Tool kit - advanced
This is a fine-toothed saw with strengthening on its non-tooth edge. It doesn’t bend and will cut small timbers with a neat, fine finish.
Buy a range of hand with different types of teeth. Some will cut ruggedly, others finely. Some cut across the grain, others are rip-saws that will cut along the grain. Some will cut only on the forwards stroke. others will be speedsaws that cut on the forward and backward stroke, depending on how the teeth are sharpened.
See How to use a hand saw
An enclosed-frame saw with a fine, removable blade for cutting curves or shapes in light timber.
Similar to a coping saw. Ideal for cutting curves in small pieces of metal or plastic.
Specialised plier action. Similar to polygrips in that the mouth opens at varied widths, but will also clamp in place for a vice-like grip. Very useful for holding pipes or rods when attaching or detaching screw fittings.
A large pair of snips with strong jaws to cut nails, wire, bolts, steel rod, chain.
Strong-jawed adjustable spanner for holding pipes.
A small lightweight level that clips over builders’
string. Ideal for working out levels for spouting, garden edges, paving or
anything particularly long.
Peels wood surfaces, helping to fit timber exactly.
F and G clamps
F clamps (shaped like an F) hold timber together for gluing.G clamps come in a range of sizes, from very small to very big. Small ones are also useful for craft projects or holding broken crockery or treasures while gluing.
Clamps set on a long bar, suitable for holding furniture pieces or large projects together while gluing.
The following are standard DIY tools that can be bought in any hardware shop.
Read the owner’s manual carefully and heed all safety precautions. See ‘Using power tools safely’.
Look for easy blade-, bit- or disc-change mechanisms; easy base plate or height adjustments; balance and weight to suit you personally; variable speed for greater versatility; enough power to suit your range of jobs; and a dust bag that attaches to the exhaust port (some tools only) — it stops you sneezing and keeps your nostril hairs immaculate.
(Residual current device) A simple way to protect yourself from electrocution and damage to your tools. A small device that plugs into the wall socket before you plug in your tool. It monitors the current and when any fault occurs in the circuit or an accident occurs with the equipment it automatically shuts off the power flow before any injury or damage can result. An essential (or advisable) purchase. See RCD device.
A versatile hand-held tool on which various discs can be attached for grinding and shaping metal or masonry or stripping old cracked paint.
For timber or plastics. Could become the most used saw in your workshop. Narrow blades will cut fine curves and do all your intricate shaping. Wide blades will ripsaw lengths of timber, either straight or curved. Limited by the throat capacity. Cuts can only begin from outer edge of material.
For removing large amounts of wood and stripping paint. The hand-held version can be hard to manage, so look for one that is large enough for the job, but not too big to control. A standard or bench version offers the opportunity to manipulate a piece of timber with two hands against the sanding belt.
For sanding, polishing and grinding. Variable-speed hand-held sanders will allow the most diverse use. Standard or bench-top disc sanders are ideal for shaping the edges of small timber pieces.
Drop saw / mitre saw
A real carpenter’s saw for cross-cuts. Blade moves down onto timber. Superb for cutting mitres at any angle.
Creates a very fine, smooth finish. Not much use for initial preparation work.
Jigsaw or scroll saw
Hand-held saw with removable small blade attached at one end. Saws in an up/down motion, cutting (most often) on the downward stroke. Ideal for cutting shapes in light timber and sheet timber, plastic or metal. Various blades for varying materials and degrees of finish. Another version is the bench scroll saw, which also cuts in an up/down movement — an ideal craft saw where the saw remains in one place and the material is moved by hand to cut curves and shapes. Unlike a bandsaw, it’ll cut from a hole in the middle of a sheet.
Creates a fine finish for varnishing or staining. There are two types — random and palm. A random orbital sander comes in single- and variable-speed models. A palm orbital sander can be used with one hand.
Slices slivers of wood off timber for smoothing out rough timber or for accurate fitting.
Various blades for varying chores and materials, they move in and out like a conventional hand saw. Though not really suited for fine precision work such as furniture-making and fine woodworking, it is very handy for less exacting work. More versatile than a circular saw as it can be used right-side-up or upside-down, working in tight or awkward spots.
Hand-held tool. Will cut grooves of varying shape and depth in wood (freehand or straight). Look for one rated at least 1 hp. Check that handles are comfortable and depth adjustment of the bit is smooth and easy.
Hand-held circular saw, cord or cordless, for long cuts or cross cuts in timber. Buy at least 1 hp. Blade must be kept sharp. Make sure it has a blade guard. Check that depth adjustment is easy to use (lots of versions available). Adjustable base plate will allow you to cut angles.