Nov 202015
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There is a strong inclination at this time of year to wax altruistic, demonstrate my “niceness” as the Down To Earth Woodworker, and wish for holiday gifts like “peace on earth,” “more new woodworkers,” or “a twenty-first century renaissance.” The fact is, though, I do often succumb to covetous thought. Professing to want nothing that costs real money is a psychological manifestation of something I am sure Freud would have fun with (Freud the psychologist, not Freud the router bit and blade guy!). The fact is it might actually be therapeutic to admit, “I want things.” Expensive things. Luxury things. Things I have convinced myself I really need.

So forget the pasty saccharine bromides and the kind and gentle Down To Earth Woodworker, here is the list of stuff I really want. I don’t expect to actually get any of these things, but here goes:

  1. A new Oscillating Spindle Sander. I have an inexpensive bench top type OSS, and I use it a lot, but I find myself sanding six-foot long and longer pieces all the time, thus I need a big floor-standing machine. More power, a longer stroke, a bigger table, and more sizes of drums would be great. Highland Woodworking sells two nice bench top machines, but, alas, no big honking 300-pounder. I won’t be able to rely on their trusted recommendations and knowledge, so I’m stuck trying to figure out what is “good” from internet descriptions. It probably doesn’t matter… at more than a thousand bucks, this item is unlikely to be checked off my wish list.
  2. A Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens. Okay, okay, I know this is supposed to be a “woodworking wish list” but I would definitely use this fine lens to do some serious close-ups of certain woodworking steps in my videos… that’s what the “macro” part of the description means. This is an “L” series lens, Canon’s best… and the reviews are awesome. Alas, it is even on sale right now for “just” $799, normally $899. Hah! That’s probably not going to make it onto my “gift received, thank you” list, either.
  3. The new Rikon 14inch Professional Band Saw. I have the 14” Rikon Deluxe band saw, and it is one of the two best, most reliable, and accurate pieces of equipment in my shop (the other is my SawStop PCS). But I would really enjoy the extra power provided by the 3HP 220V motor in the Rikon Professional model, I like the way they set up the dual dust ports, and I think the ability to go all the way to a 1” wide blade (as opposed to 3/4” on the Deluxe model) would serve my resawing efforts well. This band saw is on sale right now for $1,299, and this, too, will unfortunately likely not find its way to my Christmas tree.
  4. Festool Kapex KS 120 EB Sliding Compound Miter Saw. You may recall that I tested the Kapex extensively and loved it… but I couldn’t afford to add it to my shop. Don’t get me wrong, my current miter saw is fine, but it is frustratingly slow to work with. The “spin-down” time after releasing the trigger switch is long, tempting me to remove a board before the saw stops spinning… a very unsafe (aka “stupid”) practice. Also, when adjusted and locked into a 90-degree cut, it makes perfectly acceptable cuts, but swing it right or left to make a 45-degree cut, then swing it back to the center, and it is necessary to go through the entire set-up procedure again to get it square. The Festool Kapex moved seamlessly from 90 to 45 and any stop in-between, and always returned to a perfect 90-degrees. What a time saver! And while it would be perfectly okay to spend $1,450 on a necklace or earrings for my spouse, the same amount of money spent on a tool would be considered over-the-top. I guess a big Festool box won’t be under the tree, either.
  5. A sweater. I figured I should wish for one thing that I am likely to get. It will be thick, itchy wool in a color that goes with absolutely no other clothing I have. And I will be forced to wear it to the family Christmas dinner. If I spill gravy on it, it might just be a Freudian slip of the spoon. I’ll bet even Dr. Freud’s apprentice could figure out the psychology behind that!

Steven Johnson is retired from an almost 30-year career selling medical equipment and supplies, and now enjoys improving his shop, his skills, and his designs on a full time basis (although he says home improvement projects and furniture building have been hobbies for most of his adult life).

Steven can be reached directly via email at

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