I am new to woodworking - I am a fine artist - I am going to be
building my own frames as well as doing making some relief wall
sculptures, probably...I live in a condo and have a deck where I am
going to do my cutting, but I live in an area where it gets cold so I
am going to have to be able to drag the equipment inside then drag it
out to cut...
I am going to buy some power tools. I don't want the best best best but
I also don't want the worst. I have been to Lowe's and HD and I don't
trust them very much. I have looked on ebay and it seems to me that
Bosch is probably one of the best - Ryobi is not - I have a friend
helping me - he used to only use Porter Cable but now he says they are
all made in China so it doesn't matter...He doesn't like DeWalt whereas
my other friend does...I looked in Consumer Reports and was not able to
locate anything on power tools there - is there anywhere I can read up
I think you'll find different manufacturers make different things better.
Typically companies are known for one or two tools and another company is
better at a different tool. The best bet is to search the group for
recommendations for whichever tool you are specifically looking for. I've
got several brands of tools in my shop and happy with pretty much most of
them. So search away and if you can't find what you're looking for, then
post a message asking.
Not trusting the big-box stores is probably a good start. And
consumers reports is great for blenders or cars or even tools if you're
not really fanatic about them. Their tool reviews are definitely
geared towards the homeowner/occasional tool user, not the woodworker.
Just like a real car buff or a real chef wouldn't care what CR said
about their insturment of choice, more serious woodworkers look
elsewhere for reviews.
As far as specific brands, you'll get a variety of recommendations -
but a good rule of thumb of course is that you get what you pay for.
Anything by Black & Decker, Skil, Ryobi, cheap Craftsman, etc., is
generally not going to be as good as anything by Bosch, Porter Cable,
Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee, etc. The more expensive Craftsman stuff,
some Ridgid stuff, etc. may fall somewhere in between. Of course there
are exceptions, and some tools sold under brand A are actually made by
brand B, but there's a reason you don't see construction workers using
B&D "Firestorm" drills... And yes, most are probably made in China or
Taiwan, but there are differences in quality control specs, metal vs.
plastic parts, etc., that can make a big difference in quality and
I don't think any one brand, even of the better names, makes the best
of every type of tool. For instance, Bosch invented the jigsaw and
they still are generally regarded as the best, but Milwaukee is
well-known for Sawzalls and corded drills that don't die.
Buying used or reconditioned tools is one way to save some dough on the
good brands - check eBay, local Craigslist, Amazon reconditioned,
toolbarn.com, and just shop around. Even the Borgs may have a deal now
and then - i.e. there's a sweet-looking new Makita 18V compact Li-ion
drill at HD for $199, while it's $229 at Amazon.
To read more, I'd look in the archives here, search google for reviews
of whatever you're looking for, look at Amazon reviews, look in back
issues of woodworking magazines for reviews (check your local library),
And finally, before you go on a power-tool-buying spree, decide what
you want to do with them - I'd recommend buying tools as you need them,
rather than stocking up on tools and then trying to figure out what you
can do with them since you used up your budget and can't buy things
like decent wood or sandpaper or clamps.
For slightly more specific recommendations if you want to get a very
basic start on woodworking, I'd recommend a Bosch jigsaw ($150), a
Dewalt 618 or PC 690 series router kit ($200), a starter router bit set
from MLCS ($40), a good 14.4v cordless drill ($150-200), some blue chip
chisels ($30), and some clamps ($20-200...). If you're patient and
creative, there's a lot you could do with these tools. Of course
others here will probably recommend a completely different setup, but
that's what you get when you ask for advice.
Sorry to talk your ear off. (type your eyes off?)
That's all for now,
Have fun and stay safe,
Normally I'd agree with you. I read a copy standing in line at the
supermarket tonight. They had a test on cordless drills. The Panasonic
15.6V was rated a Best Buy. I'd have to agree with CR for once.
All of the "good" brands have their devoted followers. And like Andy
said, no single company has the "best" of every tool. But the
differences in quality between the "good" brands is small and is often
a matter of different features. Take jig saws for instance. Several
manufacturers make a fine jigsaw. Some make it easier to change blades
You should not be disappointed in anything you get from Bosch, Dewalt,
Porter Cable, Milwaukee, Makita or Hitachi. Stay away from Craftsman,
Ryobi and Black & Decker.
"Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him." - Thomas
I wouldn't say to stay away from Craftsman totally. I have a couple of
their cordless drills and I've never had any problem with them. If all
you're doing is drilling pilot holes and putting in screws, they will be
more than adequate for that purpose. Sears usually has them on for 40-50%
off as well.
Think about cruising the Garage Sale ads in the Newspaper. Look for
ads with the keyword, Tools, or lots of tools, etc. Go to what looks
like the best sale 15 - 30 minutes before they open! Early bird gets
the tools!! Here is a few of my finds to wet your appetite:
48" clamp on saw guide - $3
30" bar clamps - $3 each
New Jet Exacta fence (no rails) $30
Makita circular saw $8
Dewalt 18 volt drill, 2 good bats, charger - $30 ( needed new housing.
The list goes on and on. You get the idea.
And theres the best of all: On the 3rd day of a large sale (4 car
garage packed with stuff) It took 3 days to uncover most stuff. On the
3rd day, when you asked a price, they said $1. Well scrounging around,
I found 2 complete Biesemeyer commercial fence systems, with long rails
sets! Well used from a commercial shop, I guess. $1 for both!! That
was when Yahoo had free classified ads. Sold for $175 each plus
shipping! That paid for our garage sale gas for a while!
95% of my shop is used equipment.
Check the sales out! Morning routine with coffee, cruise the
classifieds in the paper.
I won't argue with that. I had a couple of Craftsman power tools,
including a cordless drill, that gave good service. But I also had a
bunch of other Craftsman tools that were disappointing from day one.
If she's looking for a a brand name she can count on being happy with,
without researching each and every purchase, I'd steer clear of
"Never wrestle with a pig. You'll both get muddy, but the pig likes
The first tool you need to purchase is a Black & Decker Workmate
portable stand (don't buy their electrical tools). The most frustrating
aspect of working on a balcony or deck is trying to clamp things down
for sawing, routing, whatever. With a workmate and a few other clamps
you can usually figure out to hold your work in a safe and productive
manner. Folds up for easy storage and will still be useful if you ever
get a larger shop/studio area.
You have received good advice. It is not necessary or desirable to
have all your tools be the same brand. Different companies do well
with certain tools.
I own a lot of tools of many brands. My chop saw is a Makita. My
cordless drills are Panasonic. My corded drills are Milwaukee. My
circular saws are Skil and Porter Cable. Jigsaw is Bosch. Bostich and
Hitachi nailers. If I were restricted to one brand only I would go
with Makita. Makita makes a decent version of all these.
My Makita tools have never failed me and I have never heard anyone
complain about Makita. They have a full line of power tools. My local
Ace hardware carries Makita and they are also a full line service
center. I like to buy tools from someplace that can also repair them.
I love my Makita tools. Makita is a Japanese company. Few tools are
made in the states anymore but Milwaukee and DeWalt are respected
brands that are American companies anyway.
On Mon, 04 Dec 2006 21:07:01 -0800, intuitiveart wrote:
What tools do you need? That matters. Also what kind of budget do you
have and what is the largest size you're going to be working? When you
say "building my own frames" do you mean from purchased molding or do you
want to make the molding? Do you have an example of the sort of relief
wall sculptures you want to make, with some reference to give scale, that
we can look at?
First thing to do--find a Woodcraft store near you. They have just about
anything you might want and generally have a shop set up where you can
take classes or try out the tool you're looking at. Prices aren't always
the best but watch the sales--sometimes they can be _very_ inexpensive.
Incidentally, they've currently got a special on the Logan Frame Shop in a
Box <http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyIDY06 if you don't
already have a decent set of framing tools.
Sears is decent if you either (a) know what you want or (b) stay within
the "Craftsman professional" line, but their prices aren't usually the
best. One nice thing about Sears is that for Sears brand products they
maintain a parts inventory practically forever, with online ordering. Go
by a Sears and ask in the tool department about the "Craftsman
Club"--there's an 800 number you can call, join for free and you get a ten
percent discount on top of any sale prices.
HD has a few very decent products at reasonable prices--one example is the
Ridgid belt/spindle sander--but most of their stuff is either overpriced
or so-so. Watch out for the accessories too--as an example they have a
band saw that seems cheap until you start accessorizing it at which point
you'll find that they charge two or three times what the competition does
for commonplace accessories. They do stock pretty much the full Dremel
Lowes, if you know what you want already it's worth checking them for
price and watch the sales as well--I got my Delta midi lathe there as a
discontinued product for way below list.
Online two sources to look at, Coastal Tool <http://www.coastaltool.com/
and Grizzly Industrial <http://www.grizzly.com/>.
Also, not related to tools, but look in the phone book under "lumber" and
find the yards that stock hardwoods--visit each one and introduce yourself
and see what they seem to be like to deal with. You'll find a much, much
wider selection of wood at much, much lower prices than Home Depot or
Lowes (example, paid ten bucks for a small piece of red oak at Home Depot
the other day--could have gotten it for less than half that at the
lumberyard but that would that day have had me go 20 miles out of my way
and I was in a hurry), and you'll likely meet at least one "colorful
Depends on the tool. Forget Consumer Reports, they're OK for telling you
that a toaster does indeed make toast but not so good for anything
complicated. Different companies do different things well. Bosch is the
jigsaw king (still made in Switzerland too), Jet's mini lathe is highly
regarded, Ridgid's oscillating belt/spindle sander is very nice, deWalt
has the best reasonably priced scroll saw, etc. Proxxon has a very nice
line of very small tools intended for model makers--if you're in a small
space and they have enough capacity for your needs they're well worth
consideration. For some tools there's no clear leader--Bosch, DeWalt,
Porter Cable, and Hitachi routers all have their followings for example.
You'll find a _lot_ of discussion of the relative merits of different
brands of tool here, however be aware that there is a certain amount of
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