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Kreg K4 vs K5 Jig Comparison

Kreg K4 vs K5 which jig kit is the one to buy ?

​Pocket hole jigs can help make a quality, square and more importantly repeatable join time and time again. They are used by cabinet makers and woodworkers of all skill levels.

A pocket hole jig can be used as a substitute for biscuit joins or mortise and tenon joints. They are quick and simple to use and even a beginner can produce some high quality joins especially in more awkward spots.

Kreg has a long history as a maker of pocket hole jigs. It's current range the R3, K4 and K5 all have ​subtle differences. You can see how the K4 fairs against the smaller model R3 here Kreg R3 vs K4. 

Lets take a brief look at the K4 and K5 with a quick review of each and then a comparison of both Kreg pocket hole jigs at the end.​


Kreg K4 Review

The Kreg K4 bundle includes the K4 pocket hole jig, face clamp and 500 1-1/4 inch pocket hole screws.

The K4 is the classic design from Kreg that is quick and easy to use by just about anyone.

It comes with a removable 3 hole drill guide and stepped drill bit meaning you can get started right out of the box. 

The KHC face clamp that is supplied in the kit is specially designed with a large face helping to keep your pieces perfectly flush and tightly secured.​

The 1-1/4 inch screws are designed ​specifically designed for pocket hole joinery. They have self tapping auger tips which eliminate the need for pre-drilling of stock pieces. The screws are best suited to joining 3/4 stock so if you are using anything else you may need to find the right sized screws to suit your needs.

Like all the drill guides in the Kreg range the guides have a lifetime warranty so they should stand up to years of usage. ​

Specifications

  • 3 hole drill guide
  • Drills materials 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches
  • Premium face clamp 
  • 500 1-1/4 inch screws

Kreg K5 Review

The Kreg K5 bundle includes the K5 pocket hole jig plus the SK03 pocket hole screw kit.

The K5 is Kreg's latest model in its range of pocket hole jigs. With each new model there are small but well thought out improvements made and the K5 is no exception.

With the K5 there has been a few changes over the K4.

The K5 now has additional side tables. The side tables or "support wings" as some people call them help to keep your work piece stable. The side tables can also be used for storage when not in use which is a nice little touch.​

​For those who may end up using the K5 a lot the addition of a dust port will help keep the work surface clean and help reduce dust about the wood shop or garage. The dust port should connect to any standard shop vacuum. 

One gripe about the dust port is its positioning on the jig. It can be ​a bit of a pain as it is between the quick release clamp lever and the general position of were you drill from.

The K5 also has an adjustable work piece stop that allows you to position each work piece in exactly the same position as the previous one, perfect for making repeated drill holes on lots of boards.  ​

Specifications

  • Front mounted clamping handle
  • Side tables
  • Self adjusting piston clamp
  • Comes with 5 types of screws, 675 screws in total
  • Includes self tapping tip

Kreg K4 vs K5​

​Kreg K4 vs K5 which is best ?

The difference between kreg k4 and k5 is not that great in terms of functionality. The addition of the side wings for stability onto the K5 is certainly a nice feature if you are joining larger pieces and they also double as a storage solution for your screws.​ As too is the adjustable stop.

​Given that there is not a huge difference in price then I would choose the K5 over the K4 every time. 

Champion vs Honda Generator

Champion vs Honda Generator who makes the better portable inverter generators ?

Honda and Yamaha have built a pretty solid reputation over the past few decades in the portable generator market. However, there are a new wave of brands that have started to gain a lot of traction recently.

One such brand is Champion. The have a broad range of power units available the Champion dual fuel generators have really started to impress.

For this to be a fair comparison lets stick to the gas powered models only.​

That being said lets take a look at two model​ of a similar power rating one from each brand to see how they stack up against one another.

We'll look at a small to medium sized portable inverter generator at around the 3000 Watt level from each manufacturer. 


Champion 3100 Review

The Champion 3100 is a portable inverter generatore that can produce a power output of 3100 Watts maximum. It can maintain a continuous power output of 2800 Watts.

The 3100 is powered by a ​171 cc single-cylinder motor and has a 1.6 gallon gasoline fuel tank. It is capable of running for eight hours at one quarter load on a full tank of gas. There is also a low oil shut off sensor to help protect itself from running on low oil.

The Champion has one 120 Volt 30 Amp RV outlet, two 120 volt AC standard outlets and one 12 Volt DC outlet.  

It has transportation wheels built into the frame and there is also a fold-away carrying handle making it easy to move about on a flat surface. At 80 pounds in weight it is not exactly heavy for a generator of this size either.​

Specifications

  • Max power output 3100 Watts
  • Continuous running power 2800 Watts
  • Runs 8 hours at 1/4 load
  • One touch control panel
  • 3 year warranty

Honda EU3000IH1A Review

The EU3000i from Honda is a portable inverter generator capable of producing a maximum output of 3000 Watts and a continuous output of 2600 Watts. It has a 1.6 gallon fuel tank.

​With a full fuel tank it can run at full load for 3.5 hours and at a quarter load it can run for 7.7 hours. The engine size is 163 cc. 

It has a dry weight of seventy eight pounds and with built in wheels and folding handles it is pretty easy to move about. At the 3000 Watt size you are probably going to need a generator that is to move about and both the Champion and Honda are well covered in the regard. 

The EU3000 is also a pretty quiet machine and has a rating of 65 dB(A) at a rated load.

Specifications

  • Max output 3000 Watt
  • Continuous output 2600 Watts
  • Runs for 3.5 hours at full load
  • Runs for 7.7 hours a 1/4 load
  • 3 year warranty

Champion vs Honda Generator​

​Champion vs Honda Generator which one is right for you?

To be honest both brands make extremely well built generators and perform on a near equal level. ​

Although Honda do have a hard won reputation in the generator market spanning decades it does not mean that the Champion generators are by any means lesser quality.  

​Ultimately the choice will come down to price... Do you want to pay the hefty premium that Honda can charge for its generators based on its reputation. Bear in mind that the Honda is almost twice the price of the Champion and that can be said for almost all of the models at the different power options.

On a budget I would not hesitate to purchase the Champion and it is a well built and reliable portable generator for the money.​

Generac IQ2000 vs Honda EU2000i Generator Comparison

Generac IQ2000 vs Honda EU2000i which portable inverter generator is best and why?

Lets take a quick look at each generator and see what kind of specifications and features they have before we choose one below.​


Generac IQ2000 Review

The Generac IQ2000 is a portable inverter generator that has a maximum load capacity of 2000 Watts. Under continuous usage it will produce 1600 Watt.

It is powered by a 79 cc 4-strike engine. That engine will a run time of 5.7 hours at half load and 7.7 hours whilst running at one quarter load.

It has three separate power modes allowing you to choose the most efficient setting to run it at; economy, standard and a turbo mode. ​

There is a back-lit ​fuel gauge that saves you from opening the tank and peering. The Generac also has a number of extra displays that are quite useful: current burn rate, low fuel indicator, low oil indicator and warnings if the generator is about to either overheat or is becoming overloaded.

​There are two 120 Volt AC outlets, however the omission of a 12 Volt DC outlet is a major negative point with the Generac. 

Like a lot of small generators of its size the Generac IQ2000 is parallel ready meaning hooking two of them up together in parallel will give you twice the power. You must purchase a parallel kit separately however.​

Specifications

  • Max output 2000 Watt
  • Continuous load 1600 Watt
  • Runs 5.7 hours at 1/2 load
  • Runs 7.7 hours at 1/4 load
  • Digital run time display
  • Three modes of operation

Honda EU2000i Review

The EU2000i from Honda is a portable inverter generator that is powered by a 98 cc motor. That motor can deliver 2000 Watts of power maximum or 16000 Watts during continuous usage.

Fuel capacity is 4.1 liters giving a run time of four hours at full load and up to ten hours at one quarter load.​ Un-fueled it weighs roughly 45 pounds.

Just like the Generac the Honda is parallel ready and you also would need to purchase the parallel kit separately.

The Honda has two 120 Volt AC outlets and unlike the Generac it also includes a 12 Volt DC outlet.​ 

The Honda has been around for quite some time and has proven itself a very reliable machine.​

We also compare the Honda against it's main competion the Yamaha here Honda EU2000i vs Yamaha EF2000is and also against the offering from Ryobi here Honda vs Ryobi Generator

Specifications

  • Maximum power 2000 Watt
  • Continuous power 1600 Watt
  • Full load runs for 4 hours
  • Quarter load runs for 10 hours
  • 3 year warranty

Generac IQ2000 vs Honda EU2000i​

Generac IQ2000 vs Honda EU2000i ​which is the winner?

The Honda is by far the better generator over the Generac. For a start the Generac does not have a 12 Volt DC outlet. For generators of this size that get a lot of use in the outdoors and on RV's then it really is some thing that should come as standard.​

The Honda has also been around for quite sometime and in that time it has gained a reputation for high reliabilty some thing that is paramount to have in a generator especially in a storm or other emergency scenario.

Saying that the Generac is close to $200 cheaper than the Honda depending on where you shop for it. So, if you are on a budget and don't need that 12 Volt DC outlet then the Generac is still a pretty good bet.​

Honda vs Ryobi Generator Comparison

Honda vs Ryobi Generator which makes the better portable units?

If we are to compare the two brands it is best to look at their two most popular models.​ Undoubtedly the smaller sized generator of around 2000 Watts are the most popular. They are used by people in the outdoors and on busy job sites.

Those looking for more power and who still want to be able to lift each unit on their ow can always run two of the same units in parallel.

For Honda their most popular model is the EU2000i and for Ryobi it is the ​RYI2200. Lets take a brief look at both models on their own and then compare them at the end.


Honda EU2000i

​The Honda EU2000i is a small form portable inverter generator that has a continuous load rating of 1600 Watts at 13.3 Amps. It has a max surge rating of 2000 Watts at 16.7 Amps.

With a fuel capacity of 4.1 liters the EU2000i can run for 10 hours at a quarter load. At full load it can run for up to four hours.​ Powered by a 98cc engine the Honda has an empty weight of 45 pounds. 

As with most portable generators of this size the Honda has two 120 AC Volt outputs and one 12 Volt DC​ which is what you would consider as standard these days.

It is also parallel ready so can be combined with another to double your power providing you purchase a separate parallel kit.​

You can see how the Honda fared against the best offering from Yamaha here Honda EU2000i vs Yamaha EF2000is ​

Specifications

  • Max power - 2000 Watt
  • Continuous power - 1600 Watt
  • 4 hours run time at full load
  • 10 hours run time at 1/4 load
  • 4.1 liter fuel tank
  • 3 year warranty

Ryobi RYI2200 Review

​The Ryobi RYI2200 portable inverter generator is capable of a maximum power output of 2200 Watts. For continuous use it is able to maintain 1800 Watt. 

It has a larger engine than the Honda at 106 cc and is a four cycle. ​

It has one 12 Volt DC outlet and two 120 Volt AC outlets. ​The 12 Volt DC outlet has a circuit breaker. There is also an automatic idle switch that will idle the motor until there is a load placed on the generator.

The RYI2200 weighs a little over 50 pounds which is heavier than the Honda but not noticeably so. It also has rear wheels and a front handle so on a flat surface it does not require you to lift it to move it about.​

The Ryobi is probably best suited to those on a budget as it does not have the premium build quality of the Honda nor is it in any way as popular despite the Honda being more expensive... sometimes you get what you pay for! ​

Specifications

  • Maximum output 2200 Watts
  • Continuous output 1800 Watts
  • Runs 4 hours at 1/2 load
  • Rear wheels for easy transport
  • Parallel capable(kit sold separately)

Honda vs Ryobi Generator​

Honda vs Ryobi Generator ​what is the difference and which is best?

​The Ryobi is usually priced at the lower end of the market and they are considered a decent choice if you are on a strict budget. That being said prices have started to creep up for these units so the more expensive they get the less desirable an option they are.

The Honda however is the standout winner. It is way above the Ryobi in terms of general build quality and design. It if the clear choice if you need a generator that will stand the test of time.​

Honda EU2000i vs Yamaha EF2000is | Inverter Generator Comparison

Honda EU2000i vs Yamaha EF2000is which inverter generator is best ?

If you are in the market for a new lightweight portable generator then you will be aware that there are quite a few available. In the 2000 Watt market segment the Honda EU2000i and Yamaha EF2000is are by far the most popular.

Lets take a brief look at each generator and see some of their features and specifications. After which we will compare then to each other and see which is the best and why.​


Honda EU2000i Review

The Honda EU2000i is a portable inverter generator that has a maximum power output of 2000 Watts at 16.7 Amps. For continuous use it is capable of producing 1600 Watts at 13.3 Amps.

The EU2000i has a full capacity of 4.1 liters and can run at full power for four hours. At a quarter load if can operate for up to 10 hours.​ It has a 98.5 cc engine and weighs roughly 45 pounds without fuel.

It comes with two 120 Volt AC outlets and one 12 Volt DC which is fairly standard on these sized generators.

 Like a lot of these smaller units it is possible to run the Honda in parallel with another one to double you power. The main advantages to having two smaller generators in parallel as opposed to one large one are portability and redundancy.

A single person can lift one of these units however they may not be able to lift a generator twice its size. Having two means that if one goes down you still have power from the other unit albeit at have the power.  

We also compared the Honda against Ryobi's offering here Honda vs Ryobi generators.​

Specifications

  • Max output - 2000 Watt at 16.7 Amp
  • Continuous output -  1600 Watt at 13.3 Amp
  • Runs 4 hours at full load
  • Runs 10 hours at 1/4 load
  • Fuel capacity 4.1 liter 
  • 3 year warranty

Yamaha EF2000is Review

​The Yamaha EF2000is is a 2000 Watt portable inverter generator. It is capable of producing a maximum output of 2000 Watt at 16.7 Amps. For continuous output it can produce 1600 Watts at 13.3 Amp.

The EF2000is has a fuel capacity of 4.4 liters giving it a run time at full load of 4.2 hours and at a quarter load 10.5 hours depending on the quality of fuel used. It is powered by a 79cc engine and has a dry weight of 20 kg or about 45 lbs.

It comes with two 120 Volt AC outlets and one 12 Volt DC outlet just like the Honda.​

The Yamaha has a separate shut off switch for the fuel unlike the Honda. The ability to run the carb dry means you can store the generator without fuel in the carburetor . Allowing old fuel to lie in a carburetor whilst it is stored for long periods can mean starting it becomes a chore as the old petrol will not ignite as easy as fresh petrol.

The EF2000is also comes with ​DC battery cable for charging 12 Volt batteries and an integrated fuel guage, the Honda however does not. There is also an oil watch warning system to help reduce the chances of damage from low oil levels.

Specifications

  • ​Max output - 2000 Watt at 16.7 Amp
  • Continuous output 1600 Watt at 13.3 Amp
  • Runs 4.2 hours at full load
  • Runs 10.5 hours at 1/4 load
  • Fuel capacity 4.4 liter
  • 3 year limited warranty

Honda vs Yamaha Generator

Both manufacturers offer different models of varying power and have gained a huge amount of trust over the past few decades as to the reliability and performance of their models.

Honda vs Yamaha generator which is better? From a brand perspective both share the top positions in the market right now. Both offer the same types of three year warranties and are at roughly a similar price point.

It is only when you pit individual models and sizes against each other do the differences arise. Below we look at the difference between the Honda EU2000i and Yamaha EF2000is.


Honda EU2000i vs Yamaha EF2000is​

​Honda EU2000i vs Yamaha EF2000is just which is better?

For us the Yamaha is the clear winner. Below are the main points that make it a superior machine:

  • Bigger gas tank and longer running time​
  • Has a longer service life between maintenance 
  • Comes with added extra's: charge cables, fuel cutoff, oil gauage
  • Is usually slightly cheaper to purchase

​All of the above add up a give the Yamaha the edge over the Honda.

However if you see the Honda generator on sale then those added extra's may not be worth it and I would buy the cheapest given that they both perform similarly.

Fluke 115 vs 117 | Which Multimeter ?

Wondering what the difference is between the Fluke 115 vs 117?

The 115 and 117 from Fluke are their entry level multimeters that form part of the 110 range. They are aimed at domestic use and light industrial usage for professionals.

On the surface the Fluke 115 and 117 are fairly similar meters. Before we talk about the differences lets first have a quick review of each and then the comparison beneath.​


Fluke 115 Review

The Fluke 115 is an entry level digital multimeter that is perfect for hobbyist/DIY and light professional usage. Like most Fluke meters it is accurate, well built and comes in quite a durable housing.

​The 115 is a compact true RMS digital multimeter and is capable of accurately measuring capacitance, continuity, current, resistance, and voltage.

It can measure up to 600 Volts AC/DC, frequency up to 50KHz, 40MΩ resistance and continuous amperage up to 10 Amp.

For the money the 115 is incredibly well built and is certainly worthy of the trust and brand prestige that Fluke have earned.​

The display on the Fluke is sufficiently large and comes with a back light making it very easy to read in most low light situations.  ​

The display has a bar graph underneath the large count display that goes up 6000 along with the usual unit icons you would expect.​

Input wise there are the usual continuity, resistance and voltage however it does not have a mill/micro jack.​

Specifications

  • Max voltage ac/dc 600 Volts
  • 10A ac/dc current measurements
  • 600 Volt maximum ac/dc
  • CAT III 600 Volts safety rated
  • Durable case
  • 3 year warranty

Fluke 117 Review

​Just like the 115 above the Fluke 117 is a digital multimeter that is aimed at light industrial use and the home DIY'er or hobbyist markets.

It is also a true RMS meter and shares a lot of the standard multimeter features that you also find on the 115.

The 117 also has Auto-V/LoZ functionality and non-contact voltage detection. 

The LoZ helps to screen out 'ghost voltages' from nearby circuits ​whilst the "Volt-alert" is the non-contact voltage detector.

​So with the 117 you get the top of the line in the entry level 110 series from Fluke.

Specifications

  • True RMS, max voltage 600v
  • Auto-V/Loz functionality
  • Volt-Alert feature
  • 3 year warranty 

Fluke 115 vs 117

​So which should you buy then the Fluke 115 vs 117 ?

Ultimately they are the exact same true RMS multimeter with lots of good features and a very high build quality. The 117 however does have the added ghost voltage detector and the non-contact voltage detector.

The decision then should be primarily based on whether or not you need either of those two features. If you do then the Fluke 117 is a very well featured and affordable multimeter. If you don't then you can save yourself a small bit of money and just opt for the Fluke 115.

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!​