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142 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 191840 17-Feb-2016 22:51
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Well I am now the proud owner of a home and I completed my first adventure last night by crawling under the house and running TPS cable for two new powerpoints. It's surprisingly cheap if you run the cable yourself and I think I could get addicted to adding new powerpoints. 


I've currently got a circular saw and a jigsaw and a Ryobi drill (with a holesaw). I've also just purchased a Ryobi Recip saw to help with the pruning and other bits and pieces around the place. I'm finding I want something a bit more accurate then my circular saw for sawing wood for various projects, at the moment it's a pain having to clamp everything down and clamp a guide rail down for every cut on my circular saw.


I see you can get drop saws, table saws and mitre saws (though these seem the same as a drop saw). Can anyone tell me what I should next get to increase my capabilities with DIY projects? I'm entirely self taught, so it's all a wee bit confusing.

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85 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1494554 18-Feb-2016 02:45
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Drop saws/mitre saws are required to get an accurate cut and cut cleaner than a circular saw.


Technically a drop saw isn't adjustable, it just cuts a piece of wood at 90 degree angle.


A mitre saw can cut on any angle by tilting it to the side.


A compound mitre saw (I believe) is adjustable in 2 dimensions, so you can cut a piece of wood at an angle horizontally and vertically 


A table saw is used for cutting wood on a flat bench and is good for cutting planks of lengthwise (which is very hard to do with a hand held circular saw)


If you get a mitre saw one with a laser guide is the bees knees, I'd also recommend a shop vac that will extract the sawdust as it ends up everywhere (mitre saws have a tube behind the blade that forces sawdust into a 'small' collection bag that does stuff all)







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  Reply # 1494592 18-Feb-2016 08:33
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A decent battery drill with Lithium batteries (ideally in a case that can hold the charger and a spare battery has been one of my best purchases.  I bought a Bosch brand.  AFter 6 years the batteries are still going strong and I expect to get another 6 years out of them or more.  I use square-head screws almost exclusively now for DIY jobs.


I bought a cheap (Mako brand) drop saw that is adjustable 2 ways and it is infinitely better for accurate cuts than a standard circular saw.


One of my favourite gardening tools is my Stihl chainsaw.  Just bought the smallest one but went for a premium brand so it will 'last a lifetime'.  In stormy conditions I put it in the back of my car, and have used it once on a tree that fell across the road in a suburban area.  After breaking the teeth off the original chain (not being careful around nails) I bougt the cheat's chain sharpener:  Misusing one of these is one of the fastest ways to do yourself a serious injury.


A cheap electric plane comes out of its box once a year.


A quality 2.1m A frame ladder that can be 'flattened' so you can clean the gutters is brilliant.


A quality hand saw is quicker than pulling out an electric saw for small jobs.


A quality RCD and extension cable for using power tools outside.


Good neighbours so you can borrow/share tools.

"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1494593 18-Feb-2016 08:36
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All that, plus..(can get expensive now)..


A Decent table saw, with extension or a couple of stands.


A sliding compound mitre saw.

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  Reply # 1494606 18-Feb-2016 08:52
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Things I use often;


  • Ladder - make sure its high enough to get to the gutters or onto the roof without "unfolding". My first one was a compact one folds out to get higher but wasn't high enough when folded, I broke the gutter leaning the unfolded ladder on the gutter to get on the roof.
  • Cordless Drill - as already mentioned
  • Mitre/Drop Saw - as already mentioned
  • Weed Sprayer - pressure pump one, doesn't have to be big
  • Good Gloves - pig skin is awesome
  • Extension Broom with Hose Attachment - for washing the house 
  • Hammer - a good hammer. Doesnt have to be expensive, my favourite hammer was purchased at Uncle Bills

Things I don't use often;


  • Jigsaw
  • Electric Drill
  • Hedge trimmer
  • Garden vacuum
  • Weed Eater/Edge trimmer - I put rocks down around most of the garden so I just week spray

If you've got lots of trees an electric chainsaw is a must - I have petrol and electric ones and the electric is handy for small jobs without worrying about gas, oil etc

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1494611 18-Feb-2016 08:59
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A good drill bit sharpener. Mines a Bosh.

A good jig saw cutter. Get a varity of blades for metal, plastics, wood etc

Also a small mouse sander. On my second one in 20 odd years

A cordless drill is great but you also need a corded drill for those heavy jobs

I also have a bosh router for those fancy jobs

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  Reply # 1494639 18-Feb-2016 09:21
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^^^ What other's have said. I can't recommend highly enough getting the proper tool for a particular job. I learnt from my DIY dad, and still think back on the hours he spent working around particular issues when getting/buying/borrowing/hiring the right tool can have the job done quicker and neater in a fraction of the time. Sounds like you've got a pretty good start.


I'm currently lusting after a track/plunge saw (jump to 5.30 if you don't watch the whole thing). It's basically a circular/skill saw on a rail to ensure straight cuts. Most tracks are rubberised so once you know what you're doing you can avoid the clamping (I share your pain on that side of things), and no offsets. Just line the track up with your cut line. It is also much neater since using a straight edge means that the saw can still wander the other way. The track really locks it down. I mainly want to use it to rip down sheets of ply (and MDF when I have to use the horrible stuff). I have a table saw, but am usually working on my own so full 2.4x1.2 sheets are pretty awkward.

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  Reply # 1495186 18-Feb-2016 19:51
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 Tools used to be really expensive, and people dont account for their time properly. If you are risking a crap cut on a $x piece of wood because you wont buy a $x*2 tool for it, which will also do it way faster and easier then you need to re-think your priorities IMO


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  Reply # 1495195 18-Feb-2016 20:03
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Another thing, don't cheap on blades or consumables. Put a diablo blade on my junk circ saw and it works so much better now. Same for the jigsaw. Cheap blade wanders all over the place, a good one and its really straight. Till you hit a staple and ruin the blade.


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1495445 19-Feb-2016 09:45
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I'd start with a reasonable quality cordless drill and impact driver kit. Once you've got that you can add tools to it such as a cordless circular saw, sabre saw, torch etc. But once you buy a kit you've basically bought into that brand for a long time so check out the range and prices of the accessories.


Buy the tools as you need them for each project and factor that in when you budget, you don't necessarily need expensive tools if you only use them once or twice a year.


I've got a $20 jigsaw, a cheap planer, an ozito sabre saw... all cheapish diy tools that have got me through a lot of renovation work. Plug in tools are good for this type of gear.


I bought a $300 Ryobi sliding mitre saw about 7 years ago and its done heaps of work such as retaining walls, raised gardens etc. It's a bit tired now so need replacing for my next project.


If you need stuff for a project, like a chainsaw, post hole borer, just hire it, they come sharp, with fuel and are tuned.


A really handy purchase for me was an all in one socket set, a Bahco 150 piece set.

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  Reply # 1495448 19-Feb-2016 09:50
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Concur with buying slightly better quality tools than the low quality versions. Having gone thru 3x 1/3rd sheet sanders recently, getting a higher power one (240w) vs the lower powered / cheap versions (at 140w, or thereabouts), using the 240w model cuts thru sanding so much easier - more grunt, the sandpaper actually sands, and doesn't just buzz across the top of the work.


However, that being said, have used an XU-1 cheapie belt sander, no problems. Have sanded boats, tables, etc, still going strong.


Have killed a couple of angle grinders of named brand variety, motor brushes just clogged up with sanding dust from the sandpaper flapdisks. Grinding off old paintwork and fibreglass.

My thoughts are no longer my own and is probably representative of our media-controlled government

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  Reply # 1495463 19-Feb-2016 10:02
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In regards to decent but affordable cordless drills, I've been asking just this week for ideas with this specific area - see


One thing I've learnt is don't always let yourself be swayed by stuff like power ratings. Often some of the cheaper tools will encourage people to buy them by being seemingly significantly more powerful. I fell for this with a circular saw, which ended up being cr@p; replaced it with an entry-level Makita, with far less impressive stats, and it's been amazing.

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  Reply # 1495488 19-Feb-2016 10:51
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You need to decide what sort of projects you'd like to tackle around your house in the future and from that, the kinds of tools you'll need. smile

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  Reply # 1495494 19-Feb-2016 10:58
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I would not bother with the impact driver initially. Its useful when you are putting lots of screws in, like a deck or similar. For putting up a curtain track etc, a bit in the drill is fine, its just a bit slower and you have to swap from drill to driver bits, so less efficiant. Getting a better drill than a cheap combo set would probably be better in any case.


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1495591 19-Feb-2016 12:20
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I would not bother with the impact driver initially. Its useful when you are putting lots of screws in, like a deck or similar. For putting up a curtain track etc, a bit in the drill is fine, its just a bit slower and you have to swap from drill to driver bits, so less efficiant. Getting a better drill than a cheap combo set would probably be better in any case.





I agree with you there, defiantly get a drill first but there is value for money buying a 2 piece kit. I find the impact driver really handy and like to use both at the same time, drill with one then drive the screw with the impact driver.

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