Category Archives: Hand Tools

Bridge City Tool Works – TS-2 Master Try Square

Tool: Bridge City Tool Works – TS-2 Master Try Square
Date of Service: December 1990

Every woodworker has a few prized tools that are put to use often. A few of the finest tools In my shop are made by Bridge City Tool Works, including the TS-2 Master Try Square which is engraved with my initials, birthday and the year of 1990.


Product Specifications:

  • 90 degrees, plus or minus 0.002″ over the blade length, inside and outside
  • 8″ (heel to toe)
  • 0.125″
  • 1.50″
  • 360 alloy, half-hard brass
  • Solid rosewood, faced on both sides with 360 alloy half-hard brass wear plates, rivets are anchored in solid brass seats, both sides

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I received the Bridge City Tool Works TS-2 Master Square as a birthday present from a fine cabinetmaker and an influential person in my life. Unfortunately he died before I grew up enough to share woodworking stories, experiences and learn from him. As we talked during his last few days I felt like I was being cast out alone into the woodworking world with no teacher since we had lived on opposite coasts of America during my beginnings and I had just returned to the East Coast; “How will I learn to be a craftsman without you?” He replied, “You are going to have to go out there and learn it for yourself like everyone else.”

I don’t own a tool more accurate or more beautiful. I value these tools more than any other for obvious reasons… but still I use them almost every day!

If you like the TS-2 check out my Bridge City Tool Works CT-1 Squevel.


TS-2 at Bridge City Tool Works – Out of production.

Ticonderoga #2 – A woodworker’s pencil of choice

Tool: Ticonderoga #2 soft pencil
Every woodworker uses pencils. The Ticonderoga #2 soft pencil is the choice for my shop. I’ve tried several other manufacturers but the Ticonderoga is a brand with a decent eraser. I got a case of pencils as a gift and ended up tossing them because I couldn’t erase mistake lines. Seems like a funny article to post but it’s one tool that is a part of every project, whether it’s carpentry, cabinetry or general woodworking. Grab a case of these and you’ll be set for a year and then some.

Ticonderoga Pencils, #2 Soft Lead, Woodgrain, Dozen at

Panasonic KP380-BK Classic Electric Pencil Sharpener at

Pacific Laser Systems PLS 180 Laser Level

Tool: Pacific Laser Systems PLS-60521 PLS180 Tool, 180-degree Fan Angle, Plumb and Level Line Tool

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The PLS 180 is a bright, accurate and simple to operate 180º line level. It’s application compares favorably to rotary levels costing considerably more. Set upon my Slik camera tripod the PLS-180 registers clearly on all but sundrenched surfaces.  Projecting a beam both horizontally and/or vertically the PLS 180 can show plumb and level simultaneously.

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Stanley 12-101 – Pocket Trimming Plane

Tool: Stanley 12-101 Small hand plane The small Stanley Trimming Plane is the perfect compliment to a Carpenter’s tool belt. I’ve had this little plane tucked in a pocket in my tool belt pouch for years. It’s not built for smoothing a board face, but it’s hard to compare for a quickly knocking off a sharp edge. [rating:5] Continue reading Stanley 12-101 – Pocket Trimming Plane

Wood’s Powr-Grip N4950 – 8″ Flat Vacuum Cup

Tool: Wood’s Powr-Grip N4950 – 8″ Flat Vacuum Cup with Metal Handle
The Wood’s Powr-Grip Vacuum Cups are top-notch, American made, quality tools. It’s funny that I think of certain tools as ‘beautiful’ and say I ‘love’ them. My pair of N4950’s are beautiful! Though I may baby them and oooh and aaah over their quality, I stake my safety to their performance on the job.


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Continue reading Wood’s Powr-Grip N4950 – 8″ Flat Vacuum Cup