I want to give a big thanks to bestdrillreviews.com for listing tool-school.com as a top 21 Home Improvement blog of 2018. If you are in the market for a cordless drill check out their site for a ton of useful information and comparisons.
Last summer I began a whole-house subfloor replacement project that took me to hell and back. I was only able to replace about 20% of the subflooring needing replacement, but I learned a lot and developed an efficient system for doing the job so when it resumes this summer I expect that completion percentage to drastically increase. If I had to guess I would say that I spent 30-40% of my work time last summer discovering which tools and what strategies I needed to employ to get the job done most efficiently. One tool I came across that proved to be a literal bright spot in a summer full of darkness and gloom was the Lighthouse Beacon 1000 Super Bright LED Headlamp from Outdoor Pro Gear.
I actually bought this headlamp, and a headlamp of a different brand at the same time in an attempt to avoid being left in the dark should one or the other not hold up to the tasks I intended it to accomplish. In a rare stroke of good luck on my behalf I ended up really liking both lights as they both have features that the other does not. Though not an apples to apples, there really is no comparison, the Lighthouse Beacon quickly became my go to light.
With its zoom focus beam, high/ low and strobe settings, rugged construction, and excellent battery life, the Lighthouse Beacon Headlamp is a steal at its price point. It spent hundreds of hours illuminating dark rooms and hallways as I replaced subflooring last summer and spent many more in the damp, cramped, moist, and muddy crawlspace under my house with me as I trenched, plumbed, pumped out water, and installed a moisture barrier. Though I punished this little light last summer I was not kind enough to give it the winter off, it guided me through numerous jobs both wet and dry, outings in the woods, and rainy nights putting out the trash to the road and remains as reliable as the day I removed it from the box.
Surely everybody knows a “flashlight” guy or gal, the type of person that seems to collect anything that illuminates the space immediately in front of them, I am definitely not that guy. Before I bought this light the brightest thing going in my house was a plastic piece of junk that I swore made a room darker when its button was switched to the on position. I now have a great appreciation for this little light after it went to hell and back with me and proved to be a valuable tool that can make a job a lot easier to complete.
If you find yourself facing a project, outing, job, or activity where hands free illumination is needed, the Lighthouse Beacon will definitely shine some positive, reliable light on the situation. Check out the link below for pricing information and more customer reviews on the Lighthouse Beacon Headlamp.
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The Timber Tuff Lumber Cutting Guide is a great, inexpensive tool enabling the transformation of just about any chainsaw into a lumber mill. This lumber cutting guide allows you to make boards, beams, and slabs from logs of various sizes, dimensions, and species. It is a great addition to any woodworking shop both home and professional. What makes the Timber Tuff lumber cutting guide such a good addition to the tool bag compared to others is its price, which comes in at just under $25(US). Other companies, such as Haddon, make very similar guides at very non-similar prices. The comparable Haddon lumber cutting guide will set you back just under $110(US).
I personally own the Timber Tuff Lumber Cutting Guide pictured above and have used it quite a bit over the last few years. It does require a few pieces of dimensional lumber to glide across when cutting, but setup is rather simple and straightforward. Milling your own lumber is fun and rewarding and allows an added aspect of uniqueness to your woodworking projects. For more information on pricing, specs, and customer reviews I have attached links to both the Timber Tuff and Haddon lumber cutting guides below, as well as a link to a video demonstration of the guide in action.
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As I planned and prepared for the construction of a deck on the bayou behind my shop a few summers ago I made a decision that I have benefitted from time and time again since, I bought an impact driver. The project would require hundreds of screws to be driven and the thought of pre-drilling hundreds of holes only to have to go back and install fasteners in them afterwards was absurd to me. Cue the Ryobi impact driver.
An impact driver differs from a drill in that it has more torque as well as a hammering action that allows screws and lag bolts to be driven into thick, dense material. These features also eliminate the need to pre-drill holes when installing screws and fasteners. Impact drivers are not recommended for precision work such as furniture or cabinet making, but are excellent for general construction applications due to the time saved by eliminating pilot holes without splitting the lumber. I have driven thousands of fasteners from 1/2″ wood screws to large diameter 7″ lag bolts with my impact and it continues to pound and twist hardware into wood with ease. Project life is definitely sweeter with an impact driver in the tool box.
Although I now consider the impact driver to be a necessity in my tool arsenal, it does not eliminate the need for a conventional drill. As previously mentioned a conventional multi-speed drill works best for precision jobs and fine woodworking. I personally own and frequently use both. When shopping for any cordless tools I would recommend giving the Ryobi 18v line of tools strong consideration. I became a Ryobi tool owner due to the affordability of the products and ended up becoming a Ryobi tool lover. Compared to many other tool brands they are fairly inexpensive and the line offers a wide variety of tools that are compatible with the same batteries. From high-powered spotlights to portable air compressors and angle grinders to leaf blowers, I have yet to be let down by a single Ryobi tool.
Check out the links for pricing and customer reviews on the Ryobi 18v drill and impact driver.
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The fear of throwing something away or getting rid of something that I may one day have a use for is an ever-present force in my daily life. No matter how useless or tattered an item may seem, or actually be, I struggle. Do not get me wrong, I do not cling to old pizza boxes and cat turds as if they were ancient family heirlooms as seen on TV, but if it is wood or metal, I struggle. So of course when I came across an old combination wrench with two broken ends as I was organizing my shop a few months back I quickly bypassed the trash can to deposit it in my tbd bin. Fast-forward a few months, and Voila!
With a little forging, sanding, and file work I was able to turn the old broken wrench into a knife for splitting wood and small logs/branches for use in my numerous wood working and carving projects. I have only used it a few times thus far but it works extremely well for splitting smaller timber. Although this hunk of metal has seen its first life come and go, I think that it will see just as much use and even more appreciation in its second.
If you are looking for a good source on knife making check out this knife-making beginner’s guide . It has a lot of good info for making knives out of various new and used materials.
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At some point in my life my mom fell in love with, and began to collect, flying pigs. My entire life she has been ultra creative, crafty and quite handy. As a serial diy’er she also has a great appreciation for the creativity and craftiness of others. I do not know if I got this trait from her genetically or if it was a product of environmental learning, but I do know exactly who my passion to make, build, craft, and create came from. The greatest benefit of sharing this quality with my mom is that it often affords me the opportunity to have a lot of fun creating, opposed to buying gifts for her come birthday and Christmas time. Some years back I began to learn a little welding and with my mom’s birthday a few months away I saw a good opportunity to put my developing skills to use. I made this flying pig for her out of some old metal that I had around my shop and had a lot of fun doing it. It is not perfect, but I did not want it to be. I wanted it to look hand-made and somewhat crude and it does indeed. My mom loved this gift and has it proudly displayed in the foyer of her house as shown in the picture above. With a little creative thinking, time, and effort anyone can make gift giving more enjoyable for not only the recipient, but themselves as well. Below are a few more pictures of the porky present.
Below are the tools that I used to construct this flying pig.
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Jake with tool-school.com
In my previous post I talked about my summer adventure ripping out and replacing the subflooring in my house. In this post I will list and briefly discuss ten tools that I feel are absolute necessities to accomplish any subflooring repair or replacement job on the planet. Though some tools on the list are probably more useful than others on the list, they are not listed in any particular order of importance. This list is primarily discussing the tools that were most important in the removal of old subflooring, however I did use/need each one of these tools in the installation of the new subflooring as well. Each tool listed in this post can be bought or researched by following the link provided below each picture.
#1 – The oscillating multi-tool
I did not own this tool when I started the job, but I do not think that I could have done/finished the job without it. Oscillating multi-tools have many different functions and are compatible with many different attachments from sanding to cutting wood and metals. These tools allow you to cut subflooring flush with walls and thresholds. Demolition blades that cut both wood and metal allow you to move nail infested boards with relative ease. This is the exact tool that I used for my project and although it was one of the cheapest oscillating multi-tools that I could find, it was worth its weight in gold.
#2 – Reciprocating Saw
Reciprocating saws perform similarly to oscillating multi-tools with the exception of having considerably more power and not being able to cut flush with walls or thresholds due to the blade not being offset like that of the multi-tool. Like the multi-tool, demolition blades made for cutting through wood and metal can be purchased for this tool which make cutting through nailed and screwed lumber a much easier task. When cutting along walls and thresholds I would typically cut as close as I could to the threshold with the more powerful, quicker cutting reciprocating saw and then come back with the multi-tool for a flush, more precise result.
#3 – Circular Saw
A circular saw is the way to go to remove subflooring when working in an open area away from walls, thresholds, and other tight areas. They cut faster than a reciprocating saw and more accurately than a multi-tool. Typically circular saws have guide plates that adjust for different depths of cut. This is a very handy feature when you know the thickness of your subflooring. For example, if you know that your subfloor is 3/4″ thick, you can set the depth of cut on your circular saw to 3/4″ and cut our a lot of material quickly without having to waste time being cautious not to cut through any of your floor joists.
#4 – Pry Bars
When both removing and replacing subflooring it is often required to remove any baseboards and floor trim in the area in order to cut the old subflooring flush with the wall. You will likely need more than one pry bar in order to do this without ruining your trim and baseboards. Pry bars are also needed to pry up old subflooring, move new subflooring into place, and removing protruding nails that will not allow new subflooring to lay flush.
#5 – Tape Measure
I like to think that this one is pretty obvious, so I will not insult anyone’s intelligence with an explanation.
#6 – Hammers/Maul
In some areas of my house the subfloor was so rotted that I just knocked it off with a hammer. Hammers also come into play in positioning new subflooring into place, removing nails, and believe it or not hammering nails in.
#7 – Chisel
This chisel came in very handy when working in tight corners and places where the subfloor terminated under a wall where I could not get to it with the reciprocating saw or the multi-tool. When that was the case I would just cut flush with the wall then use a hammer and chisel to remove the remainder of the board that lay between the wall and the floor joists.
#8 – Impact Driver
Impact drivers are great because they eliminate the need for predrilling a pilot hole before you screw into wood in most situations, which speeds up the building process greatly. For subfloor removal purposes any type of drill (not specifically an impact drill/driver) will likely be needed in order to remove wood that is screwed to the floor joists. Prying screws up with a pry bar can damage and split the joists, compromising their integrity. I would specifically recommend an impact drill/driver for the installation of subflooring due to the fact that it will save you tons of time on drilling pilot holes and will not split your wood without them.
#9 – Headlight
This may seem a little off of the wall, but my house is not the best lit place in the world and although I did use a work light, I was often working in several rooms at a time and climbing up and down from below the house to back inside the house and the light refused to follow. It is not practical to carry a flashlight around and I often found myself praying to grow a second, third, fourth, ad fifth arm out of necessity for holding boards and other tools anyway. A headlight was invaluable to me on this project due to the amount of hands-free portable light that it provided.
#10 – Wet/Dry Vac
Installing a subfloor on a new construction home would likely eliminate the need for this tool to be on the list of necessities. I was not installing a subfloor on a new construction home. I was sawing, cutting, throwing, flinging, hammering, nailing, and screwing all in my one and only home, the place where I live, the place where my wife lives, and the place where my three kids live. Needless to say if I worked in a dirt and dust production factory I would have been employee of the month. This wet/dry vac made life a lot easier than it would have been without it. I still used the old faithful broom and dust pan quite a bit, but the vac not only eliminated the need for them often, it did the job much quicker and more efficiently.
I would not attempt to tackle any subfloor replacement job without any one of these tools listed above. The job could be done without them, but the time and effort that they will save you make it highly impractical. Should you find yourself facing the task of replacing subflooring I hope that you do not find the need for these tools the hard way as I did. If you found this post useful or simply liked the read I would appreciate it if you would like, comment, and subscribe below. Should you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you!