When making a tool list, we never forget the classics – chisels and hand planes, table saws and routers. What we do tend to overlook are all those little things that make our time in the shop more productive and enjoyable. Some of those items you likely have around the house, but never considered taking them into the shop.
1. Punctured bicycle inner tubes – These tubes are useless for getting you around town, but they can be wrapped around uneven edges or surfaces to apply pressure during some glue-ups. Your local bike shop will have dozens to give you.
2. String – Hanging items while spraying or brushing on a finish, hanging light stuff from ceiling, and keeping lengths of wood or dowels organized are all easy tasks involving string. I’m sure there are dozens of other uses around the shop.
3. Sand – If you’re into marquetry, sand is indispensible for adding shading to your work. Sand can also be added to finish to give the surface some serious grit. This is great for painted outdoor steps that can be slippery when wet.
4. Household iron – Applying edge tape, steaming out dents in wood and re-activating two semi-dried glued surfaces so they stick together (iron-on veneering) are all jobs this simple tool can handle with ease.
5. Old T-shirts – Indispensible for applying shellac/oil finishes (match colour of rag with colour of wood/finish), buffing waxed surfaces, using under clamping cauls to protect against marring a finished surface, as well as dusting sanded or finished surfaces. If you use old t-shirts to apply oil finishes, please dispose of them properly.