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    Essential Power Tools

    Power tools are very easy to use. However, many women are frightened to use them. However, if you pick the right ones, suited to your capabilities, they will enhance your ability to work on do-it-herself projects. There is a wide range of power tools out there and you should do your homework before purchasing them.

    Starting Up

    The most basic of power tools is a drill. There are two types: corded (power) and cordless (battery operated). Without a drill, it will be difficult to make holes in wood, plaster and wall studs. The most basic of drills have capabilities that include variable speed, hammer action, clutches and more. Some can be used as screwdrivers and may have multiple accessories for additional work.

    Let’s start with motor power. The higher the voltage, the more powerful. For light maintenance work, a 9.6V is sufficient. However, for medium and heavy work, a 18V would be more appropriate (especially when drilling into masonry). Low power drills don’t usually have the power to drill into hard surfaces.

    The variable speeds allow for more efficient drilling. Slower speeds are needed for drilling into hard surfaces (concrete, etc.). Also, slow speeds are important if you are going to use the drill as a screwdriver. Faster speeds are required for drilling into wood – it gives a neat finish and prevents splitting the wood. Most drills have variable speeds.

    Your drill should also have a reverse action. This is crucial is you are going to remove screws as well or if your drill gets stuck.

    Powering Up

    Cordless drills are used for convenience and where there is no access to electrical outlets (maybe on the roof, outside, etc.) However, one disadvantage is the battery. Your power will not be consistent and you will have to remember to always have an extra charged battery. I have four batteries for my cordless drill.

    With a corded drill (power), your power will be consistent, but be aware of the cord and make sure it is long enough to allow free movement. Use a polar extension cord (don’t use a household electric cord).

    Other Drill Info

    Purchase a variety of bits. Some high end drills come with a complete set. Others don’t. The bit fits into the drill via the “chuck” (which clamps down to grip the bit then tightened). Most of the newer drills are keyless. But some still have keyed chucks (which means that you need to manually tighten the bit with a chuck key).

    Bits come in different shapes and sizes suited to different functions, materials, etc. The size of the bit will depend on the size of the hole (see “Core Skills”).

    As time goes on, some other power tools that might be worth looking into as you do your home improvement projects are:

    • Table saw
    • Circular saw
    • Grinder
    • Compound miter saw
    • Workbench
    • Vise