’t as loved as my miter saw, but it’s another tool I wouldn’t part with.

    Now mater what you using, keep up the woodwork!

  5. There was a really good article in the latest Fine Woodworking about setting the lock miter bit. You can mail your lock miter bits to me

    Since I got my sliding table saw, I rarely use my miter saw. I also have a corner chisel and while it doesn’t get a lot of use, it does come in handy when it is needed.


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