2021 Editor’s Choice Tools | Home Decor Online Tips

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Like most of the woodworking community, I have spent more time in my shop during 2020 and 2021. Over the past two years, I have used a variety of tools and gained a new appreciation for some of them. Some of these are new tools, others are the ones I’ve simply come to appreciate the most. Below you will find a variety of tools that have stood out this year.

12 “miter saw Buy now

Rigid • $ 499

I have long had a love of Ridgid power tools. The first miter saw I bought (early 2000s) was a 12 Ridgid cursor. It has been used and abused, but continues to be transported in trucks. Man, my dad still uses it today. when Ridgid have announced a new articulated version of their miter saws, I was excited to try them. And, I must say, I was impressed. The action of the saw is tight without tilt. The articulated saw head allows for almost 18 of transversal cutting capacity, all being able to be pushed against a wall. Unlike other articulated saws on the market, the new Ridgid uses two separate articulated arms to control the saw head. This, combined with a great grip and trigger feel, makes it a real pleasure to use. Ridgid has also announced some updates to some of its other benchtop power tools, so keep an eye out for more on those in a future issue.


SBS sharpening system Buy now

M-Power • $ 249

Over the years, I have tried almost every sharpening medium you can think of. Finally, I opted for diamond stones, as they cut fast and a quality stone starts and stays flat. M-Power’s new SBS sharpening system has a couple of features that I really like. First, all three stone grains are replaceable once worn and are mounted on an extruded aluminum base. Secondly, the stones have three magnetic strips that attach to the tops of the stones, providing a place to apply the supplied high-grit polishing wax. It is a great way to get your tools sharp


CC counter staff Buy now

Oneida • $ 599

With my home shop located in my basement, dust collection is not only a safety concern, it is also important to prevent dust from traveling through the house. by Oneida Benchtop Personal Dust Collector is a great addition to my shop. The dust collector can be placed on the workbench and displaces a large volume of air, collecting the dust that escapes from the dust collection on the tool. I find it especially useful when sanding, but I also like to use it whenever fine dust is created. And if you’re a turner, it’s the best way to catch dust when you’re sanding on the lathe, in my opinion. The dust collector is equipped with an on-board socket for connecting tools such as a sander.


Rip-Flip Buy now

Peaks • $ 219

Like many tools in the shop, a table saw is only as accurate as the user. A recent add-on I purchased for my table saw was the Rip-Flip’s Peaks. The T-type rails attach to the underside of the fence and are equipped with two flip-down latches. The flap stops can be used to reposition the rip fence in exactly the same place. This is great when working on a project that has parts of the same size. You can set up the fence, place the stop and flip it over. Then, when you need to return to the original setting, flip the latch and move the fence into place. The pair of stops allows you to keep two measurements set and can also be used to adjust fence settings.


TSC 55 K Buy now

Festool • $ 499

In recent years, caterpillar saws have gained a lot of traction in the world of woodworking. One of the biggest names in the rail saw market is Festool. Their new TSC 55 K cordless track saw really adds some great features to an already impressive tool. The TSC 55 K is equipped with an anti-kickback sensor that switches off the blade if the saw detects a kickback. The saw uses a high-torque brushless motor that runs on two 18V batteries.The TSC 55K (and others) Festool cordless tools) can interface with one of the Festool Vacuum cleaner with Bluetooth functionality to turn on the vacuum remotely when the saw is on.


720Pro Pocket Hole Jig Buy now

Kreg tool • $ 149

For years, the Kreg tool The k series of pocket hole jigs have graced toolboxes and shops with carpenters, handymen and homeowners across the country. Earlier this year, Kreg they released their redesigned line of pocket hole jigs and I immediately got a 720Pro (seen here). What I like about the 720Pro over the others is that the job retention level is self-adjusting. With a single press it holds the material from 1/2 up to 11/2 thick. The Pro version includes folding wings which have storage space, but are mostly (in my opinion) extra support for large work pieces. One of the most convenient features of the 720 is that it contains all the accessories (bits, keys, etc.) on the back of the mask. Global, Kreg made some big improvements to an already great tool.


NOVA PRO-TEK G3 chuck Buy now

Teknatool • $ 159

One of the happiest places in the world is being on the wheel. It feeds my soul. In the large amount of gadgets and accessories that spin, it’s easy to overlook the chucks. A good quality chuck often goes unnoticed, but you will surely recognize a defective chuck when you find one. For the last year or so, the spindle that has been on my headstock is the NOVA PRO-TEK G3 chuck. Designed for lathes with up to 16 swing (perfect for mine NOVA Comet II), this little spindle is a tank. The chuck key opens and closes the jaws quickly and each jaw is marked to keep them in the same position every time you change the jaw. The PRO-TEK G3 comes with a handful of accessories and a carrying case to house everything, but once it’s mounted on the lathe, I don’t think you’ll need to remove it.


1HP dust collector Buy now

General tool • $ 349

Building on a long legacy of high quality woodworking tools, General is once again producing the tools on which they built their reputation. As well as some really cool air filters (stay tuned for more on those in the future), I fell in love with the General 1 HP dust extractor. The small footprint makes it the perfect size for a small shop like mine. The small size also makes it easy to switch to other tools as needed. Aside from the size, one of the best features of this dust collector is that you can equip it with an automatic on / off switch. When a tool is connected to the dust collector, the dust collector turns on and off automatically with the machine. I love this feature and it saves me from searching for the dust collector remote that I just sat down.


PantoRouter Buy now

PantoRouter • $ 1395 +

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There are very few tools in my shop that are one-trick ponies. If a tool has the ability to perform multiple functions, the chances of it getting a spot in my small shop increase. The PantoRouter is one of them. On the surface, it may look like a glorified slit mortiser, but it’s so much more. Following a pattern, the PantoRouter can not only create mortises and tenons (photo below) in a total of 154 sizes, but you can cut dovetails, finger joints and more. And because everything is referenced off the centerline, it makes setting up the PantoRouter easy, even when cutting joinery at the ends of compound corner pieces. The function is simple: one lever controls the action of the dip, while the other controls the movement of the motor around a template. The machine itself is one of the best-built equipment I’ve used in a long time and has one of the sturdiest assembly and instruction manuals around. Best feature of all might be that the PantoRouter has a dust collection that actually works.


Alfie Shine Buy now

Alfie Shine • $ 14.95

An aftermarket miter for your table saw is one of the first upgrades we recommend. And Harvey Tools’ Compass MG-36 is probably the only machine gun you’ll ever need. Being able to rely on accurate grade markings for cross cutting, a long solid fence ready to grab accessories, and excellent fit and finish are all part of what makes this machine gun stand out.

The locking mechanism, in particular, is a very interesting design. It’s easy to lock and unlock with just two fingers, but it also locks securely in place at seven positive stops when the buttons are released. For intermediate degrees, the large locking knob handles the task. The dimensions and the knurled aluminum body make it easy to lock the fence securely and securely. The fence expands to 36 and includes a micro-adjustable flip stop. Plus, the top rail allows you to add other accessories as needed. It is available in both imperial and metric sizes.


Bench carpenter Buy now Bench plane Buy now

Rikon • $ 649 / $ 749

The final tool in the list of 2021 publisher’s tools of choice is not one tool in particular, but a pair of them that work in tandem: the Rikon 13 helical planer and 8 helical head joint. While I’m sure most of us can see the benefit and argue for getting the biggest jointer and planer possible, not everyone has the space to devote to a standalone unit. And while I’m spoiled with a great Rikon combined mill / planer at our studio (holds two machines in one footprint), I have come to appreciate how much work I can do in my shop with these little guys. Each tool is equipped with helical cutting heads. The jointer features carbide inserts that can be rotated when blunt or chipped, while the planer has high-speed steel cutters that are sharpened on two cutting edges.

In the past, I wouldn’t have devoted the time of day to a bench jointer, but now I see that it was the result of poorly designed and low-cost manufactured jointers. While the 20-800H is small, it is powerful. Being countertop, the jointer bed is quite small (about 30 or thereabouts), but has wings that extend to a hair over 50. Does it take the place of a full-size jointer? No, but that is not its purpose. What it does well is to provide smooth, clean and accurate results when flattening cardboard faces on workpieces that are at 30 range. This covers about 90% of my flattening needs. With the planer and router reaching 68 and 49 pounds respectively, they are easy to store on the floor under the bench when not in use.


Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools that we find essential in our daily work in the shop. We may receive a commission from sales reported by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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