There aren’t many things that make men feel more like men than using their own two hands to build furniture and fix things at home. Doing these things requires having the right tools, but for first-time buyers and –searchers, the first obstacle is determining what those “right” tools are.
No need to fret, good buddy! Here are the five most essential tools you need to have to start your own DIY workshop at home.
1. Cordless Driver-Drill
The two most important handheld power tools you could ever own are power drills and impact drivers. However, there are 2-in-1 tools that provide you with hole-drilling power and screw-driving capacities. These tools are known as driver-drills, and with a flip of a switch or a turn of a dial, you can use one tool to drill through drywall or wood and drive fasteners.
The reason we recommend getting a cordless tool opposed to corded-electric is simple: they offer you maximum portability and reach in tight spaces. The important features to consider would be motor power, speed delivery (RPM), IPM (impacts per minute) and torque, chuck size (1/2 an inch would be optimal), battery size (18- to 24-volt batteries for maximum runtime), and the tool’s weight.
2. Cordless Circular Saw
Of course, the heart of any woodworking and home renovation project would be the tool used to cut boards to size. The ideal tool would be a table saw, but considering their price (upwards of a thousand dollars) and massive footprint, the next best thing would be to get a cordless circular saw. They are used for straight cutting and ripcutting through boards of any size and almost any thickness.
When shopping for a circular saw, pay attention to the size of the blade (7-1/4 inches would a good size), the weight of the tool, and the speed of the blade (up to 3,000 RPM).
3. Finish Nailer
There are two types of nail guns that would come in handy in most DIY woodworking and home repair situations: brad nailers and finish nailers. Brad nailers shoot brad nails (duh) and finish nailers shoot finish nail (no kidding). These types of nails differ in width and holding power. Finish nailers are the wider type of nail which provides more holding power but leave a larger hole in their wake. For most carpentry and home renovation jobs, a finish nailer would be the better tool to have.
When shopping for a finish nailer, keep an eye out for the nail capacity (length and width), magazine type (straight or coiled), electric or pneumatic (the latter requires an air compressor to operate), and firing mode (sequential or contact).
4. Benchtop Jointer
As you expand your woodworking operations, you’ll want to avoid purchasing overpriced pre-pampered boards at retailers and instead mill your own boards. A jointer is the most important tool to help you do this. Jointers are tools with a cutterhead that protrudes from a horizontal table that flattens surfaces and removes squared edges. Running rough lumber over a jointer’s cutterhead is the first step to restoring old wood or fixing rough boards from lumber mills.
We recommend getting a benchtop model and not a free-standing floor model for the following reasons: they’re cheaper by a LOT, they don’t take much space, and they’re powerful enough to handle most wood types. Keep an eye out for motor power, cutterhead width, and the table and fence (length and construction).
5. Benchtop Belt-Disc Sander Combo Tool
There’s no way you’re going to assemble furniture and moldings without giving them a thorough sanding. After all, the feel of the workpiece’s surface is just as important as the appearance. You could invest in multiple power sanders (random orbital sander, disc sander, belt sander, etc.) or you could purchase a single benchtop tool that comes with both a sanding belt and sanding disc.
Things to look out for when choosing which belt-disc sander to get are belt sanding dimensions (at least 6 x 36 inches), disc sander diameter (6 to 12 inches wide), variable speed, and worktable tilt capacity.