Hand Plane Buying Guides

2013 Woodworkers and Carpenters Tool Buyers Guide


It’s time to go Holiday shopping for the trim carpenter and woodworker in your life, and we are here to help! Through our expert panel of tool users and editors we have come up with some of 2013’s coolest items and tools that we think everyone needs. The tools that we choose for this tool buyers guide are all items that we have tried and found true! We attempted to nail down something for everyone, but if you feel we missed a particular tool, leave it in the comments below. And, most importantly, leave comments on anything you know that comes on sale or which has some stiff competition—we love it when there are choices in the marketplace.

As for our selections, we’ve gotten our hands on most of these items and found them to be particularly useful at what they do for the woodworker or finish carpenter.

Johnson Level & Tool Professional 8-Inch Bamboo Try Square

Johnson 1909-0800 Tri SquareJohnson Level & Tool 1909-0800 Professional 8-inch Bamboo Try Square is not only beautiful to look at, it’s also a pleasure to use. The satin finish stainless steel blade offers a great offset to the permanently black etched graduations in 1/8″ and 1/16″ increments. The gauging edges on the bamboo handle are also finished in stainless steel which will not rust or corrode. The reason that we chose the bamboo model is because bamboo is harder than most woods used today, and you don’t have to cut down any trees to get it!

Price: $15

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Johnson Level & Tool Professional 8-Inch Bamboo T-Bevel

Johnson 1915-0800 T-BevelThere is nothing better than when a classic tool is updated with modern materials. the Johnson Level & Tool 1915-0800 Professional 8-inch Bamboo T-Bevel is no exception. With light color bamboo and satin finish stainless steel, this tool has both classic form and real function. There is no need to worry about babying this tool either since bamboo is nearly as strong as steel and resists moisture. That means this tool will put up with all kinds of job site use. We keep this one on our tool belt nearly all the time and it’s certainly handy for anything that might involve simple repetitive cuts.

Price: $15

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Stanley FatMax 25-Foot Auto Lock Tape Measure

Stanley FatMax 25ft Autolock TapeI have to be honest, I have always been a fan of the Stanley FatMax line of tape measures and there is a lot to like with the new Stanley FatMax FMHT33338 1-1/4-Inch Auto Lock Tape Measure. This tape measure has a detachable oversized end hook (with storage provide on the tape case when not needed), 11 foot blade standout, large easy to read numbers and a coated blade to ensure long life. The biggest new feature on this tape is the Auto Lock feature that can be turned off when not needed. Oh yeah, this tool is actually made in the USA, too!

Price: $28

More Info | Buy Online | Read our Review

Stanley FatMax 14oz Anti-Vibe Nailing Hammer

Stanley FatMax FMHT51249 Trim HammerWhile there are many different ideas on what the ideal hammer is, a few things are for certain. If you can reduce the amount of felt vibration and the amount of effort to swing the hammer to still achieve the same results, you might be ahead of the game. Essentially the new Stanley FatMax FMHT51249 14oz Anti-Vibe Nailing Hammer does just that. With a 2-Piece steel head and handle design, vibrations are isolated to the head using AntiVibe technology. To further make the user comfortable, a multi-layered handle helps to further guard against vibrations. Since this is a nailing hammer, the face is smooth and there is a traditional straight rip claw.

Price: $30

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Milwaukee Door Lock Installation Kit

Milwaukee 49-22-4073 Door Lock JigWhile it is not every day that you need to install a lockset in a door blank or add a deadbolt where there was not one, having the right tool for the job makes for all the difference in the world. The Milwaukee 49-22-4073 Door Lock Installation Kit is just one of these things that is a life saver by taking all the guess work and measuring out of the equation. Everything you need is included: drill bits, hole saws and, of course, the auto centering drill guide. No more guessing—do things right the first time by getting this nifty kit from Milwaukee!

Price: $35

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Bostitch ProzHoze Premium Quality Polyurethane Air Hose

Bostitch Pro Air HoseNot all air hose is created the same and there is reason why you sometimes pay for what you get. The Bostitch Pro-1450 ProzHoze 1/4″X 50 Feet Premium Quality Polyurethane Air Hose is a great example of why even a simple thing like using a good quality air hose can make a job easier. This air hose is bright colored (so hopefully you see it before you trip over it); and since it is constructed of lightweight polyurethane, it is not only abrasion, chemical and puncture resistant, it is also much lighter then conventional rubber air hoses of the same size. Another biggie is that if you are like us and have to work in chilly weather sometimes, this air hose stays flexible all the way down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit!

Price: $45

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Irwin Marples Woodworking Chisels and Sharpening Kit

Irwin Marples Woodworking Chisel SetThe Marples name has been known to woodworkers for generations and the tradition continues now with Irwin. The Irwin Marples 1788115 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″ Woodworking Chisels and Sharpening Kit is a great way to get started with fine tools. The chisels in this set are designed for use with a wooden mallet or the palm of the hand. The slim, contoured Polypropylene handles are for precise control of the high-quality hardened steel blades. To help retain razor sharp blades a whet stone, honing oil and a sharpening jig are included to ensure that the proper angle is always maintained when touching up the edge.

Price: $55

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Freud Diablo 10-Inch Ultimate Flawless Finish 90 Tooth Blade

Diablo Finish BladeThe new Freud Diablo D1090X 10-inch Ultimate Flawless Finish 90 Tooth Blade delivers precise, perfect cuts on trim work and molding in the first pass. With Axial Shear Face Grind (ASFG) tooth geometry, cuts are nearly effortless and provide an amazingly smooth finish. These ultra thin kerf blades are designed to perform to the level excepted from high-end stationary shop equipment. With these blades in your job site saws, you can expect a new level of quality and workmanship to come to your projects. With this series of saw blades tooth geometry and tooth carbide compositions are designed to be matched to your type of saw and typical cuts.

Price: $60

 More Info | Buy Online | Read our Review of 12″ Finish Blades

SKIL 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set

Skil 1830 Router KitIf you are looking for a value oriented router, look no further. The SKIL 1830 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set is one of the best performing “bang for the buck” tools we have ever seen. This router not only has plenty of power at 2-1/4 horse power but it can handle 1/2-inch shank bits for larger projects. We found the machined cast aluminum fixed and plunge bases to offer very sturdy foundations that allowed for both accurate and secure depth adjustments. The motor features a soft start, and there is a speed wheel that allows for adjustment from 10,500 to 25,000 RPMs. Since this is a value-minded set, no hard case is included, but a nice carry bag is standard that gives ample room for the tool and any accessories you might add later on. Oh yeah, it also has LED lights on the bottom to illuminate your work area!

Price: $125

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Ridgid 16 Gauge Straight Finish Nailer

Ridgid R250SFE Trim NailerThe new Ridgid R250SFE 2-1/2-inch 16 Gauge Straight Finish Nailer comes with some some fantastic upgrades over the previous generation models. This professional grade trim nailer now has Hex Grip overmolding, oil-less operation, their ACCU-Drive tip design, and no-mar Pads. The exhaust air conveniently exits out the end of the handle, and this nailer is among the lightest on the market. Best of all, it’s backed by RIDGID’s industry-leading Lifetime Service Agreement. That means free parts and free service for life.

Price: $170

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Senco 6-Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Compressor

Senco 6gal CompressorThe Senco PC1280 6-Gallon Oil-Free Pancake Compressor combines power, speed, and portability to tackle any job site finish and trim application. Delivering 2.8 SCFM at 90 PSI, this compressor provides plenty of airflow and a quick recovery time for efficient installation of all kinds of trim. At only 38 pounds, moving the compressor is not a back-breaking job with its centrally located handle on top. The control panel has highly visible gauges and is equipped with dual couplers to power two tools simultaneously. Since it runs on only 12 amps of power, there is also never an issue with tripping breakers.

Price: $180

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Bostitch 15-Gauge Cordless Angled Finish Nailer

Bostitch 15gauge Cordless NailerSometimes it is more of a hassle to get out a compressor, hose and trim nailer, and the best way to tack up some trim or do punch-list work is with a cordless fuel-powered tool. The Bostitch GFN1564K15-Gauge Cordless Angled Finish Nailer is an ideal solution for going cord and hose free. Weighting in at only 4.2 pounds, precise nail placement is not a problem thanks to its excellent ergonomics. The nailer is compatible with 1-1/4” up to 2-1/2” angle nails and jamb clearing and depth adjustment are done tool-free. Included with the nailer is a hard molded tool case, lithium-ion battery, battery charger and a handy 12V car charger adapter. Going hose free has never been so easy!

Price: $260

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Bosch Variable Speed 1/2-Sheet Orbital Finishing Sander

Bosch OS50VC SanderFine woodworking can’t happen without fine finish tools and the Bosch OS50VC 3.4-Amp Variable Speed 1/2-Sheet Orbital Finishing Sander with Vibration Control is just that. Sure you can use a 1/4-sheet sander, but for larger pieces like table tops and head boards sometimes something bigger is needed. With a variable speed dial, you can match the speed and power to the workpiece, and the Sheetloc system securely holds and tensions the paper for a perfect fit. Last but not least, your arms won’t fall asleep using this sander since it has Bosch’s vibration control technology built in.

Price: $380

More Info | Buy Online | Read our Review

For more great holiday buyers guides, check out some of our friends sites!

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