My Top Ten Imports

I have been picking up tools, hardware and so on from abroad over the years and can now order a lot of stuff from amazon.com (or through junglee.com). Some of the stuff I have got are so useful that I wonder how I got on without them. I have found it is the small tools and aids that are the most useful; most of them make work more accurate or easier. Clamps, measuring tools, router bits and specialised drill bits in my view constitute my most useful purchases from abroad. I have listed the ones I have personally found the most useful.




Figure 1: Pro Grip Clamps.
A pair of these clamps makes life hugely easier. In many instances, you want to quickly hold down a piece of wood to plane, sand or rout it. I do not have a proper work bench with a tail vise and so on and this clamp just attaches itself to the table top as well as holds the work piece securely. It’s a boon and a whole lot of accessories are available to extend its functionality. 

Figure 2: Quick Grip Clamps.
These clamps are worth their weight in gold. I keep them nearby and use them all the time. They are so easy and quick to use. The release catch once pressed loosens the clamps which can be slid over the pieces to be clamped and then the trigger is pressed to tighten them. Its fast, easy and terrific. I probably use these more than any other tool.

Figure 3: T-Tracks.
Many tools are quite useless without good jigs to guide them. For making accurate jigs, one of the key components are good quality aluminium T-Tracks. T-Tracks or aluminium channels are available in India but they are of very poor quality and bend easily. These high quality T-Tracks are great for a number of uses.


Figure 4: Router Bit Set.
Having a router is not enough – to make it do a variety of jobs, as assortment of bits is very necessary. The most useful are the straight bits followed by the template bits which have bearings on top. There are a wide variety of bits for edge treatment of pieces, like round over and ogee bits. In fact, there is a huge variety of bits to choose from – get the ones that you will need the most.



Figure 5: Self Centring Hinge Bits.
Drilling a hole in the dead centre of holes like hinges is crucial for a good fit. Even a slightly off centre hole could ruin the fit. These bits are great for quickly drilling centred holes, especially for hinges.

Figure 6: Dowel Pins.
Transferring the exact centre of a hole to another point is often required in woodworking, both for making dowel joints and for jig making. A couple of sets of these pins would be very useful for a variety of tasks.



Figure 7: Depth Gauge.
A depth gauge for the router is a must for accurate working. This kind of gauge is the easiest to use because it also allows one to transfer the depth from the work piece to the router easily and accurately.

Figure 8: Brass set up blocks.
These brass blocks are of various dimensions beginning from 1/8th inch to ½ inch and are used for quickly checking height and width. These are very useful for setting router bit and saw blade depth quickly and accurately. These eliminate the need for constant measurement and greatly improve efficiency.

 Figure 9: Drill Stop Assortment.
The drill is perhaps the most used tool in any work shop and setting the depth can be arduous if done manually. These little stops attach to drill bits and repetitive drilling can be done to a pre-determined depth.


Figure 10: Diamond Stones.
Sharpening is a constant activity in the workshop and all kinds of tools need sharpening, as do kitchen knives, scissors and so on. Diamond stones cut quickly and aggressively to provide razor sharp edges in seconds.

14 April 2012

Important Addendum

I re-visited this post and realised that was 3 years ago and since then I have become wiser.
I would not bother to purchase some of the items I have listed there.

First of all, I cannot but agree that a Kreg jig today is a must, especially because most of us use plywood a lot.
Kreg screws are not necessary and ordinary washer head screws with philips or torx head will do just fine.

As for my 2012 list of top 10 imports,
I will certainly give the cheap diamond plates a miss.
I used them for a while before realising that they are not dead flat and can flex in use.
This can ruin the flattening process - hollow or belly your chisel/plane iron backs and so on.
Avoid them like the plague unless you want them exclusively for knife sharpening.
Get proper diamond stones or else go with sandpaper sharpening.

Secondly, today I would avoid buying expensive clamps.
Primarily because there are a variety of excellent and shop made clamping options.
Also nowadays you can get pretty good clamps in India - C-clamps, F-clamps, bar clamps, corner clamps and so on.

I would also omit the T-tracks unless you are majorly into making jigs for power tools.
Again there are various other options for jig making available in India such as using aluminium extrusions and so on.

A set of straight router bits plus pattern bits, rebate bits, grooving and flush trim bits are absolutely essential for anyone who uses a router.

The other essential and fantastically useful itmes include
Self Centring Hinge Bits
Dowel Pins
and brass set up blocks.

I would also advice serious woodworkers to invest in an expensive but accurate 12 inch Starrett combination square.
This would cost more than a hundred dollars but would be a once in a lifetime buy and worth every rupee.

A good single bevel marking knife (about 10-12 dollars)

A cheap but good quality Japanese Ryoba or flush cut saw (10-15 dollars).

And if you have the money buy a few Japanese ceramic waterstones - IMHO, they are the ultimate in sharpening technology.

Your chisels, knives and planes will be unbelievably sharp and qualitatively different in use.

Indranil Banerjie
16 July 2015

Comments

  1. Thanks. This will be very useful. Never knew rsome of these existed.

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  2. Mach power tools Chennai supply dremel tools online.
    machpowertools.com
    I have just purchased a set of dremel clamps 2505 from them and am considering purchasing the black and decker KW900EKA router from them for Rs 5499. Someone else on your blog had asked about it and you had said it was a good buy for the price. I suppose that still stands? However will a dremel 300 be sufficient for routing such as the routing you did in the mini showcase. Will it be cheaper and more versatile?

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  3. The Dremel 300 is a great tool and will do a variety of work including routing but it cannot substitute a proper router. The Dremel 300 just does not have the power required for serious routing. Even a 900 watts or one HP router will do a lot of work which would be unthinkable with a Dremel tool. The Dremel 300 is for light and small work. It can rout but in very small increments, typically 1/16th of an inch and that too small pieces. It is also great for making jigs. If you plan to do fine work like making boxes and so on the Dremel tool is fine but not otherwise. For instance, I used the Dremel tool only to make the inner roundover for the shutter in the mini showcase proect; I would not dream of using it for cutting the rabbets. Moreover, the Dremel tool only takes cutters with 1/8th inch shanks while the smallest router needs a 6 mm or 1/4 inch shank. Do not try heavy duty routing with a Dremel 300 - the motor will get ruined in no time.

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  4. What is your opinion on a jigsaw table? This seems to do the work of a scroll saw and say table saw.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvvPfduksNY
    website
    http://www.neutechnik-toolshop.com/
    Nuetechnik in Germany seems to offer this at the cost of 129 euros or so.

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  5. Looks terrific; a very interesting piece of work indeed. Only problem is that who will clear customs in India? Is it difficult or easy?

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    Replies
    1. I recently ordered Jigsaw Table 7 pc Super Set and got it from Neutechnik.com for 149.95 Euro + 9.90 Euro shipping (Internation Parcel). It took under 10 days to get it but I had to pay Rs.5943 towards customs duty (almost 50%). I am a novice when it comes to woodworking as a hobby and I haven't really used this tool to comment whether it's worth all that money.

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  6. along with all the useful tools you have mentioned one thing I sorely need is a work table. I have been working on improvised surfaces. I think a collapsible one would really be useful. I also needed some inputs on finishing wood - filling nail holes, shellac finishing, varnishing and lacquering. I have been going through a number of websites, but its really difficult to find those materials in local hardware and paint shops. I tried checking with some local contractors, but they were not very helpful and pretty guarded, and I can imagine why. Finishing wood doesn't seem like its all too difficult to do, if one has the patience, but figuring the right materials and the proportions for mixing materials is what is confounding right now. I suppose with trial and error one will eventually figure out, but any inputs to speed that up would really be great.

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  7. when i was in india always had problem to suitable tools but i made alot of jigs for my carpenter friends.specially in punjab where i m from jalandhar city is famous for NRI people.these people want quality in the work but don't care money so i was very famous in carpenter for custom jigs.i was the firts person who interduce miter sled for table saw.ctaully i made for them table saw as well coz that time there were no any company like bosch or makita were in india but now there is flood of power tools in indian marketbut now it has been 7 years i m living japan which itself famous for technology.anyway thanx for your effort for this blog.
    best regards
    kuldeep singh

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  8. sir,

    It is nice to know that you are able to import some tools which are not available for a DIY woodworkers like us. Recently while coming back from USA, i could bring small but important items, like dowel centering pins, quick clamps of different sizes, Pocket hole jig of Kreg, router bit set, several Forstner bitset, stanley miter box and a latest wonderful item called SAnd Devil which is a hand sanding tool, which uses belt sanding paper of 21".

    but though, i wanted get those long clamps and T tracks for the router table i am planning to build etc. Now that i know, these can be imported i wish to know, which site you buy and how it gets delivered at doorsteps, without we have to run around the customs guys. please guide me.

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  9. To Divya-Desam: I use amazon.com as it is the easiest and all customs clearance is taken care. Small items sourced from UK online stores such as www.axminster.co.uk come through quickly and without any customs issues.

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  10. I might be asking a silly question here. But, whenever I tried ordering something from Amazon it gives the message - "We're sorry. This item can't be shipped to your selected destination. You may either change the shipping address or delete the item from your order." I am now wondering if Amazon allows shipping to India. I have tried all sorts of addresses at various cities. How do you overcome this?

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  11. Thomas: Not a silly question at all - I had the same problem until I figured out that amazon.com does not ship all items to India for some reason. This has been a source of frustration for me too as many items I would have liked are not shipped here. When you search for items on amazon.com look to the left hand column for a check box saying "AmazonGlobal Eligible"; if you check this box then only those items that are shipped outside the US will be listed. At times, even Global Eligible items are not shipped to India. I have no idea why.

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  12. Dear Sir,
    I Wish to know from you about importing products from US or UK.
    While I tried to check out it says amazon free global saver shipping is available. But What they say is Excluding Customs and other duties. That means how I have to pay customs duty or will they inform us after it arrives to india or is there is any procedure to declare the product is for personel use. Can u explain the procedure

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  13. gurumoorthy subramanian: If you buy from amazon.com, they deduct the customs duty at the time of checking out, ie., you pay for the price of the product plus customs duty. No need for any declaration. All customs clearance is taken care of by the courier and the item is delivered to your house without any extra charge.

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  14. Got the following stuff via a friend's mom who came in from US this week. I had just ordered the items to be delivered to his house in US:

    8 piece dowel and tenon center piece set - $1.79
    6 piece drill stop set - $3.99
    swanson 7 inch speed square - $9.48
    igauge wheel marking gauge - $19.99

    really impressed by the quality construction of the speed square and the marking gauge.

    I am eyeing a set of corner clamps and a pair of quick grip clamps on ebay.com - lets see how long I can hold myself back!

    - Siddhartha

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    Replies
    1. Again you boughtwisely. The Swanson square is very useful I have one. I plan to get a wheel marking gauge some day!

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  15. Hi may I join in? I am also an amateur woodworker, and would suggest the inclusion of two of my most indispensable handsaws---the Gyokucho 770-3500 Razor Dozuki Saw for fine work and the Gyokucho Noko Giri 12" Double Edge (Ryoba) Razor Saw. These are traditional Japanese pull saws made in Japan (Do not buy any Chinese junk) Expensive, but dreams to work with. I have used the 12 inch to cut 5 inch dia tree branches (after a storm) and they did the job so well. It's a pull saw so you have to get used to the stroke, but once you do so, boy! Got them from my brother in the USA. Expensive, but worth every penny.

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  16. Finally decided to get the Gyokucho Ryoba. What size would you recommend as they seem to come in many sizes? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

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