The Sharpest Tool in Your Drawer

 

Speaking only for myself, I nominate my Fein Multimaster. (I’m not sure if the one in the link is exactly what I have; it may be a newer model. But it looks the same):

I bought it several years ago when the guy I enlisted to install my new set of stairs showed me his. (No, for those of you who are wondering, I did not have to show him mine first.)

By the time he turned up, I’d already worked my way through three different multitools, ones made by Dremel, Rockwell, and DeWalt. (Love DeWalt. It was my only major DeWalt disappointment.) All those ended up being gifted to Habitat for Humanity, which ought to establish some sort of “Platinum Patron” level on my behalf.

But the stair guy showed me a new level of accessorizing and control, and I totally fell for it. And I’ve been very pleased ever since.

The Fein is expensive. And the special-purpose blades, while wicked sharp, and wicked efficient, are wicked expensive. I tried a “FitzAll” brand a couple of years ago and it lasted about five minutes and then gave up the ghost, so now I just suck it up and buy in bulk.

What’s the sharpest tool in your drawer? (Speaking literally, not figuratively, gentlemen).

PS: For those who don’t know, I’m a power tool junkie. And I know what to do with them all. I was devastated to discover, about a week ago, that DeWalt makes a 20v Li-Ion band saw which must have missed. (I thought I had all the DeWalt 20v cordless tools.)

The two proudest days of my life–aside from the day I got married, and the day I became a grandmother–were the day a registered electrician looked at the entry-point into the house breaker box which I had completely rewired, and said “this is the best job of something like this I’ve ever seen,” and the day that the construction guy who does my drywall looked at my preliminary work and said, “this really isn’t bad.” (Full disclosure: he’s a nice guy, but a bit of a pig, and we started off on a bad note when I asked him to take a look at something I’d done and he said, “you mean so I can tell you if you did it right?” Since then, we’ve both mellowed. Just as well. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure there’d have been blood. And probably more of his than mine.)

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  1. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    My sharpest tool (besides my wit) is a set of cabinet chisel. I’ve got two set, one ordinary set for general/rough carpentry, I keep the better set in its case for finish work. 

    Nice that you forked out for the Fein (good stuff), I’ve got a knockoff Harbor Freight brand. I like it, it does the job, does it well enough.

    • #1
  2. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    WI Con (View Comment):

    Nice that you forked out for the Fein (good stuff), I’ve got a knockoff Harbor Freight brand. I like it, it does the job, does it well enough.

    I like Harbor Freight.  Have a nice HF compressor, an overhead drywall jack (from the days when I could still contemplate doing it on my own), and a hydraulic press.  It’s a nice place to go browse when I have an hour or two to spend, since they opened a local store about ten years ago.

    • #2
  3. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Little tools like this can turn a job from a chore into fun. I have found many uses for my reciprocating tool and my rotary tool. I’m still very much on the learning curve for most of my construction projects and my tool collection tends more toward Harbor Freight’s Bauer brand than the high end stuff, but I get it. I did spring out some bucks to buy a toilet jack for some bathroom work at my mother-in-law’s house. I felt like the money spent was more than worth the aggravation and risk of injury trying to get the toilet down on the closet flange and getting it to seal. I anticipate some future projects and even if I don’t use it I believe I could always sell it for a fairly good fraction of the original price. Most people I talk to have never even heard of a toilet jack. Here it is for the curious:

     

    • #3
  4. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    I use Harbor Freight for oddball one-off job tools, tools for dirty jobs, tools I need but not often, etc. 

    I would love to buy everything high end, but that’s not realistic.

    • #4
  5. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Little tools like this can turn a job from a chore into fun. I have found many uses for my reciprocating tool and my rotary tool. I’m still very much on the learning curve for most of my construction projects and my tool collection tends more toward Harbor Freight’s Bauer brand than the high end stuff, but I get it. I did spring out some bucks to buy a toilet jack for some bathroom work at my mother-in-law’s house. I felt like the money spent was more than worth the aggravation and risk of injury trying to get the toilet down on the closet flange and getting it to seal. I anticipate some future projects and even if I don’t use it I believe I could always sell it for a fairly good fraction of the original price. Most people I talk to have never even heard of a toilet jack. Here it is for the curious:

     

    I owned a plumbing supply store for nearly 40 years and have been around the business for nearly 60 years. I have never seen nor heard of, until this moment, a toilet jack. I don’t know everything about plumbing, but I know a lot. One thing I never expected to learn about on Ricochet is plumbing. 

    • #5
  6. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Far and away my  sharpest tool is my MCusta Japanese folding knife.  It’s endlessly useful, razor sharp and with its rosewood handle and Damascus blade it’s gorgeous to look at and a delight to use.

    My son got it for me in Japan.  Despite being known for edged weapons, Japan has some of the strictest knife laws around.   He thought that if it was legal there, I’d be fine carrying it every day, even in NYC.

    • #6
  7. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    I still have both my thumbs and all 8 fingers, which is proof positive I have stayed away from power tools. Otherwise, they (or some of them) would not be still attached. I’m useless (actually a lot less than useless) with power tools. I really do regret it. I would love to make furniture.I just value my digits more. So I am somewhat envious.

    • #7
  8. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    My Stanley block plane with its iron sharpening mates: my Japanese waterstone and my Veritas jig, plus one cheaper jig.

    I don’t only use the plane as a plane, but also use the plane iron (usually an older worn out one that I keep for such use). If you have some painted woodwork with old paint drips, for example, a very sharp iron slid along the surface of the wood with the leading edge facing down, will surgically slice off the drips, leaving a perfectly smooth finish.

    • #8
  9. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    If you are a tool junkie, or a DIY junkie, I highly recommend the https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/

    The tool subsection is great – guys discuss their vise collections ad nauseam.  Here is an example:  there was a thread where someone visited pit row at a major auto race and posted pics. Any other car or motorcycle forum would have been full of pics of the umbrella girls, but this was nothing but pictures of all the tool boxes.

    • #9
  10. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    I have a rotary tool and a selection of pocket knives.

    Any serious workshop will need to wait until I move.  However, I can’t move.  If I don’t move closer to my girlfriend, it will break her heart.  If I move near her, I lose the best job I’ve ever had, a once-in-a-lifetime position.  It is frustrating.

    I find I use a pocket multi-tool or pocket knife more than most tools

    • #10
  11. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Little tools like this can turn a job from a chore into fun. I have found many uses for my reciprocating tool and my rotary tool. I’m still very much on the learning curve for most of my construction projects and my tool collection tends more toward Harbor Freight’s Bauer brand than the high end stuff, but I get it. I did spring out some bucks to buy a toilet jack for some bathroom work at my mother-in-law’s house. I felt like the money spent was more than worth the aggravation and risk of injury trying to get the toilet down on the closet flange and getting it to seal. I anticipate some future projects and even if I don’t use it I believe I could always sell it for a fairly good fraction of the original price. Most people I talk to have never even heard of a toilet jack. Here it is for the curious:

     

    Thank you especially for the picture – all my doubts have been erased. 

    • #11
  12. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    If you are a tool junkie, or a DIY junkie, I highly recommend the https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/

    The tool subsection is great – guys discuss their vise collections ad nauseam. Here is an example: there was a thread where someone visited pit row at a major auto race and posted pics. Any other car or motorcycle forum would have been full of pics of the umbrella girls, but this was nothing but pictures of all the tool boxes.

    They could have thrown in a few shots of the umbrella girls for the sake of diversity.

    • #12
  13. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    She: DeWalt makes a 20v Li-Ion band saw

    A battery powered band saw?

    • #13
  14. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    cdor (View Comment):

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    If you are a tool junkie, or a DIY junkie, I highly recommend the https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/

    The tool subsection is great – guys discuss their vise collections ad nauseam. Here is an example: there was a thread where someone visited pit row at a major auto race and posted pics. Any other car or motorcycle forum would have been full of pics of the umbrella girls, but this was nothing but pictures of all the tool boxes.

    They could have thrown in a few shots of the umbrella girls for the sake of diversity.

    • #14
  15. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    She: DeWalt makes a 20v Li-Ion band saw

    A battery powered band saw?

    Probably a porta-band.

    • #15
  16. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    She: DeWalt makes a 20v Li-Ion band saw

    A battery powered band saw?

    Probably a porta-band.

    Wow. Just googled that. I’ve never seen one before.

    I’m so sheltered.

    • #16
  17. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    A chance to do a project is a chance to buy new tools.

    I’ve been on a non-electric hand tool theme lately.  My most recent acquisitions have been a travisher, a compass plane, and various reamers and tapers to help me build windsor chairs.  It’s slow going, because it’s a hobby.  But it’s very satisfying.

    • #17
  18. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Skyler (View Comment):

    A chance to do a project is a chance to buy new tools.

    I’ve been on a non-electric hand tool theme lately. My most recent acquisitions have been a travisher, a compass plane, and various reamers and tapers to help me build windsor chairs. It’s slow going, because it’s a hobby. But it’s very satisfying.

    was, when I saw your first line, going to search out the most obscure hand tool I could find, but then I read your second line and realized I wasn’t likely to beat ‘travisher’ something I had never heard of before. 

    So I looked that up instead. 

    Nice work. 

    • #18
  19. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Grinder Girl!

     

    • #19
  20. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    She: And I know what to do with them all. I was devastated to discover, about a week ago, that DeWalt makes a 20v Li-Ion band saw which must have missed. (I thought I had all the DeWalt 20v cordless tools.)

    I have a 12″ DeWalt 20 v chainsaw that’s really handy for small jobs.

    • #20
  21. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Interesting and enlightening comments all, thanks.  (I’d never seen a Toilet Jack either.  Obviously I need to add him to my list of helpers, along with Plumb Bob.  (Sorry to reuse a bad joke so soon after its first outing just a couple of weeks ago.)

    I really admire those who use hand tools for furniture and other fine woodworking.  An elderly gentleman who lived up the road from us used to do such, although he did have a power tool–a small sawmill with which he cut his own lumber from local hardwood trees.  Unfortunately, as @hangon speculated above, as with power tools, one day the worst happened, and he lost three fingers and part of one hand.  He kept going though, and although his subsequent work wasn’t as fine, I have a couple of his pieces which I’d describe as country primitive.

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    A battery powered band saw?

    Yes, a small one.  I don’t need it.  I was just irked that it exists and I didn’t know.

    I think about my Dad a lot (and sometimes talk to him) when I’m on a home-improvement binge.  He was a great DIY-er, and would tackle anything, in or out of doors.  While he was in the States (mid 1960s to late 1970s) there weren’t very many places a layperson could go to buy much in the way of lumber and plumbing/electrical fittings.  One such place was Brookside Lumber in Bethel Park, only about three miles away from where we lived for most of that time, and Dad would go there often.  It’s still in business (although a lot further away from where I am now), has great service, a huge selection of lumber, softwood and hardwood (lumber yard is all under roof), and they can find, or get, just about anything.  I go there often, and occasionally they deliver (got all the new windows and doors, which I replaced myself, there).  I tell anyone there who doesn’t know the story about Dad, and how my family has been buying stuff from Brookside over fifty years now, and they appreciate that.

    I never feel more like my father’s daughter than when I’m in the middle of a project (usually, for something like this, it’s plumbing), and I realize I don’t have the right connector or valve, and I drop everything, and no matter my state of dress or hair (always decent, but often grubby and sometimes quite messy) I charge out to Lowes, Home Depot, or the remaining local hardware store to acquire it.  Dad would do exactly the same thing, to my mother’s eternal chagrin and mortification.  My sister is really the only person who understands this behavior, and a text message to her like, “Just went up the road to Lowes to buy some bits for my plumbing project.  Mother would be so proud,” generally elicits a response like, “Ah, but to do the job properly, you’d have had to leave your false teeth at home.  Did you?”  (I don’t have any false teeth, but Dad had his front upper teeth blown out in the war when the vehicle he was in rolled over a mine, and he had a plate from his early twenties until he died.  He didn’t always wear it at home, and he didn’t always remember to put it in before he left, sometimes to very disreputable effect.)

     

     

    • #21
  22. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    She: And I know what to do with them all. I was devastated to discover, about a week ago, that DeWalt makes a 20v Li-Ion band saw which must have missed. (I thought I had all the DeWalt 20v cordless tools.)

    I have a 12″ DeWalt 20 v chainsaw that’s really handy for small jobs.

    Ah.  I’m a Stihl girl outside the home.  Have their 12″ 36v chain saw which is incredibly useful.  I think I started out with the Stihl stuff before DeWalt began making the outdoor battery powered line.  Not having to deal with mixing the gas and oil, and stepping on the handle-flange-thingy while pulling the string–over and over–with the wrong hand (I’m left handed, so those things are set up all backwards for me) is really a blessing, and makes me want to use tools like the weed-whacker and the trimmer a lot more often.  I lucked into a fire sale of several of the tools when our local Stihl dealer (who’s a feed store) had a fire sale on the battery-powered items because they weren’t selling fast enough (they’re quite expensive, as are the batteries).  So I got a good deal.  A “stihl” one might say.  Ouch.

    • #22
  23. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    She (View Comment):
    I’m left handed,

    This is a bad thing to admit if @arahant is reading.

    • #23
  24. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    She: What’s the sharpest tool in your drawer?

    Well, the sharpest thing I own (besides my wit) is not a tool.  It’s my forged Wüsthof kitchen knife.  I went with the 7″ Santoku rather than the standard butcher knife because I like how it handles.

    And yes, I cut myself the first time I used up.  Damn, that thing is sharp . . .

    • #24
  25. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Stad (View Comment):

    She: What’s the sharpest tool in your drawer?

    Well, the sharpest thing I own (besides my wit) is not a tool. It’s my forged Wüsthof kitchen knife. I went with the 7″ Santoku rather than the standard butcher knife because I like how it handles.

    And yes, I cut myself the first time I used up. Damn, that thing is sharp . . .

    That reminds me, for @stad and @ekosj: Friday Food And Drink Post: Knives Out! Not so much for my (as usual) rather digressive post, but for @bossmongo’s comment #25, and other informed remarks throughout.

    Note to self: Perhaps time to resume the series which has been on hiatus for a while.

    • #25
  26. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Grinder Girl!

    David Letterman’s bits aren’t as funny when you imagine that Grinder Girl probably had to sleep with him to get that gig.  The interview takes on a more sinister and less funny aura.

    • #26
  27. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    She (View Comment):
    That reminds me, for @stad and @ekosj: Friday Food And Drink Post: Knives Out! Not so much for my (as usual) rather digressive post, but for @bossmongo’s comment #25, and other informed remarks throughout.

    For my wife’s 60th 50th 40th . . . for one of her birthdays, we took a cooking class at the Angus Barn in Raleigh.  Their head chef, Walter Royal (http://angusbarn.com/royal.html), talked about how important knives were to professional chefs, how to take care of them, and the proper way to use them.  It was great fun and very informative.

    Aside:  My wife says it was one of her favorite birthday presents ever.  She would tell people, “Where else can you drink alcoholic beverages while using very sharp knives?”

    • #27
  28. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Stad (View Comment):

    For my wife’s 60th 50th 40th . . . for one of her birthdays, we took a cooking class at the Angus Barn in Raleigh. Their head chef, Walter Royal (http://angusbarn.com/royal.html), talked about how important knives were to professional chefs, how to take care of them, and the proper way to use them. It was great fun and very informative.

    Aside: My wife says it was one of her favorite birthday presents ever. She would tell people, “Where else can you drink alcoholic beverages while using very sharp knives?”

    Oh, must add meeting Mrs @stad to my bucket list.  A girl after my own heart.

    Reminds me of a time, a few decades ago, when my stepdaughter bought us both a “class” at the University of Pittsburgh, taught by a lovely gentleman in full Highland regalia. (No, I did not get on my hands and knees to look under his kilt.  Good faith and all . . .).  

    It was a “Scotch Drinking” class. We sampled dozens of different single-malt scotches over several days.  He’d bring in his own homemade shortbread to soak up some of the overage.  It was tremendous fun.

    Mr. She (born three floors above a bar in Pittsburgh’s very blue collar South Side, and coming from a family of coal miners and steel workers all), never stopped chortling about the irony/hilarity of ladies paying real money to learn how to drink.  LOL.

    • #28
  29. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    I’m left handed,

    This is a bad thing to admit if @ arahant is reading.

    Just because I know Latin and French and you’re both sinister and gauche.

    • #29
  30. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    I’m left handed,

    This is a bad thing to admit if @ arahant is reading.

    Just because I know Latin and French and you’re both sinister and gauche.

    LOL.  I resemble that remark!  And the only reason I didn’t proactively object to it is because I hoped it would draw you out . . . 

     

    • #30