Basic Power Tools For DIY Home Repairs
View more related buyers guides
Published by TOP4 Team
Power Tools are the things Father’s Day is made of. The electric drill has taken over completely from the hand drill and the brace and bit. The bench grinder and jigsaw may come in quite handy. Others should only be bought for a specific purpose.
Power Tools are potentially dangerous, some exceptionally so. Great care must be taken that they are kept in top condition, that electrical safety is observed at all times, and that the workplace is kept neat and clean. Power tools are best connected to a power outlet via a current imbalance interrupter to protect you from accidental electric shock.
- Electric Drill - This is a good all-round tool with many uses. Recommended size for starters is a 10mm or 13mm chuck, two speed, with the low speed at least 900 rpm or slower and, if you can afford it, hammer action for use in masonry and concrete. The slow speed is essential for large holes and drilling in masonry. Accessories include drill bits for wood, steel, masonry, glass, as well as disc sanders, wire brushes (for paint stripping), buffing pads, and more.
- Bench Grinder - This is a two-wheel grinder with medium and fine wheels for all sharpening of chisels, plane blades and drill bit. Also useful for shaping metal, and cleaning sawn, welded or oxyacetylene-cut material you are working with into, to keep it cool.
- Jigsaw - This is a fairly safe power saw. It has a reciprocating blade that will cut through most sheet materials. Blades are available for cutting timber, panels, plastic, metal, and so on. Jigsaws can be used for cutting around corners and, with a guide, can cut reasonably straight lines.
- Circular Saw - This is often an early purchase, but is potentially dangerous tool that must be kept in top condition. It is used for cutting in straight lines, and for cutting timber off to length, cutting panels, and ripping (cutting along the grain) timber to size. (Unless much work needs to be done, using a handsaw is often quicker.) Check that the blade guard returns freely, ensure that the blade is sharp, and do not force the saw through material when it is labouring. Kick-backs are difficult to control. If you are doing much cutting, or mainly working with particleboard, invest in a tungsten-carbide tipped blade, as periods between resharpening are much longer than with the original steel blade.
- Glue Gun - This is an electrically operated glue dispenser that takes pellets of adhesive and applies them as a hot melt. This gives very fast gluing and setting times. Commonly used in furniture and cabinet-making industries.
- Hot Air Gun - Essentially, this is a heating element with a blower to direct hot air at surfaces. Used for paint stripping, bending plastics and, carefully controlled, as an accelerator in the setting of adhesives (for example.)
Router - This is useful for creating interesting shapes in timber, for edging work, for cutting grooves, and rebates, but takes a little getting used to. Once mastered it is a very versatile tool. Bits are expensive, especially if tungsten carbide is chosen.
- Power Planer - This is useful for specific work like reconditioning timber or doing your own timber dressing. Great care must be taken that not too much material is removed at once.
- Saw Tables - These are a useful addition to a power tool set. The popular Triton table, for instance, turns the average circular saw into a precision tool. The table can be set for ripping, docking, and angle cutting. Accessories are available to convert it, using a router, to a spindle moulder for creating your own mouldings.