If you only had one woodworking tool? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 02-12-2020, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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If you only had one woodworking tool?

No this is not a nightmare, just a fun little "what if" discussion.

What if you only had one tool to do woodworking with? What would it be?

Now for the sake of going down endless rabbit holes, let's set some givens and ground rules:

1. Obviously a shop-smith type thing is not what I meant by one tool, that's cheating...
2. Well assume that pencils, straight edges, tape measures, etc are a given.

Yes, I know everything can technically be done with just a chisel as some Youtube woodworkers have shown, but that just looked exhausting.

I guess what I'm really considering is like your circular saws, drills, jigsaw, routers, planers, table saw, etc type tools.

Please give a short reason why you chose what you chose, hopefully this will turn into a fun little thread. Terrifying to think of only having ONE tool to use but fun none the less.

Happy Posting,

Jeff
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post #2 of 39 Old 02-12-2020, 04:12 PM
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What is your choice?
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post #3 of 39 Old 02-12-2020, 04:18 PM
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Definitely a drill driver. I also find a jig saw very useful.
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post #4 of 39 Old 02-12-2020, 04:25 PM
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I think it would depend on what I planned to make/build. If I was doing small crafts then it would be a bandsaw. Or a scroll saw. If I was building jewelry boxes or items like that, then it would probably still be a bandsaw. SCMS could be used but I would prefer the bandsaw. If my intended build is cabinets then a table saw or circular saw.

Sorry, that's more than one... sort of.

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post #5 of 39 Old 02-12-2020, 04:33 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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Tools VS machines ...they are different!

There's a reason they are called "hand tools" and "woodworking machines'.



Ok, if only one tool, for me would be a Japanese pull saw Dozuki:
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Japanese+...f=nb_sb_noss_2


Next choice, a Japanese pull type wood base plane:
https://www.amazon.com/Daikichi-Japa.../dp/B003EIG856
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #6 of 39 Old 02-12-2020, 06:17 PM
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I thought about it for a while. If I could only have one tool I would go with a bottle opener.
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post #7 of 39 Old 02-12-2020, 09:08 PM
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I would say my old Craftsman Radial Arm Saw, I can rip, crosscut, miter, dado. Opposite the blade there is a screw connection for a drum sander, and a (rough) rotary planer. For many years it was my main tool, now it is just regulated to crosscuts.
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post #8 of 39 Old 02-12-2020, 09:40 PM
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I thought about it for a while. If I could only have one tool I would go with a bottle opener.

Totally agree on that. There is no one woodworking tool that would enable me to do anything.


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post #9 of 39 Old 02-12-2020, 10:24 PM
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I'm not sure what my answer to your question would be, but I'll interject this. At the end of Ironman 3 Tony Stark ends the movie after having lost his lab/house and blown up every last suit he had. The last line is this quote. "You can take away my house, all my tricks and toys, but one thing you cant take away I am Iron Man.


A carpenter is just part of who I am. If you take away every last tool I had I would still find a way to create what I need to. It's been said a true craftsman can make his own tools. I've had to start from scratch more than once. I believe there's some truth to that...
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post #10 of 39 Old 02-12-2020, 10:40 PM
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Quote:
What if you only had one tool to do woodworking with? What would it be?
In all honesty, a narrow chisel. I can hit it with a rock to chop mortises. I can pare away material to make tenons. Stick it through a block of wood, and it's a router plane. Stick it through a differently shaped block of wood, and it's a rabbet plane. With sufficient time and care, it can cut, shape, smooth, and just about anything. Box joints, mortise and tenon, even grooves and dados.

I wouldn't WANT to, but someone with enough skill (and time, and good sharpening stones) could furnish a house. There'd be a lot of weird joints, and a lot of waste, but it really is just about the most versatile tool in the shop.

Quote:
Yes, I know everything can technically be done with just a chisel as some Youtube woodworkers have shown, but that just looked exhausting.

I guess what I'm really considering is like your circular saws, drills, jigsaw, routers, planers, table saw, etc type tools.
Up until recently, I could only use my power tools in good weather, because I had to run a power cord from the house to power anything. So.... none of those things have been in my daily use. If I could have my hand tool kit plus one power tool, I'd go with a circular saw, I think. I can do everything I need to do with hand tools, but ripping long pieces of lumber by hand just sucks.
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post #11 of 39 Old 02-12-2020, 10:46 PM
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Shutter the thought, but a router can do almost anything, albeit cumbersome. Using 1/8 or 1/4 bit for through cutting on plywood, you could make a straight line rip jig. Making simple router jigs, you can easily make curved shapes such as circles and ellipses or just curved arches like in aprons for tables. If hammer and nails are not counted, you could tack strips of wood onto plywood and make all sorts of joinery inluding dovetails and box joints The possibilities with a router are endless.

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post #12 of 39 Old 02-13-2020, 12:15 PM
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An axe.

Because if I only have one tool I'm living like a Neanderthal.

So I can chop down a tree, build a shelter, chop wood build a fire, and make a spoon to eat with.

:-D
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post #13 of 39 Old 02-13-2020, 02:08 PM
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An axe.

Because if I only have one tool I'm living like a Neanderthal.

So I can chop down a tree, build a shelter, chop wood build a fire, and make a spoon to eat with.

:-D
Yep, that is probably where it all started.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #14 of 39 Old 02-13-2020, 04:47 PM
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Debit card with 7 figures....hire someone else's tools
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Love Sharp tools and sound of a plane smooth cutting a chip.
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post #15 of 39 Old 02-13-2020, 06:32 PM
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Hands Down, radial arm saw!
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Another $000,000,000.02 worth of advice,
Mark
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post #16 of 39 Old 02-13-2020, 11:39 PM
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I don't know?? Maybe an axe (like Dr. Robert) or a saw, but then I'm NEVER without my pocket knife.
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post #17 of 39 Old 02-14-2020, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Shop_Rat View Post
Hands Down, radial arm saw!

Have you seen what I'm assuming was the predecessor to the radial arm saw? its called like a swing arm saw or something. Looks terrifying to operate, but I guess OSHA wasn't a big deal way back when. I'll try and find a picture of one.
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post #18 of 39 Old 02-14-2020, 01:03 PM
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Have you seen what I'm assuming was the predecessor to the radial arm saw? its called like a swing arm saw or something. Looks terrifying to operate, but I guess OSHA wasn't a big deal way back when. I'll try and find a picture of one.
Look here for the swing saw:

https://www.toolsofthetrade.net/powe...he-swing-saw_o

without the safety chain you would need to stand with your entire body to one side of the blade - the opposite of what is in the video screenshot (I do not want to open the video)

Retired engineer-bureaucrat in Oakland, CA
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post #19 of 39 Old 02-14-2020, 03:04 PM
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Hands Down, radial arm saw!
Sorry, didn't put down my reasoning as asked in the OP.

I actually did have only one tool many years ago- and that was my radial arm saw. I managed to turn out some pretty decent projects with a rule, pencil, saw and hammer. That one power tool ripped, crosscut and made edge decorations on my cabinetry. It also raised the panels for the doors, made rudimentary rails and styles, and created cove moldings for the trim.

Granted, it took some longer than if I had had all the dedicated tools, and the finished project may have looked a bit more elementary than if I had access to shapers or routers, but I didn't have the money for a building full of tools at the time. With a RAS and a little imagination, along with careful setups, you can safely make many shapes and cuts in a chunk of lumber.

Oh, and a bottle opener is an extremely poor woodworking tool. It only hacks up the surface of the wood, no matter how much pressure or finesse you execute while drawing it. A can opener can at least make a groove!

Another $000,000,000.02 worth of advice,
Mark
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post #20 of 39 Old 02-14-2020, 04:33 PM
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...............Oh, and a bottle opener is an extremely poor woodworking tool. It only hacks up the surface of the wood, no matter how much pressure or finesse you execute while drawing it. ...........
Actually, a bottle opener with the other end being a can opener was actually referred to as a a 'church key' when I was growing up. Anyway, it's found in just about every boat owners tool box.
It is commonly used to repair splits and cracks in wood and fiberglass. Just run the can opener end down the crack. It will widen the crack and leave the new "V" shaped split/crack with a rough surface. Makes a better surface for accepting epoxy with or without sawdust.

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