Are you a traditionalist or whatever the opposite of a traditionalist woodwork is? Progressive woodworker? Makes me think of Flo the Insurance lady. (Ha!) There’s a clear line drawn in the sand for carpenters and DIY’ers alike for what’s acceptable in the workshop. Some people are all about dovetail joints and handsaws (Western or Eastern, see I know), while others love pocket holes and power tools. I would love to really expand my craft and learn the methods that have been passed down from generation to generation, but honestly, I don’t have the time to apply those in my work. I’m all about being an early adopter when it comes to gear and gadgets in my normal life so it makes sense that I’m not afraid of a few shop upgrades to make my life easier. I part time DIY, so I need results quick and most importantly… I want the things that will make my neighbor or friends jealous when they step into my shop. Although… my one neighbor has a Shelby Cobra in his garage so… he wins.
There’s something to be said for tradition and woodcraft, but there’s nothing wrong with embracing the new as well. Below you’ll find some of the coolest (and affordable) shop upgrades I’ve checked out this year so you too can make sure no one ever confuses your shop with your Grand Dad’s workshop.
*Before we get going, a quick note, blue product links in this post are mostly affiliate links, which means by purchasing through those links you are on your way to supporting this website and have agreed that you won’t see other websites. We’re exclusive now. This is what we call the DTR or “determine the relationship” talk. Don’t disappoint me by leaving me for a younger and perkier website. ~Lazy Guy
Wall Control Pegboard
When my sister got married, she and her husband brought all of their wedding gifts back to their nice little city duplex and put everything away. Okay, probably just put some things away because I know when we got married, we had stuff sitting around the house for months if not years. Anywho, all of their nice new wedding dishware got put away in their kitchen cabinet and then the whole cabinet promptly fell off the wall. Why is this important to this conversation? Mainly I like to poke fun at my sister’s misfortunes, but no, this has to do with pegboards. In my garage I had the traditional cardboard like pegboards in a drab brown. I painted it to make it happier. It rejected my makeover by spitting out the pegs for some of my heavier tools leaving a giant mushy unusable hole in my pegboard. Not a great storage solution. I then reached out to the awesome folks down in Georgia from Wall Control. They make a durable metallic pegboard that blows away the competition. The board itself is incredibly easy to install and strong enough that the only way it’s coming down is if the wall behind it comes down too. Oh, did I mention they are ridiculously good looking? The ones I have in my shop are stainless steel, but they also come in black, white, blue, red, orange, green and yellow. If you’re looking for the quickest way to impress your buddies with your shop, storing your tools on one of these boards will absolutely make them jealous. They come in a variety of sizes (from 3″x 32″ up to 32″x 48″ combo) and have a ton of accessories like hooks, shelves and brackets that fit exclusively on their boards. But oh yeah… they also accept all standard 1/4 pegboard accessories as well. These are definitely an affordable way to proudly display any tools in your shop without having to worry about them falling off the wall while you sleep. If you’d like to see my full review (and more pics) on the Wall Control pegboard check it out here!
I’m a big proponent of speed clamps in my shop followed by lots and lots of bar clamps for most projects. So when Rockler asked if I wanted to check out their new Bandy Clamps my response was obviously, “more clamps! must have all the clamps!” (woodworkers understand this). But when I got them I wasn’t entirely sure how I would go about using them.
Some people on the internet (everyone is trustworthy right?) said they were great for securing wires in the shop, but so are cable ties and twist ties. So I was skeptical at first. Then I brought them out to the shop and realized very quickly that I was Bandy Clamping Everything! From installing trim to jointing pocket holes, I put them on everything I generally used speed clamps on and more. Rather than just being your average spring clamps, these have an additional, thick rubber band that not only secure the material even tighter, but allow you to apply pressure and push forward on your work surface. The only terrible analogy I can use to explain this is imagine gripping something with your finger tips alone and squeezing and pushing forward with only your fingers and thumb. That’s a normal spring clamp. Not effective on the pushing forward. Now imagine squeezing and pushing with your whole hand, able to grip with your finger tips and push with the palm of your hand. That’s what it’s like using the Bandy Clamps. Like I said, terrible analogy, but it makes securing something like trim work a 1000x easier.
Rockler Glue Applicator Kit
This is going to seem like a weird one, but it’s actually amazing how life changing this product is. Here’s a fun fact, wood glue doesn’t stick to silicone. Mind blow right? When you were a kid, do you remember putting Elmer’s glue on your hand, letting it dry and then peeling it all off? So weirdly satisfying. That’s pretty much the exact same concept with Rockler’s Glue Applicator series. Not only is smearing your wood glue smooth on a project surface a good idea, but letting it dry on the applicator is an even better one. This isn’t like forgetting to clean your paint brush, having it dry out and then having to toss it. Once the glue is dry, you just pull it off in one big chunk and start over. It doesn’t matter how long you let it sit there and dry, it’s coming off because WOOD GLUE DOESN’T STICK TO SILICONE! They also have a silicone project mat that works the same way, because if you’re like me, your glue ups always tend to squish excess glue out onto your work surface. Slap the silicon mat down and peal the glue off when it dries. BRILLIANT!
I don’t have a fancy dust collection system in my shop. Heck I barely have electricity so never mind your fancy pipes and ducts. I use my RIDGID ShopVac and hook it up to whatever sawdust blowing tool I’m using and call it a day. The problem with that method is that you really put a hurting on your filters with work like that. They need to be cleaned or changed pretty much every project and that’s a pain. The solution for my laziness is called the Dust Deputy from Oneida. I can use the same ShopVac but throw this little thing in the mix on top of a 5 Gallon bucket and the fine dust gets pulled out and the large chunks pass right on through. There are hundreds of DIY plans out there that show you how to build rolling stand for the unit. It’s worth it. Your lungs and your shop vac will thank you.
RIDGID Cordless Palm Impact Driver
It’s rare that I make a purchase and I have no idea exactly what I’m getting. I research and double check and doubt every commitment before I make it. I mean, I dated my wife for YEARS before we finally got engaged just so I knew what I was getting into. Well I blind bought the RIDGID Cordless Impact Driver because I was literally stuck on a project and needed something compact that could drive screws in a thick piece of hardwood. So I made this purchase on a whim. I am not a person who squeals with joy often, but the first time I used this little driver I think I laughed and yelled “BOOM! Done!” after the first screw went in like butter. Not the most loquacious or well thought out responses when I was on camera, but I was excited. As advertised, this little driver fits in the palm of your hand and reacts to the amount of force you put into it for the torque it applies. It is 100% a one handed operation, so if you like recording your DIY selfie videos with one hand and using your driver with the other… RIDGID has got you. Oh, and I should mention, like all RIDGID tools, they have a lifetime warranty on their products when you register them.
RYOBI One + 18v “Quiet STRIKE” Pulse Driver
Let’s set up a scenario for you. The only time you get to build or work on stuff is when your kids are napping or are asleep for the night. Your shop or your garage are within ear shot and of course… your impact driver sounds like a freight train when it starts torquing on whatever you’re driving into your project. Sure you can use a regular drill driver to try and finish your project, but it lacks the power so now what? Someone thought this scenario was all too common because the Ryobi One+ “Quiet STRIKE” Pulse Driver addresses the noise and power issue head on. I think one of the best analogies I’ve seen describing the differences between a Pulse and an Impact Driver was over at ProToolReviews. If you want to move someone you can push them or your can punch them (or ask them nicely to move?). The Pulse Driver is a push that gets them going, an Impact Driver is a violent hay maker punch that moves them and leaves a bruise. One of these is really loud… and gets your in trouble with the local authority.
Kreg Jig Clamp Trak System
No That’s not a typo. That’s “Trak” without the “c” kind of like how I always spell Quikrete wrong when I email them and blame it on auto-correct. Have I mentioned before how much I like clamps? Shall I mention how much I like clamps when they are mounted to a table top? I’m in love. Sorry wife. Kreg Jig has a bevy of awesome bench products in addition to their great pocket hole jigs. The one I’m digging right now is the Kreg Clamp Trak System. They sell these blue “traks” in varying lengths that mount directly to your work surface, then those little guys that remind me of are AutoMaxx Bench Klamps that slide into the trak and hold on for dear life. Instead of having to clamp your project with speed clamps close to the edge of your workbench, the bench clamps come in 3″ or 6″ lengths to stretch across your work surface and make sure your material “stays” better than my well trained Golden Retriever Gus! Kreg also has Trak systems that install on your miter saw stand, router table or even band saws, but I’m loving the bench top series right now!
When I finally get to go into the shop, it’s usually dark out. I’m not complaining. Okay, I might be complaining, but that also means it’s even darker in my shop that has no windows. And let’s be honest, scary things hide in the dark, especially creepy detached garages with dark corners and tools hanging on the wall. Not to mention, I’m usually going in with my hands full of whatever material is going into the next project. So that garage monster has a huge advantage over me. I put LED shop lights in, but one has a pull cord and the other has a toggle switch. They are also not easy to get to because who needs pesky cords getting in the way of saw blades? So when I saw the Striker TRiLIGHT I immediately had to check it out. Not only is it an adjustable LED light that looks like a futuristic satellite dish, but it’s also motion sensing. I could just walk in and it turns on! Even better… if the scary garage monster is walking around in there, the light will already be on to warn me he’s on the move again! I immediately told my wife how excited I was about this new product and she asked why I just didn’t turn the lights on with a switch like a normal person? I’m not normal. I’m lazy. Why turn the lights on when they can do it themselves? Seems like a no-brainer. The TriLIGHT installs as easy as screwing in a lightbulb and gives off 3000 lumens of light while only using 25 watts. A normal light bulb is 800 lumens and 65 watts. Let that burn into your retinas a second. The TRiLIGHT started as a Kickstarter project and absolutely crushed it’s goal. It has a 50,000 hour lifetime which, if I close one eye and carry the 2, that’s almost 6 years of motion sensing LED light awesomeness.
What? A hands free theme? Heck yeah. This is Lazy Guy DIY isn’t it? Stick with me here on the Amazon Echo. It seems kind of an odd choice I know. I love the Alexa App and used my Echo in the house, but with everything else I had access to I really used my Echo for a glorified music player. Out in the shop, it’s a new ball game. It’s still a music player but it’s so much more. Not only is the voice activation nice for playing and pausing songs, but I also use it to set alarms, add reminders, perform simple math (that I can’t do in my head…) and oh yeah… ORDER STUFF FROM AMAZON! Amazon has a distribution center in our area, so if I’m working on a project and run out of Kreg Pocket Screws part way through, I can honestly yell at my Echo (nicely) to order more and they’ll be on my front porch in a few hours. It’s more convenient than going to the store that never has the stock that I need and with Amazon Prime, shipping is free, so it’s actually cheaper than me driving down the road and wasting gas. So while I might appear that I like this option because I’m lazy, it’s also because I’m cheap too!
And we’re done! Hooray! And just in time for holiday gift lists! If you have any questions about these products I’ve recommended feel free to reach out to me!
~ Lazy Guy