Question about tools

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Andrew B, Jul 30, 2003.

  1. Andrew B

    Andrew B Agent

    Feb 26, 2000
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    I have come to the conclusion that I will not be able to find an equipment rack or a DVD shelf that meets my needs. So as an alternative I am considering building them myself. I would be buying the tools that I need, and hope that some of the HTF members could help me with features that I should look for. Since this will be a bit of an investment I would also like the tools to do double duty when (someday) I go to build my own HT room (this would mean drywall, 2x4's, etc). The 2 things I am currently looking for would be a table saw and one of those fancy cordless drills that will double as a screw driver. So do I really need a 18v drill with 400 in/lb of torque, or a table saw with an 8 amp motor and a built in vacuum, or can I get by with just the simple (read cheap power tools)? If anybody has any other suggestion on what tools I should get please let me know.

    Thanks for your time.

    Andrew B
  2. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

    Mar 3, 2003
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    heh heh... I think this is one of those "2 cents" questions... the "right" answer is going to be different for different people.

    Here's my 2 cents:
    1. Consider how much space you have for woodworking tools and how much woodworking you'll do in the future. If you can dedicate a little space to a workbench and a table saw, then get a table saw. I highly recommend one, if you will be doing a good deal of woodworking. On the flip side-- if your only other big woodworking project is likely to be the HT work, you can probably get by with just a circular saw! A chop saw/miter saw is an excellent addition, particularly if you'll be doing mouldings (but is also great for stud work). I personally used a table saw (a 1957 ShopSmith!), a radial arm saw, a chop/miter saw, and a circular saw.... it's just what's best or easiest for a specific task.

    One note-- if you plan on doing dado cuts, then a table saw is usually the best bet. I usually use dados for some types of cabinets, and I was thinking you might want to do that for a DVD rack.

    2. A typical low-to-medium end table saw should be in the 13-15 amp range. Even the cheapest Ryobi 10" at Home Depot is a 13 amp (Model BTS10; US$100). If you are anticipating light to moderate usage, I'd target the US$150-200 range. If you want a real sturdy, heavy usage saw, target at least US$300.

    3. Lowe's has decent buyers guides to various tools (for the average consumer):

    4. Vacuum: I wish I had a shop vacuum system. Yikes. MDF dust is a b%tch! Instead, I just wear a mask, get the garage really dirty, then use a standard shopvac to clean (most of) it up every couple of months. Beware... This has a very low WAF! [​IMG]

    5. Drill-- get whatever feels good and is a good price for you! I have used various cordless drills over the years.... over the last 15 years, there have been at least 3 major improvements in battery technologies for cordless powertools (it's about 3-1/2 really). My current one is in the 2nd generation of batteries... it's a 7.2V Makita that has performed well for me for at least 7-8 years. I haven't had a problem with torque/power for most any task. Occasionally, I use a corded drill for heavier duty work, but for the most part it's performed well (even using a spade bit through complete width of a 2x10).

    Just last week, the battery died, and I went to replace it. All of the new generation of drills were VERY NICE... but at US$150+!?!?! My replacement battery cost US$40, which was bad enough, but despite all the new features in the 18 & 24V cordless market, I decided not to purchase a new one, because the old one has done just fine over the years.

    To sum it all up, it's really a matter of cost vs. value.... If you don't see yourself doing a lot of woodworking in the future, then why waste the money? I could have bought THREE (!) of my 7.2V drills over the last 8 years for the cost of a single 24V one available now! If, on the other hand, you've got greenbacks (oh, wait, you're from Canada!) burning holes in your pockets, then SPEND AWAY!! [​IMG]

    OK... that's my 3 (Canadian) cents. [​IMG]
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt


    Aug 5, 1999
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    Katy, TX
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    I don’t know much about table saws, but I would think that if you’re working indoors (the garage or a shop) the vac would be a highly worthwhile feature - as Mike adequately noted.

    Regarding the drills, I’d pass on the 18v models. The ones I’ve used are very heavy, not to mention expensive. They are mainly for all-day-long professional users that need that extra power and battery life. I’ve never had any problems with woodworking projects with a 12v or 9v drill.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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