I get asked regularly for permission to use my plans and writings for the following things:
The basis for a woodworking class.
The foundation for a presentation to a woodworking club.
To make a commercial product to sell – a Roorkee chair, workbench or campaign chest, for example.
My answer to these questions is always: absolutely. Everything I publish is free for you to use for classes, in your club or even to make a commercial piece of woodworking to sell.
In fact, the only thing I object to is when someone violates my copyright by reproducing an entire book or DVD then reselling it as their own work or giving it away on a torrent site. That’s just theft. (It’s uncommon in the woodworking business, but it happens.)
To be honest, little that I do (or any other woodworking author, for that matter) is original. My work is inspired by old books, new books, old work and new. If my work inspires you to teach others about it, I’m happy. If it makes you want to share it with your club, ditto. And if it helps you make something you can sell, that’s great, too.
So please, take these ideas. Use them to inspire others to pick up the tools and build.
I’ve never been a fan of battery-powered woodworking tools – except for a begrudging acceptance of cordless drills. (And only because of their clutch technology.)
Tool manufacturers, however, have been trying to introduce cordless everythings – routers, sanders, jigsaws, nailers, miter saws, circular saws – into furniture-making shops since batteries were invented.
Heck, one year Black & Decker came out with both a battery-powered tape measure and a C-clamp. I tested both. Both broke immediately.
For the most part, woodworkers have resisted battery tools. Here’s why.
When a battery reaches the end of its cycle life and cannot hold a charge, you are faced with two expensive solutions: buy a new OEM battery or replace the tool. You might think these options have different price points. But typically, they don’t. Try buying a 12-volt battery for a 10-year-old cordless drill. It is usually cheaper to buy a new drill.
Here’s a typical equation: Replace my 14.4-volt batteries for my Bosch drill at $159.99? Or buy a new Bosch 18-volt drill for $10 less? (Note: The prices at Amazon might will change.)
(Yes, I know you can have the battery rebuilt or buy a gray-market battery; I have yet to be satisfied with those products.)
My skepticism on battery tools extends beyond the economics. At Popular Woodworking Magazine we were deluged every year with all manner of battery tools to test. In general, battery tools are built to a lower manufacturing standard than their corded brethren. I can say this after burning up a fair number of cordless doo-dads during typical woodworking operations, such as drilling a 3/4” dog hole in yellow pine.
In use, battery tools are generally less powerful. And when you need them, the batteries always seem to be discharged – so you need to wait while they recharge.
And that’s why I usually recommend new woodworkers buy corded tools or sweat-driven hand tools. I have the first corded drill, jigsaw and circular saw I bought in the mid-1990s. They are still going strong. I also quite like my meat-powered hand drills, braces and coping saw, which have been going strong since my grandfather was in college.
So why do I own a battery-powered drill? The multiple speeds and the clutch. Craftsman came out with a corded drill with these features, and I loved the heck out of it. Sadly, these features are rarely put on a corded drill.
Last caveat: I’m not a contractor or a carpenter. Battery tools might make sense to those professions, but I can’t say.