Fair Woodworking

January 20, 2013

My new favorite power tool

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Favorite tools — fairwoodworking @ 11:11 pm

It’s no secret that I’m a hand tool guy, but I am no purist. However, I don’t like using power tools.

They are generally noisy, messy, dangerous beasts.

But from time to time you find a gem.

A while ago, I shared what I believed to be my favorite power tool, my bench grinder.

Bench grinders are Great! They can save you a ton of time when sharpening, but I’ve come to believe that while very useful, it is still only a “nice to have” tool.

Yesterday, it occurred to me that another power tool, that I use all the time, eclipses my grinder.

It quite literally leaves my grinder in its shadow.


That’s right, my bench light is my new favorite power tool.

It’s surprising to me how many woodworkers do not use a bench light of any kind. I know of a few people who have chosen to do with out because they feel that there are no good lights being made these days, and if they were, they’d be way too expensive for a simple light. Instead, they are waiting for, oh I don’t know, the light fairy to bless them with an antique work light in perfect working condition.

Well it’s true that there are not a lot of good lights out there at any price, and I for one have never seen an antique work light in any condition.

I found my work light in the office garbage bin. I did my best to tune it up, but the truth is it’s a horrible, brutal, sloppy, won’t stay where I put it, MESS!

And it’s AWESOME!

You see, I’ve got a few good hand saws, and I’d like to think I’ve gotten pretty good at using them, but it’s pretty hard to cut to knife line that I can’t see. It’s all worthless without that piece of garbage light of mine.

So, Ya. It’s a total pain in the keister to get it to shine where I want it to, I wouldn’t be without it.



  1. I’ve got a similar looking light, purchased from Ikea (shock, horror!). But, it too is a fantastic power tool and indispensable. Sometimes I get it right down to the piece I’m working on and let it shine from the side. That makes it easier to spot inconsistencies (shadows) when planing or scraping.

    Comment by handguitar — January 21, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

  2. I added an overhead light and relocated one other this year to eliminate shadows. The difference was dramatic. I think I will also look for a desk lamp similar to yours. It will put light exactly where I need it. Thanks for the blog.

    Comment by orepass — January 21, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

  3. Hey Guys, great to hear from both of you!

    I really can’t say enough about having light exactly where you want.
    It’s just something I’d always taken for granted.

    Comment by fairwoodworking — January 22, 2013 @ 12:02 am

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