During a quick trip to Lowes, I snapped up the latest issue of Woodworking Magazine, which had a very well written article about an oft forgotten tool, the adjustable bevel gauge. "The Schwarz" reviewed bevel gauges from many companies and what was most surprising to me, was that the tool that was tops in his eyes, is no longer made. What I gained from the article was an understanding of what makes a tool good and bad, and what I lost was the respect that I had for my Stanley tool.
With this new information fresh in my mind, I stumbled across a bevel gauge at Sears that caught my eye. It is made in the USA, by a company called Companion.
The Companion tool has a few of the features that "The Schwarz" pointed out as benefits, such as:
A knurled knob locking mechanism (at left) that doesn't interfere with the blade, unlike the wing nut on the Stanley (at right).
A longer, thicker and wider blade, that has less flex thanks to the smaller adjustment slot.
Another interesting discovery at the Sears store, was a whole new line of tools that they were just putting on the shelves. I did not buy any of them, but being made in England out of Sheffield Steel is IMHO a good first step on the road to quality tools. They are called Footprint tools (http://www.footprint-tools.co.uk/index_home.htm), and I would have purchased their wood and brass bevel gauge (#1254), if the locking mechanism hadn't been a slot head screw.
Other Footprint Tools that the Sioux Falls Sears store carries are as follows:
Large Selection of Chisels
Aluminum Oxide Stone
And perhaps others that either I don't remember, or hadn't been taken out of the boxes yet.
It seems that no matter what they have to offer, I can't go into a store with woodworking tools, without buying one. I can say, with an almost absolute amount of certainty, that if I ever get to a real woodworking store, like say Woodcraft, my finances would be in big trouble afterwards.
David J. Ulschmid
~ Wisp Woods ~