DeWalt’s Benchtop Planer

We researched benchtop planers and decided the DeWalt DW734 would meet our requirements. Its 12-½” wide bed could handle the 12”-wide garboard that we needed to replace, and its 6” thickness capacity it would come in handy for shaping some 4” stock for the stem. The 734 weighs a sturdy 80 pounds, a bit heavy for moving around, but solid and stable in use, especially when working with long stock.

Quickloader Retractable Ratchet Straps

The QL15 model has two black, rubber-coated metal S-hooks, one of which is on a 9-1/2” piece of 1” polyester webbing, and the other is at the end is a neatly coiled 1” polyester webbing stored around a spring-loaded core. Fully extended, the Quickloader has a reach of 12’. The strap feeds out and retracts like a tape measure so there’s never any slack to get knotted, tangled, or twisted.

16” Wandel Bandsaw

The digital plans for the bandsaw include thorough instructions with over 120 photographs, complete materials and cut lists, PDF print-ready, full-size templates of key parts, and Sketchup 3D digital models. Sketchup is a free CAD program that allows you to see the complete bandsaw and every part from any angle. I highly recommended using it. The plans also refer the reader to Wandel’s website with exhaustive articles and photos about this project, and to 19 bandsaw-related videos on his YouTube channel.

WS-3000 Tool Sharpener

The WS-3000 works quickly and is easy to use. The face of the horizontal sharpening wheel provides more sharpening surface than that of a vertical wheel system. The kit comes with two tempered glass wheels with flat and true surfaces on which to attach various PSA abrasive discs. Different grits of PSA abrasive discs are included; we set our wheels up with 120, 400, 1000, and micro-mesh 3600. Finer grits and a leather strop wheel are also available. A crepe-rubber stick is included to clean the abrasive discs. The glass wheels are changed out with the twist of one knob, which makes it easy to start with a coarse grit to remove nicks in a blade and then put a fine edge on it.

Compact Routers

DeWalt's DWP6111 weighs 4.6 pounds and has a 1-1/4 hp motor.

The tool we chose, the DeWalt DWP611 Compact Trim Router, has a 7-amp, 1-1/4-hp motor with variable speed of 16,000 to 27,000 rpm. The clear plastic base and two built-in LED lights make it easy to see the bit and the edge of the piece being worked. The 4″-wide base provides a stable platform, and 1/4″-shank bits are easy to change with multiple spindle-lock detents and a single wrench. The motor has a soft-start feature and an automatic electronic control to keep bit speed constant. The router has a depth adjustment that has a range of 1-1/2” and a clamping mechanism to lock the vertical position with a quick flick of a lever. The 8’ power cord is long enough to move around our work area. There are standard 1-3/8” template guide inserts and a vacuum-hose attachment available for use with the router.

Versa Vise

The swivel base adapter gives the vise additional ranges of motion.

The jaws of the vise open to 4-7/8″ and have smooth, flat faces 3-1/2″ wide and 2-1/4″ high. With that wide area of contact and the absence of knurling common to other vises, the jaws don’t mar wood or metal. On the body of the vise, behind the fixed jaw, there is a 13/4″-square anvil surface. I do light work on it and leave the heavy hitting for some big slabs of steel that can take no end of abuse. The vise sits on a base equipped with three legs and a 1-1/2″-diameter post and can swivel freely around it. There are two matching holes in the vise, one on the bottom to hold it in a normal upright orientation and the other on the side for holding for a horizontal orientation.

A High-Thrust Caulk Gun

The high-thrust gun is well suited for use with thick caulks and adhesives and with mixing tips for two-part epoxies. With our previous caulk gun, I could barely force resin and hardener through a mixing tip, and at times I had to use both hands to squeeze the trigger and cradle the gun in the crook of my elbow to get a dribble of mixed epoxy to appear—very disheartening when we were looking at dispensing four tubes of epoxy.

Pocket Chainsaws

The LivWild saw has teeth on every link and highly visible straps.

Back in the ’60s, I used twisted-wire pocket saws, and they were fine for backpacking when I only needed wood for campfires and to do some whittling, but they didn’t last long before they broke. I now use chain-style saws, and the latest version, the Camping Pocket Chainsaw from LivWild, works great. It has a 28″ chain with 37 teeth, the same kind used on gas- and electric-powered chainsaws. Every link is a cutting tooth, with adjacent teeth facing in opposite directions. The handles are bright orange 1″ webbing, lessening the likelihood that the saw would inadvertently get left behind.


The Resp-O-Rator, an odd-looking device with twin snorkels connected to disposable dust filters, isn’t compromised by a beard. The mouthpiece goes between lips and teeth, and the attached clip clamps your nostrils shut. To assemble it, a quick push and twist attaches the 4-1/8″-diameter filters to the tubes, and it’s ready to put on by removing one of the tubes from the mouthpiece, wrapping it around your neck, and reconnecting it.

Portable Running Lights

The lights come with either suction cups, as seen here, or with clamps.

Small-boat cruisers rarely travel at night intentionally, but sometimes we get caught out late or we need a predawn start to catch a favorable tide, like I did while rounding British Columbia’s Cape Caution last year. Between sunset and sunrise, we need navigation lights to comply with Coast Guard regulations and to ensure we are seen by other boaters. As our boats rarely have a built-in power supply, portable, battery-powered lights are a good solution.

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