I'm sure you've all been on Pinterest browsing through the multitude of crafts on there and thought, "I can do that!" Am I right? I thought so...haha. We've all done it and probably more than once. I'll admit it---I do it all the time. Now, the next part....how many of you haven't had the tools to complete the project your heart is set on? *raises hand* I'm not talking about the handheld pieces....I'm talking about the BIG stuff...the power tools. I was lucky when I was younger that my dad and grandfather had tools, and I could ask about what I could use in a specific project. I've since moved, and my grandfather passed away, so I don't readily have someone to ask about tools for my projects. My boyfriend has a few tools, but I keep finding stuff I need, so we've accumulated some essentials that I'm going to share with you today in case you've ever been in the same tool situation I was.
#1 Random Orbit Sander
The first essential power tool I'm going to suggest is a Random Orbit Sander. **The one I have below is a Black & Decker 5 inch Random Orbit Sander**It's called this because the rotation and angle of the head and disc are, well, ......random. This specific sander combines the best part of a belt sander (speed and aggressiveness) with a finer finish than an orbital sander. The disc spins and is moved in small elipses so the sandpaper or other abrasive doesn't move in the same path twice in one rotation or leave swirls. You can really feel this if you hold the sander in your hand and turn it on, but don't put it on the surface you're wanting to work on. There's not a really good way to explai. The feeling of these, but you know it when you turn it on for the first time.
One word of caution with this tool: MAKE SURE YOU USE THE PROPER GRIT DISCS FOR YOUR PROJECT!! The project I bought this sander for was turning an old (115 years old) door into a headboard. Now, since there were 10+ layers of paint on it, I knew I needed to go with a low grit to get it off. When I got down to only small bits of paint left, I used the same grit to get in some angles. Don't do that because if you've been having to press harder for a while, you're used to that and will do it in this area, and you'll get.....you guessed it...swirls. Of course this is a quick fix as you need to use a finishing paper to do a last sanding. Not everything is a quick fix, so hence the warning.
#2 The Everday Drill
We've all seen these and know exactly what they are. It's probably the most basic power tool in my opinion. These are great for pretty much anything (just make sure you've got the proper bits and other pieces). I just finished painting my kitchen cabinets--a project that started with "that wallpaper is peeling, I'll take it off and paint the paneling" to " now the trim doesn't match" to " now the cabinets need painting." I had to take the hardware off and give it s good scrubbing (they were nasty) since they'd been there for several decades prior. The drill was my best friend except for when it slipped and slammed into my finger. No one ever said projects weren't without their downsides ;). My drill usage hasn't been limited to this one project. I've done a lot of other projects around the house in my own during the day because I could and I want to do them. I didn't have to wait for help -- except for the one time I was too short to reach. If you were to get only one tool on here, I would definitely say the drill is the first thing you need. We ended up going with the Black & Decker 20-Volt Max Lithium-Ion Matrix Cordless Drill. You understand the reason when you read a little further.
#3 Staple Gun
A staple gun is something I've had to use multiple times in projects I've done. It's easier and less messy than glue. I'm sure we all can agree on that---especially if like me you have a cat that seems to like your work table more than other spots or if you've got children that like to touch stuff even after you've said no. What's great about it is that it works on wood, plastic, or masonry and can be used on various thicknesses if you change out the size of the staple. I think I ended up buying an assortment of sizes because of all the stuff I've gotten into. One thing I will tell you--the first time you use it, you'll jump because you aren't expecting the noise, but some are louder than others. The one I have (that I can't find, imagine that) is a quieter one.
#5 Heat Gun
I'm sure you're all wondering why I have an embossing tool on here. Well, it can actually be used as a heat gun! If you aren't familiar with embossing, I'll make a quick explanation--in scrapbooking, there are embossing powders that melt when heat is applied and look like raised areas on your work. The reason I say all crafters need this is a direct result of that headboard project (which is being mounted this weekend!!!!!!). Now, I started out sanding because I thought that would be the best option due to the number of paint layers on there. I'd told my dad about what I was doing and he suggested paint stripper, which did work but took multiple applications. Fast forward a couple weeks to when my boyfriend and I were visiting my parents. I was talking about how long it was taking to strip the door, and my dad goes, "You can use a heat gun." I wish he'd told me sooner, but now I know and am using it to strip another door that is to be painted like the T.A.R.D.I.S.
Alrighty. This is why we purchased the drill on this list. Take a look at the jigsaw below...no, your eyes aren't fooling you. That's the drill with a jigsaw attachment (don't have the blade in). We got the drill because it could be used with multiple attachments instead of us buying separate tools. You don't have to buy the drill and attachments at the same time, but you can if you need to. You do need to make sure your project is supported because as you cut through, the jigsaw is only going to be supported on one side after the other falls off. It's still easier for me to handle than the sawzall.
In the image below, I'm holding a sawzall--so called because it saws through most everything. I don't have the blade in it (it adds about 8 more inches), but I wanted to show you how big the thing was in comparison to me and why I didn't feel comfortable using it on small projects (I was paranoid that the blade was going to shoot out, and there's no real way to support it at all without steadying the piece you're cutting by laying one arm on it and maneuvering the tool with one hand.) It's mainly used in demolition and construction, but at the time I was needing to cut through a larger piece of wood and didn't have the jigsaw yet ;)
This little dude has been a life-saver. I got it (Dremel 3000) specifically because I work with smaller pieces. You can control the speed, and you have a variety of attachments that go with it (carving and engraving, cutting, polishing and cleaning, grinding and sharpening, and routing). I've used it quite a bit and have been pleased every time. Plus, you don't have to drag out the big boys for your projects.
I hope this has helped give you all some ideas about where to start in purchasing power tools for your projects. Since a majority of crafters are female, I feel like some guidance needed to be offered. It's perfectly ok to be single and have your own power tools; it's also ok for all the married/taken gals to have their own tools separate from their husbands/boyfriends/fiances. Just because we're female doesn't mean that we can't use a power tool. It's always fun to look at people's faces when you go in somewhere to get a tool and they find out it's for you and not a husband/significant other.
Now, go get yourself a tool or tools, roll your sleeves up, and get working!
Until next time,
Hi! I’m Meagan, designer for The Prickly Pear. I’ve created this blog to not only showcase my work and other crafty information, but also to give you an inside look into my life.