Home repair, furniture making, all manner of woodworking, and a host of other DIY projects are impossible or highly frustrating without the right tools. But invest in some key power tools, and learn at least the basics of how to use them, and your DIY world will be immensely easier and more successful.
Here are seven of the most important power tools to add to your home repair “arsenal:”
- A Portable Table Saw: Need to rip one bys or two bys to just the right width? Anytime you are dealing with lengthwise cuts of relatively long planks, a table saw is virtually a necessity. Safety is greatly increased with a table saw as compared to ripping a long board with a hand-held saw. But there are many sizes, power-levels, and design types of tables saws, and choosing the right one to fit your needs can be a confusing. Peruse these portable table saw reviews, tests and comparisons to be sure you make the right buy.
- Two Circular Saws: For cutting boards and plywood width-wise, a circular saw instead of a table saw will be essential. But if you do many projects around the house, it’s best to invest in two kinds: corded and cordless. A corded saw will be more powerful and better for most situations, but opt for the cordless variety when you need to make a cut in a tight spot, up in the air, or anywhere where, a lightweight saw with no cord to get in the way or tangled is a plus.
- A Power Hand Plane: You may have used a hand-powered block plane in the past to smooth down rough surfaces or to clean and round off rough or sharp edges. And it takes a good deal of “elbow grease” and is difficult to accomplish just the way you had envisioned. But try using a power hand plane, and the job will go much faster, easier, and give you far more impressive results. And if you have young children in the house, rounded corners and sliver-free wood surfaces are a must.
- A Rotary Sander: Similar to #3 above but for smoothing down large, flat surfaces instead of edges and corners, a rotary sander may be worth having for many DIY-ers. A five-inch sander with variable speeds will be lightweight, maneuverable, and versatile enough for most projects. A six-inch sander is a bit heavier but also a bit heavier-duty.
- A Jigsaw: The jigsaw really has nothing to do with a puzzle, although it would be a good tool for cutting out wooden puzzle pieces, actually. Anytime you need to make curved, winding, or sharp-turn cuts through relatively thin wood (especially plywood), a jigsaw is your tool of choice.
- A Miter Saw: If you don’t like to handle a circular saw any more than necessary or if you are cutting a lot of short, straight cuts (when laying down new wood flooring for example), a miter saw is a time and effort saver you shouldn’t overlook. A 10-inch miter saw is normally sufficient for most at-home uses, as it will cut pieces up to 14-inches wide.
- Air Compressor + Nail/Staple Gun: Cutting your wood to the proper dimensions is only half the battle. You also need a quick and easy way to assemble the pieces or attach them to your floors, walls, or ceilings. Battery powered nail guns are handy in some situations, but for any sizable project, you will want an air compressor, hose, and a nail gun. A staple gun can also be useful, but most people can get by without it if they at least have the nail gun.