6 Tools I can't live without
Over the past few years there have been several tools launched that make DIY projects so much easier. Here's my list of the top tools and equipment you should have in your workshop when starting out.
First off, this article is not in any way intended to bad mouth other brands that supply power tools, but rather assist those starting out in DIY for the first time, or aid those looking to add to their collection of tools, with an unbiased opinion on what tools and equipment will not only make your DIY experience a good one, but an easy one as well.
Anyone who has attended a DIY Divas workshop ( www.DIY-Divas.co.za ) knows that I am a fan of Bosch power tools. This is not because Bosch allow me to try out new tools to see how they perform, but rather based on personal experience of what has and hasn't worked for me over the years. I have worked with a variety of brands and each has its pros and cons.
Drill / Driver
Over the year I have used a variety of cordless drill / drivers; from models at the bottom of the range, to those that cost more than an arm and a leg but are excellent tools. Bosch drill / drivers have evolved from conventional drill / drivers, to models that now offer the functions of a drill / driver including the latest innovation, the Bosch PSB 10,8 LI-2 Combi drill that incorporates a hammer function for drilling into walls.
What's nice about this combi drill / driver is that it does everything in one and costs around the same as a conventional drill / driver (expect to pay around R1900). It's also extremely lightweight, making it the perfect tool for us women, or for the guys who like to carry their tools in a tool belt !
Everyone involved in DIY or furniture projects needs a sander at one time or another. I have three sanders that I have bought over the years and each offers a different purpose. My multi-sander comes in handy for sanding corners, small projects and occasional sanding; the orbital sander I use for large, flat areas, while my random orbit sander is for finishing and painted surfaces.
When you are starting out you don't want to have to fork out for more than one tool, and that's why the Skil Fox 3-in-1 is a good investment. This sander can reach into corners and hard-to-reach areas, or be fitted with a pad for orbital and random orbit sanding. Start out with this model at a cost of around R800 - make a few projects that you can sell and then use this money to invest in individual sanders.
While you can have all your timber and board cut to size at your local Builders or timber merchant, bear in mind that they only cut squares or rectangles. That's all fine and well if you are making a project that doesn't have corners, curves, cut outs, or the ultimate horror... they cut everything to the incorrect size. Taking the latter into consideration, if you do need to cut anything other than a straight line - you will need a jigsaw.
You can buy a quality Bosch jigsaw for around R600 at Builders, and be able to cut a variety of projects. Not only good for cutting curvy projects, if you invest in a long steel ruler and a couple of quick clamps you can use this as a guide for cutting straight lines as well. which means you can postpone buying a circular saw until later. I have 4 of these Tork Craft quick clamps in my workshop, two of 450mm length and two of 600mm length and these are very handy for securing projects when cutting, and clamping when gluing together.
The two tools shown below I use on a regular basis and have previously discussed in detail, so I won't re-hash on how invaluable these can be and you will find more information on both in the DIY Tools section. While you can choose to invest in one or the other, there are times when owning both comes in very handy.
I can wax lyrical about how I cannot live without my biscuit joiner, but it's when we demo this tool at our DIY Divas workshops that it grabs the most attention.
An inexpensive fold-up work bench will set you back about R300 and will take up hardly any space in a garage or shed. There are more expensive fold-up work benches available, but it makes more sense to buy two, inexpensive benches and have these on hand if you need to work on longer projects.