Tools and brands I should look for


  #1  
Old 01-12-06, 06:28 AM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 63
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Tools and brands I should look for

I'm a housing newbie and I'm preparing to own my first house in a few weeks.

I have no power tools right now, only a decent set of hand tools.

The house I'm buying will need work so I'm ready to buy a good set of power tools (corded prefered) for any projects I'm going to do. I know the basic set will probably be an orbital sander (I have my eye on a Dewalt DW443) and a hammer-drill.

Can anyone recommend to me medium to high end brands I should look for and what tools I'll need? I want to install baseboards so I understand I'll need a miter saw. But do I want a 10-12" miter or a full table saw that can make miter cuts? I plan on doing a deck next year so should I go for a large table saw to handle that sort of work? Would I be better off buying a good circular saw instead to handle all of those jobs with a single tool?

I also plan on fixing walls and ceilings. Again, should I look for a jig saw for that sort of job? Maybe a small circular saw? Or a reciprocating saw?


Any advice?
 
  #2  
Old 01-12-06, 07:09 AM
majakdragon's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: N.E. Arkansas
Posts: 7,813
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Before you buy any tool, pick it up and see how it feels in your hand. There are many brands of each type of tool but if it is uncomfortable to use, you will be unhappy with it.
Baseboards: I believe a miter saw gives you more control and exacting cuts. Most non-contractors can get everything they want from a 10".
Decks: I found my circular saw to do the all-around work quite well. You will need a couple/few sawhorses to support your work while cutting.
Walls and ceilings: A jigsaw is great for those small or curved cuts. A reciprocating saw for demolition with different type/length blades including metal cutting for nails. If you will be putting up paneling, a tablesaw is nice or you can use a circular saw with a good straightedge.
Drills: I don't know of an "all round" drill. Smaller chuck capacity means more speed. If you are going to screw down your decking, I would get a drill that is made for that.
I'm sure more members will chime in with things I have forgotten but this is a start. Good luck with your projects.
 
  #3  
Old 01-12-06, 08:00 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 4,320
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by badmana
Can anyone recommend to me medium to high end brands I should look for and what tools I'll need?
I also strongly believe it is more important to hold the tool in the manner in which it will be used and test the weight, balance, and fit, for your particular needs and comfort, rather than buy tools by the brand

It doesn't really matter if someone else loves the tool, if it is uncomfortable for you to use, you will not enjoy using it

Also, some companies make a particular line or type of tool well, and that doesn't mean their other lines or types of tools are any good

For example:
I use and can recommend Porter-Cable's circular saw, but their miter saw would not be my first choice

That being said I'll try and address your questions

Originally Posted by badmana
The house I'm buying will need work so I'm ready to buy a good set of power tools (corded prefered) for any projects I'm going to do. I know the basic set will probably be an orbital sander (I have my eye on a Dewalt DW443) and a hammer-drill.
Not sure if the DW443 is a palm or circ. sander
You'll probably want both

Most of the time, a hammer drill is over-kill for the average homeowner, and a drill/driver is a better choice
It sounds like you may find it handy though, especially with the deck
Just be careful when driving regular screws for shelves and smaller things, or drywall
The H/D can easily over power those
Or get one of those new ones with the torque settings
...there's a new digital one out that I'm sure would reduce the stripped screws etc..

Originally Posted by badmana
I want to install baseboards so I understand I'll need a miter saw. But do I want a 10-12" miter or a full table saw that can make miter cuts?
A 10" miter should be fine for trim, though you may want the 12" for the deck and maybe other larger projects later
Bosch is probably the best in this area, but there's some real good others (DeWalt, and I hear Hitachi has some great features)
The best thing to do is try a few in the shop
See which has features you like, and which feels more comfortable

Originally Posted by badmana
I plan on doing a deck next year so should I go for a large table saw to handle that sort of work? Would I be better off buying a good circular saw instead to handle all of those jobs with a single tool?
I tend to use them all for decks (miter too)
But I could usually get away with just a miter and circ.
...or a table and circ....I guess it depends on the deck and what you have for tools
I wouldn't buy a table saw to build a deck if I had a good circ and miter already

Originally Posted by badmana
I also plan on fixing walls and ceilings. Again, should I look for a jig saw for that sort of job? Maybe a small circular saw? Or a reciprocating saw?
Recip is good for demo
If by fixing you mean re-drywalling then none of the above
If you need to frame then you may want the recip for demo, and a framing saw (circ)
 
  #4  
Old 01-12-06, 08:39 AM
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 27,156
Received 933 Votes on 852 Posts
Just give me a few blank checks and I'll do the shopping for ya.

It would really be nice to buy all the tools you could ever want or need at one time. Realistically, though, few people can do that, and they have to buy just the tools they need as they go along.

As mentioned, just the brand name does not guarantee that all their tools are the ones you want. Personally, I own a LOT of Dewalt tools, and they've performed well. But I would never buy the Dewalt reciprocating saw- I don't like how it feels, and compared to my Porter Cable and Milwaukee saws, it cuts like a toy. I also love my Bosch jig saw, belt sander, router and rotary hammer. I wouldn't buy anything but Senco finish guns. Although I have the old standby Mag 77 Skilsaw, my arm wants the Dewalt DW378, I like the way it feels and cuts.

It's hard to say what tools you need to do your various repairs, but generally, you'll want a reciprocating saw for tearout and remodelling work, a miter saw as a cutoff saw for framing, decks, finish work. A skilsaw can do almost anything a table saw can do, it's just that a tablesaw is sometimes more convenient- to rip a piece of plywood in half, for instance, and have it actually be straight! (ha ha)

Cordless tools are really great and they also have their place.

One thing I'll say about Dewalt is that I haven't been too happy with the way they've been making some of their tools cheaper and cheaper. If you could compare a 10 year old Dewalt tool with its modern counterpart, you'd know what I mean. I'm not sure if that's true of some other brands as well.
 
  #5  
Old 01-12-06, 08:56 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 4,320
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by XSleeper
... A skilsaw can do almost anything a table saw can do...
I once built a corner entertainment center with just a skilsaw (circ saw)
Even the dado cuts
Came out pretty darn good
The guy still uses it
lol
 
  #6  
Old 01-12-06, 09:30 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 6 Votes on 6 Posts
OK, guys, my turn. Definitely pick up or try out the tool b4 you buy it. Some tools are too heavy, the handles are skewed too much for comfort, the motors are too light for the work you want to accomplish. Look for all of this, because you probably won't make this investment but once in a 15 year period as a homeowner.
Doing it professionally I have my "babies", but I have invested in some that I wish I had looked further for. For instance, a Freud jigsaw. Great name, good speed control, t-type blades, but NO air source for blowing dust from your worksite. DUH! Even the cheapest Black and Deckers have that.
Remember, too, every tool will have a purpose. A reciprocating saw - don't leave home without it. I prefer a 12" compound miter saw, but I cut tall moldings, and you may not. I have never owned a slide saw, but I hear they are great for wider boards. Check out what you want in nail guns. Brad nailers do just that, shoot small brads. Finish nailers drive finish nails, longer, for moldings; narrow crown staplers are great for making bird houses; then you come to your framing nailer. Lots of choices lots of money, so feel them out and then don't let your wife know about them. Take them out of the box, rub dirt all over them and swear you've had it for a year. You can get away with it for a while, but they are smarter than you think.
 
  #7  
Old 01-12-06, 10:28 AM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 63
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by chandler
Lots of choices lots of money, so feel them out and then don't let your wife know about them. Take them out of the box, rub dirt all over them and swear you've had it for a year. You can get away with it for a while, but they are smarter than you think.
Heh, the wife is ok with me getting any tool I want as long as she gets her renovated kitchen and bathroom


Thanks for all the insight folks! I plan on holding each tool and making sure it's not too heavy. I don't trust my ability to make straight cuts with a hand held power tool so I'm leaning more towards table tools where I can.

Recip is good for demo. If by fixing you mean re-drywalling then none of the above. If you need to frame then you may want the recip for demo, and a framing saw (circ)
I'm going to need to cut out some sections of drywall. Books I've been reading on the subject recommend a circ-saw for that job. Is a recip saw a better choice? Again, I doubt my straight cutting ability and to make clean repairs I need a square cut! I also plan on a simple tv-stand and I suspect I'll need the circular saw for that or at least a table saw.

Are there any brands I should stay away from? Should I pick metal tools over plastic? Should I care about the motor amps?
 
  #8  
Old 01-12-06, 12:07 PM
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 27,156
Received 933 Votes on 852 Posts
LOL, great post Chandler.

To make a clean cut in drywall, a skilsaw will work better than a reciprocating saw, but it will make a TON of dust and dull whatever blade you use. Just watch out for electrical in the walls if you use a reciprocating saw!

As far as brands to stay away from, I'd say that B&D and playSkil are pretty low on my opinion scale. I also don't care for some Delta, Ryobi, Ridgid products, but not all. As far as amps go, the more amps the better, especially when purchasing a reciprocating saw. You'll notice that there will be a wide variety of prices and it usually goes with the amperage. Don't buy a little 6 amp reciprocating saw unless you plan on using it to brush your teeth. (heh heh) My dad's got one of those and it's like a toy saw.

I don't know too many tools that have metal bodies anymore- most are molded plastic. But speaking of that, I think it's especially valuable to have a tool that comes with a nice case. Especially one that will hold up over time- metal or plastic with metal latches. Plastic latches usually wear out, and there's nothing worse than a case that flops open when you least expect it.

I'm jealous you get to buy all new tools. Buying new tools is as close as I come to euphoria I think. LOL
 
  #9  
Old 01-12-06, 04:13 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 63
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by XSleeper
I'm jealous you get to buy all new tools. Buying new tools is as close as I come to euphoria I think. LOL

Oh don't think it doesn't come with a price. If I don't make good in learning how to do all this stuff I think the tools will be used against bits of me that they weren't designed for



Thanks for these tips. I intend to pick up tools as needed but I didn't want to walk into a store and end up with tools that won't last or do a good job. Since I've never had any prior experience with power hand tools (only machine tools in highschool) I don't exactly know what to look for.


I'll be sure to use those display tools at homedepot for extra practice!
 
  #10  
Old 01-13-06, 01:00 PM
IBM5081's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 655
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Helps

Wanna improve the circular saw cut? Invest in the aluminum saw guide - 2 4-foot channels that connect and guide the saw base, especially on plywood. For shorter cuts, a speed-square can guide the crosscut easily and you need to have one in your toolbelt anyway.

There are several techniques for drilling holes so that they are where you want them, no deeper than you want them and square to the surface being drilled. It avoids drill-thru on cabinet doors to mount hardware. Punches, collars and drilling guides can improve drilling without resorting to a drill press.

Clamps - gotta have them. You only have so many hands. Just a few clamps can easily speed up assembly or fit-trying to see if something matches height or sits level. Quick-grip types are great. I have two welding clamps that I use on wood because they are a sliding-type clamp that adjusts over a large range quickly, only needing a half-turn to exert pressure. The old C-clamps will take extra time to spin in or out to the right size.
 
  #11  
Old 01-13-06, 03:16 PM
Lugnut's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Kansas City, Missouri.
Posts: 1,170
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I want to point out that the 'combo' cordless sets of tools are worth looking at. They never had these 'combos' when I was buying years ago.
 
  #12  
Old 01-13-06, 03:29 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 6 Votes on 6 Posts
IBM states it right, CLAMPS. I have a wall about 15' of which is nothing but pipe clamps. But don't forget the Jorgensen type wooden clamps, normal "c" clamps, right angle clamps. You will need them.
And like Lugnut, my investments have been made, and I can't justify (or get away with) more stuff. But the cordless bundles are increasing in quality, stamina, and versatility. Look at some of these and see if they are practical for you.
Good luck with your choices.
 
  #13  
Old 01-13-06, 03:42 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 63
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Lugnut
I want to point out that the 'combo' cordless sets of tools are worth looking at. They never had these 'combos' when I was buying years ago.

Are you talking about those multi-packs of tools like a drill, sander and circular saw? Or a multi-tool like a B&D?

I have a few clamps but I know I'll need much more. And a good vice or 3. Plus a saw horse and a good work table. Good thing I have dibs on the unfinished basement for all this stuff. I'm not used to having much space after growing up in apartments!


Do you guys put much value in laser-line guided circular saws? I've seen plenty of relatively cheap table saws at Sears the other day (under $200). Would I be better off with that?
 
  #14  
Old 01-13-06, 04:24 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 6 Votes on 6 Posts
I gave about $200 or less for my Ryobi 10" with a stand that has wheels and collapses flat for transport. It is nice having it on my construction trailer. Laser guided circular saws, yawn, if you use them outside, you can't see the laser. I use a Porter Cable left hand saw. The blade is on the left side, allowing me to see my line through the entire cut without having to crane my neck over the workpiece. You just have to remember to put your weight on the right side instead of the left as normal. A work bench is great, but you will need a "banging" table for assembly of things and "banging" It will need to be sturdy with a thick top (mine has 2x6's side by side fastened to a metal frame with 4" metal legs)
I haven't had the opportunity to own the cordless saws, etc. as a kit, but other workers on the jobsites say they are great. They won't do what a regular saw will do, but their portability is their forte.
 
  #15  
Old 01-13-06, 05:10 PM
Lugnut's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Kansas City, Missouri.
Posts: 1,170
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by chandler
I ..........saw will do, but their portability is their forte.
Amen!

Regarding combos... I was referring to the combo tool packs for $200 to $600 bucks.

Lately, I've been an extremely serious user of cordless tools, except of course for cabinetry and fine woodworking. I constantly study the latest cordless tools available and want to see more features. For example, I just bought the DeWatt wet/dry 1/2 gal vacuum for $129. I love it, but oh my gosh, it is so loud! I wish for that kind of money that it would have been much much quieter!
 
  #16  
Old 01-14-06, 07:22 AM
D
Member
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 206
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
"Heh, the wife is ok with me getting any tool I want as long as she gets her renovated kitchen and bathroom"

If you are going to make counter tops or doors - think about a router.
 
  #17  
Old 01-14-06, 08:51 AM
K
Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 63
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
good brands are milwalkee, dewalt, hitachi, porter, makita, and bosch, they will cost you more but they will stand up to use and abuse. Sure you could buy a cheaper brand, but often you will end up wishing you had bought the better one.

Personally, if it were me, my 1st two power tools would be a circ. saw and an 18v cordless drill.

For trimwork a miter saw is a must, I'm partial to sliders, and think lasers are unecessary. (Lining up the edge of your saw tooth to either side of a pencil line is just as accurate.) I would buy this and the two above before any of the other things you mention.

Also, you can easily cut drywall with a razor knife and/or a keyhole saw, sure you could buy a router or rotozip for this but its overkill for the average homeowner.
 
  #18  
Old 01-14-06, 07:05 PM
ampz's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 536
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Dont deny yourself cordless tools.They can be just as efficient {some cases moreso} than corded.I stronly recommend a cordless hammerdrill/driver, {14volt minimum}.With this you basically have 2 drills in 1 & no need to buy a corded hammerdrill. The brands I prefer are PorterCable,Milwaukee,& Bosch.I have also heard good reviews of Hitachi & Panasonic.As earlier posted the multi-tool combo kits that are out can be a great buy if the tools you use the most are in the kit
 
  #19  
Old 01-14-06, 07:36 PM
mango man's Avatar
Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Sw FL
Posts: 2,122
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
dont discount the mid to low price stuff as a homeowner you dont need the quaility/reliablity that a a 70 hour a week power tool user does .


I see ryobi dissed on boards like this but my experiance with them has been good . I was working at a jobsite thur/fri and there were at least 6 ryobi recpricating saws at work, we were having to be carefull as to who's saw was who's "excuse me thats mine ,see the black x on the bottom , Is that one over there yours maybe ? "

I use my tools I guess you could say semi-pro they are used for work but not constantly heavier than avrage DIY though , just when the project calls for it . I see lots of tradesmen in this area using ryobi and personaly have had good experiance with them . lots of bang for the buck .

definatley go cordless and dont think of them as a lifetime investment 5-6 years and stronger motors/more powerfull battries and new featrues will have you ready to upgrade.


also dont be fooled into the notion that a quaiity tool will produce quailty results there is still skill involved in tool usage .
 
  #20  
Old 01-14-06, 11:06 PM
R
Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Fruit Heights, Utah
Posts: 280
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I second what Mango said...I've been nothing but happy with all my Ryobi tools. I use the Impact driver almost every day at work. My other tools for home use haven't let me down yet.
 
  #21  
Old 01-15-06, 07:00 AM
D
Member
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 206
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I'll third it. As a DIY, I have been very satisfied with my 18V Ryobi tools.

Raptor, you may have been the one to turn me on to the impact driver and wow what a difference over normal drivers. I'll drive 3 1/2 inch screws without any stalling or stripping.
 
  #22  
Old 01-15-06, 11:22 AM
R
Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Fruit Heights, Utah
Posts: 280
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
dwcurry...
If I did, I'm glad it helped. I think the impact driver may be my favorite of the Ryobi 18V line-up.
 
  #23  
Old 01-15-06, 01:40 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 6 Votes on 6 Posts
I am not a bubble buster, but don't use the Ryobi 18volt in a heavy load. If it starts to bog down, let off the trigger and pull it out and start over. The reason for this is the batteries are only connected with thin strips of metal, which will heat up in a heavy load and snap apart. I have used mine for several years, and have repaired the batteries many times by resoldering or replacing the strips with wire. I still use the Ryobi, but as a secondary tool in my shop. I am too rough on them to use it daily in my business. But it may be an ideal tool for the DIYer, so don't discount it.
 
  #24  
Old 01-15-06, 04:40 PM
D
Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 281
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Saw guide- maybe better than a table saw: http://www.eurekazone.com/index.html

The detail sander that does a whole lot more- MultiMaster http://www.feinus.com/
 
  #25  
Old 01-16-06, 04:24 AM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 63
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for all the advice everyone!


I'm not a huge fan of cordless tools only because I don't want to have to keep buying new batteries. I do plan on getting an 'all purpose' cordless drill but I'll still lean towards corded for most of the tools I'm looking at.


For doing my baseboards quickly I'll probably pick up a finish-nail gun as chandler recommended. Would this tool be able to nail a baseboard to a mason wall? Or will I have to drill pilot holes and screw a baseboard in? There is one wall that seperates the other house (semi-detached) and I'd like some options in getting that baseboard attached to it!
 
  #26  
Old 01-16-06, 05:11 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 4,320
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by badmana
For doing my baseboards quickly I'll probably pick up a finish-nail gun as chandler recommended. Would this tool be able to nail a baseboard to a mason wall? Or will I have to drill pilot holes and screw a baseboard in? There is one wall that seperates the other house (semi-detached) and I'd like some options in getting that baseboard attached to it!
A finish nail gun would work just fine
No screws or pilot holes

I'm assuming he means air-powered, which involves a compressor
The Porter-Cable 16 ga finish nail gun works great for that
I've often seen it as a package with a small portable compressor
I'd recommend a nailer that can take different lengths of 16 ga. nails as it is more versatile

You can also glue the trim up with "Liquid Nails" construction adhesive and a caulk gun
Not nearly as much fun though
Also not as forgiving, if you mess up or need/want to fix/change something, i'ts too late....it's glued and requires a bit more of an effort to fix
It is an option though
 
  #27  
Old 01-16-06, 05:24 AM
D
Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 281
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Baseboard to Masonry

I doubt the finish nailer will do that- only one way to find out, though.

You will probably have to glue it, or use those solid plastic wall anchors.

Using the anchors, if you lay out the anchor location on the baseboard, then you might be able to use the air tool. If the distance is short, I would hand nail into the anchors or glue it.
 
  #28  
Old 01-16-06, 05:43 AM
mango man's Avatar
Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Sw FL
Posts: 2,122
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
finish nailer isnt going to go into masnory .

are you attaching the trim directly to the masonry ?

you will need to drill the masonry and use anchors or self tapping masonry screws .
 
  #29  
Old 01-16-06, 06:28 AM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 63
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by mango man
finish nailer isnt going to go into masnory .

are you attaching the trim directly to the masonry ?

you will need to drill the masonry and use anchors or self tapping masonry screws .

Yeah, one wall is a one foot thick solid mason wall. The rest is plaster/drywall. I suppose I could glue it although removing it later will probably damage the paint.

Are electric nail guns any good? I'd rather not deal with a compressor. Still, if the price is right I'll get one (I don't want to spend more than a $100 for a nail gun. I'm not in a rush so I can hand nail everything if I must!
 
  #30  
Old 01-16-06, 06:38 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Cape Cod
Posts: 4,320
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Oops, sorry, missed the "Mason" part of the wall
The finish nailer probably won't be up to the task
As it's trim, I'd use construction adhesive
 
  #31  
Old 01-16-06, 06:46 AM
D
Member
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 206
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
To Badmana:

Compressors are great. I used a $20 brad nailer from Harbor Freight to do my home's base boards and door frames without problems. Beats the old fashion hand nailing. No sore fingers/thumbs. No way you can brad into mason.

I'll let someone else address brad nailers over finish nailers. To me the brad was fine for my use.

To Rapter:

Yep, it was you suggesting the impact drill: http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=240424

Thanks again,

Don
 
  #32  
Old 01-16-06, 07:04 AM
R
Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Fruit Heights, Utah
Posts: 280
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I remember now

Don,

Glad you like the impact driver as much as I do. I can't think of a better 18v tool that Ryobi makes. Pretty soon, I'm going to break down and buy me one for home. Everyone here at my theater knows not to touch it...
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: