This past year some things have impressed me. Tools, equipment, books. I used a C.K. Square awl for many years and then they switched maker and the square bit snapped on many of their awls so I had to abandon them. C.K. probably changed to make 10 pence more per awl. I was given a square awl two years back by Phil as a Christmas gift and I have used it daily since then. It holds a good edge and I cannot flaw it in use. I have sharpened it a couple of times and so it will last for a lifetime. The man making them in Sweden has a good product and for a few Euros you have a lifetime tool that works wonderfully. The maker? Here is the link to S. Djarv Hantverk. Only problem was his website buttons didn’t work too well so I contacted him on that.
Of course you all know about the knife I use and like over all others. The Stanley folding pocket knife here, the 10-598, is about the very best of woodworking knives and I cannot fault it at all. It’s exceptionally good for knifewalls and the blades resharpen readily too. Just what woodworkers need to keep the edge in their work. Indeed, the blades take and hold a good edge and a blade is of course replaceable if you would rather not resharpen. Again it’s pretty much a lifetime tool that wears well and lasts because it really has little to breakdown unless you fold it throughout the day. I never fold mine because I like it ready for use. This tool is inexpensive and a great gift for any woodworkers.
Since I have been in the UK I have tried out many bandsaw blades but the best blade I have ever used is the one made by Axminster they call Axcaliber. I put one in the bandsaw about three months ago and changed it out only yesterday.
A 1/2” blade gives me the wide and rigid beam I need for resawing thicker stock and also the best longevity on my smaller bandsaw because the 1/2″ width gives a good weld area, which is where most bandsaw blades snap. I have to say it never ever drifts with these blades and I can set a fence and the saw cuts perfectly parallel through 4” oak or mahogany for continuous hours if needed.
Of course my need is limited but I do find it very convenient and I kept waiting for the blade to need replacement but only yesterday did I feel the need at all and I have to say that was after cutting lengthwise down an hardened nail embedded in the wood I was cutting.
Gouges of course are much needed for spoon making work and carving bowls. We’ve tested two out over a long enough period to be able to make good recommendation if you can’t find secondhand old ones and the very best is still in my mind the highly polished and well finished Hirsch #7 sweep 35mm from Highland Woodworking. But I also have enjoyed working with the Ashly Iles model of the same size and sweep. Only problem was the Ashley Iles handle split straight off the bat with a gentle tap. The company shipped out a replacement and we fitted it and its been fine. Customer relations doesn’t match companies like Lee Valley and what should have happened is they should have immediately shipped out a replacement tool and asked for the return of the damaged one on arrival. The flawed product was theirs not ours. But the steel takes and holds a good edge and I like it in use and in the hand. Don’t let their flawed customer relations stop you. It’s a good gouge at the right price.
There are choices for chisel hammers but this one still gives instant access to a real chisel hammer. The Thorex 712 with interchangeable heads for hard and soft and the wooden ash shaft has proven itself the best for me and in the school work we do. These are good tools for assembly work too and also for tap adjusting on the bodies of the wooden planes. I use them for dismantling plane irons in all of these planes when they arrive in poor condition.