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HomeMy ShopMy ToolsCheap Tools I Like and LOVE

Cheap Tools I Like and LOVE

Hey everybody, the tools I’m going to show you in this post are all things I use in my shop that I find very useful or are item’s that were suggested to me that I should use in my shop so I tried them out too just to let you know what I think and all these are between 10 and 40 dollars so they’re very budget friendly additions to the shop.


*I use affiliate links, please see details on my disclaimer.

Pica Dry Mechanical Pencil – https://amzn.to/3VfMwAJ
Pentel Graph Gear 1000 – https://amzn.to/3gDM5Bf
Stanley 12’ Tape measure – https://amzn.to/3uenR3n
FastCap Lefty/Rigty (Inch) tape measure – https://amzn.to/3VvuIln
FastCap Lefty/Righty (Metric) tape measure – https://amzn.to/3UnZbjW
FastCap 12’ (Metric/Inch) tape measure – https://amzn.to/3ASi33m
FastCap Flatback 12’ (Metric/Inch) tape measure – https://amzn.to/3EOOroC
Thread Checker (metric/inch) – https://amzn.to/3gNlMID
Magenetizer/Demagnetizer – https://amzn.to/3gGcK04
Vix Bit Self Centering Drill Bit Set – https://amzn.to/3XD6o2j
Amana Countersink Bit – https://amzn.to/3VCZUib
1-2-3 Blocks – https://amzn.to/3UfYn08
Set Up Blocks (set) – https://amzn.to/3F9LcJW
FastCap Track Racks – https://amzn.to/3F9Sm0V
FastCap Quad Edge Banding Trimmer – https://amzn.to/3gLgUnw
Wera Ratcheting Screwdriver – https://amzn.to/3u8BwJt

Pica Dry Carpenters Pencil

First up is the Pica Dry Mechanical Pencil. These are all over YouTube and everyone seems to like them so I picked one up to try it out. So, right off the bat this thing has a nice little case/holster thingy that can clip into your pocket or your apron. That’s a nice feature.

When you look at the actual pencil this thing is beefy, it has a thick lead and it has a nice sharp point and the click feature to advance the lead has a nice feel.

But this does have me wondering how useful this would be in a shop because I suspect that lead is gonna get blunt fast and give you some big ole fat layout lines.

I think that would be totally acceptable for doing larger construction projects like framing or deck building but I don’t know about cabinets or furniture projects when you need a tight fitting joint.

It does have this handy lead sharpener here at the tip of the holster so you can get that point sharp again but do I really want to stop every two or three marks to sharpen this back up to a fine point?

That’s not going to mesh well with how efficient I like to be in the shop.

Pentel Graph Gear 1000

My go-to has always been a traditional mechanical pencil.

I’ve always loved using these because the .5mm lead gives a consistent fine line.

I have two different kinds I keep in the shop, this is the Pentel Graph Gear 1000 and the Graph Gear 500.

This 1000 has an amazingly comfortable feel in the hand.

This is what I imagine the perfect mechanical pencil should feel like.

It’s got a nice gripping surface with cushiony nubby things on it and it just feels quality with this metal design.

Another cool thing is this little tip is retractable so that if you drop it on your shop floor you won’t risk damaging it.

FastCap Metric/Standard 12′ Tape

The Fastcap brand of tape measures are awesome. These tape measures have this rugged rubber on them, the tapes are all in high contrast black and white which I think is easier to read. You can write on them in this little whiteboard on the side. They also have these little finger breaks for easy retracting and they come with a built in in pencil sharpener.

Thread Checker

This is such a handy tool to have when you need it.

Each one of these little studs has male threads and female threads that you can use to check the size of screws and nuts.

It covers both inch and metric from #6 screws to ½” screws on the inch side and from 4mm to 12mm on the metric side.

And you can even use this to find out what size bolt you need if you have a machine part or something that had threads tapped into it and you need to identify the size so you can get the correct screw to fit it.


So this is a magnetizer and demagnetizer and well, it does exactly what it says.

This one is from Wiha which is a brand of tools I really like but there’s like fifty different brands of these on Amazon and they’re all the same price at around 10 bucks.

This side can magnetize a tool like a screwdriver or bit and then the other side is supposed to reverses the magnetism when you’re done.

But like who would magnetize something and then demagnetize it, but whatever.

Vix Self Centering Drill Bits

This is a set of self-centering drill bits. I have a set from Vick tool called Vix bits.

These bits usually come in a set of three which covers a lot of different screw sizes.

They have a spring-loaded drill bit inside of a metal sleeve with a conical tip.

These really shine when you need to install hinges of any kind or anything that requires a hole to be precisely centered inside a screw hole.

The conical end fits into the hole on this hinge and perfectly centers it.

You can then plunge the drill bit and get a perfect hole for your screw.

Countersink Drill Bit

The second drill bit I want to show you is probably my favorite tool in this whole video.

This countersink drill bit from Amana is such a game changer.

It basically takes two jobs, drilling a pilot hole and adding a countersink and it and turns them into one task.

You can see the drill bit passes through the center of the countersink and there’s this outer ring thingy that serves as the depth stop.

Both the drill bit and the depth stop can be adjusted so you can fine tune the depth of cut.

The time saving value of this tool becomes really clear when you need to do something like add the back panel to a large cabinet and fasten it with 15 or 20 screws.

It cuts the operation in half and if Amana could find a way to drive the screw too this would be the best woodworking tool of all time!

1-2-3 Blocks

The next item on the list is one that, well, the internet made me buy it and that is a set of 1-2-3 blocks

They look really cool and are pretty cheap, like 20 bucks for a pair so I said why not?

1-2-3 blocks are usually considered precision metalworking tools and not woodworking tools.

They get their name because of the dimensions of the block.

Its 1 inch thick, 2 inches wide and 3 inches long.

They have threaded holes in them that allow you to attach them to a work surface or to another 1-2-3 block to extend the reference surface.

These are very precision tools and can be used to set saw blade and router bit heights as well as check the squareness of your machines.

But the big issue I’ve found with them is not in their accuracy, but in their usefulness for woodworking because these dimensions are not common woodworking measurements.

Where’s the ¾ or 1.5” reference?

Set Up Blocks

So, while I think these are handy and cheap tools to have around the shop, I don’t think they can replace a full set of setup blocks.

This set of blocks from iGaging give you a full range of common woodworking measurements including odd sized ones that match the thicknesses of plywood.

This full set is more expensive than the 1-2-3 blocks but I find that I reach for these all the time and these really only when I need a square reference edge.

Tip #6 to Improve Your Cutting Board Sales

The next tool on the list is this ratcheting screwdriver from Wera and this thing is really cool.

If you’ve never used a ratcheting screwdriver before just think if a ratchet and a screwdriver had a beautiful baby if would look like this.

Basically, you can turn this dial and the ratchet action will go backwards or forwards to loosen or tighten your screw.

The head is magnetic and if you pop it open like this, you have a set of bits hidden in here that allow you to do Philips head, square head or flat head screws.

I’m a little disappointed there’s no torx or hex bit in here but this is a standard ¼” socket so any of your other bit you have in the shop will fit in here and work perfectly.

Track Racks

The last two items I want to show you are both from FastCap again and are both really handy and innovative items.

the first is this set of track racks.

Basically, if you own a track saw, whether its Festool, Makita, Triton, Kreg, doesn’t matter, you should get these track racks.

There’s really nothing I think about more than knocking over or damaging my Festool tracks when I lean them against something, especially the longer ones.

They are expensive and without them the tracksaw kind of loses it’s ability to function as intended.

These give you a really easy way to store your guide tracks on a wall or a garage door like I have mine set up and you get the hardware to mount it either way.

They work simply by allowing you to place the track into this bottom groove and then this cam on top that you turn and that holds the top of the track securely.

This thing isn’t going anywhere even after repeatedly opening and closing my garage door.

Quad Cutter

And the last item I wanted to show you is this quad trimmer for edge banding.

Basically, if you do a lot of edge banding this is a really cool tool that allows you to squeeze the work piece sides and run it along the edge cutting the waste off both sides of the edge banding at once.

You don’t realize how nice being able to do both sides at once is until you have 20 panels that have edge banding on multiple sides and you need to trim all those edges.

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