My New Blog: TF Workshop

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tools - One of my favorite subjects

I am not counting tools in the $10K total for the remodel. I figure anything additional I buy, I will use well beyond this project.

I have been "collecting" tools for about 20 years. I have a few expensive tools, but for the most part I buy economical ones. At the risk of offending the tools snobs out there, I rely on Harbor Freight Tools for a lot of of the small things I need. Their air tools have never let me down - and I have been using a simple little finsh nailer regularly for a number years. That being said, if I were back in the trades, I would buy the heavy duty tools - Dewalt, Senco, Ewing, ...

So here is my major tool list:


  • Tables Saw - 10" Craftsman professional series. The heart and soul of my shop.
  • Chop Saw - 10" Harbor Freight sliding compound miter. Has worked great for 5 years
  • Skill Saw- basic model - 2nd one so far
  • Reciprocating Saw - Ryobi
  • Saber Saw - Ryobi
  • Cordless Circular Saw - Ryobi
  • Japanese Pull Saws - Use these all the time for finish work - TopMan from Harbor Freight
  • Tile Saw - Harbor Freight 1HP professional series table model


  • 7 inch jointer - Harbor Frieght
  • 3 inch portable planer - Ryobi


  • 5 in random orbit - Ryobi
  • Palm sanders - Harbor Frieght, Rigid
  • Belt Sander - Craftsman


  • 3/4 HP router - Craftsman
  • 2 HP industrial router / shaper - Craftsman
  • 1/2 little trim router - Harbor Freight - one of my favorite tools, since I can run it with one hand.


  • Corded - Dewalt 3/8" Professional Series.
  • Cordless - 18V Ryobi; 12V Craftsman
  • Table top drill press - Craftsman

Air Tools

  • Compressor - Husky - next to the table saw the most important tool
  • Finsh Nailers - Harbor Frieght
  • Staplers - 1/4 crown 18 gage - Harbor Freight. I ground down the tip of one from a flat to a 45 angle so I could get in really close on corners - indispensible
  • Coil Roofing Nailer - Harbor Frieght
  • Framing Nailer - 21 deg - Harbor Frieght
  • Latex paint sprayer - Husky - yes an air tool that sprays latex, looks like glass once applied
  • Low profile cut-off wheel - Harbor Freight


  • Shop Vac - Ridgid
  • Bench Grinder - Ryobi - this is another high-value tool, since it keeps stuff sharp.
  • Lots (OK, too many) hand tools: hammers, crow bars, chisels - various.
  • Clamps - Quick Grip are the best by far, don't skimp here.
  • 1/2 heavy duty industrial drill for mixing morter, grout, concrete - Dewalt
  • Biscuit Joiner - I really dont use this very much
  • Basic electrical, plumbing, sheetrock, masonry tools
  • Laser level - works great for laying out floors, etc.
  • Automotive sissor jack - great for making things fit when they dont want to.

Custom Tools - ones I fabricated

  • 3' x 5' work bench.
  • Cutting sleds for the table saw - use this all the time, especially for large lots or repeative cuts
  • Wooden squares that can be clamped as guides for saws, routers, etc.
  • Special straight-edge for laying out and pre-shimming doors - saves a lot of time
  • A busted screwdriver ground down to a sharp tip, used as an awl, punch, drill pilot, etc. This takes the place of a real sharp pencil in many cases
  • Short saw horses that we use for painting, setting up low tables using planks. Well worth the time to make these.


Tara said...

I see you've got a few Ryobi on the list. Are they reliable and powerful? They're the most affordable at the hardware store, but I don't want to buy junk.

TTFWEB said...

I have been very happy with Ryobi. The sawzall I have has pounded through a lot of old walls - no issues.

donutboy said...

Great blog! It is very exciting to read others adventures in the kitchen remodel. I like the idea of posting costs of goods in the blog. You are saving a ton by building the cabinets yourself, I saved by doing the concrete countertops myself.

Can't wait to see the finished product!

linentablecloth said...


Angelle Marshall said...

Your blog is very impressive and interesting. Remodeling the whole house or remodeling kitchen or bathroom is a very difficult work. I don't go for remodeling because it cost a lot, that's why i did go for remodeling.