Apr 052017
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What tools do you have that you wish you hadn’t bought?

The Wood Whisperer, Marc Spagnuolo,  says one is his Dremel tool.

I, on the other hand, use my Dremel tool and attachments all the time: cutoffs, buffing small items, engraving/signing my work, routing small areas with the burr, cleaning out knots to ready them for epoxy, the uses are endless.

Requiring no talent and almost no practice, a Dremel motor with a little round burr allows you to sign your work permanently.

A 4-inch or 9-inch grinder will cut off a nail in a hurry, flush or below the surface, if you don’t mind massive burning of the wood, but …

…a Dremel fitted with a cutoff wheel can cut a nail and never mar the surface.

My wife got this 75th Anniversary Dremel set for a birthday gift for me. As Hazel (Shirley Booth) would say, “It’s a doozie!” It also came with two grits of sanding drums, nylon and steel brushes, buffing wheels and compound, and a felt wheel. I added chainsaw sharpening stones, and they will put a super sharpening on a chain in nothing flat. It also features an adjustable speed.

For me, it would definitely be my jointer. I bought the little 6″ Delta because I thought it was sufficient. When Katrina took my first one, I bought another just like it. I really wish I’d stepped up to at least an 8″, possibly with a spiral cutterhead. Regret might be a term too strong, but I really would like to have a better jointer.

This Delta jointer does 90% of what I need it to do, but it’s definitely an entry-level unit.

Now, if someone wants to buy me this jointer, I promise I will never complain! It’s what dreams are made of.

Return to the April 2017 issue of Wood News Online

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

  44 Responses to “April Woodworking Poll: What tools do you have that you wish you hadn’t bought?”

  1. I like this article. In terms of tools I have bought I feel regret, it is mostly because they are duplicates of things I already own and as such are redundant. For example,

    I have three nice sets of chisels. I really only need one set.

    I have a Stanley No 4 and 5-1/2 planes that serve no real roll as I already have an use my 4-1/2, foreplane, and No 8.

    I have three marking knives and really only need one.

    Bothered that I got an electric pencil sharpener and then switched to a mechanical pencil.

    A veritas fine spoke shave whereas I already have and use my Stanley spokeshave.

    Two mallets but only really need one.

    More split nut screwdrivers than I’d care to admit to. None of them fit the split nut I had on my marking knife so I finally just made one from a 99 cent screwdriver.

    I know these all seem minor but I just hate the extra duplication. I suppose having a back up plane isn’t a bad thing in case I drop and break one. I could just sell the extras on eBay if I wanted to get rid of them.

    To me it is mostly a clutter thing.

  2. Other: Dremel Fake Drill Press stand. 100% inconsistent. Good luck figuring out where the hole will be.

  3. I never met a power tool I didn’t like.
    But I have bought a few inferior tools that didn’t do the job. Those were replaced by better quality items.
    I have a few that get used infrequently. My scroll saw mostly COLLECTS sawdust, rather than generating it.
    My mortising machine is used infrequently, but when it’s the right tool for the job, it sure beats a mallet and chisel.

  4. biscuit joiner. Overkill for replacing dowels. Almost all jointing does not need anything extra if the edge prep is done right

  5. A too cheap router.
    That thing was a pain in the neck to use and for a long time I was hesitant to buy a new and better one because technically I had one.
    I finally purchased a Makita and I wish I had done that form the start.

  6. Way too many turning tools.

  7. I bought a set of Woodpecker corner clamps for clamping carcass pieces together for screwing/gluing. The clamps turned out to be virtually useless being so difficult to set up. It turned out to be a total waste of money and we all know how expensive Woodpecker products are.

  8. I lusted for my father in law’s 1950’s Rockwell radial arm saw for many years. Rock solid and very heavy duty. After he passed away, I had it in my shop but only ended up using it for rough cutting long boards, which is easily done with my skill saw. Since it was taking up way too much space and seeing little use, I sold it after about a year.

  9. My router table has been the one tool I never use. I did in the beginning but now that I do hand work, it’s been covered up for two years. I would keep the router for remote work just not the table.

  10. A pneuatic file, the file heads are just too small and too fine for anything usefull

  11. Ryobi router table. Nothing was square, uneven fence, router plate sagged…..I was like really?

    • People who buy Ryobi and Black and Decker and other really cheap tools are getting what they paid for. My 1986 Delta Uni-Saw has never been repaired and is still a pleasure to use. Same with my Inca Shaper and Inca 20″ bandsaw. You get what you pay for.

  12. Many years ago and without much future thought I bought a Craftsman Biscuit Jointer. Today it is still in its original box unopened and never used.

  13. Nova bowl tool rest. very heavy ( ok) casting very very rough wanted to send back but tried to smooth out the bad casting so kept it as a paper weight.


  14. Combination drill press and oscillating sander from Shop Fox. The drill press part has held up fine, but the oscillating sanding mechanism stopped working after hardly any use (after the warranty expired of course). I subsequently purchased a Grizzly stand-alone oscillating sander and it’s great.

  15. Biscuit joiner…..used it twice in 20 years. Cannot foresee another use for it.

    • I used a biscuit jointer many times when I build cabinets, and display cases,
      glue and biscuit, no nails or screws.
      Cheap tools after 50 years I have found out don’t cut it.

  16. A Craftsman 1/4 sheet palm sander… This thing is a POS… The thing will not hold paper no matter what you do to it. Even tried gluing a piece of 400 grit to the sanding bed for more traction and rolling the edges of the paper before slipping it under the hold down… NOPE… The paper hold downs are junk and don’t get me started on the sharp corners of the sanding bed. you have to stay 1/2 inch from any vertical surface or it will chew the heck out of your finished product. Got a Craftsman random orbital sander at the same time. It worked great for about a year before it was completely wore out.

  17. A plastic double ironed corner breaking plane from Rockler.

  18. I never seem to use my biscuit joiner. Water stones are just too much trouble and messy I never use them anymore.

  19. I voted Other. Many years ago I bought an IncraJig with visions of using it on future projects like the ones their marketing folks describe. Since then I have never used it.

  20. Powered hand planer and biscuit joiner. I bought a cheap powered hand planer and it broke after a few uses. I do not plan to replace it. My biscuit joiner is a top brand, but I do not use it very often.

    I would like to have see the results of a survey that allowed you to list the tools that you own and then asked which of the tools that you own do you regret buying.

  21. I selected “Other”.

    The only tool purchase I’ve regretted was the Rikon 25-010 Jointer/Planer combo machine.

    Jointer tables have minimal means of adjustment to bring them co-planar. And when you do, it’s easy for the movable table that flips up to convert to Planer mode, to go out of adjustment when you flip it back.

    Planer doesn’t have enough room for adjustment, and whatever I plane comes out trapezoid rather than square, as it takes more from one side than the other.

    Fence angle is a bear to adjust and keep it adjusted when you lock it in position.

    Chip removal from planer is suboptimal and leaves a lot of chips in there. I suppose if I had a 3Hp dust collector, maybe that would be enough.

    It was one of those things that I went cheap (relatively speaking), and have regretted.

  22. Radial arm saw. I thought it could do everything. The only thing it did well was cross cut 2X4s.
    6 inch jointer: too small to do much well. Has since been replaced with a great 8 incher.
    14 inch cast iron-framed bandsaw. Too little room under the upper guides to be very useful for what I do. Can’t put in a riser block because it’s one piece.

  23. Jet 10 inch Jointer / Planer combo machine, flattens and planes stock well, but the fence is cheaply made. I could never get 90 degree sides on anything no matter how I adjusted it or any attempt I made to straighten and flatten the fence. The second was a Ryobi cordless drill, I had it repaired 3 times under warranty. I threw it away when the warranty ran out and they would fix a repair they made 3 months before. I won’t purchase anything with the Ryobi name on it again.

  24. A used Harbor Freight pipe based lathe on an angle iron frame. I don’t have room for it; it’s too heavy for me to load up on my pickup and take it to storage; it’s barely stable enough; I should have declined the offer.

    Anybody want a used Harbor Freight pipe based lathe on an angle iron frame?

  25. My “Other” is a mortising attachment for my drill press.

  26. Biscuit Joiner

  27. 9″ Craftsman radial arm saw. Even though I’m still using it after many years I should have bought a 10″ with a bit more reach!

  28. Definitely the biscuit jointer.

  29. Worksharp sharpening tool. Way too slow and inconsistent results. Eats sandpaper.

  30. Scrollsaw- Had to have one…..8 years later it’s still new, in the sealed box!

  31. A Shopsmith multi purpose machine. Too noisy. Non standard miter bar slots prevent one from using most modern accessories. Aluminum table top will not accept magnetic accessories and alignment of the table top is iffy at best. Too many plastic materials. Dust collection is poor. Too many things to check prior to any operation. Maintenance is a true pain.

  32. I thought, I’m retired and now I can treat myself. I spent much time and energy looking over sliding-table table saws. I settled on the Felder Hammer Winner3 model. 4HP, extension wings, dust collection … it was gonna be a winner for me. It wasn’t! Lots of let-downs: Little things like I must hold down the power-on button until the blade is up to speed or, I’m told, I’ll suffer buying a new switch before long. Huh? The Austrians can’t make a switch that works as well as every other switch on the market? Next, with a sliding table like this one, it slides right alongside the blade (to the left of the blade). This means there’s an opening between the blade and the “table”. When ripping off thin pieces they are slammed down thru the slot with FORCE. Not nice and likely not safe. The mounting of the table extensions is a real chore and not easy. They have too many pieces and too many adjustments. The rip fence rides on a 2″ solid chrome bar (it weighs 42 pounds by itself!) Wow! Nice. But …. getting it mounted and in position was a long fight with lots of needed help from the manufacture (phone support — only average at best). They had installed parts incorrectly at the factory. The ON button is on the typical ‘front’ of the machine (behind the blade), but with a sliding table, Hammer insists one should stand to the side of the saw and work the sliding table from there. OK, but there isn’t any ON switch there! (There is an emergency OFF switch there, however). The blades are special with 3 holes in them (to support two pins in addition to the center arbor hole (30mm). Most blades won’t work, but the upside is that changing blades is smart, easy and good. And Hammer makes some great blades. I could go on …. but I’m wishing I had purchased a Powermatic, Grizzly or Jet without the sliding table and saved about $1500 in the process. I’d be richer and happier. Live and learn. (anyone want to buy a Felder Hammer Winner3?)

  33. Biscuit joiner. Used it a couple of times for large table tops but it now sits in storage forever.

  34. I bought a Delta bench top drill press. While I use it when necessary I should have waited until I could have bought a floor standing model with more quill travel. Even a Harbor Freight floor model would be better than my Delta.

  35. A 10″ Craftsman radial arm saw. It really didn’t do anything that I couldn’t do with my tablesaw, and was endlessly fussy to keep aligned. It ended up being used primarily as an auxiliary work surface, though its cabinet base did provide valuable extra tool and accessory storage space. I eventually junked the saw, considering it too dangerous to pass on to any probably-inexperienced person, but I did repurpose the cabinet-base as a stand for a miter saw.

  36. Compound miter saw, I’ve had this Dewalt 12″ for over 15 years and it’s still in it’s still in its original box. Never really have had a need for it, but can’t bring my self to sell or trade it off.

  37. A huge (Harbor Freight of course) Radial Arm Drill Press. What was I thinking… but it really looks impressive. Perhaps I’ll use attachments for spindle sanding and metal polishing & buffing.

  38. Excellent. Absolutely loved reading and very helpful at the same time 🙂

  39. Radial Arm Drill Press

  40. Most everything that has a “Craftsman” mane on it. A 4 inch wide belt sander, a wood lathe, a router and router table and a 6 inch jointer.

  41. And I forgot my “Craftsman” biscuit jointer (not accurate), and the four “Bessey” corner clamps (again not accurate or easy to use), have better luck with my “Rockler” black plastic corner squares.

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