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How did I live without it?

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  • How did I live without it?

    Nearly every woodworker has a few holes in their tool collection. Most everyone starts with the most important tool, a table saw. A router is often next. Then, you have your jointer, planer, drill press, spindle sander, compound miter saw, band saw, yada yada yada. However, budgets often force us to make choices, and leave out some tool that others might find to be absolutely essential.

    I'm curious....what recent tool have you purchased, and thought to yourself after using it, "how did I live without this?".

    I might be tempted to put my very budget-friendly HVLP sprayer (see other thread), but I'll have to say my answer is my new drill press. It's just a simple Hitachi bench version, $119 at Lowes. I'd always thought a hand drill would suffice 90% of the time. However, after just a month with this, it's something I wish I'd have purchased many months ago.

    What say you?

  • #2
    Re: How did I live without it?

    In the How Did I Live Without It Department, I'd have to say that my brad nailer has to rank right up there near the top.
    Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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    • #3
      Re: How did I live without it?

      My Hitatchi impact driver. I was simply amazed how easy screws went in.
      Anyone can tear a man down, few can build one up.

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      • #4
        Re: How did I live without it?

        I bought a Craftsman DD saw many years ago. Then through the years I bought a Delta floor drill press, a Delta band saw, a Delta planner, a Delta jointer, a DeWalt compound miter saw and built a Norm router station. I recently purchased the Ridgid 3660. It was such step up from the old Craftsman that it was then that I did say "how did I live without it". Now I want one of those HVLP sprayers.

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        • #5
          Re: How did I live without it?

          Most recent purchase was a Lincoln MIG 180 and just came in from testing it out. The exact words in the garage were WOW how did I manage without this! The Century stick welder now for sale.

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          • #6
            Re: How did I live without it?

            I think tools are like peices of a jig-saw puzzle. Once you get one, you need the other peices/tools to complete the picture. You decide what the picture looks like, which really means, what type of work do you like to do.

            First ever power tool was a circular saw. My first big purchase was the 3650 table saw. I found this very limiting without a jointer which was next (Ridgid, used off Craigslist). Of course now you need a planner (new ridgid). Then came a Milwaukee router (used off, you gussed it Craigslist). Then came the bandsaw (used Grizzly from Craigslist) and Ridgid drill press also off Craigslist. Each time I got one, I said "how did I ever live without this". Somewhere in between these were a Bosch belt sander, and Dewalt randon orbit and finishing sanders (to replace my very trusty, still works great, but very old Ryobi random orbit), and recently a Milwaukee circular saw to replace my worn Sears circular saw. Of the small tools, my most used is the cordless drill - how did I go for so many years with a corded drill?

            Just my story.

            I would LOVE a nice dust collection system next, and a decent router table. Then a brad nailer, although I have to admit, these days on my recent projects, I've been moving away from fasteners and using dowels where ever I can.

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            • #7
              Re: How did I live without it?

              By far the tool that has made my life the easiest is the HVLP sprayer. Of all my WW tools it is the one that made the most dramatic difference. Applying finishes went from one of the slowest and most tedious time consuming tasks to being a matter of a few minutes worth of work for an easy flawless finish.

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              • #8
                Re: How did I live without it?

                my tool is my cordless impact driver ,i used a drill before i had this now i dont use the drill much
                Charlie

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                • #9
                  Re: How did I live without it?

                  For me, it's really hard to say. I guess I'm an old-timer in a way, as most of my skills were acquired back in the late 50's and early 60's when I worked with my father and then in the late 60's and early 70's when I acquired our first home and I bought my first power tools.

                  A lot of what I have done has been with manual tools like a brace and bit set, hands saws, rasps, etc.; and the power tools were all corded. Then I went into a career that occupied all too many hours in the office and very little got done at home. It's only fairly recently that I've got back to carpentry (house repairs and rennovation) and in so doing I've acquired a lot of new tools.

                  So if anyone were to look back at my earlier posts (and even some recent) you'll see that I have a propensity toward what I learned and perhaps acquired long ago... like I really love my radial arm saw!

                  But now I have some cordless stuff and I've become highly appreciative of "living free"... without the cord. Could live with out it for sure; but man, isn't it nice. Especially for driving screws... what a wrist and palm saver that has proved to be. I'd really hate to be without a cordless driver.

                  Then there's my Ridgid drill press. I bought that back in 2003, but only got it out of the box and into my temporary basement shop a couple of months ago. Now that's really nice and I'm finding it nicely replaces the old drill guide that I had grown accustomed to. It's just so much more convenient because it's set up and waiting to go; and we won't even discuss the accuracy advantages. Yep, I'd hate to loose that now too.

                  Then there's my router table and my little band saw. The abilities that those two tools have added is simply amazing. I can shape wood as never before. I sit down and design my project and then wonder how I'm going to do a particular piece and then think, "Hey, I've got the router", or "the band saw". Just great to have that extra ability and I'm very much appreciative.

                  I've had a compressor for years, and love the advantages of simply having air, whether it's to inflate something or used to paint and finish with, I do find it almost an essential part of the house. But only recently have I plugged a nailer into it. I started building the new book cases for the library and the brad nailer is just such an advantage. A little glue, and then bam, bam, bam.... the molding strip is in place; now how simple is that!?

                  So, it's really hard to say which tool I couldn't really live without. I suppose I could 'survive' without any of them... but to "LIVE"... Hey, I'm thrilled with my new acquisitions, I think it would be darned hard to pick one that I'd want to get rid of, much less pick only one that I could keep. In reality though, I'm fighting with myself over what is going to be the next addition .

                  CWS
                  Last edited by CWSmith; 05-04-2008, 12:49 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: How did I live without it?

                    Miter saw; Finish/Brad Nailer

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                    • #11
                      Re: How did I live without it?

                      Cordless drill/driver is probably the one tool I would not want to give up. Ran my Makita into the ground and now have a DW. After that the brad nailer/compressor gets the most use. Like CWS it's good when planning a project to know you already have the tools needed to do a job.

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                      • #12
                        Re: How did I live without it?

                        This is a great topic. Air nailers in general. I built a vacation home about 10 years ago when I was in my 50s and I simply could not have completed the project without a framing nailer. Of course, then I bought a finish nailer for the trim work and finally a roofing nailer. Great tools, and occasionally a little fun...it's amazing how far a 16d nail will fly out into the lake...

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                        • #13
                          Re: How did I live without it?

                          Bought a band saw a month ago. It's opened a whole new world to me. Put a Kreg fence on it and then got the resaw jig. Last week I picked up a drum sander to compliment the band saw. On leads to another. I'm betting there will be more.
                          Jim

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                          • #14
                            Re: How did I live without it?

                            The one tool that I give a big "How did I live without it" to is the Ryobi 18 volt impact driver. Since purchasing that tool back last fall I have not driven a screw with my cordless drill. It is my "go to" of choice for driving & removing any fastener. I have the adapters to use 1/4" & 3/8" drive sockets on it so even working on equipment becomes less of a chore. Best $69 bucks I've spent in a long time.
                            Ridgid also makes an impact driver that is more powerful than the Ryobi, but I already had the other Ryobi tools.
                            sigpicSeldom Wrong, BUT Never in Doubt

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                            • #15
                              Re: How did I live without it?

                              I'll say that my 18V Ryobi cordless drill/driver falls into this category. After Christmas, HD had a kit that included a drill, battery, and charger for $40. This is the best $40 that I've spent. I haven't used my corded DeWalt since I've gotten this one.

                              I also like the right angle drill, it has come in pretty darn handy for my latest structured wiring project. So has the spiral saw (Rotozip clone).

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