A Workshop’s Best Friend

The angle grinder is one of the most versatile tools in any workshop.  Part chop saw, part grinder, and part sander, there are no metal working projects in my shop that do not rely heavily on this tool.  Angle grinders come in a variety of sizes and with numerous power output and rpm ratings.  The most common sizes are 4 1/2 inch, 7 inch, and 9 inch grinders, with the 4 1/2 in being most common,  and these numbers reference the diameter of the disc, or wheel, that can be run safely by them.

Disc types for angle grinders are numerous and although some discs are multipurpose, many times specific discs are designed to perform specific functions or for specific materials, like the metal grinding disc pictured above.  Not only can other discs  be bought to cut, polish, sand, and grind metals, but wood working attachments have become more common for angle grinders as well.  With the introduction of wheels designed specifically for carving and sanding wood, like the carving attachment pictured below, the ever-useful angle grinder has managed to become even handier.

The angle grinder’s usefulness stretches even farther than wood and iron working, there are also discs sold specifically for concrete and masonry applications like the one pictured below.  Whether cutting into a brick wall, concrete slab, or mortar, this tool definitely comes in handy for those DIY stone and masonry jobs.

If anyone knows the value of an angle grinder it would have to be welders.  Primarily used in metal fabrication, the angle grinder is just as important as a welding machine itself in insuring a quality weld.  From material preparation and beveling to grinding down a weld, the angle grinder definitely beats hand filing to accomplish the same task.

For anyone looking to begin welding as a hobby or career I would strongly suggest buying a good angle grinder such as this one and learning how to use it before even buying a welding machine.  I have learned from personal experience that buying a cheaper grinder will only find you on the market for another grinder in the near future.  My DeWalt 4.5 inch angle grinder cost a little more than $80 when I bought it close to a decade ago, and after hundreds of hours of use it is still going strong today.  The cheap $35 grinder that I bought from a well known big box store prior to purchasing my DeWalt did not even make it through its first job.  I would also encourage any beginning welder to check out this article on how to get started without spending a fortune.

Below I have linked to a few useful angle grinder attachments as well as a few sources on angle grinder use and safety.

OSHA Angle Grinder Safety

How To Use an Angle Grinder

Metal Cutting Discs

Paint Stripping Discs

Metal Grinding Discs

Sanding/Flap Disc

Wood Carving Attachment

DeWalt 4.5 inch Angle Grinder

Thank you for reading!  Please be sure to like, comment, follow, and share on social media.

Jake with tool-school.com

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12 Affordable Tools All Homeowners Need, but Many Do Not Have

This is a short list of great tools that many handy homeowners have in their tool bag or workshop but may be absent from the bags and garages of the average homeowner.  It is always nice to have the right tool for the job and these tools can certainly make a project far less stressful.

  1. Kreg Rip Cut

This tool attaches to just about any circular saw and allows for very quick adjustments and rip cuts of boards and plywood.  Adjustable from 2″-24″, this great little device eliminates the need for chalk lines, straight edges, and steady hands to make many rip cuts in a short amount of time.  This thing was a life summer for my subfloor replacement project last summer and will be called to duty again this coming summer when the project resumes.

2. Submersible Water Pump

I have used this little fountain pump to literally bail me out on a few projects.  Removing water from a broken washing machine, an old hot water tank, and from a hole that kept filling with water as I was trying to repair a water line in my yard recently are three examples.  You may not use it often, but when you need it you will be thankful that you have it.

3. Wet/Dry Vacuum

I love my shop vac.  From home to vehicle to shop there is really nothing more that you need for cleaning up dust, water, and debris.  I can (and probably will) write an entire post about the usefulness of a wet/dry vac, it is an all around great tool.

4. Hammer Drill

Hammer drills like this one are really two tools in one.  They can be adjusted to function as a typical drill/driver or switched to hammer drill mode for a simultaneous drill/hammering action which allows the user to drill into brick, cement, and mortar.  A hammer drill is a must have tool for anyone with brick features in, on, and around their home.

5. Bench Vise

Bench vises come in a variety of sizes and styles and can range from $25 – hundreds of dollars depending on brand and type.  Regardless of size, a solid bench vise can make many difficult tasks easy by lending you a super strong third hand to grip materials.  From cutting, drilling, tapping, and threading metals to carving spoons as shown in this how-to article, a bench vise can be useful for just about any project.

6. Fire Extinguisher

I believe the need for this tool is self-explanatory.

7.  Electric Hand Plane

From trimming sticking doors to flattening lumber hand planes both manual and electric have a ton of uses around the house and shop.  You can learn more about the WEN brand of tools here.

8. Pancake Air Compressor

Inflating tires, pools, inner-tubes, and air mattresses are some very practical uses for a pancake compressor, but there are also a number air tools that can be purchased to use with these compressors as well.  I have a large stationary compressor in my shop but still own a small pancake compressor due to its convenience and portability.  They are powered by standard household outlets which make them great for cleaning tools and equipment around the house as well.

9.  DeWalt Angle Grinder

I specifically recommend DeWalt’s angle grinders because I have been burned by several cheaper angle grinders in the past.  I have put my Dewalt through hell and it has yet to let me down.  Angle grinders are great for cutting, shaping, grinding, and sanding metals and some wood working attachments are available for these versatile little tools as well.

10. Oscillating Multi-tool

I just added this tool to my arsenal about a year ago and have kicked myself for waiting so long to do so a few times since.  This thing will not only except a number of different blades and attachments that will allow you to sand and cut just about any material known to man, it will also allow you to do so in some very tight spots and at some very weird angles.  It is another one of those tools that made my subflooring job exponentially easier.

11.  Hand Riveter

Hand riveters allow for the fastening of many different thin materials and sheet metals quickly, easily, and without the need for power tools.  Rivets also come in aluminum which allows for a strong hold of materials without being susceptible to rust.

12.  Hand Truck/Dolly

From moving appliances, furniture and boxes in, out, and around the house to hauling bags of mulch and ready mix around the yard, a dolly can make life much easier.  It seems that I am called upon to help a family member or friend to move every few years and my dolly always makes the trip with me.  It is not an item that I use daily, but when I need it, I love it.

Thank you very much for reading.  For more information,  pricing and reviews of these tools simply click the link next to each one.  All comments, likes, follows, and shares are greatly appreciated.  Work safe!

Jake

Tool-school.com Mentioned as Top 21 Home Improvement Blog for 2018

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.

bestdrillreviews.com

Nike Introduces New Plumbing Tool?

Though unlikely I know, if you ever find yourself in the middle of nowhere, miles from civilization, and trying to complete a plumbing job only to realize you forgot your hacksaw, just grab the lace from your shoe and cut your pipe with it.  Having to resort to such measures may be a stretch, but I have legitimately been bailed out by my shoelace before when needing to cut PVC without having a hacksaw around.

There is a good chance that your shoe lace will break a time or two per cut, but it will get the job done.  I actually use black twine in the video below only because I was having camera issues and used too many shoelaces cutting pipe in the out-takes.  The moral of this story is not my sketchy videography, it is to let you know that if you are ever in a plumbing situation requiring the need to cut some PVC pipe, string or shoelaces will get you through it.

 

If you are completely unwilling to sacrifice any component of your footwear in order to get the job done, I have provided links to a few tools that store easily under a vehicle seat or in a console.

Milwaukee Compact Hacksaw

PVC Pipe Cable Saw

Milwaukee Cordless PVC Shear

Thank you for checking out my site, please be sure to like, comment, follow, and share on social media.

Turn Logs to Lumber With This Inexpensive Tool.

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logs

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).

lumber cutting guide

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.

Timber Tuff Lumber Cutting Guide

Haddon Lumber Cutting Guide

Timber Tuff Cutting Guide Demonstration

Please be sure to like, comment, follow, and share.  Thanks for visiting!

I am an Amazon affiliate and do get a commission for orders made through my links with no expense to the buyer.  I appreciate any clicks and orders as they go a long way in helping me to further develop my site.  I would not endorse any product that I do not or would not use myself.  Thank you!

Life After Impact

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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.

ryobi impact

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.

Ryobi 18v Impact Driver

Ryobi 18v Drill

Ryobi 18v Drill/Impact Driver Combo with Batteries, Charger, and Case

Thank you for reading, please be sure to like, comment, follow, and share!

Jake