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New Tool Frenzy

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 01-23-2010 08:29 AM 969 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Kind of interesting how outside forces can affect your decisions on a more personal level. Obvious to everyone, we are in a bit of a tough economic time right now. I work in information technology and that is a field easily outsourced. Right now, I make ends meet and live a rather simple life. I work from home, make an ok wage, pay my child support, and make gradual improvements in the home. If something were to happen to my job, I have a few skills in other areas and could make ends meet, but the niceties of a few extra bucks wouldn’t be there. So, I have been investing the left overs into my shop and my tool collection. I guess my thought line is that if times were very tough, there would be people willing to buy the wood for me to build them something, but not many that would stand in line to buy me the tools. So, that is where my investments have been going.

As a member of the club that is called “newbie,” I can tell you that having poor tools is almost like being in an abusive relationship. No matter what you try, you feel like you always fail, everything is your fault, and you start feeling like you deserve your god awful fate. You even start to flinch automatically, when you run your boards through the machines because you are so used to deflection, runout, and the occasional kickback. I have to tell you that making the transition to a more satisfactory collection of tools is like discovering that falling in love is still possible in one’s middle age years.

Latest purchase was today. I picked up the Porter Cable 3 gun 6 gallon compressor combo kit at the Home Depot. I don’t give reviews until I am familiar enough with a tool and have had enough time to understand and fully use it, so I have to express my elation in a blog. I have been wanting a compressor for a very long time. A friend of mine helped me re-roof the backside of my house and that was the first time I ever used a pneumatic tool. I himned and hawed for quite some time, and used restraint when the HD cheap Christmas deals came out. I noticed, though, that the HD and Amazon websites stopped carrying the 3 gun kit so figured I better be acting soon or I will have to come up with another choice. I believe the item is either discontinued, or heading that way. Anyway, HD had them on sale for $259 which was not a bad price for the unit. So I was like a school boy for most of the day playing with the new toy. I was very happy I didn’t cave with the cheaper models and I have to tip a hat to Porter Cable for putting together a nice unit at an affordable price. The guns felt good in the hand and didn’t take me long to get the hang of them.

So right now, romance is not dead in the Craig household, just directed to something other than the breathing. I will be stockpiling this year and will stop when the employment runs thin or when I have decided I have enough tools (like that is ever going to happen).

Happy Woodworking all,

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.



6 comments so far

View Ecocandle's profile

Ecocandle

1013 posts in 1721 days


#1 posted 01-23-2010 08:59 AM

I don’t have one of those yet. It sounds like you made a great choice. A pneumatic hammer is something that I have craved for some time. It is on the list.

Thanks for sharing. :-)

-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2477 days


#2 posted 01-23-2010 01:47 PM

David, it sounds like you bought yourself a solid set of nail guns. I find them so indispensible that I doubt seriously if I will ever drive a nail by hand anymore. And I agree with you that, when it comes to spending money on a tool, it is better to “cry once when you buy the tool rather than the many times that you use it”.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1763 days


#3 posted 01-23-2010 03:46 PM

Thanks Brian and Scott. I kind of rambled a little with this post. i think it might have been the JD ;)

These are nice guns, especially considering the price and that it was part of a combo unit. The compressor usually sells for about $170, so to get a brad nailer, finish nailer, and crown stapler for another 90, I just couldn’t pass that up anymore.

The bodies are magnesium, strong and lightweight. The guns and compressor are also oilless, which I know starts the whole debate on oilless vs oiled. I work with pine, mostly because that is what I have readily available, and I have had some miserable times where it would crack when I was tapping in a brad. It got to the point where I pre-drilled all the holes and that gets to be a real pain. Much more pleasant to set a depth, make a few test shots, then just pull the trigger. I think these are the coolest tools I ever bought. I didn’t go with a bumper trigger. It may be slower, but I like taking the time to align the shot and know that whatever I am working with won’t look like it was handled by Al Capone with a Tommy Gun.

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View THEGREATPUMPKIN's profile

THEGREATPUMPKIN

56 posts in 1763 days


#4 posted 01-23-2010 04:13 PM

The next thing you’ll want is a pin nailer, super handy, you can barley see the hole. JIM

-- A day without sawdust is like a day without sunshine

View rtb's profile

rtb

1099 posts in 2368 days


#5 posted 01-23-2010 06:01 PM

David , and Brian. A word of caution. Pneumatic tools are great if fact more than great, and by and large very affordable, and being able to keep you tires at really peak pressure without having to pay to add lbs of pressure is a great money saver BUT the small compressors are going to give out with heavy use. And these tools are going to create more and more needs for more and more tools (Brian could have said that better). Point is, start thinking About a larger compressor. Not a 60 or 80 gallon hardwired guy but one of the larger ones on wheels and save the wear and tear on you small one. Don’t sell it or give it away, the day will come when you will want to do some work away from the shop, like in the house and being to take your air with you will save hours and help you do a better job. PS I have 6 nailers not counting the HF pinner, and several mechanical tools which sometimes be had for free when you get a larger compressor. I am not a mechanic but shop tools and tractor, lawnmower etc have made having these very worth it.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1763 days


#6 posted 01-23-2010 06:09 PM

Thanks rtb, good advice and definitely something I will add to my think tank. One of the reasons why I didn’t go with a tank less than 6. With my on call work schedule, I don’t get to spend as much time in the shop as I like, so I won’t be hitting the compressor too hard for some time. I think it only kicked on 2 times last night, and I was down there for a few hours. I have some house projects coming up in which the pneumatic will be handy. I also like to work with small items in which a supporting brad or two would be helpful. When I start going more full force with a shop overhaul, I will be adding a dedicated 20 gallon to the list.

And Jim, you are right, a pin nailer is one of those items I will be looking at for finer fastenings. Of course I really dug myself deep this time, picking a tool with an endless assortment of accessories and buildup options.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

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