air compressor, nail gun, mitre saw, refurb tools


Old 02-21-01, 09:08 AM
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I am about to begin finishing my basement. The last time I finished a basement, I primarily used a circular saw and a good old fashioned hammer. However, this new basement is bigger, and I never considered myself very good with either the circular saw or the hammer. As such, I plan to buy an air compressor, a nail gun, and a compound mitre saw to make this job easier for me. Here are my questions:

1-In addition to powering a framing nailer, I will also use the air compressor for blowing out sprinkler systems in the fall, potentially for indoor spray-painting, drywall texturing, car washing, etc. What air compressor (oil vs. oil-free, volume/capacity, horsepower) is best for my anticipated uses but doesn't get me more air compressor than I really need?

2-As far as a nail gun goes, what is the best choice. Would like to use for framing, and fencing. I don't do enough finish work to make it worth my buying a finish or brad nailer at this time.

3-What is the best saw for me? I anticipate needing precise and repetitive cutting of 2x4 and 4x4 lumber, and angled trim piece cutting. At some point I would like to get a tool for ripping plywood and larger pieces of lumber (doors, etc.), but that it still down the road.

4-Any good (and inexpensive) ideas on setting up a cutting table/stand for the saw so that I can make precisely measured, repetitive cuts on long pieces of lumber? Ideally, I would like to be able to store the table in a small space when not in use so being able to break it down would be nice.

5-What is the word on refurbished power tools? There is a store called Tool King in my area which sells refurbished (and new) tools (good brands like Makita, DeWalt, etc) at what seem to be good prices. I definately want to buy better quality since I want the tools to last a lifetime, but I also am trying to save $ by doing it myself.

Thanks in advance for all the advice!

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Old 02-21-01, 10:49 AM
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I can answer about the compressor.

The answer is "no size is too big". You have to consider what air consumption your air tools are going to be using and make sure your compressor always exceeds that.

For example, I got a oil free Sears compressor from a neighbor, brand new for 60 bucks. It's a 4 HP, 18 gallon unit, and puts out 6.2 SCFM at 90 PSI. A few things:

1) Oil lubed is better. Yes, I have an oil free (not my choice, but it was basically free for the price I They last longer and run quieter.

2) Any compressor you can plug into a household line in theory is probably not making more than 2 real horsepower. The oil free ones spin at faster RPM's to pump out more air and to keep costs down to places like Sears, Campbell Hausfeld, etc.

3) Sears compressors are made by DeVilbiss in many cases. Check them out at Ingersoll Rand makes a good line (and rates them honestly), you can get them through Home Depot. HD also sells Campbell Hausfeld, whose models are similar to Sears/Devilbiss.

4) The way to check how big your compressor needs to be is to see how much air the tools you want to use are going to consume. Campbell Hausfeld tells you right on the Home Depot models what tools can and cannot be used with that particular compressor.

5) For me, my 6.2 SCFM unit should be good. All of my auto tools run at 4 SCFM or less. About the only thing I probably CAN'T use on mine is a professional quality painting gun and some DA sanders. Why? Because they consume more air than my compressor can put out. In such case, the compressor will run all the time because it cannot produce enough air to run the tool.

6) Shop for the tools you want first, and make note of how much air they are going to be using. Add in some "fat" for tools that come in later on. Sounds like you'll want a horizontal unit (portability) as I have. Check out Campbell Hausfeld, Devilbiss, Ingersoll Rand, Sears, and I would say go to Home Depot and check out what they have. Their Husky brand (their house brand) looks pretty good. I didn't study it closely at the store when I was there looking for tools.

I bought all my air tools from HD, as they were American made and offer a life time warranty. The quality is good. My compressor is a Sears, again, not my particular choice, but for the price, it will be fine for me. I got lucky and found a 300 dollar Snap On air rachet in the street, which I rebuilt at work. That's a find! .

Hope that gives you something to go on. I researched mine for a few months, but when I saw this one for 60 bucks, I couldn't pass it up. It was brand new with the manuals!!

Good luck!

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