Newbie seeks tool advice

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Charlotte

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Whilst making a light box and my bed recently, I had major issues with getting things square and had to do a lot of hand work as a result.

Years ago, when redoing the interior of my (sadly missed) VW camper, I bought a circular saw and router from Homebase. The circular saw is totally goosed and fit for the skip - can anyone recommend a sensibly priced replacement? I noticed some Skil's on special at Homebase for £39 - they come with some laser thing. I'd like something that can withstand a few knocks - my "workshop" is stupidly small and space is a premium - stuff falls!

Is it possible to convert a circular saw into a table saw for small panel work? I've seen a Wolfcraft bench but wonder if it is any good? There is the possibility of me doing some light production work of what is essentially an MDF box with the largest panel 18"x12" (ish!)

The router I have is http://www.screwfix.com/prods/92997/Pow ... 20W-Router bit I'm missing the extractor, trammel bolt and the 30mm bush. The plunge on it is a bit stiff and it's a pig to use due to the difficultly/impossibility of accurate depth control. Can I convert it to table use?

Finally, for the moment, my DeWalt 7.2v drill is.....tired.....the batteries have 20-30 mins at best and I'm not sure the gearbox is in the best shape. What should I replace it with? I've been looking at the Ryobi 1+ 18V system - but question whether I will often see advantage to a cordless saw/jigsaw/torch/everything else - and weight is an issue. The screwfix catalogue gets all confusing too as they have so many brands and voltages at similar price points. It will be used for drilling and driving primarily in wood. I have a corded hammer drill already and am likely to get an SDS one at some point so see hammer action as superfluous/a pain if it makes it bigger!

Thanks for your help!

Charly
 

filsgreen

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Welcome to the forum Charly. First of all I'm no expert and so I'll wait for the others to advise in more detail. What I would say is visit the Axminster power tool website http://www.axminster.co.uk/ . You will have a far better choice than places like Homebase and B & Q. I have had a Skil Circular Saw for several years and had no problem with it.

At present there are lots of drill/drivers on offer which are NiCd powered because people are converting to Li-on power. I picked up a DeWalt Drill/driver and torch for about £70 just before Xmas. Makita are also relatively cheap at the moment.

You could also try http://www.dm-tools.co.uk/

HTH

Phil
 

Ironballs

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Hi Charly and welcome to the forum. The answers to your questions will be guided by 3 main elements a) size of budget, b) size of workshop and c) future potential use.

General rule of thumb is to buy the best of anything you can afford, but there would be no point in buying a big table saw if you had a small workshop for example.

As you've found the potential choices in front of you are pretty large, if you can answer the 3 questions above then we should be able to help guide you towards the right purchases - just ignore a chap called Waka if he comes along, he'll have you buying loads of Festool stuff and you'll be re-mortgaging the house before you know it :D
 

Waka

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Ironballs":2b38ifil said:
Hi Charly and welcome to the forum. The answers to your questions will be guided by 3 main elements a) size of budget, b) size of workshop and c) future potential use.

General rule of thumb is to buy the best of anything you can afford, but there would be no point in buying a big table saw if you had a small workshop for example.

As you've found the potential choices in front of you are pretty large, if you can answer the 3 questions above then we should be able to help guide you towards the right purchases - just ignore a chap called Waka if he comes along, he'll have you buying loads of Festool stuff and you'll be re-mortgaging the house before you know it :D

I may not be saying much but I am listening.
Take no notice of them Charly and welcome to the forum.

I guess the guys have said it all, get the best you can afford and the size that will work in your workshop.

I started off with Black & Decker kit and there was nothing wrong with that, it did what it said on the tin.
Having said all that if your budget does stretch to Festool gear than IMHO I think it's the best. :lol:
 

LarryS.

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welcome charly,

i'm a year into my woodworking hobby so understand the minefield you're walking into, here's my five pence worth :

1. Can you convert the circular saw into a table saw ? Nope. For a number of reasons but the main one being is that it isn't designed for the job in terms of health and safety - which for a saw is the most important aspect. For instance the start button will be inaccessible, the safety guards ill-fitting. On top of that I guess it will be a pain to fit it.
So if you want a table saw best bet is buy one designed for the task. As the others have said here buy what you can afford, and check it for how safe it feels first. Mate of mine bought one from b&q that we were going to use to lay flooring in his house. We both stood by it and fired it up ready to cut our first piece of wood, it picked up speed, things started to rattle, he and i carefully stepped further and further away to the extension lead plug where we switched it off. We then picked it up andput it back in the box. (a sharp blade rotating 5,000 times a minute is scary when its not very well built).

2. Mounting the router into a router table : Probably more chance of this as the table will have the safety guards and starter button fitted to it - so should be ok. Though if its already a pain to adjust the depth on the router the 'right' way up, then likely be even worse upside down. Lots of threads on here on picking a router for a table installation.

Probably main advice is an example. I bought a cheap router £50 a couple of years ago, tried a couple of jobs with it and spent most of my time either re-adjusting it or getting a fresh piece of wood to replace the destroyed one. Then bought a Dewalt router for £100 a year ago which I've had no such problems with - a definite example of buying what you can afford, as the better it is then the better your experience will be with it.

Good luck, and keep asking questions on the forum, people on here are a mine of information.
 

OPJ

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Hi Charly and welcome to the forums. :)

If you're intent on inverting a skil saw to use it as a rip saw then it's probably worth looking at the Triton Workcentre. I've not used one myself but, they always get a good review and I'm sure there are plenty of people on this site who have happily used them in the past. You can add a router and even a power planer if you wanted. I assume all power tools are operated from an NVR (no volt release) switch, just so you don't have to struggle reaching under the table to switch the thing on!

If you pick up this months issue of Good Woodworking magazine, you can enter a free competition to win one of these! :wink:

Might still be worth having a look in your local B&Q, they were all selling off Triton tools dead cheap a while back now...

If you're looking at any cordless tools, try and go for something that uses lithium-ion technology. They'll basically hold a charge for much longer - it's the future, here today! :D
 

neilyweely

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charly

I work with my tools for a living, and I have some of the ryobi one plus stuff. I also have festool, hilti, makita, de walt etc. The ryobi stuff is IMO pretty good for general use, and i get on well with it. It is also upgradeable, in as much as you can retro-fit the li-ion batts to the older stuff. I like it. However, if I am going to do some heavy work I leave it at home. From what you say, ie DIY and general use I would say the ryobi is ok.

However, as said, if you are likely to get a lot of use from the tools you should buy the best you can. Tools are generally made for one function and perform this well (usually) but if you try to get them to do something for which they are not designed then you need to beware. Circular saws can do a lot of damage very quickly (and so can bandsaws!!! 1/2 thumb)

Maybe try a friends, or ask for a demo, and see what you think.

HTH

Neil
 

busy builder

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With battery tools the one thing to remember is the ampage of the battery. For example a 1.3 amp battery will not hold as much charge as a 3,0 amp.
The same can be said about the power (volts) too, an 18v will give more umph than a 12v.

Check out whats available, but don't discard used mains trade tools on ebay, you can pick up used Makita/DeWalt circular saws fairly cheap. heres one, I have this saw and it will go through anything, even a metal work/ saw horse :oops: Much better than any ryobi or black & decker.

It also has a cast base rather than the cheaper pressed steel base, mine gets thrown around and takes some stick.

Hope this helps

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Dewalt-DW365-Circ ... 240%3A1318
 

Charlotte

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Thanks for the advice everyone - esp for the heads up on that DeWalt saw - be nice people!

Ironballs - I understand what you are saying - the phrase "a bad workman blames their tools" was coined in a time when tools were by definition, capable of doing their job! That said, as a theatre tech, I don't believe there is anything that cannot be made with a Leatherman, gaffer tape and cable ties - at least as a temporary solution!

Routers - thought this could be the case - I guess I'll just have to keep and eye out - I won't be working on anything too huge until after Ally Pally show - I've nver been before but am hoping to pick up a deal on clamps as I'm woefully ill equipped in this department.

Saws - will keep an eye out for deal on a Triton but they are more ££ than I have right now and I would like to prototype a plan I have - I'm struggling to find work at the moment and believe that my plan could make me at least some tick-over money!

Thanks all - nice to come across such a friendly forum!
 

NickWelford

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Charly, it helps to put your whereabouts (in general) in your profile - there may well be members local to you who would let you try out various tools to see if they suit you.
 

promhandicam

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As you mention you are in kingston - at least some of the time - take a trip to D+M tools just across the river in twickenham. They have a lot of tools in stock and are reasonably priced. they will also be able to give you some advice too unlike the muppets in places like b+q or homebase.

Steve

(no connection with D+M tools other than being a satisfied customer.)
 

promhandicam

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wouldn't you be better off with a table saw? - can't see you balancing many magazines on that little dewalt :lol:

Steve
 

Charlotte

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Stupid bidnapper didn't work :(

There is a Freud FCS184K (why the stupid names!) at Black and Decker money available. Does anyone have any experience with these? It looks to have a more substantial base than a lot of the De Walts in my price range.

Thanks
 

OPJ

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The "184" part refers to the blade diameter. :wink:

I've got a Freud router setup in my router table and I've been very happy with that for the past couple of years. I can also vouch for their after sales and repair services, outstanding! :)

I've no experience of this particular saw but, it's got to be than anything you could buy from B&Q's or Screwfix for the same money!!

The blade bore diameter is quite important as this determines the range of blades you can fit to your saw for different applications. On this model, it appears to be 16mm - which is good because, this is the minimum bore diameter of most blades and, should you need to fit a blade with a 30mm bore, you can always buy a reducer so it fits on a 16mm shaft. :wink:

It wouldn't work the other way though, if you had a 30mm shaft and want to fit a blade with a 16mm bore... :roll: :)
 

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