Tools

 

Here is a list of tools that I either own, have owned, or have had the opportunity to try in the past.

 

Large Machines

 

Dewalt DW745 Table Saw 

You can buy the Dewalt DW745 here: Amazon US or Amazon UK

 

This is the tool I use the most in the workshop, it’s a good quality contractor’s saw so is relatively easy to carry it around (even though I don't do that often), and I have found it to cut well and accurately.  I bought it new (and I very rarely buy new tools) for around £400– I figured it was worth spending a decent amount of money for it, as I knew I’d be using it so much.  I wanted a low profile riving knife for it but couldn’t find one for sale anywhere, so I ended up cutting the existing riving knife with my angle grinder and then shaping it on the grinder and belt sander – which worked out really well.  I also made a table saw stand for it which is mounted on casters so I can move it around the workshop with ease, there's a video for that on YouTube here if you want to see it.

Likes

  • The rack and pinion fence is excellent
  • The saw is very solidly built and feels robust, and I expect it to last many many years
  • Cuts very accurately - good enough for precision work with a zero clearance insert 
  • It's easy to tune up - squaring up the fence with the blade and setting the marker against the measuring tape can be done with allen key/screwdriver

Dislikes

  • I find the saw to be loud (ear protectors are a must while using)
  • The arbour doesn’t take a dado stack as it's an EU model
  • The mitre gauge that comes with it is rubbish, flimsy and doesn’t fit snugly in the slots, however that seems to be a common problem 

Axminster White Sliding Mitre Saw

 

This tool is no longer available to buy.

Before I got this, I did all my cross cuts on a cross cut jig on my table saw.  Now I use it for virtually all my cross cuts.  The sliding arm allows a cutting capacity at 90 degrees is 300mm and it has a maximum recommended depth cut of 60mm – it’s more than adequate for most cuts.  I bought it second-hand from a local woodworker who was advertising items for sale.  It was a real bargain! If you happen to find one, I'd recommend getting it.

Likes

  • Cuts very accurately and cleanly – there is virtually no movement / play in the sliding arm when it's fully extended
  • Has an induction motor so is much quieter to use than most electric saws which I really like
  • Good cutting capacity
  • It's a compound mitresaw so tilts and swivels for lots of angle cutting options

Dislikes

  • Doesn't have a depth of cut adjustment, so can't cut grooves/slots on it
  • I had some issues setting the fence square to the blade - there wasn't quite enough adjustment in it.  I tried adapting the fence by drilling out the holes to be wider, but still couldn't get it square.  I'm sure that this is probably not a manufacturing fault with the saw itself - I suspect it may have had a knock or something at some point before I got it.  Anyway, I got around this issue by replacing the stock fence with an aluminium angle at my mitre station.  Video documenting the process is available here.

 

Charnwood B350 Bandsaw

You can buy the Charnwood B350 here: Amazon UK

This is a 14" bandsaw purchased in December 2015 to upgrade my ELU EBS 3401 (see below).  It is one of Charnwood's "premium" models. I bought it new from Kendal Tools in the UK for around £500.  You can check our my video about it here

Likes

  • The rack and pinion table tilt system is excellent
  • Quick release blade tension
  • Rip fence is sturdy and accurate
  • Saw is powerful, cuts through thick blocks of hardwood and softwood with a decent quality blade fitted
  • Has some great accessories: a built in flexible light, a dust tray, useful places to hold mitre guage and push stick
  • Was well tuned straight out of the box 

Dislikes

  • There is a tiny bit of slack in the mitre slots when using the mitre guage, but less than 1mm of play so not too bad
  • The supplied 3TPI blade is poor quality and dulled very quickly

 

 

 
 
 
Elektra Beckum Planer/Thicknesser HC260M
 

This tool is no longer available to buy.

I bought this second-hand from a local woodworker for a good price.  It performs well and feels like a quality machine.  I’ve never used another planer/thicknesser so I don’t have anything to compare it with, but I'm generally really happy with it.

Likes

  • Quiet induction motor so it runs pretty quietly for this sort of machine
  • Build quality seems very good

Dislikes

  • I’m not too fond of the fence system and how it attaches to the top while in "jointer” mode - it attaches with a single cam lever and is awkward to tighten.  

 

 

Record Power BD150 Benchtop Belt and Disc Sander

You can buy the Record Power BD150 here: Amazon UK

Bought from Screwfix for £139.99 on "special offer".  This is much more powerful than my older Clarke sander (see below), although there was a slight belt tracking issue (belt wouldn't run true) and the sanding belt ended up cutting through the piece of metal that supports the top piece of the machine. Therefore I had to super glue on a piece of metal to create a gap so that it would operate properly... For that reason I wouldn't necessarily recommend this machine!  It is running OK now though.

 

 

Clarke CDP101B Drill Press

This tool is no longer available to buy.

I bought this second-hand from a local woodworker for a really good price. I am looking to upgrade at some point, but the drill press isn't a tool I use very often so it can wait.

Likes

  • Performs well
  • Well built

Dislikes

  • None
  • Seems under-powered, sometimes it stops mid-drilling if you don't clear the chips frequently

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarke CBG6SB 6” Benchtop Grinder with Sanding Belt

You can buy the Clarke CGB6SB here: Amazon UK

I've used the grinding stone a fair bit, and I use a 400 grit sanding belt for sharpening - putting a new edge on to old stanley knife blades so that they can be used again and again - that sort of thing.  I bought it new from Amazon, it was £65, and I’m happy with it for that price, but it's not a high quality tool.  For the occasional user it does the job just fine

Likes

  • Seems powerful enough to get most jobs done

Dislikes

  • The grinder eye shield guard broke the day I bought it – I dropped something on it so it’s my fault, however it does seem very brittle and cheaply made - but you get what you pay for and I always wear goggles when I use it anyway
 
Evolution Rage 3 sliding mitre saw and stand I NO LONGER HAVE THIS
 

You can buy the Evolution Rage 3 here: Amazon US or Amazon UK

Evolution got in touch with me and asked me if I wanted to try out this saw in a video, and kindly sent it to me free of charge.  I did a video review and comparison between it and my Axminster mitre saw which is available here. I also made a wine rack pallet wood project build video which is available here.  I was generally really impressed with the saw and was happy with how it performed.  I consider it to be good value as it isn't expensive,  I would have liked to keep it as a jobsite saw as it's light and easy to manouvre (and the stand that it came with is excellent), however it's very rare that I do any projects outside of my workshop, and I didn't have any space to store it, so I sold it.

Likes:

  • Ability to alter the depth of cut adjustment for cutting part of the way through material
  • Blade cuts through metal with ease - great for pallet wood projects or wood which might have nails in it
  • Light and portable
  • Has a lazer guide which seems accurate
  • Sliding arm is smooth and easy to manouvre
  • Cuts accurately 

Dislikes:

  • Doesn't cut quite as clean as my Axminster saw (probably due to the differently designed blade)
  • My Axminster has an induction motor so it's quiet, the Evolution does not, although at this price point you wouldn't expect one!

 

ELU Bandsaw EBS 3401 - I NO LONGER HAVE THIS - I UPGRADED TO CHARNWOOD B350 (SEE ABOVE)

This tool is no longer available to buy.

I bought this second-hand on eBay, replaced the blade and gave it a good clean up.  I was never satisfied with the way it performed and I don’t think it’s a very good quality machine. 

Likes

  • It cuts.  It does the job, but not particularly well

Dislikes

  • Build quality not great
  • It lacks power
  • Fence system is not accurate 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarke CDP101B Benchtop Belt and Disc Sander - I NO LONGER HAVE THIS - UPGRADED TO RECORD POWER BD150 

I bought this machine second-hand from a local woodworker who was advertising items for sale, it was very cheap as it had seen a lot of use over the years.  

Unfortunately the tracking and alignment issues with the belt sander, and Clarke no longer sell the replacement part I need (which is a worn "Idler Shaft" that fits inside the drum), so I've bought a new machine (Record Power BDS150 - see above).

Likes

  • Decent build quality

Dislikes

  • It lacks power for some tasks

 

 

Corded Hand Power Tools

 

Bosch PST 700E Handheld Jigsaw

You can buy the Bosch PST 700E here: Amazon UK 

I bought this second-hand from a local woodworker for a good price.  I’ve been really impressed with it’s performance.

Likes

  • Light weight and easy to handle
  • Feels powerful and excellent build quality
  • Cuts accurately
  • Has a blower function (which you can turn on or off) that blows the chips away as you're cutting - a great feature

Dislikes

  • None

 

Makita RT0700C Handheld Trim Router

 

You can buy the Makita RT0700C here: Amazon UK or Amazon US

I don't tend to use routers much, but since I bought this one I've been using them a lot more!  This came in so useful while I was making the electric guitar.  

Likes

  • Variable speed setting
  • Very comfortable to use
  • The base depth is easy to adjust and works on a rack and pinion type system
  • Has a really good quality, thick rubberised cable 

Dislikes

  • Nothing! I love this thing

You can buy the Makita RT0700C here: Amazon US or Amazon UK

 

 

 

 

 

Bosch PBS 75A Belt Sander

You can buy the Bosch PBS 75A here: Amazon UK

I'm yet to use this, but I hope that I have finally found a belt sander capable of not breaking!  It seems pretty solidly built, it's heavy but comfortable to hold.  I bought this because I've had really good experiences with Bosch's green DIY tool range in the past - I've never had a problem with any of their tools in fact. So fingers crossed!

 

Ryobi EBS800 Handheld Belt Sander BROKEN

You can buy the Ryobi EBS800 here: Amazon UK

I bought this “factory refurbished” on eBay. I mainly went for this model because of the dust box, which I prefer to a dust bag.  It worked well for a while, but I hadn't used it an awful lot when all of a sudden it started rattling really badly and now it sounds like there is some sort of metal plate moving around loose inside the machine.  I took all the screws out but couldn't find a way in to it so have passed it on to a friend (who has more experience at fixing electrical things than I do) to see if it can be fixed

Likes

  • Powerful and body shape is well designed - comfortable to use
  • Build quality is good – plastic, but it feels robust
  • I like the dust collection box – much better than having a bag flapping around
  • Handles well – has an adjustable front handle for two hand use, and it’s a good weight – not too heavy

Dislikes

  • It broke, and has not had much use! Therefore I wouldn't recommend this product

 

Bosch PKS46 Handheld Circular Saw

 

 

This tool is no longer available to buy.

I bought this second-hand from a local woodworker for a really good price.  It’s pretty small for a circular saw and takes a maximum 6” blade which still give you a 40mm depth cut, which I find is good enough for most cuts.

Likes

  • Light weight and easy to handle
  • Feels powerful and good build quality

Dislikes

  • None

 

Makita BO5021 Handheld Orbital Sander

This tool is no longer available to buy.

This is the sander I use by far the most as it leaves a really good finish.  I recently replaced the backing pad as it’s seen a lot of use and Velcro on the original pad was starting to lose it’s grip.  I bought this second-hand from a local woodworker for a really good price. 

Likes

  • Leaves an excellent finish
  • Comfortable to hold and to use
  • Build quality is excellent
  • Dust collection bag is well designed
  • Very quick on it's maximum speed setting - capable of removing material quickly

Dislikes

  • None

 

Silverline 247820 Power Belt File

You can buy the Silverline Power Belt File here: Amazon UK

This thing is pretty good for the price - I bought this new on Amazon for around £25 and it's been really useful.  If you don't have a spindle sander, this thing comes in really handy.

Likes

  • Variable speed setting
  • Surprisingly not too noisy for a cheap tool

Dislikes

  • None

 

VonHaus Handheld Oscillating Multi Tool

 

You can buy the VonHaus multi tool here: Amazon UK

I bought this new from Amazon for only £25. It has handled everything I’ve used it for with ease so far – including ceramic tile cutting, detail sanding, etc.

Likes

  • Works well
  • Handles really nicely – a pleasure to use

Dislikes

  • None

 

Draper 23035 Handheld Biscuit Jointer

 

You can buy the Draper 23035 here: Amazon UK

I've only used this once or twice, despite having it for well over a year but I do plan to use it more for joining panels as it works well.  I picked this up secondhand from a local woodworker

 

 

Black & Decker CD115 Angle Grinder

 

You can buy the Black & Decker CD115 here: Amazon UK

I bought this on Amazon for under £40.  Haven't used it often, but when I have used it it's been really good. 

Likes

  • Comfortable to use and well built
  • Comes with 5 spare discs

Dislikes

None

 

Draper 90088 Handheld Router

I have this fitted to a Charnwood W012 router table most of the time, and use it occasionally for round overs.  Recently the plastic switch that sets the depth broke off while I was using it - therefore I wouldn't recommend it...

 

Stanley Hot Glue Gun

You can buy the Stanley Glue gun here: Amazon US or Amazon UK

This is my first ever hot glue gun, and I'm not quite sure how I ever lived without one.  I bought this on Amazon for under £10

Likes

  • Has 2 heat settings (high and low)
  • Glue sticks are easy to come by, and this comes with a box of them too

Dislikes

  • None

 

 

Cordless Hand Power Tools

I use both the Bosch 18v "Power 4 All" and Makita 18v LXT cordless tools and I share batteries between tools.  I'd recommend sticking to just one range of products for ease and flexibility.

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Bosch PSB 1800 LI-2 Cordless Drill

You can buy the Bosch PSB1800 here: Amazon UK

I bought this drill new, I chose it because it was smaller and more lightweight than most drills, and I wanted lithium battery over Ni-Cad.  I like this drill quite a lot - so much that I actually ended up buying a second one so I can have one with a drill bit and one with a counter sink bit.  

Likes

  • Lightweight and small – a pleasure to handle
  • Powerful
  • Battery charges very quickly
  • LED light works well
  • Has a battery charge level indicator

Dislikes

  • None
     

 

 

 

Makita DTD152 Cordless Impact Driver

You can buy the Makita DTD152 here: Amazon UK or Amazon US

I bought this because I previously had an Erbauer ERI6041 impact driver that broke - it started making a chattering noise and wouldn't drive screws.  Luckily it was within warranty period so I took it back to ScrewFix for a refund.

I chose the Makita mainly because it's slightly more compact than some of the others available so it's good for tight spaces, and also I'd used a Makita impact driver before and been really impressed with it.

Likes

  • Compact
  • LED light 
  • Powerful
  • Comfortable in the hand

Dislikes

  • None

 

Makita DSS610Z Cordless Circular Saw

You can buy the Makita DSS610Z here: Amazon UK or Amazon US

I bought this because I wanted something cordless that I could use in the garden to rip down large sheets etc. without having to run a power line outside.  I chose the Makita mainly because I already had an impact driver that runs from the same batteries.

Likes

  • Works well and cuts cleanly and accurately
  • Handles well and is not heavy
  • Plenty powerful enough even for cuts through thick material
  • It's so nice not to have a cord!

Dislikes

  • The blade guard is plastic, and when the tool is not in use it is resting on it so I can see it getting damaged
  • No riving knife, and not sure why

 

Makita DBO 180Z Cordless Random Orbit Sander

You can buy the Makita DBO 180Z here: Amazon UK or Amazon US

I bought this because I wanted something cordless that I could use in the garden without having to run a power line outside.  I chose the Makita mainly because I already had an impact driver that runs from the same batteries.

Likes

  • It's comfortable to hold
  • Has 3 variable speed settings

Dislikes

  • The top speed setting isn't as quick as the setting on my corded Makita sander, although having said that it doesn't seem to sand any slower (strangely!)

 

Makita DKP180Z Cordless Hand Planer

You can buy the Makita DKP180Z here: Amazon UK or Amazon US

I bought this because I wanted something cordless that I could use in the garden without having to run a power line outside.  I chose the Makita mainly because I already had an impact driver that runs from the same batteries.

I'm yet to use it, but I have tried it out on a test piece and it cuts so cleanly.  Look forward to using it more

 

 

AEG BSB 18 CBL Brushless Cordless Hammer Drill

You can buy the AEG BSB 18 CBL here: Amazon UK

AEG got in touch with me and asked me if I wanted to try out this tool in a video so I did - and here is the video. 

It came with 2x 4Ah batteries, a side handle and charger.

In my tests it outperformed my Bosch drills (as can be expected), but it's a much more expensive, professional quality tool, and to be honest I feel it is slightly wasted on me and it deserves to be used by someone who is using it on a daily basis so I may not hang on to it for long.

Likes

  • Feels fantastic in the hand - very comfortable and rubberised grips
  • Solidly built - e.g. bottom of the batteries is metal rather than plastic
  • Has a removable chuck with a hex driver inside which is a fantastic feature - easy to swap between drilling and driving screws
  • Very powerful
  • Has much higher specs than my other drills and a brushless motor 

Dislikes

  • The chuck attachments (right angle and offset) do not come with the tool which is a shame at this price point

 

Ryobi CHD-1441 Cordless Drill and CHI-1442P Cordless Drill - I NO LONGER HAVE THESE

I bought these as a pair, second-hand from a local woodworker for a really good price. They're decent enough, but these run on NiCad batteries and I wanted to upgrade to using Lithium Ion.

Likes

  • Build quality is good - robust
  • Powerful 

Dislikes

  • Batteries take a long time to charge

 

 

Tacwise 400EL Pro Master Nailer I NO LONGER HAVE THIS

I bought this second-hand from a local woodworker for a really good price. I wouldn't recommend buying one

Likes

  • Never seems to clog up or misfire

Dislikes

  • Doesn't fire nails in properly at all...  You have to apply an awful lot of downward pressure and it still fails to fire nails in all the way most of the time....  One to avoid!

 

 

Air Tools

 

Makita AF505 Brad Air Nailer

You can buy the Makita AF505 here: Amazon UK or Amazon US

I bought this new on Amazon and it's served me really well so far

Likes

  • I've never had a blockage
  • It handles well and has a useful tool hook 
  • It has an adjustable depth setting 

Dislikes

  • None

 

Stanley 24l Air Compressor

You can buy the Stanley 24l Air Compressor here: Amazon UK

This is my first ever air compressor, so I have nothing to compare it with and I don't know too much about them.  I bought this for around £100 from Screwfix and it came with lots of accessories.  It has worked well so far and I've had no issues with it

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unknown brand Air Nailer This was reluctantly thrown in the bin as the casing had perished and it started leaking air so couldn't be fixed

I bought this secondhand at a car boot sale for £6 and it's served me really well so far! I don't know who made it but it's built really solid (metal body) and handles well.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Dust Extraction

 

Fox F50-800 Wet & Dry Dust Extractor

You can buy the Fox F50-800 here: Amazon UK

I bought this new for around £140 from eBay, and I’ve been really impressed with it.  In fact, I love it!

I use this for my mitre saw and bench top sander, and also for vacuuming the floor of my shop.

Likes

  • Comes with lots of accessories and various size adaptors which is really useful
  • Auto start feature and build in socket 
  • Powerful suction
  • Not too noisy
  • Good build quality – feels robust
  • Hose quality is excellent
  • The 30l capacity bin is great and doesn't require emptying very often

Dislikes

  • None

 

 

 

 

Titan TTB430VAC 30l Wet & Dry Vacuum

I bought this from ScrewFix for around £70, 

I opted for this one as I needed something that would fit inside my tablesaw stand so there was a height constraint - and this one just about manages to squeeze in where I wanted it.

Likes

  • Good suction and works well
  • Has an automatic start function and power socket built in

Dislikes

  • The 30l capacity bin fills very quickly and needs frequent emptying due to the size and shape of the filter
  • The hose is cheap plastic not very good quality but can be expected at this price point
  • Quite noisy

 

 

Hand Tools

Rededa No. 2 Vise

I use this all the time, and really happy with it.  Built like a tank.  When I got it, it was in bad shape – check out my Vise restoration video LINK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3AArHOTO-I