Every year Highland asks me to do this Wish List thingy and it dawned on me, finally, that I have been looking at it backwards. Every year I make up a list of things I would like to have on my list and I hope people will give to me. I’ve got pretty much everything I need. So to be different this year, here is your Wish List. This list is of things that I already have in my shop, enjoy constantly, and believe you need to put on your Wish List this year.
OneWay Lathe. I have a OneWay 1640 Lathe I got from Highland several years ago and I use it constantly. It is a joy. The 1640 designation is the capacity of the lathe meaning it will handle a bowl 16 inches in diameter and a spindle of 40 inches. This marvelous lathe will do all but the most extraordinary projects, and is just below the industrial size 2436 model. My favorite feature is the completely variable speed control. You need one of these.
Leg Vise. Several months ago, I added a leg vise from Benchcrafted to my workbench. I didn’t know I needed it until I got it. Mine has a hand wheel and I mounted it just beside one of the legs on the bench I made myself some years ago. I use it constantly. If you don’t have a good heavy bench, now is your chance to make or buy one and add the leg vise to it. Highland sells a Split Top Roubo Bench Maker’s Package, or the plans for the Roubo Bench and you will never regret having a nice bench in your shop. Pass it down to your grandchildren or set it in your living room when you hang up your planes.
Lathe Tool Handle. If you get the lathe above or already have a good lathe, then by all means, get yourself one of these wonderful tool handles. They have a substantial weight to them and since they are coated with a heavy plastic, they don’t get so cold when left in the shop in the winter. The weight is enough to dampen out much of the vibration which many tools transmit to your hands so it feels much better over a long session. I also like the ability to buy a different tool steel for different shapes. I use a 3/4 inch bowl gouge in the tool handle I have and it works like a charm.
Bose Wave Machine. Technically outside the tool world, but this needs to go very high on your Wish List. This thing is a real joy and belongs in every shop. I first met one of these many years ago when a sewage pump manufacturer brought a demonstration trailer by the office to show our staff how a pumping system might be configured. I was standing inside the trailer and was convinced the pumps were running, but could not figure out how. It was a Bose radio playing a recording of the pumps running. I can turn this thing up high enough to hear it above any machine in the shop. I can play the radio, a CD, music from my phone, or podcasts from my iPad. I love this thing. You will too.
Low Speed Grinder. After much practice and gnashing of teeth I learned to sharpen my lathe tools on my grinder. It works well because it has soft grinding wheels and runs at 1750 RPM instead of the standard 3600 RPM. I put a OneWay grinding jig on it and I can sharpen the tool I use the most in about 20 seconds and then it is back to turning. Great machine!!
That is my Wish List for you this year. I hope you get everything on it.