Power tools do any job quicker and often better than hand tools. The costs of good power tools have comc down in recent years, so they are generally affordable. We think they pay for themselves in time saved and in work quality. As with any tool, however, you must practice with a power tool to find out how to get the most out of it.
There are two classes of power tools, the portable and those that mount on a workbench or stand alone. The bench tools and stand-alone units include the wood lathe, the band saw, the drill press, the joiner, the jigsaw, the shapcr, and the radial arm saw. Any or all of these arc wonderful to have in a workshop, and you can find all kinds of uses for them. Lach of them, however, requires a major investment in money and in workshop space — and you can do furniture restoration without them.
The portable power tools you can use in furniture restoration include the electric
When you veneer, you'll need a veneer saw and roller (If you have a wallpaper seam -oiler, use it. It Is the same thing.)
An electric sander simplifies the job of sanding Avoid using sanding discs in a portable electric drll always use a straight or orbital sander similar to the one shown drill, the sabre saw. and the electric sand-er. It' you make furniture or have to make many replacement parts, the router is a good versatile addition to your tool collection. In overall importance, wc rate the electric sander first, and then the electric drill.
Sanders Three kinds of sanders arc available at most hardware and home center stores: the oscillating sander, in which the abrasive paper moves back and forth rapidly and imitates the back and forth motion of hand sanding: the orbital sander, which moves the abrasive paper in a small-diameter circle; and the belt sander, which has a continuous belt of abrasive paper or cloth that runs constantly at high speed. Some units now available are combination oscillating and orbital sanders. You control the motion of the abrasive paper by turning a switch,
Each of these sanders has its specific use. The oscillating sander is the best all-around sander for most people. Its sanding action is straight-line and relatively slow, so the novice doesn't make as many mistakes with it. The orbital sander is specifically a finishing tool, used for putting that final smooth finish on wood. It doesn't remove much material, even when used with coarse abrasive paper. The belt sander, on the other hand, cuts into wood fast, even with fine and medium abrasive papers. En restoration work, handle the belt sander carefully or you will cut deeper than you intended.
Your best buy is a combination oscillating/orbital unit. If your budget allows it, add a belt sander later.
Electric Drill An electric drill can do a lot of jobs in addition to drilling holes, it can be converted to a circular sander, or a drum sander, or a disc sander. It can be used with a wire brush to remove rust, paint and finishes. It is, with the addition of attachments, the most versatile tool you can huy.
Electric drills come in 'A-, V»-. and '/2-inch sizes, with these numbers referring to the size of the chuck (the device that grips the drill bits and other attachments). The power rating of the drill generally varies with the size, ranging from Vy to Wz horsepower, For most home workshops, the (4-inch model is fine. If you expect to do some heavy duty work on occasion, then go up to the M-irtch model.
When buying a drill, features to look for include a variable speed trigger, which permits you to control the speed of the drill by squeezing the trigger, and double insulation. This allows the use of a two-prong plug because the shell and the chuck are completely insulated from the wiring.
The cheapest units have minimum horsepower. low-quality bearings and may hum out if used for heavy duty work: they are fine for light duty chores. As a rule, if you buy recognized brand names, you can as-
A belt sander is a fast worker, great for removing material fast But be careful of it. You can dig trenches in the surface with it ii you work too carelessly.
An electric sander simplifies the job of sanding Avoid using sanding discs in a portable electric drll always use a straight or orbital sander similar to the one shown
Mini Power Tools 23
Two very handy tools lor the furniture worker—the router and the dovetail jig Use the router lor making grooves and in repair work as well as with the dovetail jig.
This hand grinder by Dremel has a flexible shaft and has cutters, grinders, sanding wheels and other accessories
This is a grinder and wire brush Sharpen tools on the grinder polish hardware with the wire brush or a cloth buffing wheel.
The sabre saw can be used to cut curved shapes, such as a new chair splat or rocker
A circular saw is useful for straight cuts Always use it with an edge guide have to. You can then use grinding wheels, disc sanders and other fittings in the drill, and have both hands free to hold the work. The drill also can be converted into a small but effective drill press with the purchase of a drill press stand.
With a disc sander in the chuck, you can hold small wooden parts to the spinning sander wheel and do some very good sanding work. Many people decide not to buy a sander but to use the disc sander in the electric drill instead. This is false economy. We don't recommend using an electric drill for sanding furniture surfaces. The spinning disc is too difficult to control and you are likely to get uneven results and circular gouges. The disc in the drill is fine for sanding rungs, legs and irregular shapes, but the oscillating sander is best for flat surfaces.
Sabre Saw The sabre saw is a portable jigsaw used to make curved and interior cuts in plywood and boards up to 2 inches thick. Jf you have to make a new lyre-shaped splat for a chair, or new rockers for a rocking chair, the sabre saw-is a good tool for the job. It is not the best tool for making long, straight cuts; those are jobs for the circular power saw.
Router The router was made for furniture work. It cuts grooves, rabbets, dovetails and dadoes. It makes cove, chamfered, beaded and other decorative edges, and is the tool to use when making inlays. You certainly can have a lot of fun with a router, and it is essential if you make your own furniture from scratch. In restoration work, however, you often can do without it. Put it on the list as a tool to buy after the more essential units — the drill, the sander, and the sabre saw.
Was this article helpful?
There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.