Power tools were not necessarily part of my daily routine about six years ago. Now, it’s nothing for me to say “Where’s my drill?” (keyword being MY). I’ve chosen my five favorite tools – the ones I use most often – and want you to know they really aren’t that scary! What’s scarier to me is having to rely on someone else to help me. I still have to do that sometimes. It really burns my britches when my strength isn’t good enough but, for the most part, I’ve become fairly comfortable with the following tools. And, let’s face it… I think my husband likes when I need his help sometimes.
I love my Dewalt orbital sander! Nothing compares to distressing a sign with this sander as opposed to by hand! This power tool allows me to smooth out painted surfaces and to sand off stain on some furniture pieces. I also use it to sand edges on so many different pieces of wood. However, if you are not careful, you can really hurt yourself if this flies out of your hand. Trust me, I’ve done it. It leaves sort of a burn-type mark. Ouch! And if you use if for a prolonged period of time, you will feel like you are vibrating into oblivion – the nerves in my hand will be so rattled that I cannot even think of writing or doing any type of painting for quite a while afterwards. But, overall, it’s definitely one of my favorite power tools!
This Bostitch nailer (this one I have linked is an updated version of mine) gets used for all of my framed signs. First I glue and then I nail using this nailer that is attached to an air compressor. I also have a stapler that is mainly used for upholstery projects – it works almost exactly the same. It’s natural that this can seem intimidating. Of course, you have to be very careful with all of these tools. They can all cause harm. But, if you protect yourself with eye and ear gear, and are cautious about how you use it, it can be very liberating to be able to use this yourself.
My husband got me this Dewalt miter saw for Christmas 2018 after I was having to cut signs to length using a circular saw. I would get frustrated when the battery was dead or when my lines were not perfectly straight. This saw allows me to cut through a board up to 12-inches deep and I can also swivel the blade to cut on various angles. My only complaint is that the dust bag fills up super quickly. If I’m cutting a lot of wood in a day – such as our faux wood books, for instance, the saw dust accumulates so fast that I have to change the bag every few minutes. But I’m guessing that I can probably order a larger bag OR possibly hook up a vacuum hose instead. Right now, I’m confined to a relatively small area in the garage for this, so space is a premium.
My drill is part of a set of some other tools but gets used most of all! Almost every day, in fact. I use it to add hooks to the backs of my signs, to do normal household picture hanging, and to build and attach many of the pieces in the shop. This was the first tool with which I became the most familiar. I would say, if you are going to start with just one of these power tools, this is the one to choose!
5. A jigsaw
Of all of the five, a jigsaw is probably the one I am least comfortable with simply because I often have trouble with changing the blade. I’ve used a jigsaw for large things like shaping our wooden headboard, as well as smaller projects like cutting a whole bunch of wooden anchors for a Disney lover who wanted to use them for signatures on their Disney cruise.
Over the years, as I’ve learned how to use these tools (my husband taught me), I have also learned how to narrow down the projects I take on as part of our custom services. The only way to learn is to try! I’ve had some Boxed Up members ask me what sander to get or what I use for this project or that. So, I thought this week could be a quick rundown of my favorites.
One last word of caution…
Above all, if you are considering getting a little more adventurous with your use of power tools, be sure to BE CAREFUL. Protect your eyes and your ears. Even the most experienced carpenters are known to lose the tip of a finer (or an entire finger) or worse. You cannot let your guard down or that’s when things happen. But, I’d love to know if you’ve been inspired to try something you’ve never tried before or even if you’re already using these tools and which are your favorites!