Remember when you were a kid and you got that special toy? You know, the one that took batteries and whizzed and whirled? It lit up, flashed and made so much noise that your parents kept trying to come up with a clever way to get rid of it. It was your favourite thing in the world, and you used it straight through until the batteries wore out, time and time again.
Just because we’ve grown up doesn’t mean that we don’t need a few frivolous, fun and functional toys, hence, our passion for power tools. Whether you are gaga for gardening, wild about woodworking, crazy about crafting or handy at home improvement, there is a power tool out there with your name on it. We’ve come up with a list of some must-haves, regardless of your hobby-of-choice.
Remember when using any power tool, be it a razor sharp saw or something as seemingly harmless as a glue gun – safety always comes first. Never attempt to operate any equipment without the proper instruction, guidance and equipment. Eye and ear protection is an absolute necessity. Power tools are meant to make your life easier and more fun, but used incorrectly and they have the potential for disaster, destruction and even death.
Passionate About Power Tools: For Woodworking
If you really have a passion for power tools, the workshop is a great place to spend your time. This is where the heavy hitters of the power tool world converge. Loud, powerful and dangerous – woodworking tools are not for the faint of heart. Here are some favourites:
Table Saw: One of the most basic and important tools in any workshop, the table saw is a power tool classic. Its design allows you cut precise, straight lines every time. The table saw is a fixed tool, meaning – as indicated by its name – it comes complete with its own four legs and flat working surface. A decent table saw can range anywhere from $200.00 to $800.00 in price.
Circular Saw: These powerful hand-held saws have a lightweight, universal motor, which is very effective – and very noisy. These indispensable tools give the user a lot of control, which is great for cutting anything requiring straight lines without using a fixed table saw. With the right voltage they can cut lumber, concrete and even metal piping. Of course, practise makes perfect, so don’t be surprised if you ruin a lot of material before you get it right. You can get a powerful circular saw for around $200.00.
Belt Sander: Now that you’ve chopped up everything in site with the saws, you’ll want to smooth out the rough edges and create pleasant curved corners. You’re going to need a belt sander. This baby consists of a belt attached to two pulleys and a strong motor, and is coated with an abrasive material. The belt sander won’t give you fine detailed sanding, but it’s the place to begin to finish any project. You can have one in your shop for about $150.00.
Shop Vacuum: If you’ve had a good day in the wood shop, chances are you’ve made a pretty big mess. Saw dust and other particles can build up quickly and can make it difficult to breath. No worries, with a roaring, powerful shop vacuum you can solve the problem in no time. Extra messy workshop? You can pick up a wet/dry variety for around $200.00.
Passionate About Power Tools: For Gardening
True gardeners know that there is something very special about using your own hands to manipulate the earth to grow beautiful things. A hands-on hobby, it is a great way to connect with nature and can be very relaxing and soothing. A true gardener also knows that after a long, wonderful day in the garden, it’s often not possible to get out of bed the next day due to stiff, cramped, aching muscles. That’s why there are so many awesome power tools for the yard that can make gardening a little easier – and a lot more fun! Here are some favourites:
Snow Blower: Who doesn’t want one of these? It’s the tool that your neighbour pulls out, causing other neighbours to stare out the window with envy. You could be that lucky neighbour! You may never have to shovel the driveway again. It’s going to cost you upwards of $1000.00, but imagine the possibilities. Live in an area without snow? Try a leaf blower instead – it will invoke the same reaction from your neighbours. You can get one of these for about $200.00.
Gas Powered Mower: No more mowing over the cord! If you’ve got a big yard, you know how important one of these machines can be. Mowing the lawn becomes an activity rather than a chore, if you’ve got a 6.25 horsepower, self-propelled mower in your hands. It’s the perfect gift to yourself, if you can’t afford that sports car you’ve always dreamed of, because this machine will only cost you $600.00 rather than $60, 000!
Chainsaw: Granted, you’d need to have one heck of a garden to justify purchasing one of these, but the satisfaction you get from holding this vibrating beast in your hands, and chopping through wood with this beauty, is not attainable anywhere else. The chainsaw, made famous by horror movies and lumberjacks, is actually a very useful tool to have, particularly if you have a large wooded lot. It’s a tool to be reckoned with and it’ll cost you a pretty penny. Expect to pay at least $300.00 for a decent 16-inch gas-operated model.
Cordless Hedge Trimmers: It’s no chainsaw, but it’s fun and functional nonetheless. Cordless hedge trimmers can cut down on a lot of grooming time for your yard and, if used safely, cut down on all those nicks and scratches on your hands too. Whether you want to trim the hedges or sculpt your tree into an animal, this is the power tool for you. You’ll pay about $150.00 for a decent model.
Passionate About Power Tools: For Crafting
The ingenuity of crafting is truly carried over from childhood. It’s for those of us who love creating something beautiful with our own hands to enhance our homes or give away as gifts. Crafters love the smell of glue and paint, the glitter of sequins, and the snug fit of a thimble – but they also love the whizzing and speediness of power tools. Here are a few that every crafter should have:
Glue Gun: Absolutely indispensable as a crafting tool, the glue gun quickly becomes your very best friend. Be careful because when you get your first one, you will feel compelled to glue everything in sight. Don’t be fooled by some seemingly very inexpensive glue guns, if you are serious about crafting, you’ll want to get one that comes with several interchangeable nozzles and can be set to different temperatures. Expect to pay around $50.00.
Sewing Machine: Seems obvious, but a lot of people are still doing this by hand! Kick your crafting up a notch by investing in a good sewing machine. Sewing machine technology has come a long way, so expect to pay an awful lot of money for the top-of-the-line. These machines have digital screens and built in computers that will read patterns and create beautiful embroidery as if by magic. If you don’t require a machine that is quite so gifted, you can get a very good basic model for approximately $250.00.
Laminator/Sticker Maker: Another addictively fun tool for the crafter is a laminator, sticker maker or magnet maker – which is available all in one machine! You can get larger machines, great for laminating scrapbook pages or creating several stickers or magnets at once. Smaller portable machines are perfect for small stickers and great for the kids. Prices range anywhere from $40.00 to $100.00.
Automatic Letter and Number Punch Set: One of the best parts of making crafts yourself is having the ability to make them personal with your name, initials, date or whatever you choose. It’s quite easy to sew your name into a label, or paint it onto something your made, but a little more difficult to stamp it into a hard surface, such as wood. That’s where this handy tool set comes in. Get one with a spring-loaded handle and you won’t require the use of a mallet to make your impressions – just attach the desired stamp, adjust the tension and press down onto the wood or metal object. A good set will cost you around $30.00.
Passionate About Power Tools: For Home Improvement
Sometimes home-improvement seems like nothing but a chore but with the right toys — I mean tools — you can make any fix-it-yourself project a lot of fun.
Cordless Drill: The first, and most useful, power tool that anybody should invest in, is a good, powerful cordless drill. Truly indispensable for so many different functions, from fixing a door hinge to hanging a shelf, the cordless drill will quickly become your greatest home-improvement ally. There are literally hundreds of different brands on the market, but it is important to choose carefully, go with a brand you know and always buy something with 12 volts or more. A really good drill will cost you around $200.00, including bits.
Cordless Screwdriver: If you are not quite ready to commit to the cordless drill, the electric screwdriver is the next best bet for any power tool beginner. You should look for one with at least 3 volts, so that it will surely get the job done. Another great feature that most models offer is a pivoting head for those hard to reach places. They cost around $40.00 and you’ll likely need to buy a bit set as well.
Palm Sander: Nobody should have to live without a decent palm sander. While an excellent tool for home-improvement, these tools are also an excellent addition for the crafter’s collection and handy in the workshop. When it comes to getting a smooth, professional finish on any project these lightweight, hand-held sanders are a dream. Use them to refinish furniture, smooth rough walls for painting or redo your hardwood floors. A model with an attached dust collector is the perfect home-improvement companion. Your best bet is to go for a top of the line palm sander as it will last longer and provide a smoother finish.