Dailey Woodworks

Ten Gifts for Your Handyman Under $100

I’ve been accused of being hard to shop for.  I think most Carpenters, Handymen, and other skilled tradespeople are.  The reason is that most of us like tools, a lot.

Umm…That should make it easy right? 

Wrong. 

Buying Tools is the Whole Point

An HVAC friend, who really helped me out when I got started, said, “If buying new tools all the time isn’t part of the job, then what’s the point?!” He’s right.  We’re a bunch of big kids who now have a legitimate “business reason” to buy all the toys tools we need.  Shh… don’t tell our wives. 

Seriously though,  If I need a tool for a job, I buy it.  If I have a good month and a new tool will make my work a little easier, I buy it.  If it’s in the right spot at the Lumber Yard, I buy it.  Having the tools to do a job safely, do it well, and do it fast ultimately makes or breaks our businesses.

Therefore, here are 10 gift ideas for some less common tools, under $100, that we may not have… yet.

 Bosch Laser Measure – $89.99 –

Why don’t I own one of these?  A laser measure can quickly and accurately measure a room with a push of a button.  It will speed up estimates, measuring for base and crown, and generally just save time on the job site.  If I don’t get this for Christmas I’m buying one.  I should have already.

Leatherman REBAR Multitool – $59.95

While the multitool doesn’t excel at any one job, having a small tool that can do many jobs readily available is handy when you find yourself in a surprise situation where you did need that flathead, wire cutter, etc.  I had a multitool really liked but have no clue where it is.

Audible Gift Membership – $45-$90

Reading books regularly correlates highly with being a successful person.  “Readers are Leaders” or something along those lines.  My problem, I’m busy.  I’m always working toward the next project deadline, or catching up on family time.  I rarely sit down to read.  By the time I’ve given up hope on finishing my to-do list, I can’t focus on words on a screen or page anymore.  But I do spend a lot of time driving, working in my shop, sanding, and painting.  There’s plenty of time to listen to a book and learn new things.  Audible is something I’d like to try, but never do myself

ISOtunes PRO Bluetooth Earplug Headphones – $89.99 

Good, quality headphones tie in with the Audible Gift.  I’ve tried a few different $20-ish dollar Bluetooth earbuds, but they don’t block enough noise to really be useful around loud equipment.  These headphones from ISOtunes, are also earplugs.  Blocking the loud noise from saws, sanders, and planers is a safety issue that I have been lax in addressing.  These are also Bluetooth so there’s no wire to create an additional safety hazard or be in the way.

GRR-RIPPER Advanced 3D Pushblock by MircoJig $51.80

This is one safety tool that I should already own, but I don’t.  Microjig’s GRR-Ripper is a push-block everyone that uses a table saw should have.  

MicroJig MATCHFIT Dovetail Clamps $45.00

These are the best, most versatile clamps I’ve ever owned.  Yes, I already have 8, I could use 8 more.  The concept is simple: route a dovetail groove and use it as a track for this clamp.  I’ll have a video on these soon because they are amazing.  I use them for; Auxilary Fences, Face Frame Assembly, Jigs, Stop blocks, and they also fit in dog holes and can be used basically anywhere.  These clamps are high quality and worth every penny.  

CLC Custom Leathercraft 1579 20 Inch, Open Top, Soft Sided Tool Box, 27 Pockets – $56.85 

I am leery of recommending a specific tool box, tool bag, or toolbox system because everyone has their unique needs and preferences.  I work out of a trailer so I don’t need an interlocking rolling toolbox system, like the DeWalt Tough System.  However, I do need a good bag that I can put all my cabinet door installation tools into, or my crown molding tools into and take into a customer’s house.

 

Coast 265-Lumen LED Headlamp – $13.98 

I had one of these and a lost it, or my son took it to play with.  It was great.  Bright, comfortable, and useful when crawling into dark, confined spaces.

DeWalt Folding Sawhorse with Adjustable Metal Legs – $36.97 

These are my favorite sawhorse.  They are lightweight, sturdy, and adjustable height so you can get them to the perfect height for you or the task. 

Cosco Shifter 300-Pound Capacity Multi-Position Heavy Duty Folding Hand Truck and Dolly $59.99 

I’ve had this tool since I started my business 3 years ago.  I have used it in countless ways and has been one of the best purchases I’ve made under $100.  It folds flat for easy compact storage and both the cart and dolly positions have plenty of uses.  I don’t use it all the time but it has a designated spot in my trailer so I can get it when I don’t feel like hauling something heavy 

There you have it 10 gift ideas that you can give the handyman in your life this Christmas season.
 

Cheap and Easy Two-Stage DIY Dust Separator

I don’t have an elaborate dust collection system at my shop.  My system is two shop vacuums that I got on Black Friday deals for about $40 each. I did splurge on a few extra hoses here and there but that’s it.

One thing that I always do is run filter bags in my vacuums.  Especially while sanding the fine particles will quickly clog a filter and dramatically decrease performance.  The filters also really suck (no pun intended) to clean.  Filter bags do a great job of keeping your wet/dry vacuum performing at full capacity until the bag is packed full, but man they are expensive!

Filter Bags get Expensive, Y’all!

The best prices I’ve found for filter bags are on Amazon (which is not always the case).  Here’s the link: http://amzn.to/2u5oCzU

These are 3 for $10 with free shipping,  If you look sometimes you can find better but $3.33 per bag is about the best I can find.  The Orange store runs about $5 per bag and the Blue store is a shocking $7 per bag.  It pays to shop around!

If I’m building a Dog Kennel running my miter saw, table saw, and sander I can fill one of these up in a day, easy.  So I decided to try and make my own dust separator.

 

There are, of course, commercially available cyclones and chip separators (Like the Dust Deputy) that probably work better than mine: but where’s the fun in that?

My separator is about 80% effective.  This means that every time I fill up the trash can I used I save at least $13. That adds up over the year.

What You’ll Need

Here’s what I used:

All together I spent about $20 in supplies. If you count the trash can then it would be about $50 total.  Use what you have and be creative!

Form Fit PVC to Shop VAC hose with a Heat Gun

Now we run into a problem when we try to connect a 2″ vacuum hose to a 2″ PVC pipe.  It doesn’t work… but we can make it work.

Use a heat gun to soften the PVC and then work it over the shop vac fitting.  When it cools it will stay molded to the fitting giving a nice friction fit.  (BTW I love my DeWalt Heat Gun)

See how I put it all together on Youtube

diy dust separator

One More Thing…

I purchased an auto switch that automatically turns on my vacuum when I start up my saws.  It is an amazing time saver and I should have bought one sooner.

See how it works with this Youtube Video: https://youtu.be/BYaHQQNWKgY

 

 

 

 

Thanks For Reading

Thanks for reading.  If you found this article useful be sure to share, pin, mail, etc this with others.

New Tool: Craftsman Professional Router

I’ve been wanting a heavy duty router for a while.  I have a Ryobi router that I received for Christmas a few ago.  It came with a router table that has proven to be extremely useful.  I honestly have no complaints about the router I have but I still wanted to upgrade.

Read more

Twenty Gifts for Woodworkers Under $20

It’s almost Christmas!  This no doubt means that you’re looking for inexpensive gifts to get for the woodworker/carpenter/handyman in your life.  I’ve put together a list of 20 gift ideas under $20.

  1. Stanley 6-In-1 Screwdriver($9.99)|  I have many 6-in-1 screwdrivers.  This one is by far the best and my favorite.  In fact this very screwdriver is probably my most used tool.  Don’t worry about if he already has one, sometimes it’s nice to have multiples of useful tools to stick in the car, the junk draw, at work, etc.
  2. IRWIN Tools Combination Square, Metal-Body, 6-Inch (1794468) ($9.47)| This is one of those tools that you don’t think you need.  That is until you get one and start using it.  My little combination square lives in my tool bag right next to my Screwdriver.
  3. Wood-Cased Pencils, #2 HB, Yellow, Box of 96 ($15.01) |  How do I know a big box of pencils is a good gift for a woodworker?  Because I specifically asked for a box full of pencils last Christmas.  I prefer standard pencils some prefer Carpenter Pencils.
  4. X-Acto Model KS Table- or Wall-Mount Pencil Sharpener ($10.74) | Every shop needs a dedicated pencil sharpener.  I honestly prefer the mechanical type especially since it can be mounted anywhere.
  5. Craftsman 100-PC Accessory Kit ($13.49) | Drill bits get lost, Driver bits wear out.  These kits are a must for anybody who owns a power drill.
  6. Craftsman Utility Gloves ($9.99) | A good pair of gloves are always a good gift.  I like this style because they fit nice and tight with good dexterity.
  7. Stanley 12-Inch Soft Sided Tool Bag ($9.97) | I have many of these bags in multiple brands.  I prefer to build out these bags to serve a specific job.  I have one for my gun cleaning supplies.  One is dedicated it my chisels and carving tools.  Another is for my sander.  No matter who you’re buying for this will not be a wasted gift.
  8. Mirka Gold 5-Inch 8-Hole Dustless Hook-and-Loop Sanding Disks, 10 Each of 5 Grits ($19.72) | Sand paper is never exciting.  Unless you’re me.  If I unwrapped a big box of quality sandpaper for my random orbital sander Christmas morning I’d be very happy.   This Mirka brand is some of the best paper I’ve found for my RO sander, and it is a great value.
  9. Craftsman 24in Bar Clamps ($18.96) | A woodworker can never have enough clamps.  A woodworker hates buying clamps.  Follow the link buy a clamp, any clamp, you will be thanked.
  10. Kreg MKJKIT Mini Kreg Jig Kit ($12.78)| As for me, I love my Kreg Jig.  I have the Kreg K4MS Jig Master System ($139), but if you have a new DIYer or know they don’t have a pocket hole system the Kreg Mini is a great start.
  11. Empire Level 419-48 Heavy Duty Adjustable Drywall T-Square ($20.97) |  This one does break $20 but it’s too useful not to make the list.  I use this guy for so many different things other than drywall. In fact, rarely for drywall.
  12. Cordless Rechargeable Work Light with 35 LED Lights (19.99) | I don’t own this one, but I’d like to.  Sometimes you just need more light.  This guy is cordless, which is great for working on vehicles.  It also comes with a car charger so you can leave it in your vehicle.
  13. Craftsman Evolv 5-PC Pliers Set ($14.96) | There is always a use for a good set of pliers in any shop or tool box.
  14. Craftsman  Folding Lockback Utility Knife ($14.99) |  Almost everybody has a utility knife, but a premium knife is a nice upgrade.  Not only is it safer, but it’s a joy to use over the cheap ones.
  15. Wood Magazine: Arts and Crafts Furniture ($13.22) |  Some of your woodworking friend and relatives have all the tools they need.  So why not buy them a book that has project plans and ideas for inspiration.  I like furniture, but Amazon has about every book on woodworking made.
  16. Bessey BPC-34 3/4-Inch H Style Pipe Clamp ($13.97) | Pipe clamps use metal pipe from the hardware store.  They can be made to almost any size.  If your woodworker likes making furniture having an extra 10ft pipe clamp is always nice.
  17. Rockler Glue Applicator Set (19.99) |  Glue is used on about 90% of my projects.  Having easier ways to apply it is always a good gift.
  18. Craftsman  8 pc. Standard 12 pt. Combination Wrench Set (9.99) | Tools need adjustment and calibration.  An adjustable wrench can’t get into the small spaces, and they can damage the nut.
  19. Craftsman  11pc Inch Hex Key Set with Caddy ($13.49).  Same as above.  Needed to adjust tools.
  20. Coleman Cable 04657 6-Outlet Metal Power Strip, Heavy Duty Design, with 15-Feet ($19.53) | Yep, it’s a power strip, but a heavy duty power strip.  Trust me.  I want one, or 18.

This concludes my list.  These are tools that I either have and found extremely useful, or that I want someone to get me for Christmas.  I’ve tried to stick with quality product with good reviews.  I hope this helps with your Christmas list.

Merry Christmas!  And remember the real reason for Christmas; God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior.

Stolen Tools

God forbid you come home from work, head out to the shop to find a busted lock and missing tools.  Thankfully I haven’t experienced this.  But I can imagine the horror.

I’ve been lucky in my life.  I haven’t had many things stolen from me.  Personally, my wife’s Iphone was stolen out of my unlocked truck (I forgot), and my church’s sound system was stolen from the youth room.  Interestingly enough, both items were later returned.

The phone was returned to us by a parent whose child bought the phone at school.  We “bricked” the phone once it was missing so it would not activate and only displayed my number.

Our sound system was returned when a youth recognized it at a friend’s house.  (The kids that had it said that they got it from a different guy, knowing the other guy I find the story believable-ish).  Anyway, we got the equipment back and had him make a statement to the police.  They later came to my office and personally apologized.

This and things that happened to my In-laws (someone stole a TV and pistol) prompted me to start taking precautions in-case I am ever robbed.

I take the same precautions with my tools as I do with my firearms.

Being from a small town I got to know my insurance agent pretty well.  In fact, he was my Sunday School teacher for many years.  His son also was a member of the same 4H Shooting Sports club as me (and an Olympic Contender).  He told us that if you are ever robbed the insurance company isn’t going to take your word for what you own, especially with firearms.  I needed to have pictures, make, model, and serial numbers.

This does two things.  First, you have a record to submit to the police so they can file the serial number with a database that pawnshops are required to check.  Secondly, haven’t pictures, product information, and serial numbers proves ownership to the insurance company so you can be reimbursed correctly.  It should go without saying that you need to be properly insured.

One of the Deacons at my church had a stolen firearm returned to him recently that was missing for 10 years.  Pretty cool.

Thankfully,  I don’t earn my primary living from my tools.  Though it would be tragic if my tools went missing.  It would not be as devastating as a Contractor finding his tool trailer empty on Monday morning.

What I’ve done for my firearms (and am working on for my tools) is make a PowerPoint with a good picture, a picture of the actual serial number and make and model, and a written description of the item.  I then save it and upload a copy to one of my cloud storage drives (such as OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive) this way if my house burns down and I loose my PC I’ve still got a copy.

A final thing I do with all of my tools is write my intials and/or paint my logo on them.  Engraving would be a good step since paints can be removed.  This mainly helps keep your stuff from ending up in someone else’s tool box at a work site.

What precautions do you take in-case of theft?

Robert

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