What woodworking machine gadgets should we get?

Woodworkers. There have been man informal requests for some gadgets/accessories for our woodworking machinery, namely:

  • A digital angle gauge for blades, tables etc.
  • A detector to find nails/screws/metal embedded in reclaimed wood
  • A wood moisture meter

This thread is to discuss potential models. Once we have a few suggestions, I will put a purchase proposal in.

I think the Wixey brand is well regarded for digital angle gauges, but I have also found a well reviewed model from Axminster at a slightly cheaper price.

Detectors are much harder to get decent intel on. Advice and reviews on the web are conflicting. We have a £40 Bosch multi-detector designed for finding wires in walls, the Zircon M40, and some other units we’d have to import from the US. If anyone has any recommendations, I’d appreciate it.

Moisture meters are perhaps less pressing, but if anyone has a recommendation, gimme a shout.


At home we tend to use this quite a lot, it’s a Reciprocating saw but with a long blade so it’s good for getting straight lines on sheet material where the table saw or bandsaw isn’t an option.
since you can angle it at a shallow angle.

Not sure if it’d be useful in the space considering we have the table saw, but it’s a bit safer and more portable


for stud finders the only one I’ve had experience of is this one
not sure if it’s good or bad compared to others but it has three little bars that go up and down as you swipe over

Track saw clamps and possibly extra track length would be great. There might be some in the space already, but haven’t seen them, and they would make the tracksaw wildly more useful. Would also be nice to have hold down clamps on the dewalt mitre saw.

Here are few things we were discussing today

-Jig machine


  • Track Saw Clamps

Note: Ive added the links as to show what i mean so we can certainly chose different models etc…

I didn’t really intend for people to start suggesting allsorts, but I guess the thread title invites, it!

Over Xmas, I invite members to watch Stumpy Nubs’s Cool Tools series and see if any would be useful for us. Not all the products he looks at will be available in the UK.

Note that just because you need something for your next project, doesn’t mean the space is going to buy it for you!

Im not sure what this means really Mike. Are you deciding what can be and not can be bought on the behalf of the board comitee ?

Ive been told while not all the list but some equipment can be bought by space and i should make an official request. When i say okay they said i can use this forum title to make the request as aparently this is for that…

If you dont want to add these to your list that is totally fine, i can make the request email later on myself and send it to comittee.

Yeah, so the individual subgroup teams (wood team, metal team, etc.) can make purchase requests, so in this thread I’m just looking for ideas, really.

The wood team already knows some items we need, but we have some great suggestions in this thread also. The wood team then puts together an official costed request. We probably won’t include every single item suggested — we’ll have to look at what the workshops need and how items will be used, etc.

As far as I know, purchase proposals can only be made by subgroup teams, not by individual members. That’s why I (a member of the wood team) started this thread. To get everyone’s input.

Exactly, that is why i made those suggestions which includes what my personal suggest is and also few other members.

Again, ive been told to make this request as i was about to buy these items myself but they found it, these can be useful items. We were gonna chip in to buy something quality…

Anyway if you are wondering you can read the history in the telegram chat about this convesation.

couple more ideas

maybe one of these for profiles maybe

maybe a multi cutter

Yeah that’s fine. I originally started the thread about the three tools I mentioned, but since everyone suggested other stuff, we may as well discuss all suggestions here and then the wood team will narrow them down to a smaller list in January.

I’d like to add drill press vice to suggested tools. Drill Press Vices - Machine Mart

Gauges for drill bits and fasteners:

Hi Mike,

We use wood moisture meters at work professionally. I believe we just use a cheap one from amazon ~£20. Different timbers give different resistivities at different moisture contents anyway, so unless you’re interpreting your results properly and adjusting for timber type etc., the number will only ever work as a rough guide. So long as whatever we get can give a % reading, i think it’ll be fine. This one is from toolstation, so we can always take it back if it breaks:

The wixley digital guage looks to be cheaper than the axminster one now, so that makes that choice simple. It’s magnetic, should do the job.

The zircon M40 scanner looks like it has 2 modes, a precise mode and a wider radius scanning mode. This sounds useful to me. It’s also a roughly similar price to the bosch, and even better it clearly says on it ‘Multi-scanner’ so people will hopefully understand it’s purpose. The Bosch product looks a bit ominous, i think it would end up going missing in the wrong drawer as it doesn’t give much clue of its purpose.

I didn’t know drill gauges existed (mainly because i hadn’t thought about it) but they would be great in the space. The one Peter has recommended looks as good as any.

I’ll add to the list with a dowelling jig. I’ve looked around this afternoon. Yes there are cheaper ones, but i don’t think they perform as well. There are also different types, but i don’t think they are as intuitive to pick up and use without watching videos first.

Along with this we’d also need some drill bit depth collars. This is a 16 pack and is good as any.

I’d also suggest we buy some dowels to start us off, and a box to keep this with the dowels so people understand it’s a kit, and what it’s purpose is. The drill collars would go in the drill bit draw, probably in a little pot.



Few comments on the items suggested so far. This may need to be broken down in to multiple purchase proposals.

Digital Gauge
The one I have is by Trend on Amazon and is slightly cheaper than both currently listed and has free postage (prime)

Metal detector
Another option for the metal detector is to get something that is fairly recognisable as a metal detector such as ones used for security as they’re a bit cheaper vs branded and purpose made versions. Security metal detector

Moisture Meter
Its been discussed a few times whether a moisture meter would be useful in the space for the purpose it serves and how often it would be used. Since we don’t want people to be storing wood to dry in the space its more likely they’d need to check the moisture at home first removing the need for the tool at the space.

Reciprocating Saw
There is already one in the space that I donated a few months back. It was used to cut the breeze blocks when building the welding walls so is likely still in that room.

Something to also note is the Black+Decker Scorpion one listed uses a non-standard blade shank so blade choice/availability is very restricted.

Track Saw
The wood team has asked @peterdroberts to look into this as a separate purchase proposal.

Corner Clamps
We have two strap clamps in the workshop that have plastic 90° corner pieces. It might be possible to design and 3D print other shapes/angles for them.

For instances where only one joint needs clamping a mitre clamp would be useful. Benefit of these is they can be used for T joints as well. They don’t often have a large clamping face however so for big projects they aren’t as effective. Metal version

Pocket Hole & Doweling Jigs
We did at some point have a dowel jig like this one (Dowel Jig) but I don’t know where it went.
I’d be cautious about any jigs made of plastic as they’d likely break easily in the hackspace, whether its from over tightening or being drilled though. Metal ones are available but I don’t know what type would be most value for the space.

Profile Ruler
I have this and its okay. The plastic fingers are quite wide so its not super accurate and marking out curves in it isn’t great. There are a few times its come in really handy so I can see it being used in the workshop.

Probably could do with its own purchase proposal as its more of a general power tool.

Drill Press Vice
There are a few vices around the space, typically they’re found in metalwork. I would recommend we get a quick release clamp for the drill tables though

Drill & Screw Gauges
Both would be really useful in the space. I’d recommend we also got a set for metalwork as well.

Other proposals from telegram / me

Set Squares
We currently only have one Carpenters Square and one Rafters Square, I’d suggest we get at least one more of each as well as some metal Set Squares that can be clamped on.

Paint Pyramids
Probably more general for the space but these work well for gluing as well. Some versions available are popular for using with Track Saws for spacing material off the floor/work bench

A specific system for using with Parallel Clamps is another option (if we get the clamps)

More Clamps
Can’t have enough clamps. Plus we have about 10 broken quick clamps that need replacing. Types and sizes should vary.

Marking Tools
Some interesting marking tools from Stumpy Nubs:
Equidistant Measuring
Trammel Set (Basically a giant compass)
Dovetail Marker

Just a reminder this doesn’t have to be the only purchase proposal we ever do. So if we come to agreement on some things now, we could always make a start buying those bits. I think this proposal is probably already a bigger one than Mike was intending :money_mouth_face:

So compiling what we have so far that’s not too debated:
Trend Digital Gauge - Amazon - £16.24
Profile gauge/ruler - Screwfix - £10.99
Drill bit gauge - Amazon - £6.99
Screw gauge - Amazon - £8.49
Carpenters Square - Screwfix - £7.99
12" Rafter square - Screwfix - £17.59
Total so far = £68.29

Up for debate:
Moisture meter
Metal detector
Corner clamps
Pocket hole jig
Dowelling jig
Drill press vice ~£30 and/or Quick release bed clamp - £16
2pk Clamping set squares without clamps - Axminster - £26.98
Paint pyramids
Equidistant Measuring
Trammel Set (Basically a giant compass)
Dovetail Marker

Track saw clamp separate proposal
Saw track separate proposal
Reciprocating saw already have one
Multitool to be discussed elsewhere

My thoughts:
Moisture meter - I’m not completely againt us having it as it’s cheap, but I agree with Mark, what purpose does it serve other than to tell people their wood isn’t ready yet and to put it back in large storage.

Metal detector - My preference is probably still the Zircon. I’ve had a look through the security ones, and they all have slide switches to turn them on, and they will definitely get left on. V.s. the zircon which is push and hold to use, then it powers off as soon as button is released. It is ashame it doesn’t look like a security scanner though :smiley:

Corner clamps - could these be the same as the clamping set squares?

Pocket hole jig - I’ve got 2 proposals for this, both metal. We could go cheap at £21. There’s no width adjustment though, and the clamp isn’t a quick clamp. Or we could go all singing for £64 - this would be my preference.

Dowelling jig - I agree metal is more durable, but most of the metal ones work differently and have several parts, which i think would go missing. The one I linked before is one unit, and the drill holes are metal lined, so my hope would be it wouldn’t get wrecked too quick. For £21.49 I think it’s worth giving it a go.

My preference is the drill bed quick clamp, can do all sorts of timber types. It’d be good to install it on a short chain on the nut to the underside, so if someone removes it, it stays near the pillar drill for others to find.

2pk aluminium clamping set squares without clamps - you can get these from china in 2pks with the clamps for about £20, vs the link you’ve sent which don’t have the clamps included. Or if we weren’t bothered about the clamping aspect, you can get multipacks of plastic ones for £1-2 each (though granted they’re less durable).

Paint pyramids - Might be worth buying bog standard ones to start, they’re about £7 for a 10pk. If we only had the fancy ones, as soon as a couple go missing it’s no use.

Clamps - Sad to hear we have lots of broken ones. Have they failed in a way we can learn a lesson from and buy different? Or is it just the reality of plastic things with moving parts?

I recommend these Sash Clamps. They’re massive, indestructable and come in a 2 pack for £60. They also hold themselves up. Don’t know how they compare to the axminster ones you linked though.

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I am putting the above into a purchase proposal, also to include a Trend pocket hole jig currently on sale.

This has stalled a bit. In the absence of further input, i’d propose we further make proposals for these bits too:

Zircon Metal detector - Amazon - £43.04
Wolfcraft dowelling jig - Screwfix - £21.49
Pillar drill quick clamps - Machine mart - £15.59
50 Paint pyramids - Aliexpress - £2.84 + £2.27 delivery = £5.11
A plastic box for the paint pyramids to live in - need to investigate, but budget £3.
Dovetail marker - ebay - £6.89
Total = £95.12

Unless there’s anymore comments @mikeh /someone, do you want to purchase proposal the above, otherwise i’m very happy to?

Remaining gadgets previously mentioned up for debate/research:
Moisture meter
Corner clamps
Drill press vice ~£30
2pk Clamping set squares without clamps - Axminster - £26.98
Equidistant Measuring
Trammel Set (Basically a giant compass)

Cheers Joe. I found a dowel jig in the space this week, so unless there’s a compelling reason to get this new one, I suggest we leave it.

Peter donated a moisture meter, so that’s sorted. I propose we do get a pack of decent F clamps, as our squeezy ones are broken, and clamps are a must-have.

So the proposal becomes:

Zircon Metal detector - Amazon - £43.04
Pillar drill quick clamps - Machine mart - £15.59
50 Paint pyramids - Aliexpress - £2.84 + £2.27 delivery = £5.11
A plastic box for the paint pyramids to live in - need to investigate, but budget £3.
Dovetail marker - ebay - £6.89
F clamps - Amazon - £44.95

Total = 118.58

Anything to add before I make this official, anyone?

Sounds good.

I find the plastic feet on the clamps always slip off the top end and go missing. I don’t know if there’s a reason they slide on and off, but maybe add a bottle of superglue to the proposal and we can glue them all in place?

Little update. I am gonna add a dowel jig (following some Telegram chat), and another member has recommended one specifically. I am just following up with him so I can share that before I put in the proposal.