Choose the right hand tools

Once you have a project in mind and have scribbled out your napkin drawing and decided on a joint to use and dimensions to match where you will put it or on it, then and only then should you think about tools. If you’re going the hand tool route any of the above projects can be built with the following:

  • Jack plane
  • Panel saw (I don’t care if its rip or crosscut and neither should you)
  • 1-3 chisels (1/4, 3/8, or 1/2″)
  • Back saw (again I don’t care about tooth geometry but a Carcass Saw is a good choice)
  • Combo square

This is all. You’ll notice you have a few options in the above list that all center around planing, sawing, and chiseling. There are plenty of tools beyond this initial kit that will make thing easier but I wouldn’t not even think about them until you have a complete plan of attack written down on your first project. For example if I was making a bookcase using dados then I would seriously consider getting a router plane or if nothing else a cranked neck chisel to make things easier. If I choose a project that will be built with mortise and tenons then I would add a mortising gauge to make my layout repeatable. This is why worrying about tools is useless until you have a plan of attack ready to go.

Underhill Tool Tote

In the end woodworking all comes down to a simple series a steps that add up to a finished project. I think with a little planning you can break even the most complex project down to these simple steps and everything looks much easier from that granular level. For the beginner the goal should be to break the project down into these simple tasks and remove as many variables as possible. eg: using only 1 type of joint.

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5 Things to Know Before Buying a Cordless Power Tool

There’s no better way to say “Merry Christmas, dear friend” than with a double-bevel compound miter saw or a heavy-duty 18V impact driver. But before you pick up a cordless tool for that special someone, keep these five things in mind.

Don’t buy a Lamborghini if you don’t drive fast.

Cordless tools used to be heavy, unwieldy behemoths sporting fat nickel-cadmium batteries. But tool companies have slimmed their products down with sleek, longer lasting lithium-ion cells. Thing is, Li-ion tools are expensive. Which is why manufacturers still make the old NiCad tools.

If you’re not too handy and plan on only using your power tools for the occasional shelf hanging or plywood cutting, you’ll be just fine with NiCad batteries. They weigh a little more and they take a long time to charge (sometimes as much as 3 hours), but for most projects you’re not likely to go through more than the two batteries most tools come with. And they cost a lot less: The same tool kit that might be $275 with Li-ion batteries would only be $150 with NiCad.

But if you plan to spend every weekend this spring building that climate-controlled comic-book library, you’re going to want to go Li-ion. The batteries charge in as little as 30 minutes, they last longer, and they weigh less. Which means your arms won’t get tired as quickly. You can even choose between regular slim packs and longer-life fatties.

Size matters

It’s simple: the higher the volts, the higher the power. That means more torque for driving screws or miter sawing, more speed for jigsawing and sanding, more hammer action for impact driving. Unless you’re a pro, you probably don’t want anything bigger than an 18-volt tool. A good 18V drill will get you through big jobs like framing and deck building, and you can cut through a lot of plywood with an 18V circular saw (especially because cordless circ saws have thinner blades to make up for the lesser torque).

Don’t discount the smaller tools, though. Outside of circular saws, every tool is replicated in a 12V version. The tools may look a little girly, but they work just fine. Drill/drivers, in particular, are great performers with 12V batteries, able to sink drywall screws into framing or even do some smaller decking jobs.

Keep in mind, though, that there are still some tools you should buy with cords. If you need miter saws or circular saws to cut thick lumber, you really need the consistent power of a plug-in tools. Same with hard workers like reciprocating saws and grinders.

Tool companies are like crack dealers.

Good news is, it pays to become an addict. Manufacturers inspire brand loyalty by selling tools both with batteries or wihtout. That way, once you’ve bought your first tool-and its two included batteries-you can use them on all the other tools from that platform. But only on tools from that platform. It’s a good idea, then, to make your buying decision based on everything a company sells tools that you might need down the line.

So what to look for? Since the basic function of most power tools doesn’t vary much from company to company, check out the accessories. You might fall in love with a quick-change chuck, a good LED light, or even a belt hook. Know what size blade or type of bit a tool takes and be sure that’s what you want. Then there’s price-you get what you pay for. A higher price point often reflects more money spent on innovation, ergonomic design, or durable materials.

Retro is cool.

One way to save a bit of dough on new tools is to retrofit your old tools with new batteries. If you already own a set of NiCad tools, some companies, including DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Ryobi, have designed their Li-ion batteries to fit old models. A new extended life Li-ion battery costs about $100, but you can save a lot of money if you already have a whole suite of tools that can use it.

There’s a battery for every personality.

NiCad batteries lose power if left unused for a while, so they are good presents for careful planners. Impulsive tinkerers, however, may find their building buzz harshed by a mandated charging break. (On the plus side, they perform better in colder climates, so go for it, Canada!) They can also have memory problems, so they’re better off left to drain before being recharged again.

Li-ion batteries, however, can be left plugged in at all times, and most chargers are designed to top off the tool once a week as needed. The biggest problem with Li-ion batteries is not knowing when they’re dying. Manufacturers call this a “fade-free charge” but what it really means is you won’t get the telltale slow-down as the batteries wear out. The tool will just stop.

How To Clean Rusty Hand Tools

Buying good tools for your day to day work can be quite expensive. Learning how to clean rusty hand tools like pliers, wire strippers, screw drivers, and hammers will help you save money. Buying good tools is very easy at the right retailer like Wilson and Miller.

Without proper care and maintenance your tools will start to get rusty and your investment in quality tools may be for nothing.

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Rusty tools are ineffective and very hard to work with. Tools that have movable joints like pliers and wire cutters are particularly the most prone.

Rust build up will clog the hinges and joints making them harder to open or sometimes immovable.

So, what do you do if you start to see rust build up on your tools? Clean and lubricate.

Rusty tools can be cleaned to get rid of the rust and any dirt on the surface to make them useful again. Here is a guide that will teach you how to easily lubricate and clean rusty hand tools at home.

Depending on the degree of rust on the items you want to clean, there are a range of cheap home supplies that you can use to clean you badly rusted tools.

Some of the items required are cheaply available at grocery stores and Home Depot.

What you’ll need to pick up:

  • White vinegar
  • Salt
  • A metal brush
  • Rust Inhibitor like (WD 40 or Boeshield T9)
  • Scouring Pad like Scotch Brite or Steel wool
  • Anti-rust agent ( a gallon of Evapo-rust in this case)
  • A detergent

The steps involved in cleaning the tool will be influenced by the degree of rusting on the tool. Depending on how long the tool has been left exposed to open air and moisture the severity of the rusting differs.

Some tools have rust that has eaten deep into the surface of the metal, while some rust is just on the surface.

Below are the two methods that can help you get rid of any rust on the surface and joints of your hand tools.

For Light Rust

 

Step 1. Mix two handfuls of white vinegar in a bucket of water and dip the pliers, wire cutters, or any rusty hand tool in the mixture.

Cover the bucket and let it settle for about six hours.

Step 2. After six hours, add about 500g of table salt.

Table salt increases the ability of the vinegar to get rid of the rust. Add it in the mixture and stir properly. Now you can cover the bucket again and let the tools and mixtures stay overnight for 24hrs.

Vinegar is slow in getting rid of rust, but it works very well.

Step 3. After letting it stay in the vinegar mixture overnight, a rusty paste will have formed on the tool. Gently scrub the surface of the metal with a metal brush or a scouring pad like Scotch Brite or steel wool.

The rust should come off easily leaving behind a shiny metallic surface.

If you notice that there are still remnants of rust on the surface after scrubbing thoroughly, then try this second method to get rid of the rust totally

For Badly Rusted Tools

 

This method is for clean rusty hand tools that have been exposed to moisture for long periods and have badly rusted.

Step 1. Wash the hand tool thoroughly with water and a detergent to get rid of any dirt on the surface of the metal.

Step 2. It is time to use the Evapo-rust.

Evapo-rust is a heavy duty rust remover that works to remove any rust of any degree. Pour the Evapo-rust in a container that has a lid and dip the hand tools you wish to clean and get rid of the rust. Cover up the mixture and cover the container. If the metal is badly rusted, let it stay overnight.

Step 3. Uncover the lid and rinse the hand tools to get off excess Evapo-rust.

Pour back the used Evapo-rust into the container so that you can reuse it again and again. Your tool will be clean and all the rust will be gone. Rinse it with clean water.

After getting rid of rust and thoroughly cleaning your tools, it’s important to spray them with a rust inhibitor, grease the moving parts and store them properly. Spray your hand tools with a good rust inhibitor like Boeshield T9 or WD 40.

Best Way To Lubricate Your Tools

 

3-In-One multi-purpose drip oil is a trusted tool used by electricians for years – and it’s what I use on my hand tools.

It was designed to not only clean, lubricate moving parts, and protect tools; but also to prevent rust as well.

3-IN-ONE’s versatile multi-purpose drip oil has been a trusted tool used by professional tradesmen since 1984

Here’s a breakdown of what 3-In-One oil does:

  • It’s a multi-purpose lubricant reduces that friction and silences squeaky parts
  • The oil penetrates into tight spaces to release parts that have been rusted together
  • The lubricant removes dirt and grime leaving you with a clean tool

Make sure you lubricate the moving joints of all your hand tools. This helps maintain the each tool’s effectiveness.

Stop Using WD-40 To Lubricate Your Tools

 

For as long as you can probably remember WD-40 has been used to “lubricate” everything. Well, I’m about to blow your mind.

WD-40 isn’t a lubricant.

Say what? I know, I thought the same thing.

WD-40 is actually a fluid that is used as a solvent or rust dissolver that displaces water to prevent corrosion. It can help clean up rust or grime off of tools, engine parts, or other mechanical parts.

The WD stands for “water displacing” and 40 is the number of chemical formulas used before the chemist Norm Larson perfected his methods.

The lubricant-like properties of WD-40 come from dissolving components.

Buuuuuuuut,  the effect doesn’t last, which means you’ll have to repeat the task periodically.

When To Use It

WD-40 can be a good start when you’re trying to clean up rust or other grime on your tools.

But you don’t want to stop there. You’ll want to use true lubricant that is based on silicone, grease, Teflon, or graphite.

Check out this article from Lifehacker about when not to use WD-40.

9 Super Creative DIY Home Decorating Tips

Feeling like our homes are “ours” is super important, but not all of us have the money to decorate our houses and apartments like the perfectly designed spaces we see in catalogues. It’s why knowing some solid DIY home decor tricks are key for those of us living on limited budgets who still want to totally love our home decorating.

In an article for Health, Feng Shui expert and author Jamie Barrett said that your home furnishings can definitely affect your personal energy. A room’s design and decor can make you feel drained or frazzled, or conversely, can help you feel calm or cheerful. So as frivolous as it may seem, home decorating is actually kind of important.

My own bedroom was initially pretty small and simple, but as soon as I reorganized some of the furniture, painted the walls a calming lilac, and added a few easy DIY wall decorations, it became a cozy safe haven where I literally love spending time. Not only that, but my roommate’s mom is kind of a DIY maven, and a single weekend visit transformed our common space from dull and barren to completely homey in a matter of hours — and none of the changes were too hard on our wallets; so I’m a firm believer in cheap and creative solutions to decorating dilemmas.

If you’re moving into a new space and are looking for some cool decorating tips, or are just on the hunt for some ways to accent the space you already have, here are nine super creative home decorating ideas that should definitely help inspire you.

1. Create A Gallery Wall With Cheap Frames

Home decor author and blogger Laura Putnam recommended using your wall space, or “gallery walls” in a piece on her site about simple ways to decorate your home. “Gallery walls have become very popular over the last few years. The great thing about them is that pretty much every single one of them is different,” Putnam said. Just gather picture frames in various shapes and sizes and arrange art and personal photos on one central wall space. And don’t be afraid to paint your frames if you want them to match.

2. Use Mirrors

In a piece for Real Simple, interior designer Michael Garvey recommended using mirrors as an incredibly simple decorating tool. He suggested putting a small table up against a mirror, and then placing a plant with big branches or flowers on the table on the mirror side. This will instantly make the plant look twice as large and will also help open up a small room by creating the illusion of a larger space.

West Elm Peruvian Handmade Mirrors, $34.00, West Elm

3. Stick-On Wall Paper For A Super Cool Accent Wall

Stick-on wall paper is an amazingly cheap alternative to traditional wall paper and gives you a ton more pattern variety than simply painting. You can find stick-on wallpaper in retro florals, faux hard wood, or even brick.

Devine Color Peel and Stick Wallpaper Reclaimed Wood Pattern, $29.99, Target.com

4. Candle It Up

Candles are another amazingly cheap and easy way to add a personal and cozy decorating touch. Place a candle in an old mason jar for a rustic look, or put them up against a few small mirrors for an amplified glow.

5. Wine Bottle Lighting

Wine bottle lamps take a little leg work, but if you have a power drill and some patience it is well worth it. You’re also sure to get a ton of compliments from guests on this completely unique accent piece.

6. Paint Is Your Friend!

On the lifestyle blog Living Well, Spending Less, lifestyle blogger and home decor expert Ashley Ann Campbell said, “Whether it is spray paint, porch paint, craft paint or wall paint – nothing can provide an instant makeover and facelift like paint.” If you don’t want to repaint a whole room you can opt for just an accent wall, or even get creative and paint patterns using store-bought stencils or a stencil of your own design. Also, don’t be afraid to paint doors too!

7. Use A Cool Tray For Random Objects

This is crazy simple. Just use a thrift-store or vintage tray as an accent piece for any tables in your home. You can use it to either hold other decorations, like a small vase of flowers or candles, or just as a place for odds and ends, like keys and remote controls. And if you’re really ambitious, you can decorate it with stencils of your choosing.

Glass Serving Tray, $23.99, Wayfair.com

8. Make Hanging Mason Jar Lights

The Sorry Girls have a super simple tutorial on their YouTube channelto walk you through how to make a DIY hanging mason jar light of your very own. These are super unique and will give your space an incredibly cozy feel.

9. Use Plants And Dried Flowers

Flowers are just about the simplest way possible to decorate your space and breathe some fresh life into it. I personally love using old mason jars or wine bottles for this instead of store-bought vases. It just adds that extra little something. And for an added touch, you can spray your jars or vases with metallic paint.

A home full of great accent pieces doesn’t have to break the bank. There are a ton of ways to make your space look amazing with decorations you can make yourself for super low cost; just make sure you have the basic supplies and a few hours, and you’re set!

You can read a lot more about DIY and find some awesome hand tools on Wilson and Miller!

Difference Between Cheap And High Quality Hand Tools

If you own a cheap hand tool set and wondering why quality is such an important feature in hand tools, we explain the difference to you.

If you want to buy a high quality hand tool, be prepared to shell out more. However, they are worth the money, because they are made to last a lifetime. They are a one-time investment.

If you have lot of use for hand tools, it is always better to choose high quality tools. If you are not using hand tools for heavy duty work, you can buy cheap tools. Cheap tools work for certain jobs. You can use them for doing odd jobs around the house. They won’t last long; they won’t stand the test of time or offer the durability you need for industrial or heavy-duty jobs.

Here is a list of differences you’ll notice between cheap and high quality hand tools.

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Cheap hand tools are prone to breaking

  • If you don’t mind replacing broken tools on a regular basis, then buy cheap hand tools. Technicians who buy cheap tools end up spending a lot replacing them as cheap tools bow or crack under pressure.
  • High quality hand tools will last forever with proper care and maintenance. They are worth the investment if you plan to use them often.

The way it feels

  • By the very look of the tools you can make out whether they are cheap or expensive hand tools. The handles of hand tools that are cheap are not very comfortable to use. This is a big issue for mechanics who often use these tools for hours at a stretch. If you are not comfortable with the handles, the quality of work itself will get affected. And, your hands will start to hurt.
  • Well-made tools will feature ergonomic handles that are designed to reduce strain and prevent injury. Cheap tools, on the other hand, just don’t feel good and you won’t find yourself reaching for them when you have a job to do.

Consistency

  • If you are a mechanic, a carpenter or an electrician, reliability is a major concern. You want a hand tool that performs with consistency. Cheap tools can bend or break easily if they’re used heavily or if too much force is applied. You don’t want your work to get affected because of a broken tool. If you’re an electrician, first and foremost you should be concerned about your safety. A cheap tool is not something you can rely on to keep you safe from shocks.
  • Well-made tools are produced from the highest quality materials and handcrafted for excellent dependability. They are made to withstand industrial specifications, and you can rely on them. They are not only safe to use, you can do quality work with them, too.

Cost factor

  • High-quality tools are, indeed, expensive, so most people are tempted to buy cheap tools. But what you should understand is, if you are using cheap tools, you will have to replace them more often and in the process you will lose a lot of money.
  • High quality tools, on the other hand, are a one-time investment. Since they are made of good quality materials you won’t need to replace them every now and then. So by buying well-made tools from a trusted brand you are actually saving a lot of money.

When you work with hand tools as part of your job, always buy tools that are made with good quality materials and from trusted brands. Don’t buy tools according to the price. Instead, make sure they’re made from the best materials.

How to choose the right power tool for home

Unfortunately, owning or living in a property requires a certain level of upkeep and maintenance. Many property owners quickly realise the costs of repairs and will attempt a few small odd jobs themselves.
For larger jobs they will call a licensed trades-person.

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For small things that can easily be done around the house, an individual can use their own power tools to help them tackle the task at hand.

Property owners can spend a lot of time in warehouse hardware stores attempting to find the perfect power tool with little success.
Talking to specialist stores like Wilson and Miller can save novice and experienced renovators a lot of time and embarrassment. Wilson and Miller provides countless hours of training to ensure that there is always someone around to assist.

One of the first things an individual must do to ensure they are choosing the right tools is to get educated about what each tool does. Some tools are indispensable for repairing a leaky faucet and other tools may prove useless when handling such a job. If a property owner has a clear understanding of what the tool does and how it can be used they are much more likely to select the right tools that matter.

Secondly, having a clear idea of each brand is also helpful. The quality and durability of a tool will vary from brand to brand. Wilson and Miller is home to large range of brands and can guide customers through the benefits of each.

Thirdly, consider how often the tool may be used. One might be wise to choose a tool which offers a longer warranty over a tool which may not last as long. The difficulty of use for a power tool is a concern to many tradespeople as well as novice users. A tool which is simple to use, has simple instructions will provide satisfaction to the user every time.
When selecting power tools or any hand tool ensure you speak to the specialists at Wilson and Miller who know their tools!

Overview of basic tools.

Every home needs several good power tools, which will enable you to perform any minor (or sometimes not-so-minor) home repair or renovation job.

The Basic Power Drill

The first tool you need is a good quality power drill. The best drills will enable you to drill any surface from wood, to plaster, to concrete and even brick. However, even a basic drill will perform several useful jobs around the house. A lot of people like the versatility of a cordless drill, but corded drills often give better performance and power, and they don’t run out of power when you need it.

The Jigsaw

The jigsaw is another power tool, which can be used by beginners and more experienced people alike. It allows you to cut circular and curved patterns in wood. Some models are more versatile than others. Look for one that allows you to change blades easily and is easy to handle.

An Orbital Sander

An orbital sander is another very handy power tool. You can buy simple sanders that use plain sandpaper, or random orbital sanders which sands in a random motion to reduce sanding marks. Sanders can be used on wood as well as plaster (very handy when you need to patch holes in walls and other surfaces, and need to sand the surface smoothly).

The Circular Saw

Finally, a circular saw is a very useful power tool for the home handyperson. You may need to get a bit of practice with it, but once you’re comfortable it will enable you to perform a number of cutting tasks quickly and easily.

All of these power tools are handy additions to every household. They can be used by beginners and those who are more experienced, and while you may need a little practice it won’t take long before you can use them like a professional.

Taking Care of Tools

My father used his Yankee screwdriver all the time, and I still grab it when I have a lot of straight-slot screws to drive, say, when I’m installing door hinges. One long push on the handle gets me about three nicely controlled turns on the screw. Sure, cordless drivers are faster, but a Yankee screwdriver is easy on the wrist and quiet, never needs recharging, and has a bit that doesn’t slip off or over-drive the screw. These screwdrivers are still being made, thank goodness, so if my dad’s old one ever breaks, I can replace it.

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RUST BUSTING:
Given enough time, rust will damage metal permanently. Here are some ways to keep it from forming on your tools and to get rid of it if you’ve got it.

To keep rust at bay: Because dust attracts moisture, store tools in a dry place, such as in a drawer or a toolbox. For extra protection, add a canister of silica gel or strips of vapor corrosion inhibitor, like the ones made by Wilson and Miller. They emit a gas that deposits a protective layer on metal surfaces. In damp basement workshops, keep a dehumidifier running.

When rust gets a foothold: Spray lightly rusted surfaces with a penetrating lubricant like WD-40, then scrub with a heavy-duty Scotch-Brite pad. Stay away from sandpaper; it scratches metal. Wipe off excess lubricant before putting the tool away.

For more heavily rusted metal, try a spray-on, wipe-off, acid-based rust remover like Rust Free. Follow with a rust-inhibitor spray like Boeshield T-9, which leaves a thin, waxy film on the surface. Wipe away any excess immediately.

STORAGE:
If you’re lucky enough to own any of the old wooden boxes that tools used to be packaged in, they make great storage places. The wood helps absorb moisture and shields the tools from humidity.

REPAIRING WOOD HANDLES:
A cracked wood handle is relatively easy to glue back together, especially if you can take it off the tool. I prefer yellow wood glue rather than epoxy. It’s easy to work with and stronger than the wood itself.

For handles cracked all the way through, gently separate the two pieces and clean the mating surfaces with a tooth­brush; don’t sand them. Spread a light coat of glue on both faces and into any fissures with a small brush, then clamp the pieces securely—rubber bands work well on length­wise splits. Wipe up excess glue with a damp rag. The clamp can come off in about an hour.