Hand and power tools
Are there any power tools I should own? A power drill is a must for general maintenance. A drill, a circular saw and a saber saw can handle most household repair and carpentry jobs. Power sanders have also become popular.
Can you recommend a tool that makes a good gift? I would consider a cordless drill, a bench grinder, a palm sander, a level, a square, a chalk line or a new ladder.
What does the amp rating mean on power tools?
Generally, more amps translate into more power for electric tools.
What type of drill do you recommend for do it yourself projects? Most consumers use a 3/8 inch model that reverses, has variable speed and has a key less chuck. You should get one that draws at least 3.5 amps.
What drill bits do you recommend for general use? For drilling smaller holes in a variety of materials, choose a high speed steel twist bit. These can drill holes from about 1/16 inch to 1/2 inch in wood, soft metal and other materials.
How do I choose a cordless power drill? For occasional around the house chores, a lightweight 9.6 volt model is a cost effective choice. It will drive about 50 screws between charges. For light remodeling projects, a 12.0 volt model will drive about 150 screws. For heavy duty jobs such as drilling in metal or major remodeling, consider a 14.0 volt drill. An 18.0 volt model is usually only needed by professionals requiring high torque. Click here to read our expert reviews for impact driver and cordless drill and driver : www.impactdriverguide.com
If I buy a cordless drill, what volt model should I buy? A 12 volt model will handle the needs of most diyers. For bigger projects, 14 volt or higher models are a good choice. For lighter duty, a 9.6 volt model should be sufficient. For extended use, you should get two battery packs.
How do I select the right drill bit? High speed steel is good for general purpose. Other metals such as titanium reduce friction and last longer. Cobalt is a good option for drilling in hard metals.
Which type of sander do you recommend? For the homeowner, I suggest a random orbit sander because it balances the two main functions of a sander. It removes stock quickly and still provides a quality finish.
What are the advantages of a finish sander? Rather than orbiting, it moves the sandpaper back and forth and should be used where it is absolutely necessary that the sandpaper move in a single direction. These often use square sheets of sandpaper, which also make it easier to get into corners.
Isn’t a belt sander the best choice for removing a lot of material? Yes, it works quickly, but it isn’t a good choice for do it yourselfers. One mistake can ruin the piece you are working on.
What is the difference between an orbital sander and a random orbital sander? An orbital sander moves only in a circular motion, while the random orbital sander also moves back and forth. As a result of the two separate motions, it leaves less of a swirl pattern on the wood.
What all around circular saw do you recommend? A 7 1/4 inch is the most popular size. It lets you cut to a depth of 2 1/2 inches and to cut through a 2x piece of lumber even when the blade is set to 45 degrees.
How do you recognize a quality circular saw? Look for amperage and types of bearings top quality saws pull 12 or 13 amps and run on ball bearings. Lower quality saws use roller or sleeve bearings and are rated about 9 or 10 amps. While plastic housings are not a sign of inferior quality, make sure the saw has extruded or cast metal base plates. Stamped metal plates can warp.
What type of blade should I use when I am cutting wood? When cutting across the grain, a crosscut blade has a series of evenly spaced, medium sized teeth that are bent alternately from the left to the right. When cutting along the wood grain, a rip blade also has teeth bent to the left and right, but its teeth are on the top of the blade, not on the inside. They are like chisels that scoop out the wood as the saw moves along the grain.
What’s the advantage of a carbide tipped circular saw blade? The cutting edges are made from extra hard carbide steel that will last up to 20 times longer and are good for cutting materials of different hardnesses.
Do I need to buy both a crosscut and rip blade? For general use, you can buy a combination blade that incorporates the features of both rip and crosscut blades.
I want a hand saw for all around use.
What do you recommend? A seven or eight point crosscut would be a good choice. What do the teeth per inch numbers mean on saw blades? The numbers indicate the number of points per inch on a saw blade. Fewer teeth work more quickly but provide a coarser cut with rough edges.
Saws with more teeth work more slowly but provide a finer cut.
What type of pliers should I buy for general use? A 10 inch set of adjustable pliers may look big, but they are a good choice for general all around use.
What size adjustable wrench should I buy for general use? When it comes to gripping, bigger is generally better. If you are going to get just one, make it a larger one: either 10 inch or 14 inch.
What weight hammer should I buy? Buy the heaviest hammer that you can control because the heavier the hammer, the easier it will drive nails. However the heavier the hammer, the harder it is to hit nails on the head and the more quickly your arm muscles will become fatigued. A 16 ounce curved claw hammer is a good choice for general use.
What’s the difference between a putty knife and a paint scraper? They both look the same. Scrapers are too stiff for the efficient application of compounds. Putty knives are too flexible for scraping.
Do I need to worry about what size screwdriver to buy? A screwdriver is most effective when the width of the head of the driver matches the width of the slot in the head of the screw. If you are going to buy just one of each, a number two Phillips head and a quarter inch flat blade will work best. However, you should get at least two sizes of each and have a complete set of screwdrivers in your workshop.