Tool reviews and so much more

December 1, 2011

When I first started Matt’s Basement Workshop one of the topics I hoped to make a regular part of the show would be tool reviews. Reviews of tools I already owned, tools I wanted to own or tools manufacturers might send me to try out and use on the show.

To one degree or another I’ve done this, but I’ve never been able to do it consistently enough to make it worth the while of tool manufacturers to send me items to review, and as a result it’s not something you the audience could count on to appear regularly.

And let’s be honest! Regardless of WHO is doing the tool review or WHERE the tool review is coming from, there will always be a degree of skepticism about how honest the comments are from the reviewer.

Even when the tool is purchased outright or, as often is the case with this show, swapped for an equal amount of advertising (sometimes they get a better deal than I do) the skepticism remains.

As far as I’ve been concerned with most tool reviews either in print, television or on the web. When it’s the same personalities presenting their opinions each time, at some point I become complacent and stop questioning how their experiences might differ from my own.

It’s not their fault, it’s just my natural tendency to wonder whether they’re really truly presenting facts about the tools in real world applications or just parroting the specs and peppering it with previous results from similar equipment in the past.

By this point you’re probably wondering “What does this have to do with anything?” I don’t know? I’m just expressing my own opinion about tool reviews. Which to me is a great segue to introduce a new web destination for people, like me, who want to learn about new tools but don’t want the same old voices and opinions who write them every time.

Recently I had the chance to work with a new company that in my opinion is making great strides to change the way tool reviews SHOULD be handled from this point out. is still in the early days of what I hope will be a long life on the web.

The premise of the site is really simple. They don’t tell you what THEY THINK about a particular tool instead they seek out individuals who have some sort of experience with the tool in real world applications. Then they put the tool in their hands to use on a project and at a later date come back into the studio to tell how it went. No sugar coating, no expectations, nothing but facts about what works and what doesn’t. doesn’t sell the tools they review, there’s no stockpile in a warehouse somewhere, they receive them from the manufacturer and turn them over to the reviewer. When the reviewer returns to talk about their experience; whether they like it, love it or absolutely loathe it the tool leaves with them.

No strings attached. The reviewer could walk out the door and leave it sitting on the sidewalk if they felt the desire to do so. And that’s where the appeal of this new web destination comes in for me.

Don’t take my word for it, check them out for yourself. Visit, watch their HD videos on the Toolselect TV webpage or on their YouTube Channel. Browse and compare tools by category or application, or even join their community to talk with all sorts of tool users. There’s so much to checkout on the site that I haven’t made my way through it all yet.

Just so there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind about MY review of you should know that I met the guys who run the site through a mutual friend. They gave me a tour of the studio, and then, so I could experience the whole review process myself they had me try a couple of tools (actually I expressed interest in the tools before they could even say anything about trying them).

As of when this is being posted, I just finished going into their studio the other night to film my own tool reviews and was blown away by the professionalism of the entire experience. For the record, I really struggled with one of the tools NOT to find a way to justify why someone should consider buying it even though I really didn’t like it.

But as we went through the review, Barnaby (the host of Toolselect TV) didn’t lead me one way or the other for an opinion only facts on the features and what happened when I used it. In the end I felt like I gave an honest review based on facts, not opinions.

I plan to post those reviews here when they come out, and don’t be surprised to see more reviews from being cross-posted here in the future. They’re receiving more tools specific to woodworking and that’s a great reason to share them with you.

Visit and decide for yourself, or don’t…it’s up to you.

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