Carpentry Power Tools

by Larry Tate

Electric Handsaw This saw looks something like a hand-saw, but it cuts with power. Sawing occurs both coming and going and moves at 8,000 cutting-strokes per minute. The tool can be equipped with 8" or 16" blades and there are enough blade designs so working on various materials is not a problem.


The tool is very popular with home builders and remodelers since it can saw heavy or light materials, even through walls. Landscapers use it for pruning and, as examples of its versatility, it's used by butchers, farmers, paper manufacturers, crate builders, and others. It is not a difficult tool to use and has built-in safety features like a blade that stops in less than 11/2 seconds, and a blower that clears chips from the work line.

Portable Bandsaw This is not a tool you will find in every home workshop but it is a type you will find in rental shops. The portable, metal cutting bandsaw is appreciated by folks who are planning for a house foundation and have a lot of reinforcement bars to cut, and others who are usually or temporarily involved in working with bar stock, angle iron, pipe, and so on.

These tools have plenty of power for heavy metal cutting and often offer a choice of speeds (in feet per minute) so an efficient one can be selected for the job at hand. The tools are limited in cut-off length, but it's what they can get through that counts. Capacities can be 31/4" to 33/4" in round stock, and 31/4" by better than 4" in rectangular material. The tool has everything needed for efficient operation planetary gearing system for power directly to the endless blade, adjustable blade guides and tension knob, and an assortment of available blades. An accessory is a stand/vise combination so the unit can be used in stationary fashion.

Slim-Belt Sander/Grinder Black & Decker calls the product shown in Figures 12-5 and 12-6 the "Powerfile". It is a unique tool in that it can drive endless, abrasive belts as narrow as 1/4" and polishing pads as narrow as I/8". Add to this interchangeable arms of various lengths and a sanding head that rotates through a 135° arc. and you can visualize how handy the tool can be for filing, debut-ring, sanding, and polishing in tight places and on odd-shaped surfaces. In many situations it does jobs that can't be accomplished with a conventional sander or grinder. The tool is less than 17" long and weighs about 4 lbs.

Slim-Belt Belt Sander The product is a 11/2" x 21" belt sander that is designed for ex11ent maneuverability when doing close quarter work. The front pulley is exposed so you can even get into tight, inside curves. Its removable side handle can be locked in at various angles so you can place hands in positions that are most suitable for the job. Accessory belts are available in seven grit sizes.

Powered Metal Shears Cutting a few lengths of sheet metal with a good pair of hand shears is no problem. but when you have a lot more to do you can speed the work and do it more easily and more accurately with electric sheet metal cutters. Power, which determines the maximum metal-gauge units can get through, differs from tool to tool, but most are fairly light in weight and are designed for one-hand use. It's easier to get good results with these tools if you provide adequate support for the work near the cutline.

Electric Staplers and Nail Guns You can appreciate the difference between a hand stapler and an electric one on jobs like installing ceiling tiles, vapor barriers, carpeting, and weather stripping. Most can be used with staples of various sizes and designs so the right choice can be made for the material being fastened. Many jobs that are usually done with brads or tacks can be done faster and more efficiently with a powered stapler.

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