Every handyman needs a wide variety of power tools to perform an even wider variety of projects around the house. While there are a multitude of specialized tools on the market, there are a few that are indispensable to the homeowner who plans on taking an active role in the upkeep and improvement of their home. The following will attempt to touch on these basic tools and give an overview of their uses and specifications.
Saws that most do-it-yourselfers can’t do without are circular saws and jigsaws.
Circular saws are a workhorse when it comes to power tools, They slice through most any type of wood or non-metallic substance in one quick, smooth action. Various blades are manufactured to accommodate any job or material that you may encounter. They easily rip through sheets of plywood or cut lengths of 2×4 down to size. A solid 7 1/4 inch model should serve your purpose well although circular saws come in sizes that range from 6 1/2 inch to 14 inch depending on their application.
Jigsaws use a single thin blade that vibrates up and down at a high rate of speed. Their major advantage over circular saws is its ability to perform more detailed work. While circular saws can cut a wide arc in flat stock, a jigsaw can achieve a much tighter turning radius and its compact design also makes it highly maneuverable.
Drills are very versatile power tools in that they not only bore holes but also act as power screwdrivers. They come in corded and cordless varieties. The corded versions come with an adjustable clutch, a feature that reduces wear and tear on the drill and the material. In spite of this, cordless models have far outpaced corded drills in popularity but one of either is vital for your workshop.
Drills come in a few different basic styles such as pistol grip and T-handle, choose the tool that feels most comfortable for you, T-handles provide the best balance. Power for cordless drills is measured in watts (corded drills are measured in amps) and they range in size from 6v to 36v. More volts equal more torque and power. A good all purpose drill should be in the 18 volt range and with variable speeds it can handle anything from delicate projects right up to that room addition you have planned.
Angled drills are more compact and built at right angles that make it easy to reach into confined spaces. An angled drill will be worth its price the very first time you need to attach a screw at an odd angle. While not as powerful as its full size relatives an angled drill is still a handy tool to have around.
Cordless screwdrivers have become quite popular and are an excellent tool for even those that don’t consider themselves do-it-yourself inclined. A cordless screwdriver is great to have on hand for that “some assembly required” furniture, hanging pictures and minor repairs such as tightening hinges. A battery powered unit, the cordless screwdriver usually has a quick coupler so you can easily change the tips.
Fastening tools such as nail guns, brad nailers and staple guns eliminate a lot of the need for a hammer and can save enormous amounts of time and energy.
Nail guns are powerful hammers that fire nails into wood and work as simply as pulling a trigger. They come in a variety of sizes to suit the job and can be either electric or pneumatic. Spring loaded, this one power tool has arguably taken all the work out of one of the most tedious and time consuming aspects of construction by allowing the setting and driving of nails to be carried out 4-5 times faster than with conventional hammers.
Brad nailers are a miniature version of the nail gun and are best suited for light duty fastening and where appearance of the finished product is important, such as cabinet making and finish carpentry.
Staple guns can be manual pneumatic or electric. Manual staplers of the past required a grip of steel to depress the trigger and fire the staple but even these have been ergonomically redesigned to make the job a lot easier. Staple guns are lightweight and easy to handle, especially in hard to reach places.
These are just few of the power tools available to today’s Do It Yourself enthusiast but the addition of any or all of these items in your toolbox will help you to be prepared to successfully tackle any home improvement or repair project and will give you a good foundation on which to base the future growth of your power tool collection.