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Woodworking Tools: Right Selection And Care Will Save You Money, Part 5
Woodworking: Tools Of The Trade, Part 5 - Tools For Assembly
A civilization's maturity and intelligence is judged, in part, by the diversity and sophistication of its tools. When it comes to woodworking, the human race is quite advanced. There are general tools that work well in many situations, and there are specialty tools made for one specific purpose. There are tools that require only manpower and a rudimentary knowledge, and others that utilize computer programs, a wide range of knowledge, and a powerful motor. We have even learned how to harness power for our tools and package it in a small battery component, giving us the freedom to take our tools wherever we need them.
It is truly amazing and wonderful to contemplate the vast number of tools and all that woodworkers are capable of doing and creating with the help of these tools. And for many people, working with tools is one of the thrills, or even obsessions, of woodworking.
Woodworking and related tools have become so popular that there are numerous companies that manufacture these tools and thousands of places to purchase them. Combine that with the vast numbers of different types of tools and it can get overwhelming, especially if you are new to woodworking. Our experts helped us focus on the basics to develop an overview of those tools needed to get a good start in woodworking.
In the most basic terms, a woodworker needs four kinds of tools. They need a place to work, tools for cutting and shaping, tools for assembly, and finishing equipment. This simple statement provides the basis for the following discussion of woodworking tools.
The tools listed and described here represent just the tip of the iceberg. In keeping with the philosophy that it is best to learn the basics first, and to not invest large sums of money until a person is certain that they have an ongoing interest in woodworking, the emphasis is on hand tools, with a few basic power tools thrown in. These tools should prepare you for a variety of beginner projects and give you a solid foundation of equipment and knowledge to build upon.
Tools For Assembly
Within each of these groups, there are different sizes and specialties of screwdrivers. Some come with ratchet action or interchangeable bits. Some have magnetized tips to help hold screws.
Care & Maintenance
Hammers & Mallets
Care & Maintenance
There are many different kinds of clamps, named for the way they look, the material they are made from, how they are operated or what they are used for. The C-clamp and F-clamp, named for how they look, are two types that are usually operated by tightening a bolt. The area that comes in contact with the wood usually swivels to adjust to different angles and surfaces. These clamps come in an amazing array of sizes to accommodate nearly any job.
When working with metal clamps, the teeth or surface that holds the wood can often cut or dent your material. Use scrap pieces of wood as a buffer between to avoid damaging your work. Some people use wooden hand screw clamps that consist of two blocks of wood tightened by large screws. There are also pipe clamps for large spans, trigger release clamps, edging clamps with a third tightening shoe, and several other specialty designs to fit your specific needs.
A vise is a heavy-duty type of clamp that is often mounted on a workbench. It can be used in many different situations and most open quite wide to accommodate a variety of projects.
In addition, select the type of clamp that fits your needs and the layout of your shop. If you don't have a designated workbench, a vise may be difficult for you to incorporate. On the other hand, you may want to set up a temporary workstation or be able to move your projects to different areas. In that case, clamps that are portable would be best.
Care & Maintenance
A brace is a powerful and useful tool that is often overlooked because of the popularity of power drills. But it is used by those who have a large hole to bore, enjoy more traditional work, don't have an outlet nearby, or feel that the brace gives more control. It resembles an inchworm in mid-crawl, with a chuck and ratchet on one end, an oval head on the other and a handle that juts out in a squared U-shape. The chuck opens and closes to accept bits of all different sizes, and is often used for holes over 1/2 inch and up to 5 inches. The tool is used by pushing down on the head and turning in a circular motion using the handle.
Another option for smaller holes is a hand drill that is powered by a drive crank and gear wheel. It is used for holes under 1/2 inch. It can be difficult to keep straight if drilling into hard wood that requires more pressure. A gimlet is a handheld tool also used for smaller, shallower holes, such as a pilot for a nail or screw. It is shaped like a T, with a handle across the top and the shank extending down perpendicular.
Of course, the popularity and relative affordability of power drills has made them one of the most common of home tools. The limitation is that some of them will not take the larger bits that the brace can accommodate. Other people find them noisy and hard to hold or direct for small, intricate jobs.
Bits usually are purchased separately and range in price from several dollars to over $30 each. They are often made for use with different types of wood density. When buying used, look for bits that have plenty of usable length left with straight shafts and no nicks.
Care & Maintenance
It is also important to note again that each type of tool has its own care and maintenance needs that are often more specific than what has been touched on here. The details have been left out of this book to avoid overwhelming someone who is brand new to woodworking. However, their omission does not mean they aren't important.
"Failing to care for your tools is ridiculous from a financial standpoint," stated shop teacher, Kevin Warner. "Why spend $20 on a good quality handsaw or clamp and then allow it to go dull or rust? Not only will you loose money, your work will suffer because your tools won't perform as intended. And it will take you more time in the long run. Taking good care of your tools is one of the first steps in becoming a serious woodworker."
Copyright © 2005 by Ferhat Gul. All rights reserved. You may redistribute this article in its unedited entirety, including this resource box, with all hyperlinked URLs kept intact.
Ferhat Gul is the publisher of the brand-new "Woodworking Beginner's Guide - Tips From Experienced Woodworkers to Help You Get Started", made just for people who love woodworking. This comprehensive, yet compact woodworking introduction for beginners is easy to read and helps to save time, money and effort.
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