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Jan 17, 2018

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why You Definitely Need a Pocket Hole Jig System

Kreg Jib Pocket Holes

Joining wood can be as much art as it is skill, and beautiful joinery really defines a piece of furniture. But for the times when you just need to quickly join a few pieces of wood securely, try using pocket-hole made with a Kreg Jig tool.

A few years ago, I picked up a small single-hole Kreg Jig for drilling pocketholes. It was simple, easy to use, and produced a nice strong joint that made completing projects much faster. Since then, I've used that small jig for at least a dozen projects, from end tables to shop-made cabinet doors and it's dependably provided a fast joint that holds up well over time.

Pocket Hole Kreg Jig and Step Bit

The way a pocket hole

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Oct 24, 2017

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why Every Person Should Own a Speed Square

In this edition of the ManMade Essential Toolbox, we're looking at the speed square, a simple carpentry tool that does more that you might think. 

Speed square essentials - why you should get one and how you can use it correctly.
I love a tool whose common name indicates its purpose. Oh, what's a screwdriver do? A citrus squeezer? How about a box cutter? The function is all right there in the name. 

In many ways, a speed square falls right into the category. It tells helps you determine "square" – that is, when one edge or line is exactly 90° to another – and it helps you do it quickly. Done. Right? Wrong. 

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Aug 09, 2017

ManMade Essential Toolbox: The Key to Keep Yourself from Going Crazy in the Workshop

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Bin Storage

Small-parts storage is one of the biggest steps you can take in creating the perfect workshop zen. When all those little fasteners, nails, washers, odds and ends all have a home you can work in peace, not pieces.

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Jul 16, 2017

ManMade Essential Toolbox: The Best Combination Square for Woodworking... and Why You Definitely Need One

The best combination square will quickly become essential in your shop. ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day.

Best combination square

The saying goes, "Measure twice, cut once." So does that mean that the layout and setup process is twice as important as the sizing and milling? Absolutely. In fact, it may be more like three or four more times. Any person who's completed a full-on woodworking

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Jul 11, 2017

ManMade Essential Toolbox: In Praise of the High-Quality Screwdriver Set

created at: 08/26/2015

Let's be clear: none of us are here to discuss the basics of what a screwdriver is, or what it can do. Its purpose is clear. It's right there in the name.

Nor is it important to name all the different varieties of tasks it can perform. Because it can't do much.  If you use them properly, they're not a paint can opener. They're not a punch, or a chisel, or a pry bar. They do two things: tighten hardware, and loosen hardware. 

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Jul 21, 2016

ManMade Essential Toolbox: 7 Must-Have Books Every Woodworker Should Own

ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. Today: the best woodworking books.

Best woodworking books to create your shop library

Here's the great thing about woodworking ... it really hasn't changed much over the last few decades, even centuries. Sure, there are new tools and technologies that make things come together faster, light-weight power tools that cause less fatigue, and safety improvement measures like that table saw

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Mar 27, 2016

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why You Definitely Need a Sturdy Pair of Sawhorses

The Essential Toolbox series is ManMade's picks for tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. Today: the best sawhorses. 

The Best Sawhorses for your garage or woodworking shop

The sawhorse is a familiar sight in on construction sites, or in the bed of a contractor's pickup. There, the use for those banged up concrete and paint encrusted beams is obvious: they're portable work stands, designed to be moved around from task to task and job to job. But at home, they're often forgotten for dedicated surfaces such as benches or worktables. And for good reason: traditional sawhorses, those that were big and sturdy enough to take on real work, take a lot of room to store; valuable space

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Mar 20, 2016

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why You Definitely Need a Japanese Pull Saw

ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. Today: the Japanese saw.

Japanese saw - this Dozuki saw is fast, safe, and accurate

I am, by no means, a traditionalist. I say the best tool for the job is always the tool that will produce the best results. Take my love for cast iron cookware: I don't prefer it because its old time-y, nostalgic, or because it's what my grandpa would have used. (My grandpa was kind of a jerk). I love it because it's often the best surface with which to cook; and when it's not, I'll gladly reach for a stainless steel pan or a piece of non-stick.

The same applies to woodworking and DIY tasks: I'm happy to use powered tools - saws, sanders, planers, jointers - in my projects if they allow me to work faster and smarter. And I do; I use them in almost everything I make.

But here's the deal: sometimes, the powered option is not the best tool for the job, and there are many cuts for which you should leave the table saw, the miter saw, or the jig saw behind. And in those cases, what you should grab is the Japanese pull saw.    

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Dec 31, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Beyond the Basics - Get Yourself Some Beautiful Tools

H.O. Studley ToolkitWe've spent the year highlighting the tools we love in the shop. From the functional to the specialized, there have been 51 posts on the best tools for tackling creative, DIY, or around the house projects. Assembled together, they're functional, long-lasting, and straightforward to use. But now, for this last post in the series, it's time to go beyond the basics to explore those are as beautiful as they are useful.  

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Dec 21, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Keep Your Tools in Good Working Order with these Necessary Lubrication Tools

Grease GunWith so many moving parts in the shop, it takes quite a bit to keep it all running smooth. We keep a few key lubricants on the shelf to make sure there is a always an oil or grease close at hand when we need to get rid of that squeak, loosen a rusted tool, or just get something back to like new performance.  

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Dec 16, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Yep, We're Calling 'Em Essential. Why You Definitely Need an Air Compressor and Nailer Kit

Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day.  

created at: 12/16/2015

Okay, friends. Here's the thing with air nailers and compressors, at least for creative woodworking, every day DIY, and casual weekend use: they're amazing. Optional, sure? But the amount of time and frustration they can save is immense, and in most shops, worth every penny. 

And here's why: "nail guns," unless you're framing a house, are not a replacement for hammer and nails. Instead, they're most useful as an extra pair of hands, or four, for aligning and registering parts and keeping things in place while adhesives dry. They're incredibly useful for trim work, installing cabinets, stairs, carpentry, and woodworking. They don't only hold things together; they hold things in place while something stronger holds the parts together. And that's even more useful.   

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Dec 11, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why a Quality Multi-Tool Belongs in Every Tool Kit...and Which One You Should Get

Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. 

created at: 12/11/2015

When you've spent the last fifty weeks talking about the importance of dedicated, high-quality tools, a single combo unit that replicates a great deal of those already mentioned might not be the next obvious choice.

But we're declaring the multi-tool essential for one very simple reason: it

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Dec 08, 2015

Essential Toolbox: A Reciprocating Saw is the Tank in Your Toolbox

Reciprocating saw buyers guide

Cut galvanized pipe. Vibrate a concrete mold to get the air bubbles out. Re-set PVC plumbing. Shave down an LVL header. Strip nails from hundred-year-old lumber. Flush cut wood and metal. Plunge cut into walls and cabinets. Demolish a kitchen. Rip out a toilet. Cut a clawfoot tub in half so you can lower it out a second story window. Trim your trees. Cut down a Christmas tree. Free a horrible laminate countertop from its cabinet base.

reciprocating saw flush cutting a nail

I have used my reciprocating saw (also known by it's brand name, Sawzall) for almost all of those things, and some more I can't even remember. Are there other tools for each of those things? Sure. Are there

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Dec 02, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why You Definitely Need a Japanese Flush Cut Trim Saw

Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. 

created at: 12/02/2015

For those of you who have followed along with us in the series all year (this is tool number forty-eight), let's all celebrate: this is an easy one. A flush cut pull saw is a simple device that's totally affordable and almost impossible to screw up. It's small yet super functional, and performs quite well. It's designed to do just a few things, and do them well. Get the right one now, and you're set for life.   

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Nov 25, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why You're Going to Like Having a Good Ratcheting Screwdriver

Why you should buy a ratcheting screwdriver

You know we here at ManMade always have praise for specialized, high-quality, long lasting tools. Chris went in-depth on screwdrivers earlier this year, and I second his opinion: 
"a high-quality set of wood handled screwdrivers are a true joy to use." But let me also put in a plug for the less-glamorous cousin, the ratcheting screwdriver. It probably won't last a lifetime, and it's certainly not hand-crafted, but it can be a joy to use, in the right circumstances, and I think every guy should own one (or two, or three).

Throw one in your toolbox, another in the trunk of your car, and a leave a third in your desk drawer at the office. Make

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Nov 23, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: The Almighty Socket Wrench Set

Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. 

 created at: 11/23/2015


An adjustable wrench is great for quickly tightening a loose bolt or taking a hex head measurement, but if you've got a lot of hardware to fasten and would prefer not to smash, scrape, and bang your hands and knuckles, only the ratcheting socket wrench will do.   

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Nov 17, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: In Praise of the Humble Hacksaw, a Seriously Good DIY Value

Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. 

created at: 11/17/2015

The hacksaw, like many of our favorite tools, has gone virtually unchanged for nearly 150 years, and its basic design dates to a couple centuries before that. Its structure is simple, its purpose is clear, and it does what it's designed to do.   

Which is, of course:

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Nov 12, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: A Hammer Is Not Enough - A Guide to Other Must-Have Mallets and Striking Tools

Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. 

Drilling HammerWhile it's great when pieces fit nice and tight, sometimes you need a bit more . . . persuasion. Enter the mallet. A mallet is generally larger than a traditional framing hammer, and adds a bit of heft right where it's needed. Plus a mallet's striking surface usually isn't metal, which allows you to knock-together pieces or strike wooden-handled chisels without damaging them. Remember, the rule is: metal strikes metal, wood strikes wood. (Or plastic and rubber). 

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Nov 04, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: If You Don't Have a Proper Set of Marking and Layout Tools, Now's the Time to Get One

Marking GaugeSo you’ve figured out what you want to build, bought all the wood, and have a fresh cup of coffee in hand. Now it’s time to start marking lines and making some sawdust and shavings. When it comes to accurate fits and great looking pieces, it’s essential to have quality marking tools.  

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Oct 29, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Step Up Your DIY Game with the Ladders Every Home Should Own

Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. 

created at: 10/29/2015

For many people, there comes an act of ownership that signifies true adulthood. For some, it's that first car when you're a teenager. Others it could be an elective retirement account, a first home, or that dream electric guitar.

For me, it was a ladder.   

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