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Discussion Starter #1
I couldn't find a general tools thread, so I thought I'd start one....

Black Friday is a week away, and it's a time I usually shop for tools. The start of my build necessitated expanding my tool collection. So I recently bought my first table saw off Craig's List (Bosch) and I now frequent Harbor Freight regularly (with coupons in hand) and shop online and watch tools videos on YouTube (AvA's BOLTR cracks me up and I learn something too) and on and on. So here are some tools I love, hate, need, want or find awe-inspiring, and I'd be interested in seeing some of yours.


  • Love
    I love my cheapo Direct Tools refurbished sliding miter saw. First *real* power tool I bought. It's so versatile and I use it all the time. I love my Haiko temperature-controlled soldering iron. I used one at my old job and I don't know why I resisted getting myself one for so long. Oh, and I love my cordless Dremel tool-- it's great.​
  • Hate
    I hate my Bostitch compressor. The pressure regulator never worked, so I have to turn it off when it gets up to pressure or the overpressure release pops.
    It was a gift and I couldn't return it, but I'm too lazy to get it fixed. I hate my shop vac. The hose opening is too small to be useful. It sucks that it doesn't suck well and gets clogged in a heartbeat. It was an impulse-buy Black Friday doorbuster.​
  • Need
    Everyone is saying I need a multi tool, but I've never used one. Oh I've seen the Fein infomercials, but I think it's something you have to play around with to see its value. Clamps-- I need more clamps. I don't think I have a single wood clamp. :eek: Oh, and I need something to join wood together aside from nails screws and bolts. A brad nailer, a jointer, a pocket jig, a son of a biscuit eater... something.​
  • Want
    I dream of getting a welder. I see some that do it all for under $1K: Mig, Tig and stick welding. And maybe a tube or pipe bender. And tools to bend, form and weld plastic. And a golden pony ;)
  • Awe-inspiring
    My most awe-inspiring tool is my el-cheapo rotary hammer drill from China I bought off Amazon. The Schnauzer. :D I bought it to pound a ground rod in the ground after trying all sorts of other tricks that didn't work. The thing is awesome and that's not a word I use lightly. The most fun I've had using a tool. Sixty dollars well spent for the entertainment value alone.​
I chose not to clutter this post with pictures and links or get too model or brand-specific, but feel free to post whatever you like, go nutz... even if it's just pictures of different Leatherman models. ;)
 

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My wood working days have been on pause for about a decade, so I have most of the traditional shop tools. Now that I'm getting back to a big project in these days of a more mature internet, I am delighted with how easy it is to find useful accessories. Corner clamps are way more common (think building plywood boxes). For specific tools, I just picked up a cordless circular saw. It is so easy to use, I may not toll out the table saw often. I am enchanted with it.

While I have lots of big bar clamps, I might actually by some cheap A clamps at HF.

Pocket whole accessories have come a long way, so I expect them to make this process easier.

Today's favorite tool has to be YouTube. You can learn just about anything there.

Want: If I'm really good this year, Santa might bring me a Flir Camera so that I can answer the insulation question once and for all (as if).
 

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You don't really need the multi tool unless you want to cut holes in your finished floor. For occasional use, the $20 HF one is fine. I've had mine a number of years and used it twice.

Must-haves: 12V drivers. You don't need the power or extra size and weight of 18V. I use Bosch. Regular driver, impact driver and drill. Keep and charge the lithium batteries in the house. I don't think I could have done the build without them.

Square drive screws and driver bits.

A decent jigsaw.

A full-powered drill for big holes and pocket holes.

A pocket hole jig. I've never used anything but the $40 Kreg Mini kit. I use it a lot and never wanted more.
 

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TOOL 1:

I think you have missed all the great features of a multi-tool!

I have a Ridgid Jobmax 12V



The saw edger is removeable and other tools can be attached. It has a number of attachments, most of which I have used in my build...like:

Sanding head - for those curves and tight spots
Jig saw - with the long handle, it's easy to steer
Right angle drill - For those tight spaces, never had one, use it a lot
Right angle screwdriver - ditto
Ratchet driver - good for sockets
Roto Tool - nice for detail cutting
Mini Sawzall - just right for trimming and cutting stuff (tree branches, etc.)

I bought the 12V power handle version. It has plenty of power. They make a 18V version too (Don't have it, 12V works well). Then I added a 120V power handle for heavy duty jobs.

I originally bought mine because they offered lifetime battery replacement. Don't know if they still do.

As the ads say, "this tool will solve work related problems you did not even know you had"

I've used it for jobs in the PM that made the job a whole lot easier!

TOOL 2:

Ridgid Oscillating Edge Belt / Spindle Sander







The perfect sander... expensive, but worth it!

... and +1 on a Kreg tool kit... the cheap one, not the fancy one with the clamps.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
You don't really need the multi tool unless you want to cut holes in your finished floor. For occasional use, the $20 HF one is fine. I've had mine a number of years and used it twice.
I know, that was a bit tongue-in-cheek. But it comes up enough in build threads that I wonder how the other half lives.

Withdrawn. In it's place I offer: gloves-- er um, I've got those.. common sense!




BTW, this is what happens when you use acetone without gloves two weeks later.

As my high school German/English teacher was fond to say "Common sense is the least common commodity."
 

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TOOL 1:




The perfect sander... expensive, but worth it!

... and +1 on a Kreg tool kit... the cheap one, not the fancy one with the clamps.
I have the same sander Ed and I love it - it does everything and is well worth the price!

I also have used the Kreg cheapy pocket hole jig and then I discover HF, of all places has a far better unit for $50 or so now that’s the only one I use.
 

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After about 40 years using cordless tools like Bosch, Porter Cable, Makita, Dewalt, etc. I was robbed and lost them all. I took the insurance money and bought the 18 volt Ridgid line. Lifetime tool and batteries, good power, 1/2 size batteries so not much heavier than 12 volt, and full size available for cutting with the circular saw for hours! Kits are covered by the lifetime coverage but individual tool or battery is not. I am blown away how good they are. I have two sets so only some batteries travel to AZ and back. Great mulitool, hammer drill, impact driver! Good as the best names.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-18-Volt-Lithium-Ion-Cordless-Combo-Kit-5-Tool-R9623/206356626

Kobalt folding table saw! Replaced my old cast iron Delta- wow what an improvement!
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Kobalt-15-Amp-10-in-Carbide-Tipped-Table-Saw/50056619
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I have the same sander Ed and I love it - it does everything and is well worth the price!

I also have used the Kreg cheapy pocket hole jig and then I discover HF, of all places has a far better unit for $50 or so now that’s the only one I use.
I've been looking at that sander and a similar one from WEN. Ridgid has the edge with the warranty of course, but the reviews on Amazon seem more mixed for the Rigid.

Seems like a lot of options for pocket hole jigs nowadays. Saw a YouTube demo of the Milescraft one that looked interesting (it has a magnet to fix it to your clamp) but all the die-hard Kreg fanpersons were having a field day in the comments.
 

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I have a biscuit joiner I used to use a lot but the pocket jointer does a better, quicker job on cabinets if and only IF you can hide the pockets inside a cabinet. I know they make plugs for the pocket holes but biscuits are totally hidden. Like most things they both have their place in life and one can’t have enough tools - can one;)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Today's favorite tool has to be YouTube. You can learn just about anything there.

Want: If I'm really good this year, Santa might bring me a Flir Camera so that I can answer the insulation question once and for all (as if).
Some good ones, Thom. YouTube is great, but much of the time I wish people would get to the dang point in their videos!

Wow, I wonder what a FLIR would cost? On similar lines, I'd love one of those fiber-optic inspection scopes that you can put down holes and such. I see HF has one, but hadn't heard any reviews.
 

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Some good ones, Thom. YouTube is great, but much of the time I wish people would get to the dang point in their videos!
Amen. I watch most videos at 2x playback speed, with the sound off and CC on.


If I get the Flir maybe we can lend it around and people can share their results.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Square drive screws and driver bits.
Any particular reason why? I've used them in theatre stagecraft construction, as screws get reused over and over again and square ones don't strip quite as badly over time as phillips.

Always funny when *real* construction people try to build sets-- they way overbuild things. The point is to build things just good enough so they don't fall over, use as little material as possible and plan for reuse. And there there's the 15 foot rule-- if you can't see something from 15 feet away-- it doesn't matter. And if something's looks like it's going to fall over-- another brace will fix that up. Just paint it black and *poof* it disappears.
 

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Any particular reason why? I've used them in theatre stagecraft construction, as screws get reused over and over again and square ones don't strip quite as badly over time as phillips.

Always funny when *real* construction people try to build sets-- they way overbuild things. The point is to build things just good enough so they don't fall over, use as little material as possible and plan for reuse. And there there's the 15 foot rule-- if you can't see something from 15 feet away-- it doesn't matter. And if something's looks like it's going to fall over-- another brace will fix that up. Just paint it black and *poof* it disappears.
I hate Robinson drives! They are only slightly better than Phillips. Star/Torx arethe best by far - never slips!

Most people way overbuild everything - I agree;)
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I hate Robinson drives! They are only slightly better than Phillips. Star/Torx arethe best by far - never slips!
Yeah, my experience with reused ones is you often have to get the bit in dead-nuts square or your clutch will click, or if you aren't careful you round them out nearly as badly as Phillips. It does keep people from off-the-street disassembling your set, but the bandwidth of the build/strike was limited by the number of bits you had.

And, heaven help you if you are in a shop where one tech director decides to switch from one fastener style to another. You are forever switching bits to banish the screws that got left behind.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
On similar lines, I'd love one of those fiber-optic inspection scopes that you can put down holes and such. I see HF has one, but hadn't heard any reviews.
Searched on Amazon, they have USB and WIFI ones in the $20 - $40 range. You can view them with an app on your phone. Might have to get me one of those.
 

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OK guys, Robertson, the inventor of the square drive was Canadian, so us Canucks love them. We call them Robbies. Yes, you have to keep any driver bit straight-ish to the fastener. But, if you use good quality bits and replace them when they get worn, they will behave way better.

Sadly, we don't have Harbor Freight up here, but there are similar Chinese-import tool stores. At the other end of the spectrum is Lee Valley (another great Canadian invention). It's my go-to place for lots of cool tools (woodworking, garden, kitchen). Got my Kreg pocket screw jig there and love it.

The fact I still have and use a Craftsman radial arm saw belies my age. I've built 2 houses and 3 boats with it, and I still have all my fingers and toes. My son the machinist has a table saw and miter saw, but I rarely borrow them. This isn't a radial arm recommendation, I'm just really comfortable with it. I have 3 other large power tools: wood-lathe, jointer, and thickness planer. I used them a lot for boatbuilding, but much less on the van so far. I also have the normal array of cordless power-tools, mainly DeWalt. No complaints.
 

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My hat is off to you. I have had numerous opportunities to pick up a nice RAS, but didn't feel comfortable because I have no experience with it. I have a pretty full shop of tools in my shop and there's not much I haven't used in this build.
 
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