Guiding lights: supplementary light sources
Even with adequate overhead lighting in a workshop, many tasks require more targeted light to illuminate the work at hand. Do these sound familiar?
* Sawing to a shadow-obscured pencil line on your bandsaw
* Hollowing out the inside of a deep bowl or vessel on the lathe
* Carving or chiseling precisely at the workbench
* Drilling holes in can't-dare-miss locations on the drill press
If you need extra light, reach for any number of handy LED options. Here are some of our favorites.
Magnifying LED Work Light
This light works on the same tasks as the WoodRiver model, but provides a larger magnifying glass (even if the LEDs aren't as bright) for approximately $20 less. The gooseneck pivots 360° with a maximum reach of 20" (mounting post to center of glass) and maximum height of 14".
GRIP LED Shop Light with Magnetic Base and Clamp
Running on a cord or two AAA batteries, this light's magnetic base clings mightily to the included screw-clamp base or any metal machinery. We found it most helpful on the bandsaw, drill press, and lathe. Its small light is surprisingly bright, and although it can focus to a bright, narrow spotlight, we preferred the wide beam.
Glorious-Lite 50W LED Work Light
Be careful, this light shines an intense bright white, but sometimes that's a welcome sight, when peering into a stack of lumber to determine the species and grain pattern of boards or for use as a raking light to aid finishing. The light rotates 360° on its base, and the 15' cord can reach a long way. You can remove the base and screw the light to a wall, shelf, or ceiling, if you prefer.
Rechargeable 12- to 20-volt lights
Every manufacturer of lithium-ion cordless tools makes multiple LED lights, ranging from flashlights you can use to find the tablesaw arbor nut you dropped inside the cabinet to large stand lights that provide wide-area illumination for assembling, finishing, or photographing big projects. We suggest you buy models that use the same battery packs as your cordless drill and circ saw to avoid jumping into a new platform. Pick up one (or more) that suit your needs, and you'll find more uses for them than you ever thought possible.