Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My DIY Must Haves: Power Tools

Last week one of my reader's asked for a list of my must have tools for DIY projects. Since we move every few years (and pay to move most of it) we don't want to have a lot of extra stuff, so we try to keep our DIY supplies to a minimum (which can be hard!)

Today, I thought I would start with power tools, because 1. they are the key to building most things 2. they typically make projects easier and faster!

So here we go!

1. Cordless Drill/Drill Bit Set - We use this for pretty much every project ... for the most part it floats around our home! Cordless is a lot better than corded because it has better mobility. Our drill is a Craftsman from Sears and is still working great after several years ... there are a lot of great drills on the market (I think I would prefer something a little smaller, because it can be a little awkward, but David is fine with the size ...)

2. Jigsaw with wide straight cut blade (on ground in photo) - This is a great compact, versatile saw. Yes, typically used for cutting curves, but with the straight cut blade it can make fairly accurate cuts (not perfect)
Another tip for getting straight cuts is screwing a 1x3 or similar board to the what you are cutting and run the jigsaw along for a guide line, when done remove the screws and admire your cut! (make sure to screw into the part that won't be used)

The jigsaw may not be the correct saw for everything, but can get the job done (for most DIY projects) if you don't have a chop saw or table saw.

3. Dremel tool - has lots of great attachments to cut a variety of things, we mostly use ours to cut small amounts of metal, like the brass tube for the pendant light in the bedroom

4. Chop Saw - You can get by without (depending on the project), but if you are making a lot of straight cuts, this will save a lot of time increase precision! Ours is a Dewalt 12" Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw. Since it slides, we can cut up to a 14" board ... we used this to build the sofa table and the tv stand - these projects would of been basically impossible (or taken too much time/not accurate) without it. It is also crucial for cutting 45 angles like the frames for our floating gallery wall (This can be done with a hand saw and miter box, but if doing a large amount, the chop saw will save a lot of time and blisters)

An electric sander is definitely on the list, but I will talk about that with sanding/painting! 

And last but definitely not least, below is the safety equipment that we use on a regular basis with these tools

A respirator (don't want to be breathing wood particles in!), Ear muffs to protect hearing while cutting or using the electric sander , and goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris! Thick gloves are also good when handling wood to prevent splinters

In the future? a table saw would be perfect for long cuts and a finish nailer/compressor would be great for upholstering! (I think my hands are going to be tired after finishing the cane chair!)

I'll be back soon to talk about the rest of my DIY list must haves! 


I primed the cane chair yesterday ... painting up next!


  1. That's it! I'm getting a chop saw.
    Really helpful list, thank you.

  2. Ah, power drills… Your power tool collection wouldn’t be complete without them! What’s fascinating about them is that they have been around for such a long time, and yet they continue to evolve. Back in the day, these drills are operated manually. Imagine what you had to go through just to bore a hole! But, thanks to technology, the drills we have today are powerful and compact, making it perfect for any construction project.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts! I love hearing what you think! :)

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