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Guide to Tool Storage

So unless you’ve only just started woodworking you will undoubtedly have a huge number of tools lying around on your bench, or floor, or stuffed in a drawer.

This will only get worse over time because every single project absolutely requires the purchase of a couple new tools, right?

If you’re anything like me, before starting a project you’ll first have to make room amongst all the tools for it. This usually consists of picking them all up and… stuffing them in a drawer, or over in that convenient corner where you’ll never accidentally tread on them whilst carrying something heavy and fragile.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a good tool storage system? One where every tool has its own place and everything is easily to hand and not underfoot. Ah, but that sounds expensive, right? Well, if you buy off the shelf the answer is maybe.

However, if you’re more interested in building it yourself (which is the only option if you want true customisation around your tools and shop) then keep reading for some tool storage ideas.

The first thing you’ll want to do is a complete inventory of all your tools (fun in itself) and decide which ones you want close to hand in your main work area and which ones could be a little further away. My suggestion would be to split your tools into 3 categories:

  1. Used on every job, all the time 
  2. Used regularly but not all the time
  3. Why did I spend $100 on this I’ve never even used it?

Next, see if you can associate each tool with an area of your shop where it’s used most frequently. By this I mean that a saw might be used most often with your saw horses, a push rod is mostly used with your table saw, a hammer is mostly used at your workbench.

Try grouping the tools together around where you mostly use them. This bit is important, it’s no use having made a great custom storage solution for your clamps if it’s on the other side of your shop whilst you’re holding a glued joint together on your workbench.

Pay attention to these two steps as if you want to end up with a good storage solution you need to have the right combination of location and accessibility. For those tools that you can’t associate with a specific area of your shop (usually the most common tools, hammer, pencil, rule, set square, small clamps etc) you’ll probably want to have a mobile tool storage setup that you can drag around after you.

Right, this is where we’re going to start looking at pictures for inspiration…

Let’s start with tool storage boxes, nice and simple. This could be your portable solution for your common tools, maybe put some wheels on it and a drag handle.

Check out some of these layouts for ideas for your custom solution, especially the first one which is a great example of tools fitting around and amongst each other:

You could implement either of those tool grips in wood. Start by laying out your tools on your bench and fit them around each other (take some photos when you find a good layout).

You’ll probably want to make a few drawers (unless you’ve only got a few tools that fit in this category) or maybe you could do an upright solution where you could combine the drawers from the example on the left (along with a well fitted layout from above) and the wheels/handle from the one on the right.

Peg Boards

You can definitely make a peg board yourself, but given the cost of the material and the effort involved it may well be more economical to buy a pre-drilled board. I’d suggest, also, using a mixture of bought and custom made hangers; although they’re easy enough to make if you want to go all out on doing it yourself.

The last one is my favourite and something very similar will be making an appearance in my shop as soon as possible; swinging boards where you can use both sides! Given the overlap possibility you’re going to be (at least) quadrupling your storage space.

Off the Shelf (Pun intended)

Oh, and in response to the post title “Where’s my clamp?”. Here it is:

If you’re not wanting to build a customised storage solution then there are plenty of pre-made options available to you. It’s worth pointing out, though, that none of these were designed with your specific tools and shop layout in mind so you’ll end up having to make a few compromises. You may find that a mixture of bought and built works well though.

Gifts for Woodworkers – Great Christmas Gift Ideas

Confused over what to get that special woodworker in your life?
Check out our list of gifts for woodworkers we are sure you will find something for everyone no matter how picky they are. 

Gifts for Woodworkers​

Gifts for woodworkers are not too difficult to come up with if you are an experienced woodworker. If you are not however, then we have compiled a list of the best gifts for woodworkers no matter what their skill level or experience.


Waxed Canvas Shop Apron

A new shop apron is a great gift for a woodworker. Keeping your clothes clean whilst you work is something that is often overlooked. Woodworking creates a lot of dust and dirt and often there is oil and wood finishing oils and varnishes involved. These can make a big mess out of your clothes. One simple solution is a traditional style shop apron. 

An apron is not only great for protecting your clothes but they usually come with enough pockets to pretty much have any hand tool or smaller accessories like measuring tape and pencils. The added bonus is that these types of woodworking items are usually the ones you lose regularly because they are small, with all the pockets on an apron they are always to hand.

Specifications

  • Built from 16 oz canvas
  • Reinforced pockets, rivets and grommets 
  • Multiple pockets for lots of storage
  • Water resistant
  • Comes in a gift box

DeWalt Impact Driver Set

An impact driver may look like a small hand drill but it differs in one regard: power to drive screws in to just about anything. Impact drivers are used by tradesmen and home DIY'ers to drive in screws to wood with ease. They take all of the pain and hassle out of using a conventional drill or manual screw driver.

Impact drivers pack a lot of power and torque. They allow you to drive lots of screws into wood quickly and easily. Speed is one of their best assets. If your loved one has a lot of projects that require screws for the fixings then this will be a sure fire winner of a Christmas or birthday gift for a woodworker. 

Specifications

  • Small and lightweight
  • ​Comes with battery and charging unit
  • Suitable for professionals and hobbyists 
  • 3 year limited warranty

Craftsman Screwdriver Bit Set

A set of high quality bits for an electric screw driver or an impact driver is one way to make sure you have all possible bits and heads available to you in one easy to use organised storage location.

Getting stuck in the middle without the right bit head for you driver is a real pain and can mean wasted time as you try to find the bit either at the bottom​ of your tool box, counter top or even worse somewhere on the floor. 

The Craftsman brand is known for producing high quality durable bits and the are one of the top names that you can trust.​

Specifications

  • 208 pieces
  • Molded carry case
  • Labelled slots so they go back in the right place everytime

Porter Cable 8-Tool Combo Kit

Gifts for woodworkers don't come more generous than this! The Porter Cable 8 Tool Combo kit has practically every power tool the budding woodworker could need. 

This combo kit is a great way to fit out a home woodworking shop. Or as a way to replace old and tired tools that might be lurking/broken in the garage. It has practically everything you would need for the majority of home woodworking projects or DIY jobs about the house.​

Power by a 20V lithium ion battery each of these tools can deliver a lot of power without the need of an annoying power chord. Although this gift is probably the priciest on our list if is certainly something that will not only be really appreciated but also not forgotten.​

Specifications

  • 8 Power Tools all accepting the same battery pack
  • Comes with 2 batteries
  • Drill Driver, Impact Driver, Circular Saw, Tiger Saw, Jigsaw, Multi-Tool, Grinder and Flash Light
  • 3 year limited warranty

Rockwell JawHorse Support Station

Sometimes when you are working away in the garage or your wood shop on your own you need that extra pair of hands just for a few minutes and all just to hold and piece of wood steady so it can be cut or fastened/glued to another.

The solution is a JawHorse. They are part sawhorse part, portable workbench, part woodworking clamp. Whatever they are they are extremely handy to have in a wood shop. In fact two of these can replace all of the above individual tools in just about any situation. 

The JawHorse is like a second pair of hands in your shop that will never get tired! They also have a very convenient foot pedal that allows you to control the clamping mechanism hands free. Perfect for those projects that have a lot of pieces that may need to be maneuvered and locked in place whilst they are being cut or fixed together.

Specifications

  • Clamps can excert 1 metric tonne of force
  • Solid steel construction can support up to 600 lbs of load safely 
  • Hands free foot pedal operated clamping mechanism is like a second pair of hands
  • Quickly folds down for easy storage

Precision Combination Square

There is one sure fire way to mess up a woodworking project and that's sloppy measurements. The LaSquare Precision Combination Square and Ruler is one way to make sure your measurements and right angle marks are through are precise.

A great little gift that can surely help increase the quality of those home projects. It is precision engineered from stainless steel and contains durable ​etched graduations that are easy to see and read.

Specifications

  • American made from stainless steel to exacting standards and tolerances 
  • Precisionau ground head from solid aluminum 
  • Tempered stainless steel ruler blade

Bosch 7 Amp Jigsaw

Jigsaw's are great for quickly and accurately cutting your way through sheets of wood. This Bosch 7 Amp is one of the best jigsaws available,a pretty powerful piece of kit and is a top woodworking gift for any DIYer. It features a tool-less blade changing system for quick and easy swapping of different blades.

It's 7 Amp motor can be controlled to suit the wood blade thanks to a accelerator trigger and the max power can be limited via a dial.

It has 4 different orbital settings for the blade action ranging from smooth to aggressive. ​Can be purchased with or without blade sets.

Specifications

  • Tool-less blade changing
  • Cuts wood up to 5-7/8 inches thick
  • Carrying case included
  • 1 year warranty

VonHaus 10 Piece Premium Chisel Set

A sharp set of wood chisels should be a given for any self respecting woodworker. This VonHaus set of wood chisels come in a classically styled wooden case. It features 8 different sized wood chisels a honing guide and an aluminum oxide sharpening stone.

A very presentable and practical woodworking gift.​

Specifications

  • 10 piece set
  • Chrome vanadium steel alloy blades
  • Rubber grips with metal strike caps
  • Beautiful wooden storage case

Bosch Random Orbital Sander

Never heard of a random orbital sander before? How does it differ from a regular belt sander? Well if works in a tight elliptical swirling motion. The added advantage of this motion is that you can sand across the grain of the wood unlike a traditional sander.

A random orbit sander is unusable by just about anyone. They can be used to strip off heavy varnishes/paint or to remove small scratches and also be used for fine detail finishing work before you apply the wet treatment to the wood.​

Specifications

  • Accepts standard 5 inch sanding disks
  • Microfilter system
  • Connects to any standard wood shop vacuum
  • Variable speed
  • 1 year warranty

3M reusable Respirator

Sanding and drilling can create a lot of dust in any wood shop. And one thing is for sure without the proper safety equipment that dusk is going to make its way into your throat and lungs. Protect your loved one by giving then a respirator to filter out even the smallest of dust particles.

The reusable respirator from 3M is designed to filter out as much as possible from the air whilst also helping to reduce moisture build up and fogging.   

Specifications

  • Built from tough yet comfortable silicon
  • Harness is dual mode: standard or drop down
  • Special valve helps direct moisture away to reduce fogging
  • Comes in various sizes

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is a must for any garage or home for that matter. Any place where there are lots of saws, off cuts of wood and power tools will ultimately result in some kind of minor accident eventually.

Having a good well stocked first aid kit to hand is something that you should always have around. This first aid kit contains 326 pieces and is rated for up to 100 people so it's more than enough for your garage.

It can be stored easily in any easy to access location or ideally is wall mountable so that it is to hand when it is really needed. Gifts for woodworkers don't come with as much piece off mind as this one.

Specifications

  • 326 pieces
  • FDA approved manufacturing facility
  • Meets OSHA and ANSI 2009 guidelines
  • Suitable for up to 100 people
  • Wall mountable

Digital Angle/Height Finder Tool

Like the precision metal ruler and square above in our list of gifts for woodworkers using a tool to help you accurately measure your angles and wood heights will help give you cleanest cuts and truest measurements.

This combo contains a digital angle finder and a digital depth/height gauge. A perfect little gift for a woodworker who has everything, because chances are they may not have these in their tool box.

Specifications

  • Digital angle measuring tool
  • Digital height guage
  • Locking screw to keep angle set
  • Batteries included

Wen Belt & Disk Sander

Sanding small objects for detailed finishing work can be a real pain of you only have a hand sander. This two in one belt and disk sander from Wen is ideal as it can be bench mounted so you can use both hands to get a more accurate sanding finish.

​The main belt driven sander can be tilted from 0 through 90 degrees meaning that you can adjust the angle to suit any heavy or awkward pieces of wood that you may not be able to lift and hold at table height. A great gift for a woodworker but make sure they have a bench on which they can mount it.

Specifications

  • 2 in 1 belt and disk sander
  • 4.3 Amp motor
  • Simple quick release lever for quick changing of sand paper
  • Belt tilts from 0 to 90 degrees

Digital Laser Level

An old school level that has a bubble as the gauge is great for things like fences outdoors but when it comes to getting a perfectly level reading for an indoor project or some piece of furniture then a digital laser level is where it's at. 

This laser level comes with an easy to read digital output that is readable in either degrees, % or in inches/foot. ​It has a laser output that is useful if you need to make reading over long distances and is visible up to about 100 meters. 

Specifications

  • Digital readout for accurate readings
  • Laser dot output to make ling distance readings
  • ​Stores last nine measurements
  • Available in 3 different lengths

Dewalt Professional Knee Pads

Gift ideas for woodworkers need not be complicated. If you know a roofer or someone that is constantly fixing boards or lumbar on the ground then how about this knee pads?

Kneeling all day as you work on a site with power tools can take a heavy toll on your knees . Wearing a good set of knee pads can alleviate all of the stress and pain that can be forced onto the knee joint and knee cap be kneeling for extended periods of time. 

Specifications

  • Durable build from ballistic poly material
  • Non-skid
  • Cushioned gel helps reduce impact on the knee
  • Easily adjustable and comfortable for all day use 

Tools Christmas Gifts

Freud Forstner Drill Bit Set

Forstner drill bits are used to make perfectly flat bottomed holes in wood. They are usually used in a drill press as they require a lot of force to get the best possible cut from them. So I wouldn't get these for someone who only has a hand drill. 

However if the person you are buying a gift for does have a drill press then these will make a great gift. ​They come packaged in a purpose built wooden case with specific dividers for each bit. The case is small enough to be stored in a drawer or stacked neatly on a work bench.

Specifications

  • 7 piece Forstner drill bit set
  • Comes in high quality wooden case
  • 1 year manufacturers warranty

X-Acto Manual Pencil Sharpener

Pencils will always be used for marking out different pieces or for writing down material lists. Have a sharp pencil makes sure you can mark out with the greatest possible accuracy and neatness.

This ​manual handle driven pencil sharpener from X-Acto is great. It has an old school and can be mounted to a wall or workbench. It is capable of sharpening up to 8 different pencil sizes.

The is a pretty cheap gift for a woodworker and is great as a stocking filler. Yet it is something that a lot of DIY'ers would love to have bolted to the benches purely for the look of it!​

Specifications

  • Bench or wall mountable
  • Can sharpen up to 8 different pencils
  • Dual helical cutters give perfect and reliable sharpening every time 

Bessey 24 Inch Clutch Clamp

Clamps, you can never have enough woodworking clamps. All woodworking shops and garages can benefit from having more clamps about to help stabilize and secure wood and metal pieces and as they are being worked on or whilst waiting for glue to set.

Bessey is one of the most respected manufacturers of wood working clamps. These clutch style bar clamps are ​top quality and ultra reliable.  

Specifications

  • Cast iron with powder coated finish
  • 2 piece clutch system
  • Pads on both top and bottom

Jet Air Filter

There is no doubt about it woodworking produces a lot of shavings and dust. The shavings can be simply swept up after you are finished and are harmless. The dust however is another matter.

Sanding in particular creates a lot of very fine dust that can hang in the air. Breathing in this dust is harmful for you lungs. One way to avoid breathing it in is to wear a dusk mask.

Another method is to install an air filtration system into your wood shop. This programmable air filter from Jet is one of the best air filters out there. All you need to do is hang it from the center of the ceiling and switch it on.

It can filter a large portion of some of the smallest dust particles. Is programmable and is remote controlled.​

Specifications

  • Programmable and remote controlled
  • Can cope with dust particles down to 5 microns thick
  • Can also be mounted on a workbench
  • 5 year warranty

3M Ear Muffs

Just like dust noise is one of the least obvious health dangers associated with woodworking.

Protecting your ears from the high noise levels that power tools produce is something that every woodworker should be aware of. ​It is not until we are much older that we start to notice a deteriation in our hearing.

A quality set of ear protectors can help defend the ears from exposure to damaging noises.​

These ear muffs from 3M are just the ticket and make a great gift for a woodworker that is using power tools on a regular basis.​

Specifications

  • 30dB noise level protection
  • Available in 3 different styles
  • Twin cup design

Akro-Mills Hardware Cabinet

Keeping your work space clean and well organized is a sure fire way to help with your productivity and enjoyment in your wood shop or garage. 

Screws, nails and drill bit heads can be a pain if they are laying about your garage in different places or even worse on the floor. Take the pain out of storage with this durable and easy to use plastic cabinet.

It has 12 larger sized drawers and 32 small sized drawers and is easy to store either on top of a workbench or neatly hidden away under it.

Specifications

  • High impact Polystyrene construction
  • 12 large drawers
  • 32 small drawers
  • Perfect for keeping nails and screws organized
  • Available in red or black

Optimus Shop Heater

​Working in a cold garage can take all the fun and enjoyment out of your hobby. Why not install a heater? 

Working in the cold is no fun ​and working with hand tools when your fingers and hands are cold is certainly no fun. Adding a bit of ambient heat to you garage is a sure fire way to increase your comfort levels during the fall and winter seasons.

This wall or ceiling mounted heater ​from Optimus has a soft halogen light that helps to brighten up the place included.

A great Christmas gift for a woodworker that lives in a colder climate.

Specifications

  • 750 watt heat output
  • Can be mounted on wall or ceiling
  • heat and light operate independent to each other

Rockwell Compact Saw

Handheld compact saws are great gifts for carpenters as they reduce the need to carry around a heavier more bulky compact saw.

​The Rockwell Compact Saw is the next generation Rockwell Versacut saw. It is more powerful and has a deeper cutting depth than the original model in the line.

These little circular saw are great for quick jobs and can be used in tight awkward spots(just make sure it is safe to use it in that manner). They can make plunge cuts(cutting in the middle of a board ) and rip cuts(cutting in the length of the board) a lot simpler than a regular circular saw.​

Specifications

  • 5 Amp motor
  • Speed 3500 RPM
  • Weighs 5 pounds

Gifts for Carpenters

Occidental Leather Carpenters Bag

Gifts for a carpenters don't come more generous than this leather carpenters bag from Occidental Leather. It is quite expensive for what is essentially a tool belt however the quality is second to none. 

These carpenters tool belts are built to the highest standards from premium leather. Each of the main bags is reinforced with copper rivets for added strength and durability.

They have a very traditional look and feel about that would make any carpenter proud to wear them.

Specifications

  • Premium Top-Grain leather
  • Made in USA
  • Reinforced main bags
  • Old world design and look

Gifts for Handymen

DeWalt Technician's Tool Bag

Gifts for handymen don't need to be tools, how about this neat tool bag from DeWalt that has a built in LED light enabling you to find everything quickly and easily even in poor light conditions.

The LED is adjustable to 3 different strength settings. 

With 28 pockets in total there is more than enough storage for all your tools. The tool pockets are vertically aligned meaning you have easy access to them in an instant.

A convenient size than can be carried over the shoulder means you can throw your must have tools into the bag and transport them easily without the need for a massive tool box.

Specifications

  • Built in LED light
  • 28 pockets
  • Adjustable shoulder straps

Best Telescoping Ladder – Buyers’s Guide

The Best Telescoping Ladder should be easy to use, lightweight and provide a stable base from which to work from. When using any ladder you need to have 100% confidence in it's ability to hold you safely at height.

The main advantages over a telescopic ladder versus a folding, platform or extension ladder is portability. The average telescoping ladder has a packed length of somewhere between 30-35 inches. This small footprint means they can easily fit in the foot well of a normal sized saloon or work truck. 

Their small size also means the can be packed away easily at home either under the stairs or a cupboard ​and will easily find a place in any standard sized garage or workshop.

Best Telescoping Ladder

When choosing the best telescopic ladder for you needs it is important to firstly consider safety and then function. Choosing a collapsible ladder that is capable of holding your weight plus your tools and any materials that you may be lifting into place is of the utmost importance.

Always look for a ladder that has a recognized safety rating. Without such a rating you are at risk of equipment failure that could result in serious injury.​

Best Telesoping Ladder

Xtend & Climb 780P Aluminum Telescoping Ladder 12.5-Foot

Xtend and Climb have established themselves as the market leader in telescoping ladders.

The 780P is built from high grade 6061 alloy aluminum and is rated to 300 lbs. At 12.5' fully extended it is not the tallest ladder in this review list but it has the highest safety rating for it's max weight capacity.

The range consists of both a home series and professionally rated collapsible ladders, the 780P is the flagship of the professional series. They are ideal for home and professional use and are seen on work sites across American in a wide range of industries. 

Specifications

  • Extends from 2.5' to 12.5'
  • ​300 lb ANSI Type IA rating
  • Built from 6061 alloy aluminum
  • Weighs 32 lbs
  • Extends and locks by the foot

The 780P Type IA Professional Series extends from a retracted height of 2.5' to 12.5'. It has a carry weight of 32 lbs and a convenient built in carry handle.

Designed with maximum safety in mind the 780P uses Xtend & Climb's patented "No-Pinch Closure System" ​that has red/green tab safety tab indicators so you know for sure that the ladder is locked in place before you leave the ground.

​Although the 780P is 3 feet smaller in length than it's bigger brother the 785P below it has a 50 lbs higher weight max capacity. Not only can it carry more it is also lighter to carry. 

Xtend-Climb-780P-Aluminum-Telescoping-Ladder
96 %
Features
94 %
Value
95 %
Durability

Perfect for lots of applications around the house or by a professional on site seeking an easy to transport telescopic ladder that can fit in any vehicle. The Xtend and Climb 780P Type IA Professional Series is definitely the best telescoping ladder for the money.


Ollieroo EN131 Aluminum Telescoping Ladder

A close runner up to the 780P is the Ollieroo EN131 Aluminum telescopic exstension ladder. The Ollieroo has the same dimensions as the 780P but has a higher load capacity of 330 lbs. 

Just be aware this certified load capacity is to European en131 standards and not to ANSI Type IA safety code​ which is the American standard.

Saying that the Ollieroo is still to be trusted however personally I don't think I would risk 330 lbs on any telescoping ladder at max extension.​

There is a choice of either a 12.5' model or a 13.5' footer. 

Specifications

  • Extends from 2.5' to 12.5'
  • ​330 lb EN131 European rating
  • Built from anodized aluminum
  • Weighs 26 lbs

Telesteps 1800EP Professional Ladder

The Telesteps 1800EP is built to roughly the same standards as the other colapsible ladders above. It extends from 33 inches up to 14.5 feet.

The feet have a ​silicon-covered surface it greatly increase the grip on a host of different surfaces. Non-slip feet on any ladder is extremely important and is often an over looked element of ladder selection.

​These ladders are a little more expensive than say the Xtend and Climb and to be honest I'm not sure that the added expensive is warranted. 

Specifications

  • Extends from 33 inches to 14.5'
  • ​300 lb OSHA compliant and type 1A rating
  • Built from aluminum alloy
  • Weighs 30.5 lbs
  • Adjusts in one foot increments

Xtend & Climb 785P Type I Pro Series 15.5'

The 785P is the longer version of the 780P listed above. It extends from 36.5 inches up to a max height of 15.5'. That extra length means it is roughly 4 pounds heavier than it's smaller brother. 

The extra reach also means that it has a smaller max load rating of 250 lbs. The lower the ladder generally the lower the max carrying load will be if they are made from the same materials and manufacturer.​

You get the same quality build materials and safety lock mechanisms throughout the professional series. And as with all Xtend & Climb Professional series ladders there is a six-month warranty on parts and repair.

Specifications

  • Extends from 36.5 inches to 15.5'
  • ​250 lbs type 1A rating
  • Built from aluminum alloy
  • Weighs 36 lbs

Generic EN131 Aluminum Telescoping Ladder

If you are looking for an affordable lightweight telescoping ladder then the Generic EN131 may fit the bill.

It's considerably lighter than most others in this review and although it has a 300 lb rating all that weight saving is due to slightly smaller and lighter tubes.

Personally I would not overload a ladder as light as this, a bit of extra weight in the ladder can make a big difference on stability.

Specifications

  • Extends from 34 inches to 12.5'
  • ​300 lb ANSI A 14.2 Type 1A rating
  • Built from aluminum alloy
  • Weighs 26 lbs
  • Adjusts in one foot increments

At this price point it's a perfectly fine ladder for small jobs around the house that don't require heavy loads to be lifted to a height.


Telescoping Ladder Buyer's Guide

What to look for when buying a telescoping ladder:

  • ​Max weight capacity
  • Safety rating​
  • Extended height
  • Carry weight

Max Weight Capacity

One of the first things along with the height that the average user will look at when buying a telecopic ladder is how much weight it can safely carry. ​It is extremely important to realise that the ratings that are qouted are for the max load.

The max load is the weight of the person plus all of there tools and materials. So if you intend to carry lumber or dry wall on the ladder you need to calculate the weight of the material plus any saws or other tools(including your tool belt and what is in it) plus your own body weight.

It may be tempting to overload these ladders up to half height ​extension but you really should not attempt to do so. I have see it time and time again onsite and it is an accident waiting to happen. 

When carrying very heavy loads a telescoping ladder is not a substitute for a properly rated ​conventional ladder that is properly and securely set up.

​Safety Rating

In general you should look for a collapsible ladder that has the highest possible safety rating for it's max weight capacity. In general there are three different types of ratings applied to these kins of ladders.

The following ladder ratings are listed in order of superiority from one to three:

  1. ANSI - American National Standards Institute
  2. OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Organization
  3. EN 131 - European rating system

If you happen to come across a ladder that has not got any of the above ratings then you should be extremely wary of the quality of both the build materials and the design.

Extended Height​

The majority of telescoping ladders top out at about 16 feet maximum. For this type of ladder safety beyond that height would require a much wider and heavier design. Once you start to widen and make these ladders heavier then you begin to impact on their ability to be transported easily which is one of the main selling points.​

Carry Weight​

Like the max height building these ladders too heavy will mean moving them around easily will be impacted. If a telescoping ladder was to start weighing 50 pounds or more then it would begin to become less manageable.​

Using a Telescoping Ladder Safely

Whenever you use any ladder any decision you make on where and how you use it should be primarily based on safe usage. Always ensure that the ladder is on a stable surface that is not slippery.

The ladder should also rest up against a stable wall or surface. It should be placed at a safe angle away from the surface that gives it maximum stability.

When you start to climb the ladder always ensure that the tools or load you are carrying do not impede your safety in any way. Always try to remain in balance on the ladder. If you intend to move an awkwardly shaped object about at height try to have someone hand it to you from the ground once you are in a stable position on the ladder.

Remember the higher you climb the less stable a platform the ladder will provide.​

A Guide To Woodworking Clamps

If there is one universal truth in woodworking; it is that you can never have enough clamps (and you usually haven’t got the ones you need).

Types of Woodworking Clamps

Clamps come in all sorts of shapes and sizes so it can be confusing to know which are the best to use in different situations.

Band clamps

These consist of a flexible nylon strap and a tightening mechanism; you’ll want the ones with a ratcheting mechanism which is very easy to tighten and release. Band clamps are superb for clamping picture frames, round or odd-shaped pieces.

Bar clamps

Also called F clamps or G clamps. These consist of two horizontal bars joined together by a flat bar. They can apply large amounts of pressure and will find a home in most woodworking shops.C clamps / G clampsThese are basic clamps and usually the first ones that you’ll own. Four to six of these will do you for most basic projects.

Corner clamps

Also known as mitre clamps. These are specialist clamps designed specifically for clamping miter joints or right-angle joints. They are especially useful for picture frames and the like.

Handscrew clamp

These are quite traditional and can be very flexible. The jaws can be adjusted to easily clamp sloping or tapered pieces.

Pipe clamps

Have the same uses as bar clamps, but can be a lot more flexible as you choose their capacity by changing the length of the pipe.

Sash clamps

Very similar to a bar clamp. Suitable for all but the heaviest clamping jobs and extremely versatile.

Spring clamps

Spring clamps are useful for small jobs but don’t expect them to exert a large amount of pressure.

Toggle clamps

I could write another article entirely for all the different types of toggle clamps that are available. In short they have a toggle on/off action and are frequently screwed onto something. This makes them superb for use in home-made jigs. In general, if you can dream up a custom clamping jig, there will be a toggle clamp that will make it work.

Manufacturers

Ok, so now we know the different types available and a little bit of what they’re used for. So who makes the best woodworking clamps?

Irwin

This is a great company that make a wide range of clamps at varying price points (with associated variations in quality). You’ll likely end up owning the highest number of Irwin clamps and using them most of the time but you’ll also need a few higher quality clamps to round out your collection.

Destaco clamps

Ok, that should really be DE-STA-CO. This is where you’ll want to get your toggle clamps. With the widest range and highest quality, if you’re looking for a manual toggle clamp for a jig then look no further.

Bessey / Jorgensen / Jet Tools

I’ve grouped these three together as they are generally considered to produce the highest quality clamps with little to distinguish between them. These are fantastic tools that will last many years, but you’ll pay a premium for them. Aspire to own Bessey clamps, Jorgensen clamps or Jet clamps, just don’t buy them when you’re starting out! You’ll know you’re committed to woodworking when you fork out for some of these (but you won’t regret it).

Storage for your clamps

Eventually you’re going to end up with (what feels like) hundreds of clamps, all vying for space in your (already packed) workshop. How do you keep them all neat and tidy whilst also having them easily accessibly. There’s nothing worse than gluing up, positioning your join, reaching for your clamp and realising it’s on the floor on the other side of the shop!

There are many off the shelf solutions for this and a quick search on Google will bring up many options. But if you’re interested in woodworking then you’ll most likely want to build your own custom storage. If this is the case then I would suggest taking a look at my post on tool storage for inspiration and then designing your own.

I hope this article has helped you in navigating the murky waters of clamps.

Happy clamping!​

Giddy Up, Saw Horse – Best Sawhorses

At its simplest a sawhorse is a plank with four legs which is used to support something for cutting. The best sawhorses can support lots of weight, are versatile and can be either folded down or stack-able so that they can be stored easily when not in use.

However sometimes simpler is better and you just want a plain old fashioned wooden saw horse to cut some lumber on.​

Commonly used in a pair you can support a plank across them for easy cutting, or even use clamps to fix a heavy board on them to use as a temporary work bench.

I don’t know about you, but I use my saw horses for almost every project. They get even more use than my workbench, mostly because they’re not a fixed length. If you can fit the work piece in your shop then it’ll fit on your horses.

Best Sawhorses

When purchasing woodworking equipment that is going to be taking a lot of weight you need to invest in something that is built from the best materials and to the best of standards.

You can either choose to build your own to your personal specifications or purchase the best saw horse that you can afford.

​"Quality is long remembered after price"

Having the best power tools and saws in your garage is great. But if you skimp on the supporting items like meter saw stands, portable workbenches, bench vice or sawhorses then you may end up frustrated if they don't give you a safe, secure, strong and level work surface.

Although a saw horse may seem like a very unimportant item in your work shop choosing the right one is essential. A saw horse is the type of tool that you only notice if it is not working right, a good one should just go unnoticed doing its job time and time again without any hassles. 

Best Folding Saw Horse

Toughbuilt C550 Folding Sawhorse

The C550 folding saw horses from Toughbuilt are some of the sturdiest available. Capable of holding 1100 pounds singly or 2200 pounds per pair they should stand up to most woodworkers demands.

The C550 is the replacement for the much loved 470 and has surpassed its predecessor in every way.

toughbuilt C550

Specifications

  • 1100 lbs single, 2200 lbs pair load capacity​
  • Dimensions 41.54 x 26.57 x 28.82"
  • Zinc plated
  • Pivoting feet
  • Material support pegs

Although these are priced on the high end compared to most other saw horses in our review they are probably the only ones you'll ever need and have a lot more features than any other saw horse.

These are some of the most veratile sawhorses you will ever see. The arms have built in notches that allow for a very square work surface to be built if you are looking to create a temporary table.

The C550's also feature support pegs on the legs that allow you to mount a board at a convenient angle for cutting.​

Not many sawhorses can boast these kinds of features.​

toughbuilt-c550-support-pegs
95 %
Features
92 %
Value
96 %
Durability

The best sawhorses for the money you won't be disappointed.​


Portamate PM-3300T Sawhorse

​The Portamate saw horse offers a no frills alternative to the Toughbuilt above, however they have roughly have the load capacity.

Built from tough steel they stand at a height of 33 inches. 

Out of the box these saw horses are ready to go all you need to do is unfold the legs and they are ready. No messing screws or bolts.​

The top surfaces are pre-drilled ready for your 2 x 4's to be screwed into. You can have a sturdy work area up and running in only a few minutes and it's just as quick to take apart after also. 

Specifications

  • ​1000 lbs pair load capacity
  • Full steel construction
  • Fold up legs
  • Comes as a set of two
  • Spring loaded quick lock pin
  • Pre-drilled on top for attaching 2 x 4's

Stanley 060864R Plastic Sawhorse

These Stanley sawhorses are from a high strength injection molded plastic that is capable of holding up to a 1000 lbs per pair.

​Being made from plastic these horses have a significant weight saving over their metal counterparts and are still durable enough for heavy work environments.

If you intend to be on the move regularly and need some light durable and strong sawhorse then these are just the ticket. 

Specifications

  • 1000 lbs load per pair​
  • Light-weight
  • Side hangers for cables
  • Tray for holding tools

Saw Horse Buyer's Guide

When choosing the best sawhorse for you garage or shop there are a few important considerations to take into account.

Are you looking for a saw horse that:

  • Is stack-able
  • Is easy to transport
  • Wood, plastic or metal
  • Fold-able or rigid 
  • With tool storage area or without

They come in all types of materials; you can get a metal saw horse, plastic saw horse or, my favourite because you can easily make it yourself, a wooden saw horse.

Plastic SawHorse or Metal Sawhorse

Depends on your needs. Metal will always be stronger(if well built) however plastic can be considerably lighter meaning easier transportation.​

Folding Saw Horse

There are two reasons for having a folding horse; portability and storage. A non-folding horse has a reasonably large footprint, which gets worse if you’ve got more than one and they don’t stack! One thing to bear in mind with a folding horse is how much weight it can cope with, you don’t want to compromise its integrity.

Adjustable Saw Horse

This type is height adjustable. There are two ways to achieve this (which can be combined); extendable legs or a liftable top piece. This is useful for lowering a tall work piece or for raising a temporary bench. One thing to watch out for with these is that the resulting work area is level, an off level saw horse can throw out measurements and cuts.

Tool Storage Area

This can take the form of a shelf on the lower section of the legs and can be somewhere handy to store your tools during a project. With this design the shelf can flip up to accommodate a folding horse and can provide additional structural strength and rigidity.

Most saw horses are pretty similar, feature dependent, but there is one type that is a little different.

Chainsaw Saw Horse or Log Saw Horse

This type usually has a profile that looks like an X. This means that you don’t have a flat work area on top. The X makes a perfect holder for a log and will keep it still while you cut it with a chain saw.

How to Make a Saw Horse

Five seconds on Google will give you a hundred different saw horse plans, so I’m not going to add another one to the list. What I will do is talk about features you might find useful. Once you’ve decided what you want you can search for some plans.

Personally I went for a rock solid design for my first horses with no extra features. Next time though I will definitely make them foldable; there have been a couple of times I would have liked to put them in my car to take them to a friends house but ended up sawing on the floor as they wouldn’t fit. I’m not yet sold on the adjustable height feature yet.

So there you have it, you should know what you want your horses to do.