Power Tools for the Home Renovator
by Allan Staines
Buying a New Power Tool: For a start, if you want to test drive a good variety of models, the best location is the specialist power tool suppliers. Most larger towns now have them. Check them out, and don't hurry your purchases.
Power Drills: If it is to be used for general use in a one drill kit, go for as many features as possible in a single package. Variable speed; reversible; and impact (hammer) action. The tool should feel balanced in the hand. Keyless chucks should be an important consideration.
Portable Drill/Driver: The above specifications can also be applied to a portable drill/driver. Consider charge times. Professional tools last much longer and batteries will also have a longer life. Generally with power tools, quality does relate to price. At the same time, if your use is only spasmodic, a cheap tool should be adequate.
Circular Saws: The 184mm circular saw is ideal and will accommodate most situations. Where deeper cutting is required, the cut can be made from both sides. Look for one where the bottom end of the retractable guard doesn't catch on the edge of the material as it is retracting, requiring assistance to continue retraction.
Manufacturers are providing different ways to overcome this problem. On completion of a saw cut, always ensure the guard has fully returned before setting it down. Always wear footwear when handling power tools.
Jigsaws: These tools are certainly increasing in sophistication. Useful features are available, like the ability to set the stroke speed for differing materials such as wood, plastic, metal, etc. Also the pendulum blade action which can be adjusted to suit the material type to assist in easier cutting.
- Ease of installing blades
- Ease of adjusting the base angle plate
- Good overhead visibility of the blade when cutting
- Minimal vibration
- A blower to remove sawdust in front of the blade.
Always be careful with all power tools. Read all instructions before use, especially safety instructions, and always wear appropriate safety equipment and clothing as directed.