The Garage Shop

Game Changers

Precision Tools

Laying full sheets on the ground on top of some 1" foam insulation made working with heavy sheets of flat stock so much easier. This was the first game changer in my new shop since I had a space to park my bride's car in the garage if we desired; I also had room to break down full sheets.

Not pictured here is the extension bar I purchased to gang two sections of the track saw together to make these long rip cuts without repositioning the track.

The garage door makes a great and safe place to store track saw tracks! They are light enough that there is minimal extra weight on the door lift.

Benchdog Tracksaw Square allows a straight and square cut on a project that is more than 36", the maximum cut I can make on my table saw.

If you do a lot of batch cuts or dados, the Rip-Flip system from Woodpercker's is a worthy consideration.

I like to use dados in cabinet builds, and the Rip-Flip system allows me to set up perfect-fitting dados one time, and then slide the system down the rail to cut repeatable dados over and over. This is a huge time-saver and allows for very precise results. A win-win!

Premium Tools

If you hate to sand as much as I do, this sanding upgrade to the 3M 3/16" Random Orbit Sander will save you copious amounts of time and hand fatigue.

I just finished sading all four sides of over 50 balusters I created out of 2x4 studs for a dear friend's porch rail I am building for them. After over an hour of straight sanding, my hand was not even tired. My other orbital sanders would have taken much more time to get the job done, and I would have to stop from time to time to get some feeling back in my hand.

Not only was sanding faster and pain-free, but the dust collection was also superb. In order to utilize a Festool hose, I had to add an adaptor to connect the hose. Add 3M Xtract Cubitron II Net Disc, and your dust cloud days ae a thing of the past.

A premium tool with a premium price, and the results are a real game changer in my shop!

This is the first Festool tool I have purchased. I am not sure I will buy others, and I must admit, this single tool has saved me a lot of time and made loose tenon joinery a breeze! The accuracy of the results of this tool is quite stunning. Until you try it in your shop, it is hard to believe all the hype!

There are many ways to create loose tenon joints; a picture of a jig I made from a ShopNotes article is below. It works great, utilizes a fixed base router, and is very accurate. But it takes on the order of a magnitude more time to set up and get ready to use. By comparison, the handheld Domino's speed and accuracy have been a real game changer in my shop!