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Where to find good power tools?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Inspired by the power tool photo thread:

I need a whole bunch of new power tools. After buying a SFH that has a HT in the basement, I am renovating portions of it. And I have zero power tools aside from your typical random orbit sander and a couple drills. I won't buy everything at once, but am in the market for pretty much standard power tools that "every man" with a home should own, including table saws and the like.

Is anyone aware of a good forum for power tools that discusses deals on them, similar to AVS for Audio Video equipment?

Secondly, can anyone compile a list of power tools you think it would be wise to purchase, categorizing by "Must Have" to "Should Have" and "Nice to Have"?

Thanks in advance...
post #2 of 31
What do you want to do with those tools? Want to build a woodshop? Just have the basics for home remodeling projects? Taking up welding?

CJ
post #3 of 31
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/searc...rchid=13201490


Over the years here is where I've bought or looked for a good price on a tool.

Costco
Sam's club
Home Depot
Lowe's
Tyler Tool
Amazon.com
Harbor freight (cheep Chinese may last for one project)
Ebay
Craigslist
Peachtree Woodworking
Rockler Woodworking
post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carboranadum View Post

What do you want to do with those tools? Want to build a woodshop? Just have the basics for home remodeling projects? Taking up welding?

CJ

Aside from general work in the theater, I want to build a shed out back for storage and possibly to double as a workshop. Nothing extravagant such as welding. Just the basics...
post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/searc...rchid=13201490


Over the years here is where I've bought or looked for a good price on a tool.

Costco
Sam's club
Home Depot
Lowe's
Tyler Tool
Amazon.com
Harbor freight (cheep Chinese may last for one project)
Ebay
Craigslist
Peachtree Woodworking
Rockler Woodworking

I'm looking to possibly buy a Hitachi DS18DL 18 Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Driver Drill:

http://www.amazon.com/Hitachi-DS18DL.../dp/B000H2P060

Too extravagant? I think it got good reviews in Consumer Reports...
post #6 of 31
I get my battery tools at the Black and Decker factory outlet store in Rehobeth Beach. They offer a 1 year free replacement. I think the 18v drill I am currently using was less than $50 with 2 batteries and a charger. Unless you are going into the construction business I can't see spending $250 for a drill, you need so many tools you need to spread your money around.
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

I get my battery tools at the Black and Decker factory outlet store in Rehobeth Beach. They offer a 1 year free replacement. I think the 18v drill I am currently using was less than $50 with 2 batteries and a charger. Unless you are going into the construction business I can't see spending $250 for a drill, you need so many tools you need to spread your money around.

Good advice. Thank you...
post #8 of 31
I am sure that is a great drill and if it was sitting next to mine I would grab it instead every time. But you may need a miter saw, a table saw, a reciprocating saw, a circular saw, various levels, drill bits, sanders, shop vac, portable lights, clamps, snips, pliers and wrenches etc. for the projects in your future. If you buy the best in class of everything you won't have any money for the project.

IMHO tools that make a difference in the quality of the final project are your miter and table saw (with quality blades), and having an assortment of powered nailing tools.
post #9 of 31
I'd also like to mention the Ryobi 1+ 18v tools. They are great and there is a HUGE assortment of tools, etc. Fairly economical, as well.
post #10 of 31
I've gotten some pretty good deals on used tools via Craig's list. With the economy being as it is, there are a number of out of work construction folks looking for extra cash...
post #11 of 31
Just some random thoughts.

If you are just starting to build out your tool collection, start with the basics first. Then work your way up as you find you would really benefit from an added tool, etc.

The basics imo:

Electric Drill
Table Saw
Sturdy Workbench w/ Vise

In fact, there is a rule of thumb that says if you can’t build your own quality workbench with a saw, drill and a few quality handtools, you probably shouldn’t bother building out the rest of your tool list…

Secondary:

Circular saw
Miter Saw
Belt Sander
Router
Drill Press
Sawzall
Jigsaw
Second Sturdy Workbench
Sturdy portable work bench
Jointer

Don’t be in such a hurry to fill out the “power” tool shelf that you neglect the “hand” tools. For example, you can cut a lot with a relatively cheap miter box and quality hand saw. A miter saw just trades luxury for money. Also, you can never have too many clamps (of different sizes.) Squares, levels, straight edges, nail sets, etc. etc.

A good set of quality, and sharp, wood chisels will solve problems that all your power tools will just make worse.

Also, if you don’t already have a compressor, I would suggest not spending money to fill out a set of pneumatic tools any time soon. Believe it or not, a 16oz hammer can still drive a nail like it used to before the advent of the framing nailer. It really doesn’t take that much longer to do it the old fashioned way (and you will be left with forearms of steel.) Although there are instances where nailers are a lot nicer (building a deck over a walkout basement for example where you are trying to toenail boards while standing on an 8’ ladder…)

As for the drill you’ve shown. It looks nice, but at 4.5 lbs seems a little heavy. Imo, any of the drills from any of the reputable builders (not the $20 “workforce” type ones) will have more than enough power for average use. Personally, after owning a few different kinds, I splurged ($200) on the Makita specifically because it was the lightest and smallest one on the market. They may feel the same in the store, but after standing on a ladder half the day, drilling/driving things up over your head, weight starts to mess with your precision. Also, the fanciest, most powerful drill on the planet still won’t solve the problem of not having enough space to get the drill bit in where you want to make a hole.

-Suntan
post #12 of 31
One more thing, be realistic about your abilities. You made some comment about tools that every man should own but the reality is that not every man owns a lot of tools. Most guys I know don't own a table saw, and for their safety, it's good that they don't.

Just don't get in over your head.

-Suntan
post #13 of 31
The Kreg Pocket Hole Jig is often recommended for building fabric frames. So is a Porter Cable US58 Pneumatic Upholstery Stapler.

If you are considering a hobby in woodworking, I would recommend a decent contractor-style table saw (I am partial to my General). But if you just are looking more at being an advanced homeowner/handyman, then there are several great benchtop table saws that can be had for perhaps less money and definitely less floor space.

A good quality cordless driver/drill is almost a necessity. Get one that feels comfortable in your hand, and has decent power to do the tasks you most often perform. Even with a good cordless drill, I recommend getting a corded one, too. Despite what the box says, the battery probably won't last long enough for boring 1" holes with a spade bit through dimensional lumber if you have a good number of holes to drill (e.g., threading conduit through a wall). Plus, if you get a combination twist/hammer drill, you can tackle all of your concrete work with the same drill. But you said you had some drills, so maybe you don't need to think much further about this one.

A miter/chop saw is a must. I have a 10" and it's too small. I constantly wish I had a 12" saw, to handle 6" boards on an angle. Others have recommended a sliding miter saw. I've never used one, but I think I will investigate them fully when my 10" chop saw "accidentally" craps out some day.

I managed for a long time without a drill press and a band saw. Those would fall into the "Nice to Have" category. So would a joiner and planer, unless you are really serious about woodworking, because most places that sell nice lumber will also surface all four sides for you (for a fee, of course). Or, with a table saw, you can buy S2S with a straight line rip. Very convenient.

Think about dust collection in your new workshed. That would be in the "Must Have" category.

I think a circular saw is a must have, too, at least to break down large sheet goods.

A router, to me, is a "Should Have." But if you decide to get a router, then I'd say a router table is a "Must Have."

As for "where" to buy them ... my personal recommendation is to research the tool, decide which brand(s) you are interested in, and then price shop for them. I've bought tools from many of the places big recommended in post #3. Some others are Woodcraft, Toolup.com, and Southern Tool.
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

Personally, after owning a few different kinds, I splurged ($200) on the Makita specifically because it was the lightest and smallest one on the market.

Me, too! I love it. It's easy to control, it's compact, and it generates quite a bit of torque.

I love the 15 minute charge, too. With my old gun, I'd wear down the second battery before the first battery charged.
post #15 of 31
When you do get a table saw, please do yourself a favor and don't get a $200 benchtop. I bought a cheapie Ryobi because it was my first table saw. Inevitably you find more projects to take on and you outgrow it real fast.

must have:
table saw
cordless drill
some sort of dust collection (i guess start with a shop vac of some sort)
C-Clamps
bar clamps

I'm tempted to add a mitre saw for crosscuts of long pieces. However, you could make a crosscut sled for a large table saw to do the same thing. So if you end up getting a second hand cabinet saw, or a large contractor style, you could do without the mitre. If you get a benchtop TS, you'll need the mitre saw. I can't imagine handsawing in a plastic mitre box. My time is too valuable.

I'm gonna build one of these next.
http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuild...scut-sled.aspx
post #16 of 31
Thread Starter 
Guys - I wanted to say this thread so far is great and is just what I was hoping to see:

Focused advice from guys who have "been there, done that".
Insight into "what not to do" when starting out your power tool collection.
Information on smart pieces to purchase for starters and items to expand to.

I just wanted to add that now, I really appreciate all the info/advice, and keep it coming.
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

Don’t be in such a hurry to fill out the “power” tool shelf that you neglect the “hand” tools. For example, you can cut a lot with a relatively cheap miter box and quality hand saw.

[snip]

Believe it or not, a 16oz hammer can still drive a nail like it used to before the advent of the framing nailer. It really doesn’t take that much longer to do it the old fashioned way (and you will be left with forearms of steel.)

I am a long way from being the greatest builder in the world, but you'd have to pry those two tools in particular out of my hands. They make almost all of my projects a LOT easier.

But you're right, you can never have too many clamps.

EDIT - I bought a number of power tools on amazon.
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bing View Post

I'm tempted to add a mitre saw for crosscuts of long pieces. However, you could make a crosscut sled for a large table saw to do the same thing. So if you end up getting a second hand cabinet saw, or a large contractor style, you could do without the mitre. If you get a benchtop TS, you'll need the mitre saw. I can't imagine handsawing in a plastic mitre box. My time is too valuable.

I'm gonna build one of these next.
http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuild...scut-sled.aspx

I'd still get the miter/chop saw. The chop saw is a great "homeowner" tool. Two decks, 600 feet of wood picket fence, and countless odd jobs later, I don't think I could have done a lot of what I did without one. Plus, it is very convenient to carry it into the yard/job site.

The crosscut sled is a great addition to a table saw, IMHO. I find it is indispensible for wider pieces (as opposed to longer pieces). There is only about 12" of table in front of the blade, so if you want a nice square cut on a wider panel, the crosscut sled comes in handy. But it is still unweildy to try to run an 8-foot 2x6 across a table saw just to cut off a few inches at one end. Hence, I like having both.
post #19 of 31
post #20 of 31
Also, local estate sales can be a literal gold mine for good deals on power tools.

Although it helps to know what to look for in tools as some 30 year old tools were made a lot better than most tools you can find today, some are just 30 year old pieces of junk. So do your homework beforehand.

-Suntan
post #21 of 31
also, stop by your local pawn shops. with the housing slump, there's been lots of power tools turned in. of course you have to expect junk, but sometimes you can buy at junk prices and get lucky.
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Costco
Sam's club
Home Depot
Lowe's
Tyler Tool
Amazon.com
Harbor freight (cheep Chinese may last for one project)
Ebay
Craigslist
Peachtree Woodworking
Rockler Woodworking

Don't forget Grizzly Industrial. Prices are usually pretty good and quality (and selection) is much (MUCH) better than Harbor Freight, Lowe's, or Sears/Craftsman.

For example, the castings on drill presses available at Lowe's, Sears, and Harbor Freight are terrible these days. Grizzly equipment (typically made in China) has much better casting quality and fit and finish is generally better than the others listed. I won't buy a new tool that already looks like it's used. The only downside is that everything they sell is green.

In my metal working days, I owned a Grizzly 6" x 80" belt sander, mill/drill, and band saw, and all were great quality and performed well. That said, I have had decent luck with some Harbor Freight items (hydraulic press, engine hoist, etc.), but you do get what you pay for.

Since someone mentioned welding, if you're in the market for a welder, try WeldingMart.com. I bought my Lincoln MIG welder and cart from them. Good prices and free shipping on most welders.
post #23 of 31
I haven't looked at the new GRANITE top Steel City table saws but the concept is interesting.

They have a sales brochure on their website.
post #24 of 31
I went for years without a table saw. Good straightedge + saw horses + 2 clamps + tape measure + good circular saw served my needs for quite a long time before I got one. See if you can spend some time with a carpenter or builder (a day or two) and learn how to use tools before you dump the contents of your wallet on some. My local high school opens up their woodshop to the public for an evening every couple of weeks. See if something like that is available in your area to learn.

Knowledge is going to be the best tool in your shop.
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by damon777 View Post

Knowledge is going to be the best tool in your shop.

I'll second this. If you have a friend or neighbor that has the tools and knows how to use them - they will become the best "tool" you could have. If not, option B would be some good books on woodworking. The woodworking sites could probably point you in the right direction for this. For example, while not the best "TO-DO" book I have read, Building a Shed is a good book if you need someplace to start (you mentioned you wanted to build a shed).
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcbuilder View Post

I'm looking to possibly buy a Hitachi DS18DL 18 Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Driver Drill:

http://www.amazon.com/Hitachi-DS18DL.../dp/B000H2P060

Too extravagant? I think it got good reviews in Consumer Reports...

I have the hammer drill option one DV18DL. It appears nice but i've never used it :-)

http://www.amazon.com/Hitachi-DV18DL..._ob_hi_title_1

It appears to be a bit cheaper, I'm currently looking at building or buying my first home; so I've been slowly buying tools too.
post #27 of 31
i researched for hours on tools when i built my first subwoofer a few months ago. i realized that i would not be using these on a regular basis and just went to local pawn shops and checked craigslist. y spend hundreds of dollars on tools for a one or two time use? my logic was to spend minimal funds on something that would simply end up collecting dust until i decide to build something again someday. not really worth it IMO. i also borrowed tools as needed from my bro-inlaw.
post #28 of 31
IMO, a good quality cordless drill is the heart and soul of a tool collection. lol...now maybe I'm just saying that because it's the one thing I happen to use the most.

If you plan on spending some $$$ on a drill, I suggest going one step further and pick something up with a hammer function. However once you go the road of cordless hammer drill, durability becomes more of a factor. They all work fairly well brand new, but give it a month or two and the low end stops working the way they should.

Again, these will cost you but based on my experience I'd lean towards either a Milwaukee, Rigid, or a Bosch. I've heard good things about Hitachi, but have never used them. Personally, I steer away from manufacturers that build their tools with fancy, multi coloured racing stripes. I rather they put that effort into the quality of the tool, not how pretty it looks.
post #29 of 31
Pawn shops unfortunately seem to be chocked full of worn-out tools. Unless you know what you're buying, stay away. Look for a power tool service operation. There's one attached to the "good" shop tool store near here. You might be surprised how many people bring in tools for repair then never show up to get them. You can buy a completely rebuilt tool for cheap. I got a $300 Senco finish nailer for $100 and they found and threw in a case and manuals.

Milwaukee, Makita, Bosch, DeWalt, Porter-Cable are all good. Some like Delta range from okay to quite good. Ryobi for a cheap brand can last surprisingly long. I have little experience of Rigid or Hitachi.
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

I haven't looked at the new GRANITE top Steel City table saws but the concept is interesting.

If I were to jump up to a big $$ table saw, it would have a sliding cast-iron sub-table. And 8' of rails.
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