Posted by John on June 8th, 2014
I’ve got to be honest with you guys… the office improvement project has been slow lately. I’ve been doing a bit of travel for work and that’s been cramping my DIY style, but thankfully, that’s done and I’ll be able to get back into high gear. Later this week, I’ll have a nice update post for you.
In the meantime, I’ve got some big news. Today, the folks at BLACK+DECKER are sponsoring a giveaway to one of our lucky readers. One reader will receive a free 20V MAX* Lithium Cordless Drill/Driver with AutoSense Technology.
**This is a sponsored post and giveaway, which means I am being compensated for hosting them. You can read more about my sponsorship policy on my sponsorship page. My bottom line is if the sponsored post or giveaway brings value to our readers and the content is relevant to the DIY and home improvement niche, then it’s a win-win for both me as an author and blog owner and you, my fantastic readers.**
This weekend I was able to use one of these sweet drills around the house for some smaller projects. One of the downsides of working a major home improvement project like our home office is the smaller jobs get neglected. Nothing like a new power tool to help me hunt down some of those minor tasks.
I used the drill to tighten up some hinge fasteners that had come loose on our kitchen cabinets.
I also finally got around to installing another wall hook for our beach chairs. One can never have too many garage hooks.
While I wasn’t asked to write a positive review of this drill, so far I’m really enjoying it. My primary cordless drill, because one is never enough, is a DeWalt. While I love my DeWalt, this BLACK+DECKER drill is profoundly simpler to use. Let me show you some features…
It’s small, lightweight and comfortable to hold. The 20 volts means it’s actually got more juice than my older 18 volt drill.
That’s nice and all, but what makes this drill really unique is its clutch mechanism.
It’s designed to never over-drive a screw into wood since it has Autosense technology, which actually senses the amount of torque the drill is providing and backs off enough on the power to just set the screw at the perfect depth. As a mechanical engineer, that’s some cool stuff.
You can switch between the drill and drive mode by using a simple push button on the top of the drill and it has a battery level indicator light. Guys, it has a battery level light. C’mon. I can’t tell you how many projects I started and then had to stop because I didn’t know my drill battery was dead. Ridiculous.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.
Posted in Giveaways,Tools. Tagged in ,BLACK+DECKER, Drill, giveaway
Posted by John on March 19th, 2014
One major addition to our blog that I’ve absolutely been itching to do is add a proper Tools page. About a month or so ago, I added in our new menu bar with some new pages and I put in a placeholder page. Well, this week I finally got an opportunity to publish the completed Tools page. You can check out the new content my clicking on the “Tools” link in the menu bar or by clicking on this big link here:
My goal is to keep adding to this list all of the tools I use for my various projects. So far, I’ve gotten a good start on some basic recommendations for woodworking tools. In the future, I’d like to add tools for Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC work as well.
So this is what I’d like you to do. Take a look at my list and if you think I’m missing anything, leave me a comment in this post and tell me. Tools can be very personal items, so I do expect some people to take exception to some of my choices. No problem. Would love to get some feedback or start a conversation about our favorite power tools, brands, etc.
Posted in Tools. Tagged in ,tool recommendations, tools
Posted by John on October 2nd, 2012
If you can’t tell, the whole home project thing is going a bit slowly at the moment. We do have a couple home improvement tricks up our sleeve yet, so don’t go anywhere! In the meantime, I thought I’d continue where I left off with our air compressor post last week. This time I thought I’d discuss air powered or pneumatic nail guns.
Nail guns are generally task orientated so you use the nail gun most appropriate to whatever you’re working on. For hobbyists that do a good amount of light carpentry work, this may be a brad nailer or maybe a finish nailer. If you’re framing up some 2x lumber while refinishing a basement or building a shed, then you’re going to want a framing nailer.
Here is a list of nail guns and how I’ve used them.
(via Porter Cable)
1. Brad Nailer. A brad nailer is pretty much the jack of all trades for hobbyists and DIYers. It shoot nails that range in length from around 1/2″ to 1 1/4″, maybe slightly longer depending upon the application. The nails are 18 ga, which if you’re not familiar with sizes the larger the number, the smaller the nail. I used a brad nailer to install all the baseboard and window trim in our first home. We also used one to assemble our sliding drawer project. You can’t use really long nails in these nor can you them to assemble 2×4’s or anything majorly large. There are a few different manufacturers on the market and the usually run around $100 new. This is a perfect first nail gun.
(via Porter Cable)
2. Finish Nailer. These nailers are a little bigger with 15 or 16 ga nails. They’re also capable of shooting much longer nails. These are more appropriate for specialty trim or carpentry projects. We used one to nail the MDF raised panel sections to the wall since the nail needed to go through 3/4″ thick MDF, 1/2″ thick drywall and then into the 2x wall stud. Price wise, they aren’t much more money than brad nailers.
(via Porter Cable)
3. Framing Nailers. These are some big nail guns. They shoot the regular flat head framing nails most of us are familiar with. They’re not very useful for smaller projects as they’re too powerful for window and door trim work. Framing nailers are a little more expensive than brad or finish nailers and can run around $200 for a new gun. They’re worth the price though considering how much time you can save framing up a basement or a home addition.
4. Pin Nailers. These guns are considerably smaller than even the brad nailers. If you can’t tell from the name, they shoot very small, very thin nails designed to not leave a noticeable nail hole on your project. The downside? They are delicate, somewhat easier to break and are not ideal for all projects. You can’t use this gun for most window or door trim projects, the nails just aren’t long or big enough to grip something heavy. These nail guns are absolutely perfect for attaching small, thin pieces of wood that would look stupid with big nail holes in them or would otherwise split from larger nails. Pin nailers are not cheap either. Good guns can cost you more than a decent framing nailer!!
5. Staplers. Staplers can be useful for certain application where nails just don’t provide adequate fastening. Like what? Well, like fabric or thin plywood. You can’t upholster a chair with nails, you need something to grab the fabric. The price for staplers is usually around the price of a brad nailer. I’ve never actually used one myself, but I haven’t worked on any projects that would require one.
Hope that helps to explain the basics of nail gun options. Any questions?
Posted by John on July 2nd, 2012
You know that router table I’ve been talking about building for a while now? Well, I built it a couple weeks ago and today I’m guest blogging about it over at One Project Closer. Stop by, say hello and check out their great website!!
Posted in Blogging,Carpentry,Garage and Tools,Tools,Trim. Tagged in ,router table, workshop
Posted by John on June 12th, 2012
Another busy work week here! Thankfully, I’ve found some time to write a couple posts. I have not had a ton of time this week to read or comment on my normal reads. Hopefully I’ll get some more free time later this week. Sucks!
After we finish up the last wall in the dining room, it’ll be time to build a router table. I initially thought I’d be building one before I began the paneling. Figured I’d build it in February! Ha! That never happened. One of the biggest challenges to remodeling and DIY’ing, in my opinion, is making accurate guesstimates for finishing projects. It takes a lot of practice and experience to properly gauge how long it will take to complete a project. I’ve been wrong so many times with guessing project time that I’ve learned to be more realistic with planning. I’ll be optimistic in my thoughts, but what I commit to verbally is much different. Lisa has even learned to stop asking when I’ll finish something. I’ve learned to stop providing a time or date in the first place. We’ll finish a project when we finish it. This raised panel project is no different. The last time we committed to finishing a home project was during our flooring work in the family room. We wanted the floors installed in time for our daughter’s first birthday party. Even for that project, to make sure we didn’t run afoul of our schedule, we gave ourselves more than a month to add the flooring. So when it comes to schedules, I try to tread lightly.
So, where was I? Oh, right, a router table! While I haven’t finished nailing down the design yet, there are some basic elements that I want to incorporate.
Here’s my design requirement list. Hopefully, whatever I come up with will meet these goals.
1. Size and height. Much like the workbench project, I’d like a router table that is comfortable to work on. Ideally, the work surface will be large enough to accommodate whatever I throw on it. For this paneling project the pieces I’ll be milling are about 2’x2′ so the router table top should be able to hold these for machining with ease.
2. Simple Design. You can tell by the two photos above that there is a wide range of options when it comes to router table design. The first table is a more basic design that can be purchased online. The second is a home made version that offers an all wood construction an adds a ton of storage. I’m going to try to build mine from plywood, but stick to a more basic structure. I don’t want the router table to be a major project. It’s just a tool.
3. Cost. I’d love to use only the scrap wood I’ve got lying around. I don’t want to spend really much of anything on this project if I can avoid it. I think I have enough plywood and melamine left over from the workbench project that I can get by. We shall see.
4. Safety. One thing I may pony up for is a paddle switch like on the wooden router table shown above. I don’t want to have to reach up under the router table to turn it off… especially considering how fast these things turn!
5. Mobility. I’m probably going to add wheels so I can move it around the basement. I’ll try to either make it light or modular for easy disassembly. The MDF panels are likely to be milled outside considering how many I have to machine. That will prevent the basement from filling up with dust! Keeping the table’s weight low will help with bringing it up and down the steps.
So that’s what I’m thinking. And I promise to have it all finished by tomorrow night. Completely. Done. No doubt about it. I promise.
Hope your week is going well. Do you have issues with estimating projects?