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So, you want to start using power tools...

After over 6 years running a small handmade wood-working biz, I hope to share a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way so that YOU can feel comfortable and confident using power tools!
Each week I’ll introduce the basics of a specific tool that I use in my workshop.
Before I dive into the tools though... this post will talk about a few things to know before buying or using your first power tool.
Safety First
FIRST THINGS FIRST: Always wear safety gear when using power tools... 
Whether using a drill, nailer, or saw of any kind, please keep your fingers safe. Be sure to have a firm grip on any wood you may be power toolin' but always be aware of the path of your blade, or nail, or drill tip.
Beyond that, these are the three most important pieces of safety gear you should have before using any tool: Dust Mask/Respirator, Ear Protection, & Safety Glasses. I've linked the exact versions I use below!
Power Tool Brands
I will focus on the brands that are available in the major home improvement retailers (Home Depot, Lowe's, Rona). While there are lots of specialty tool/options out there, for the basics, you can stick with any of the brands noted below.
My most important rule of thumb is: know what functionality you need in that tool and then buy within your budget.
Ryobi (Home Depot's 'House Brand')
MasterCraft (Canadian Tire's 'House Brand')
Craftsman
(owned by Black & Decker)
Ridgid (A flagship Brand of Home Depot)
 There are LOTS of other brands out there, but these are the ones you will most commonly find.
Battery Operated Tools Versus Plug-In Tools
The reason why this is important to look at BEFORE you start buying tools is because tool batteries (and chargers) are expennnnnsive. Batteries from different brands are not inter-changable, so if you are going to go the route of using cordless/battery operated tools, you are going to want to start buying in the same brand family. 
Of course, cordless/battery-operated tools are much more convenient BUT they are usually much heavier and MUCH more expensive. 
Something else to consider is battery voltage. You'll want to ensure that your tools/charger/batteries all require the same voltage so that you don't have anything mismatched... kind of like how light fixtures have specific wattage limits (aka 40W).
Most common voltages for power tools are: 12V, 18V* & 20V
(Most of mine are 18V and that has to do with the amount of power behind the tool) 
Brushless Power Tools
'Brushless' is a term that has been floating around the power tool world recently.
This is related to the motor and source of power and basically makes the tool more efficient and helps the battery last longer. 
Brushless Tools = $$$
If you are just dabbling in some light DIY projects, it's not something you HAVE to invest in, however I think this is a 'bonus' feature.. what's more important is investing in a tool that has the actual functionality you need!
The only 'brushless' tool I own:
Brushless 20V Cordless Brad Nailer
***Any links I share are NOT sponsored and are for Canadian shoppers (since that’s where I’m located)***
Ready, Set, Go!
This is only just the beginning. Now that we have a baseline of info, we can get into the good stuff about the ACTUAL tools. Keep your eyes peeled for our next post and in the meantime, let me know which tools you'd love to learn the basics of in the comments below!
Cheers, Rach

Comments (5)

  • Angie on April 14, 2021

    Awesome! I’m super looking forward to these! I’ve always wanted in but have been too intimidated.

  • Toni Akam on April 13, 2021

    This is great! I can’t wait to hear about miter saws and and more about brad nailers. Looking forward to your upcoming posts :)

  • Michelle Black on April 13, 2021

    So grateful you’re sharing basis info, as well as all your knowledge. It’s so important to hear from a woman, so thank you

  • Lynda on April 13, 2021

    Thanks for all the information you have provided. WOW.
    So grateful

  • Robyne on April 12, 2021

    Can’t wait for the weeks to come! I know some of the basics but am going to enjoy learning from your experience!

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