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This isn’t a crappy little painted-pine toy bench like you see at the big boxes. Leave it to Lee Valley to recommend a kids’ bench that you’d be proud to use as an adult. They claim it’s “solidly built with mortise-and-tenon joints, lag bolt construction, and a 1″ thick top made of solid birch.” And its beauty is more than wood deep: You get two vises, too, (perfect for woodworking) and a little particleboard shelf for storage.

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This cast-iron chisel holder from Veritas converts a 1″ beveled edge chisel into a rabbet or shoulder plane. The 1-3/8″ wide by 5-1/2″ long by 2-1/2″ high chisel holder grips the chisel at a 45º angle with a solid brass thumbscrew. Once the chisel is properly seated, you can use it to clean up rabbets, tenons, and hinge recesses or cut 1″ wide grooves and dadoes up to 3/8″ deep.

Made in Canada, the Veritas chisel plane will run you $50 before shipping.

Chisel Plane [Lee Valley]

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Made in Japan and sold by Lee Valley, these finger files allow you to shape wood in tight places, and being smaller than a full-sized file, they might offer a bit more control.

The coated stainless steel files have a medium-fine tooth pattern that can cut quickly and evenly in all directions, yet still leave a smooth finish. The edges of the files don’t have teeth, so you’ll only remove the material you want.  Forget about your file card too; these files supposedly resist clogging.

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Smart woodworkers know that the less you use your tape measure or rule, the fewer mistakes you make. That’s one good reason to use a bar gauge instead. A bar gauge is simply an adjustable length stick, and Veritas makes some hardware that makes it easy to make your own.

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Those clear plastic guards that come with some chisels are way too easy to lose. Only friction holds them in place and they’re so light, you can’t hear them drop to the floor and bounce under the bench — and you’ll never spot them before the vacuum gets them. And sure they may protect the chisel edge from a few bumps, but how much protection would they actually provide if you dropped the chisel?

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Lee Valley just posted a straightedge that uses magnets to hold a steel rule at many commonly-used angles, including ones for isometric drawing. Hmm — the last time I made an isometric drawing by hand, I was in middle school shop class. With CAD becoming ubiquitous and free CAD-like programs available to the general public, I can’t imagine there’s much use for hand-drawn isometric drawings anymore unless you’re a die-hard drafter.

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There comes a time when you realize that using your regular chisels on large timbers is a fruitless endeavor. While a 1″ blade might cut a notch in 4×8 timber in a few hours, you might as well try to cut down a redwood with a dovetail saw — although you probably wouldn’t get very far before the park rangers detained you anyway.

Slicks, on the other hand, are made for the task of framing with large wood. One of the largest types of chisel, the slick’s wide blade with the long flat back makes quicker work of large notches. Not meant to be struck, the slick’s long handle gives you the leverage to shear curls of wood with just the motion of your body and arms.

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We’re trained to think that a woodworking chisel needs a wood or even a plastic handle. The question is why? One reason is that a good handle will give you finer control of the chisel, but if you don’t need fine control and you’re going to whack the hell out of it with a hammer, why not forgo the handle altogether? At least that’s the theory behind these carpenter’s chisels from Lee Valley.

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Some people go to great lengths to keep their work space clean and free of clutter. This may not characterize your habits, but I think we all can agree that a mess of cables on your desk not only looks bad, but can constantly get in your way.  Lee Valley added two promising cable management boxes earlier this year that warrant a look.

The first is a 6-1/8″ by 4-1/4″ surface mount box that protrudes 1-1/2″ above the surface of the desk. Made from powder-coated steel, it can be mounted on the side, back, or top of the desk. It has two 7/16″ and three 1/4″ cable ports lined with plastic grommets to protect the cables. A hinged metal lid covers the cables ends when they’re not in use and is held in place by a rare earth magnet.

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It’s bad enough that you have to drag the extension cord around to use non-battery powered electric yard tools, but you still have to figure out where you’re going to store that extra cord when you’re done.

Lee Valleys’ cord storage hooks let you turn the wasted space on your yard tool’s handle or shaft into a good place to keep that extra cord. Reinforced rubber belts hold the plastic hooks on any handle or shaft up to 1-1/2″ in diameter. Both hooks swivel when you want to remove the cord and are easy to reposition. The pair of hooks also comes with a cord-retaining clip to keep the loose end of the cord.

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