A common question I seem to receive is what do I consider to be my favorite tool, and in that moment my response always seems to be based on the tools I am currently using in whatever project I have on my bench. If I'm building a federal piece then I would likely say it was my scratch stock, or building a door I would be influenced to say it was my mortising chisel. Because the tools I use change with each project I build, it makes it hard for me to say with any truth that any one tool is my favorite over all. But on the other hand in the middle of a project, I could easily say that this one tool is my current favorite for doing this one job.
Over the years I have collected certain tools that give me an enormous amount of joy to use, a tool that works so well the experience is irreproachable. And when I think in this way there are tools that stand out for me, a tool that even after owning it for in some cases years I still get excited at the thought of using it.
One of these tools is my Veritas router plane, a rebirth of the old Stanley #71 it's a thing of beauty. I find myself reaching for it like a trusted old side kick in every joinery adventure I go into, from squaring up a tenon and even more obvious of tasks such as cleaning up dado's. There are many times when using this tool that I have thought about other ways I would approach the work I am in the middle of without it only to be reminded of how great of a tool it is. Like recently when installing the locks and hinges in the slant top desk I built, once my wall was established the router plane just made such fast, easy and accurate work of the job that I could not help but enjoy the experience of using it, or imagine wanting to do it any other way .
The more thought I put into my tools this way I find my shop to have more than a few favorites, none being any better then the next just different. And it's that difference in each of these tools that gives each one of them a different place in my shop, because without them I would not be enjoying my woodworking as I do. So I guess I would have to say that I have a lot of favorites.
- Tommy P