Power tools play a big part in many home improvement projects, and especially in those projects involving woodworking. And while hand tools have their place in the workshop, power tools save you time, make many jobs easier to do and can often provide more professional results. Here is a list of some of the most important power tools you need in your workshop, and how they can benefit you versus using hand tools.
Pneumatic nail gun - If you have just a few nails to hammer in, a regular hand-held hammer will do fine. But if you have a lot of nails, or are using thicker nails, it will take multiple blows and a lot of time to get everything hammered in. A pneumatic nail gun makes nailing go much faster and more smoothly. Just be sure to follow all of the safety precautions; wacking your hand with a hammer is one thing, putting a nail through is entirely another.
Power circular saw - When it comes to sawing, a handsaw if fine if you are just cutting a few 2x4s. But if you needed to cut a large panel of plywood, it would be pretty slow going. For this job, a power circular saw is a much better choice. Used in combination with a clamp-on straight edge, a circular saw makes cutting straight cuts on large pieces of wood a snap (and about 100 times faster than with a hand saw). It’s also easier on the hands.
Power miter saw - For making angled or mitered cuts, you use a hand miter saw. Like the handsaw, this tool works well with small projects. But for bigger projects, a power miter saw will do the same job a lot faster and with a lot less effort. All you do is rotate the blade to whatever angle you need and make your cut.
Power jigsaw - For cutting curved or circular patterns in wood, a coping saw is the hand tool used. But all the attention to detail that needs to be paid when making those curves can take a lot of time (not to mention a very steady hand). A few simple curves would take 30 minutes with a coping saw, but take just seconds when using a power jigsaw. Along with faster speed, a power jigsaw also provides you with greatly improved control.
Cordless drill - This is perhaps the king of the power tools. The benefits of a cordless drill are twofold. For one, being cordless gives the drill more workability, since you’re not hampered by being attached to an outlet. Secondly, cordless drills double as power screwdrivers. For many screws, such as drywalls screws, you don’t even need to drill a pilot hole.
Hands tools are cheaper to purchase than power tools, and they definitely still have a place in your workshop for smaller projects. But if you want to make home improvement and woodworking projects easier, faster and more professional looking, power tools are the way to go. Besides, you can still use hand tools if you’re on a project deadline and the power goes out.
Ron Hazelton is a home improvement expert and host of “Ron Hazelton’s HouseCalls.” Want to learn more about home improvement, power tools and workshop organization? Watch Ron’s how-to videos at http://www.ronhazelton.com
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