Essential Portable Power Tools for Woodworkers
Any woodworker should have a selection of power tools to help him achieve perfection in his woodworking task. And even if perfection is not reached, the task would be greatly easier and more successful with the use of the correct power tools. Sometimes, it may even be the determining factor between success and failure.
The type of power tool you use will, of course, depend on the kind of woodworking you intend to do. If you are looking to hone your skills and turn a career out of woodworking, then you’ll need to invest in more expensive tools of a tradesman. But if you’re simply going to potter around in the shed during your days off, then the handyman’s portable power tools may suit you better. If you’re having doubts, just choose one with slightly more power than you think you’ll need.
One basic power tool that has a myriad of uses for is a cordless drill. Reports from consumers state that the 14.4-volt class is one of the better buys while a torque rating of 250 pound-force inch is required for most household projects.
A circular saw is essential for cutting lumber. For greater reliability, choose a corded one. The 7 ½-inch model seems to be a popular choice for workshops.
Rip Guide and Laser Cutting Guide
A rip guide and a laser cutting guide might be quite expensive for some, but it will save you a lot of frustrations and time.
If you think you’ll likely need curved cuts in plywood or any other material for that matter, a jigsaw is the power tool for you. The narrow reciprocating blade of a jigsaw is ideal for curved cuts that are impossible with a circular saw. Try to get one with an orbital cutting action and a scrolling feature for more versatility.
A reciprocating saw is quite a handy tool, although it’s probably not strictly essential. You can cut almost anything with it, from 2x6 beams to copper pipes. It is available in both corded and cordless versions and the lighter ones are the easiest to maneuver.
Sanders come in various kinds, and it is very handy as it will save you a lot of effort.
With all this woodworking, your shed will most likely become very dirty in no time. For this, you will need a wet-dry vacuum to clean all the mess up. Most prices are extremely reasonable and most models are designed for professional use and home use.
Cordless Combo Unit
If you want to stick to a budget with all these power tool purchases, opt for a cordless combo unit instead. You can get up to seven different tools for the price one, depending on which ones you choose. Make sure to get those that will all fit on the one battery. Ryobi’s One Plus System is a great choice which offers one batter for lots of different tools.
Filling Tips for Finishing Projects
One of the things you’ll be doing quite often as a woodworker is filling in nail holes. Nails need to be set so they cannot be seen in the finished project, otherwise, it would lose its visual appeal. The heads of the nail could go rusty, too, which will leave you with a spotty appearance. It is also not ideal to just paint over them since the paint will eventually flake off the metalheads, making them easily visible.
If you do plan on painting your project, then you will need to fill the nail holes. Paint cans usually have instructions that will tell you what putty to use and when and how to apply it. Don’t forget to sand smoothly the finish or else you’ll have a line of rough spots that can be seen under the paint. If you plan on staining your project, it becomes a little more complicated to fill in the nail holes. It is important that what is used to fill them is a close match to the stain you plan on using, otherwise, you will still have that sporty look.
A lot of wood fillers are colored to match various woods, but the problem is that wood colors vary considerably, despite it being from within the same type of lumber. Another issue that presents itself is discoloration since wood fillers don’t absorb stain in the same way that wood does. And sanding the filler afterward will just force minute particles of the filler material into the surrounding wood grain and cause an obvious color difference.
So what is to be done?
If you’ve spent lots of time on that project, of course, you don’t want to see the finish ruined. One thing that can help minimize the effects of the filler is to use a pre-stain conditioner. This will prevent the filler from affecting the surrounding areas of the lumber, especially if it is a type of softwood lumber like pine, birch, maple, or fir. After using a pre-stain conditioner, you should know that there is a time limit for the stain application. Normally, it takes about two hours for most pre-stain conditioners to work. If you have exceeded the time limit, don’t worry. Simply apply another coat of conditioner and add the stain within the time limit. When sanding the filler, be sure that you are careful enough not to sand the surrounding conditioned lumber.
You can also purchase fillers that are powdered. You simply need to mix with a small amount of stain you intend to use. This allows you to have a pretty close color match and it can be done either before or after you stain the project. If you decide to do it afterward, make sure to take great caution not to damage the surrounding areas when sanding it.
Getting the Right Tools – Deciding What Tools are best for the Job
With so many tools available for the woodworker, it is just impossible to buy them all. It is certain that you will need some, but deciding what you will really need and what you may never use is the real issue.
Chisels are considered a woodworker’s best friend. It is used for a variety of tasks ranging from mortising to chopping joints for a lumber barn. There are many different kinds of chisel available, but the butt chisels are the most useful for cabinet making. Its short handle makes it easy to balance, and the beveled sides of the blade make it ideal for tight corners.
Block Plane and Jackplane
Experts say that the block plane and jackplane are essential hand tools to have in a workshop. The jack plane is used to flatten and smooth large areas of rough lumber while the block plane is used to get those joints flush and to smooth end grain and convex curves.
A typical 10-inch blade backsaw is good for cutting joinery thanks to is small kerf and is often used with a miter box.
Similar to a small backsaw, a dovetail is smaller and is used more towards cutting dovetails, moldings, and other fine finish cuts.
Panel or Short-cut Saw
For general cutting of both lumber and paneling such as plywood, a panel or short-cut saw is good. It can even be used to cut plastic as well.
If you need a saw that’s handy for cutting electrical and plumbing holes whether in plasterboard or drywall, a drywall saw is best because of its sharp point for plunge cuts.
Whatever you decide to buy will always depend on what type of woodworking you intend to do. For instance, woodturning work will cost you at least a lathe and a basic set of specialized woodturning tools like bowl gouges and such. You may also need various types of power saws whether you want to cut your own stock or buy blanks that were ready cut for your project. If you want to focus on home repairs and building things such as bookcases and outdoor furniture, you will need something a bit different.
To conclude which tools are best for the job relies entirely on what task they need to perform. If a project requires curved cuts, a coping saw will do it by hand. Otherwise, a jigsaw or router with a guide will suffice. In the end, buying a plan for your project will most likely be equipped with what tools you need in order to complete it.