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As readers told us, Toolmongers build their own workbenches (unless they’re rich).  TM reader and photo pool member Schnaars posted this photo of his home-built basic workbench which meets all our standards for a basic unit: functional, inexpensive, and practical.  Good stuff!

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TM reader and photo pool member Vince posted this photo of his self-made cross-cut sled: a fixture designed to simplify table saw cross cuts — and keep fingers out of the blade.  From his Flickr photo comments:

“The T-track runners are yellowheart ripped to 5/16″ deep and 3/4″ wide.  The baseboard is MDF, and the front and rear fences are yellowheart.  The base is painted, and there’s polyurethant on all top surfaces.  The entire bottom is waxed with paste wax, and the rear fence is set at 90-degrees to the saw kerf to ensure accurate (and safe!) cross-cuts.”

Nice job!  If you’d like to build one of these yourself, be sure to check out Vince’s other photos in the pool as he shows the process in some detail.  And if you have the time, sign up for Flickr, join Toolmonger’s group, and share some photos of your recent projects, tools, or shops.  We’ll keep an eye out for ‘em in the center column of Toolmonger!

Toolmonger’s Photo Pool [Flickr]


In the spirit of a true Toolmonger, TM reader and photo pool member Simple Simon posted this picture of his low-buck feed-roller solution.  Made of “some cheapo wheels found at work” and what appear to be milk crates, it’ll clearly do the job.

If you keep an eye out, you can find wheels like this in bulk at the flea market, or sometimes even Harbor Freight, though they don’t really advertise the sales on these, so you have to keep an eye out at the store.  The rest of the parts are easy to come by — assuming you don’t have them already.

Thumbs (and beers) up to Simon for this simple “hack.”

Toolmonger’s Photo Pool [Flickr]



Randy pointed us to this simple, homemade tube butt-welding jig over at Street Rodder magazine’s website as a great application for cheap-ass clamps like the ones we posted yesterday.  (This particular project actually uses C-clamps instead of locking-pliers-type, but you get the idea: inexpensive clamps of all types are prime for welding into a jig.)

The article (link below) walks you through the whole process of building the jig complete with pictures of every step.

Homemade Tube Butt-Welding Jig [Street Rodder]



I saw this back when we toured Unique Performance’s body shop.  I’d forgotten about it, but I came across it again this morning when I was looking through some of the pictures we didn’t publish.  After going through dozens of wooden-handled body hammers — the guys at Unique do some serious, serious body work — they got sick of buying new ones and welded this one up right in the shop.  The guys at Unique said it’s hard on the wrists and elbows, but at least it doesn’t break once every week or so. 

It’d be sweet if Stanley applied the technology from their AVX hammer to a body hammer.  Think of it: durable all-steel construction without the “body-man’s elbow.”  Good stuff.




James ran across this in the magazine ShopNotes.  He writes: “When I got issue 88, I was amazed by this article on how to make a shoulder plane.  Shoulder planes are rather expensive, but that’s not really why I want to build one.  The article includes full instructions for the metalworking required.  It even shows how to use your drill press as a vertical metalworking lathe.  I’ve wanted to learn metalworking for a long time so this looks like a great project for acquiring some of the skills.”

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Lee of BenchNews — whose three-prong earring earring holder we linked yesterday — send along this pic and link to another tool mod he performed to simplify jewelry making.  It’s kinda hard to see in the pic, but essentially he took an articulated “third hand” and permanently mounted it to his bench.

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Speaking of homemade tools, reader sizod sends us this eBay special which looks pretty easy to build yourself: “Plow Cycle — the easy-to-build, easy-on-you snow removal tool.  Recycled from an old bicycle, it’s perfect for people who like easy snow shoveling.  It’s fun to use.  I know what you’re thinking: snow shoveling can be FUN?  It lets you use the leverage (the wheel) to lift the blade, carry the blade, and toss the show.  With both handles parallel, you avoid back spasms and hernias.”

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I’ve always been a bit interested in jewelry making — who wouldn’t love to be able to weld, braze, and otherwise work with such valuable materials on such a small scale? — but it’s something I know almost nothing about.  On the subject of homemade tools,  reader Lee wrote in with this cool jewelry-related find: a custom made tool to hold three-prong earrings.

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Rick writes: “I came across this tool on one of the BMW boards I frequent.  Like the poster said, it’s not pretty… but it gets the job done.  I thought it was pretty ingenious and I was curious what other home-grown tools the Toolmongers out there have created and/or come across.”

According to the original forum post over at bimmer.info (link below), a guy made this tool to get the 22mm banjo bolt out while replacing the power steering hose on his M5.  It’s a shortened 22mm combo wrench with a 1/2″ drive socket welded on.

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