Woodworking & Carpentry Tools
As you walk through the tool aisles of any well-stocked home center or hardware store, the choices will seem overwhelming. The following pointers will help you purchase the best tools for your purposes without spending more money than necessary.Projects in Tools
Never buy a tool before you need it. A tool purchased because you think you might need it someday is destined to years of collecting dust.
When you need a tool, purchase the best quality you can afford, especially when it comes to edge tools, such as chisels and planes. Any chisel or plane will last a lifetime, but lower-cost, lower-quality tools cost you in time, convenience, and precision -- cheap chisels don't stay sharp, and cheap planes don't cut flat and don't adjust smoothly. The metal on all hand tools should be flawlessly machined, and handles should be tight-fitting, hefty, and comfortable.
When it comes to power tools, the shopping strategy is a little different. Consider whether you need to buy the tool at all. If, for example, you don't expect to do much trimwork after you remodel the den, consider renting a power miter box instead of buying one.
If you do decide to purchase a power tool, you probably don't need the top-of-the-line contractor's model. These tools are worth the money to pros who use them day after day. For your purposes, a lighter-duty saber saw will do a fine job, for example, of notching wainscot boards around electrical boxes.
Although you don't need the most heavy-duty power tools, you do need tools that are well made. Check that parts are well finished. Look for knobs that are hefty enough to tighten and loosen easily -- stamped-steel wing nuts are a sign of a cheap tool. Inevitably you will dangle a power tool by its cord as you lower it from a ladder to the ground, so make sure the cord is sturdy and reinforced where it enters the housing.
The horsepower rating of a tool means little; amperage rating is a truer measure of power. Finally, before you buy a tool, pick it up and make sure it feels comfortable in your hands.