Category: tools

When Tool Lending Goes Bad

If you tackle a house renovation you’re going to acquire tools.  Lots and lots of tools. Some of them will get worked to death and replaced.  Others might only be used for one project then put away never to be touched again, such as was the case with the Makita framing nailer I bought on eBay to build my fences. In the former category is my table saw.  I dispatched my original Ryobi contractor saw to an early grave. I burned out the motor while slicing up some pressure-treated 4x4s barely two years after I got it. I had it

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Product Warranties vs. The Big Chain Stores

The NJ Tool Show is an annual event that my tool-nut friend and I eagerly anticipate all year. We get to see all the latest innovations in shop tools, from programmable laser cutters that sliced with such precision that they could duplicate a business card in 6 point type in a piece of oak veneer to shade tree inventions that seemed to have no practical use at all. It’s tool porn, no doubt about it. At one of the shows, maybe 2001, I ducked outside into the freezing January weather to grab a smoke — a habit I’m glad to

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The Tormek Blade Sharpening System

Shop owners love to brag about the incredible tool buys they’ve made on eBay, at flea markets and at estate auctions. Like my $50 Hitachi framing nailer and $125 radial arm saw. But most of us have also made purchases we’re less proud of, like the $100 “miracle corner clamping system” I bought at a tool show which turned out to be utterly useless for anything besides building the tiny box the salesman demonstrated at the show. Naturally, we don’t talk much about those overpriced white elephants, which is probably why these hucksters are still in business. Then there are

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Got a shop? You need this stuff!

Last weekend, my boss and I made the trek to the annual NJ Woodworking Show. Jeb has a pretty nice woodworking shop but his passion is car and motorcycle restoration. He’s done several old bikes — Velocettes and Moto Guzzis — but his current project is a 1955 Land Rover. The Rover looked like it had been parked at the bottom of a river for the last fifty years but after two years he’s nearing paint and finish, which means he needed supplies, which means we both needed to hit the show. I’ve been looking for a decent steel tool

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Yet another “cool tool” article

I’ve blathered a lot on the blog about the coolness of routers but another tool I use quite a bit is a biscuit joiner. What’s that? Bread glue? It’s a tool I first saw TOH demigod, Norm Abrams, use back in the 80s. Okay, let’s be honest: Norm has a shop full of bizarre, narrow purpose tools. But a biscuit (or plate) joiner is really useful, especially for edge-laminating boards as I’m about to do here. It can also be used to strengthen mitered corners or to insert alignment pins. I did the latter when I installed the heavy mahogany

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Tool Show Post Mortem: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

I’m glad the Somerset Tool Show moved back it to the Exhibit Center because it was suffering at the Ramapo convention center. There were lots of new vendors this year, and lots of new tools. My primary misson however was finding a router bit to cut the bolection mouldings for the wainscotting in my bedroom reno. The router bit yodas I was counting on for enlightenment were no help. One guy even told me I needed a shaper to get that profile. He must have noticed me looking at him like he had two heads because he followed up with,

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The Somerset (NJ) Woodworking Show – any NYC area bloggers going?

Feb 16-18, 2007 Garden State Exhibit Center 50 Atrium Drive Somerset, NJ (exit 19, Route 287) Sponsored by Wood Magazine This will be like my 8th or 9th visit to this show. It’s like a crack house for woodworking junkies. Every conceivable tool, useful or not, is on display and usually being demonstrated. At least half of my present shop was purchased at one of these shows, including my Delta X Unisaw and Dewalt SCMS. I also load up on all my sandpaper, nitrile gloves and other consumables for the year. The prices are that good. If there’s an answer

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Where’s the progress?

You DIYers know what I’m talking about. A friend comes by to check out your latest completed project and goes “ooh! ahh!” over the paint color and asks where you got your terrific door knobs. You modestly thank him for the compliment. But, deep inside, you feel like Michelangelo after hearing, “Hey, nice paint colors. Where’d you get the cool frame?” You shed blood on this room for… what?… three months and that’s all he can see? Paint color and door knobs?! Is he blind or just clueless? He doesn’t see the five hundred feet of mesh tape you skillfully

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Labor Day Snoozer

This was the first Labor Day weekend since I got this place that I wasn’t knee deep in some h/i project. Last year I was in the middle of the guest room renovation. Now, I’m waiting for lumber estimates so I can start on the master bedroom rehab. I took the opportunity to hack on my Drupal software but, man, does it need a coherent manual. We got some of Ernesto on Friday/Saturday. The wind down here on NY Harbor was pretty fierce so there was clean up to do, which is about as clumsy a segue as I can

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    Welcome to Brooklyn Row House

    This blog is about the challenges of renovating an old (1903) Brooklyn, New York row house.

    My last major renovation project was the master bedroom, most of which is about finish carpentry. You’ll find other completed home improvement projects in the Projects submenu at the top of this page.

    I’m not a professional builder and don’t pretend to be. I’m just an experienced amateur raised in a family of committed DIYers. I try to closely follow local and national building codes but don’t mistake anything on this site to be professional or even accurate advice! Your mileage may and definitely will vary.

    This is the third iteration of BrooklynRowHouse.com, from scratch-built to Drupal and now Wordpress. I hope you enjoy your time here.