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Which tool

Discussion in 'Open Forum' started by Howard Caplan, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    As I expand my work shop I am curious as to which tool both power and hand, is the most used/important in your shop.
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    That depends entirely on what you plan to do in your shop, and how you plan to do it, including how loud you want to be while you do it. If you'll be ripping a lot of lumber, you may want a sizable table saw... or maybe a radial arm saw.. but then some people prefer a band saw for that... for millenia, that was done with hand saws. There are more ways to skin a cat than there are cats.

    When I did my cabinetshop apprenticeship, my mentor taught me that the most expensive tool you'll ever buy is the cheapest one on the shelf. Unfortunately, I've had to re-learn that more times than I care to admit. Generally speaking, you'll get what you pay for.

    And the older I get, the more I appreciate hand tools...
  3. smallboatshop

    smallboatshop Restorers

    As Paul says it "depends entirely on what you plan to do in your shop". For instance if I am replacing inwale ends, a deck tip and a stem end I use the bandsaw to cut the pieces and then the bench sander to help shape and finish the pieces. The bench sander allows you to hold small, uneven peices against the paper without the worry of taking your fingers down to the first knuckle as might happen with the larger floor model. And you can have it at hand pretty easily so you don't have to keep walking away from your work. I've found the bench sander to be a real asset and they're only about $100.

    So that's one example - hope it helps.

  4. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    What Paul said... our recommendations might be quite different if you are planning to build cedarstrip vs. lapstrake canoes, or make paddles, or do cabinetry. A lot also depends on your available space (a tablesaw with extension wings and outfeed tables takes a shyte-load of space).

    Because there are lots of different ways to skin a canoe, it would be easy to simply make a list of the tools I use most often (and I will if folks want me to), but my way may not work for you. One thing I will highly recommend is to give a lot of thought to a permanant sharpening station. You can't work effectively if you don't keep your tools sharp, and you won't sharpen them as needed unless the sharpening stuff is out and ready to go. In many ways, this is the most important part of the shop...
  5. OP
    Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    You guys sound like politicians not wanting to alienate the shop tool vote.:)
    Band saw came up twice.
    OK, band saw or table saw first - which is the discussion I am having with myself at this moment.
    As far as useage goes, I suspect there is a tool we all go back to whatever the specific project may be.
  6. OP
    Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    We posted at the same time. A sharpenning station is in my plans. But I know little about what is needed. Can you elaborate on what would make a good, versatile sharpenning station?
    And, I would love to see a list of the tools you use most often.
  7. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Bandsaw, no question. You can do most everything on the bandsaw (occasionally accompanied by a handsaw), that you can do on the tablesaw, except dado and use a molding head (a scary proposition). Plus, you can do all the curvy cuts you can't do on the tablesaw. And, the footprint required by the bandsaw is significantly less.

    Yep, the benches are cluttered with them and there are several toolboxes with these in them as well.
  8. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    my thought

    Most folks, including me, start out with the table saw first. Then the band saw joins the team. Most band saws are 14" for the home shop. so there is a limit to how wide a piece can fit on the frame side. Whereas the table saw is limited only by the width of the building. I like my band saw tho. Both are useful.
  9. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    The permanent sharpening station is an excellent suggestion. There are a lot of rigs out there, and which setup you choose will depend a lot on what you're comfortable with. Take a look at Leonard Lee's book "Sharpening" for some great info. He may get too technical for some folks, but I appreciate knowing the WHY behind everything.

    And I'll put in my vote for a good set of spokeshaves. I do more paddle-making than canoe-building/restoring, so that has a huge impact on that call. They're not capable of destroying piecework in a heartbeat, like power saws & sanders. (It just takes longer to destroy things).
  10. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder


    Like others have said, it depends on what you plan to do.

    What hasn't been said, is, it really doesn't matter, cause you won't/can't just buy 1 tool, you will be buying others.

    That said, my list;

    table saw
    disk/belt sander combo
    drill press
    band saw

    What else hasn't been said, is don't go looking for new tools, find old used ones, they are much cheaper and often with a little maintenence, better then what you can buy today.

    For help here go to the sites for info about old machines.
    Becareful though, the old machines are just as addictive as old canoes.


    who lately has been collecting old tools instead of old canoes.
  11. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Maybe more useful than this would be to prepare a list of recommended tools for a canoe shop, breaking it down to basics/essentials, then additions appropriate to strip building, w/c paddle making, etc. I'll get started, I expect some comments, and when all is said and done, we ca nturn it into a web page for the Building and Repairs section of the site... sound good?
  12. Denis M. Kallery

    Denis M. Kallery Passed Away July 3, 2012 In Memoriam

    Dan, and all
    Boy do I look forward to seeing your lists. Just what I need - incentive to by more tools-- yeah right!
    Denis :D
  13. OP
    Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Dan - is your list in order of importance/actual usage?

    you guys are great!
    Here is what I have, so far:
    At a rummage sale bought a very old Craftsman Radial Arm saw and a newer short bed Delta 6" jointer - the radial arm scares me a bit and I still have to true up the table and backstop. I'm getting used to the jointer and have used it for several non-canoe projects.
    Found a 13" planer on-line at ebay and got a great price. Very handy.
    Bought a $99.00 belt/disc sander and because I don't have a router used it to shape an outwhale piece for my kevlar. I'm still not sure if the original is a router cut or not.
    Just picked up a Japanese saw with two blades. Very nice with it's narrow kerf and very clean cut. Used it to cut the rotted ends from the gunwales of the same kevlar.
    Have a block plane and bench plane, which both need tuning up. Read about a process to true the base using very flat glass and powdered grit. I'm going to try that. Bought a rabbitt plane to lip the new inwale pieces on the kev. Getting used to using it still.

    I want a table saw but space and money are steering me to the band saw - which was the real reason for my original post.

    Give me more about your shops.

  14. OP
    Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Dan - this does sound good!

  15. bob goeckel

    bob goeckel Wooden Canoe Maniac

    i think these are the most used powertools for my canoes building. not in any order but they seem essenial for enjoyable work.
    bandsaw (20" has been a great improvement)
    surface planer
    ro sander
    belt sander
    hand power planer
    visa(or mastercard)
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2007
  16. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    OK here is first pass, off the top of my head in five minutes, and loosely organized. As Max says, let the Rumpus begin!

    Additions and comments welcome!

    Basic Tools:

    Stationary Power Tools:
    Bandsaw - can do almost everything the tablesaw can do, plus does the curvy cuts as well. generally safer than the tablesaw
    Tablesaw - will rip stock much faster than the bandsaw. Takes more floor space than the bandsaw. Essential for strip canoe builders and production canvas canoe builders.
    (note, most folks end up with both of the above)
    Dust Collector
    Drill Press
    Surface Planer

    Hand Power Tools
    Cordless Drill (I am partial to the Milwaukee 1/2" 14.4V)
    Belt Sander
    palm sander
    jig saw

    Hand Tools
    Saws: Japanese Ryoba saw is a great rip/crosscut compromise
    Block Planes:
    Low-angle, such as Stanley 60-1/2. You won't regret buying a Lie-Nielsen
    rabbet block plane, vintage only made by Sargent and are for collectors. Buy a Lie-Nielsen.
    Bench Planes:
    Smoother (e.g. Stanley #3 or #4)
    Jack (e.g. Stanley #5)
    Jointer (e.g. Stanley #7)
    Stanley #151

    Basic set of bench chisels 1/4" - 1"

    Combination Squares - 4" and 12" (don't settle for less than Starrett or Brown and Sharpe)
    12' Stanley Powerlock Tape Measure
    dressmaker's cloth measuring tape (great for measuring girth for replacement ribs)
    folding rule with extension
    assortment of calipers and dividers
    bevel gage (Stanley 18 best as locking knob away from business end, Lee Valley makes some nice small ones)

    screwdrivers (assortment)

    rasps and files

    clamps (did we say you could have too many, no we did not!)

    set of oil stones or water stones
    bench grinder

    Ready to Expand?

    Stationary Power Tools
    Chop Saw or Radial Arm Saw (I find RAS difficult to keep in alignment)
    Stationary Belt sander (for shaping stock and occasional sharpening duty)
    Jointer (I don't have one)
    Drum sander (for sanding planking, rib stock)

    Hand Power Tools
    Laminate Trimmer or Router

    Hand Tools

    Block Planes
    Skew Rabbet Planes (L and R set from L-N)

    Bench Planes
    Stanley 4-1/2, 5-1/2

    selection of low-angle wooden spokeshaves (best new ones are Dave's Shaves)

    2" paring chisel
    selection of gouges

    dial calipers

    Brace w/ screwdriver bits


    drill bits (assortment as needed, brad point (the expensive ones from Lee Valley) for fine work, forstner bits for large work (essential for replacing Morris pocket inwales)

    Advanced Stuff:

    30 or 35 mm number 3 sweep Swiss Made Gouge (better than a chisel for trimming flush)

    Tormek grinder

    steam box (essential for wood canvas and lapstrake, optional for strip building, probably not necessary for most stitch and glue)

    For Strip Building:
    Router mounted in table
    bead and cove router bits

    For Canvas Canoe Building:

    clinching iron
    canvas stretcher (webbing stretcher, artists pliers or sheet metal vice grips)
    cobbler's hammer (minimizes blossoms when clinching tacks)
    staple gun
    planking gage (see Stelmock and Thurlow book)
    router in table with round-over bit (for rounding over rib edges)

    For Lapstrake Canoe Building:

    rabbet plane (for cutting gains)
    clinching irons or rivetting tools
    lap clamps

    For Paddle Making:

    Axe (optional)
    angle grinder with abrasive discs

    For Seat Repair/caning
    1/8 morticing chisel or special-made chisel (for cleaning spline groove)
    small router plane (like Stanley 271, for cleaning spline groove)
  17. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    cool tool

    which tool both power and hand, is the most used/important
    couldnt begin the rumpus this week without a sharp pencil. Dan, who is Max?
  18. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    oh what a deprived childhood you had, have you never read "Where the Wild Things Are"?
  19. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    wild things

    nah, guess not. Bet i will soon though with 2 and a 3rd on they way. not totally deprived tho, I did know what ooblek was.:cool:
  20. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    Man, you guys are sleeping - no one noticed I left off the tack puller?

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