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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Several members make the point that it isn't the tool, but the user. But my biggest greaktrhoughs in quality of work date from aquisition of a Wixey digital angle gauge, and a Woodpecker dial gauge for aligning blade and fence to the miter slot.

The former is always handy, but I also often use the woodpecker dial gauge to keep the fence alignment just right. Reliably square, perfect cuts make assemly easy and exact. The new Wixey has an illuminated screen and is much easier to read for these old eyes.

What are the tools or accessories that really upped the woodworking game in your shop? What difference did they make in your results?
 

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Theo
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In my case, I would say 1/4" graph paper, I already had a pencil and ruler.
 

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Doug
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Another vote for calibration equipment, I made my own dial indicator holder for both the tablesaw and drill press, and I love my Wixey gages and calipers.

The explosion of educational resources (YouTube, Forum, my Router Workshop videos) has been a godsend. There are so many guys who show you what to do (and what not to do), what is possible, how many different ways to do the same thing with different tools, etc. Before then, all my learning was from Magazines and books, which pretty much only showed one way to do things.



PS- another tool that has improved the quality of my woodworking is my magnifying glasses and new shop lighting. If you can't see well, you can't work well!
 

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The plunge rail saw, combined with a good quality vacuum. But then I install a lot of stuff
 
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I think I agree with Bill. It's not so much which tool but how to use them. And that applies to my hand tools too. Maybe especially to using my hand tools.
 

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buying better - is what helped me. One example is the Incra V27 miter gauge - it really improved my cuts.
A better quality bandsaw blade is another example as well as buying a higher quality table saw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
buying better - is what helped me. One example is the Incra V27 miter gauge - it really improved my cuts.
A better quality bandsaw blade is another example as well as buying a higher quality table saw.
Similar for me. Went from a well tuned but under powered Delta to the Laguna Fusion also made a big difference to me, that and switching to higher quality,
full kerf blades.
 

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Theo
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Has to be my Router Table.Love that thing.
Totally agree. That and a chainsaw, the two mostest funnest tools in the shop.
 

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My drum sander changed the accuracy of my pieces. It made my end grain cutting boards *much* better. Great tool.

For quality of life, though, my greatly improved dust collection system (Oneida V3000) - along with a Festool Dust Extractor - have made the shop much, much cleaner and the Mrs a bit more tolerant of my ability to walk into our house from the shop.
 

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I had been working with wood for many years before embarking on the Fine Woodworking band wagon. When I turned 50 I gave myself a present, a course with a local fine w/w guru that taught me so much. From how use and select hand tools and building projects with only hand tools to learning how to sharpen chisels and cutting beautiful dovetails.
I also increased my accuracy when I bought a jointer and planer and a few table saw accessories. So I agree with what many previous comments stated about knowledge, but there are certain tools that you acquire along the way that also improve your skills, and of course practice makes perfect.
 

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Upgrading my table saw from a 1983-vintage Craftsman to a brand new Grizzly. Increased my precision by an order of magnitude. Now I need to upgrade my miter saw similarly.
 

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Having the time now to actually spend more time in the shop. Staying in tune just makes the next project better than the last.
 
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