Tooling up

Obviously tools are fundamental to woodworking. Without tools there is no woodworking. But tools are not just a means to an end. Who am I kidding? Power tools are awesome fun. My tool collection is an ever-changing and evolving thing. With new tools, old tools and hand-me-down tools making up my collection it ceases to amaze me how many tools one person can collect. And I’m not even close to having everything I need, let alone the ones that I want.


During the early days of Common Wood I was really only able to create what my small tool collection would allow me to. This was a bit of a blessing in disguise though. At the time it meant I had to use my imagination (and sometimes YouTube) when creating pieces. Some of these home-grown techniques I still use.


As I was on a budget I knew I could only do what I could with the tools I had and would buy new bits and pieces as I had the money. I used every birthday and Christmas to beg people for either a tool or money towards a new tool. I clearly remember haggling my dad a new nail gun for a Common Wood coffee table. He’s been away overseas for the past year so I’ll need to make a start on that soon I guess hahahhaa.


Originally I borrowed a mitre saw from a friend then bought the cheapest large sliding compound mitre saw that Bunnings sold. I learnt quickly that you can definitely tell the difference between a cheap saw and a decent saw. Not long after buying that saw i was back again to get a better quality saw.


As I had spent many years as a guitaraholic I was well versed in tracking down a bargain. I found the best place for second hand guitars was Gumtree and the Facebook marketplace. These have now become my go-to places to trawl for a bargain second hand power tool. I check at least twice a day for the Holy Grail bargain. Still yet to find it. Have come close a few times though. Remember, the worst the seller can say is “no” when it comes to a good old fashioned “lowball”. But you’d be surprised how many times people are just keen to move an item on.


I was lucky enough to get one of the all-time hand-me-downs from a LEGENDARY builder friend who runs JRFS Construction - a Dewalt thicknesser planer. Do go and check out their work. They are true craftsmen. At the time I was looking for a new thicknesser planer when I was offered the Dewalt thicknesser. This piece of machinery has become my most treasured tool. I use it all the time. I take it out to dinner and the movies and tuck it into bed. With a few tricks it also doubles as a very usable jointer. I am yet to find the bargain jointer that I dream of.

Next week - Workshop Needed.

pete@commonwoodco.com - 0414834804 - Sydney, Australia

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