Tools I can't live without

I'm a tool fiend. There, I've said it. And it's true. I have lots of tools, and I'm a frequent user of tools. I build stuff around the house (wainscotting, crown molding, flooring, bird houses with the kids, lemonade stands, etc.)

There are several tools that I've found I can't live without, and of course as it's the new year, there are several new tools that are scheduled to arrive in my garage soon...

Tools I have that are awesome. Note: this isn't a complete list of my tools, it's just a list of the coolest stuff I have.

  • Porter-Cable 314 4.5 Amp 4-1/2-Inch Trim Saw this saw is awesome, really easy to handle and better than whipping out the skil mag77 when ripping a piece of plywood. Of course, I've misplaced/loaned mine out and can't find it right now...
  • Bosch PS20-2 Litheon 10.8 Volt Lithium Ion Pocket Driver With 2 Batteries. Truly an incredible power tool. Lithium-ion batteries make this incredibly powerful, and it even has an LED to help see what the heck you're doing...
  • Bosch PS10-2 Litheon 10.8 Volt Lithium Ion I-Driver Kit A variation on the standard driver, I use this all the time for putting in door locks, hinges, and working on the racks at work. Really amazing, long battery life, very strong (so strong, it'll pull out of your hand if you're not careful.) And I particularly like the slow-startup feature - it doesn't immediately turn on full blast.
  • Makita BHP451 LXT 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Hammer Driver-Drill A gold standard. I've used a lot of driver/drill/hammer drills and this is one of the best. Good balance, great feel, and not stunningly heavy. Ok, I have the NiMH version, but this is essentially the same tool. With better power and longevity. Dang it, I want this one!
  • Makita 18V Cordless LXT Lithium-Ion 6-1/2" Circular Saw BSS610Z Yes, a portable circ saw is useful. Really. Very useful. I drag mine out all the time to do anything from cut up old doors (don't ask) to trimming plywood, doing a quick cutoff, etc. No, I don't have the Li version, but I want it...
  • Makita BTD140 LXT 18 Volt Lithium-Ion Impact Driver Kit The inevitable question is why have one of these impact drivers. Why not is a better question. Drive in some 3" deck screws with the regular driver drill, and it'll get tiresome quickly. Whip out this baby and you'll be done in no time with no pain. Heck, I use it to drive cement screws and it's a cinch. Of course, watch out, the dang thing is strong and will strip your screws before you know it.
  • Makita LS1214 15 Amp 12-Inch Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter saw Ah the miter saw from heaven. I've tried smaller ones, I've tried cheaper ones, I finally sprung for the real deal. And I love it. Very accurate, quick to setup, strong as can be. Can't live without it.
  • Lee Valley Veritas Apron Plane, OK, if you've only owned cheap planes, try this one, and you'll convert. Really. Tremendous plane. Accurate from the get go. More useful than I ever thought.
  • Lee Valley Veritas Medium Shoulder Plane Another great plane. More useful than I thought it would be. I can't imagine living without this plane any more. Really comfortable to use, and it's just great at what it does!
  • Best Way Screwdriver, 4-In-1, Slotted & Phillips, Reversible. The most useful tool I carry. I use this screwdriver for everything. I've lost many of them, broken some and zapped a few (electrical work with the power on... breakers are for sissies). I think this is one of the better of this genre, but I've also been really happy with the ones from HomeDepot. Spend a little money here and get a better product - the really cheap ones are sloppy and the bits aren't hardened which means you chew them up driving in a 2" wood screw...

I don't own these tools, but they're on order (or will be soon)

  • Antex Pipemaster Ever solder pipes? Well, here's a great way to do it without breaking out a torch.
  • JacPac - a compressor less air source Ever get tired of lugging your "portable" air compressor around? Ever wake up the kids at 6am with the compressor firing up? Get a JacPac that uses a paintball gas cylinder to power your nail guns!
  • Stanley 55-099 FatMax Xtreme Fubar Functional Utility Bar
  • Stanley 33-425 Powerlock 25-Foot by 1-Inch Measuring Tape. Who could go anywhere without a tape measure. I've tried several, and my son has placed at least 3 strategically throughout the house (so that I'll find them after I go buy a new one...) The PowerLock is better than the fat max as it's more comfortable to the hand, and frankly works easier. The tape is a little more flexible, the shell is an even size (3") and the spring isn't so strong it rips off your finger when retracting.
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Comments:

mmm.... tools. if you don't read it already, check out: http://toolmonger.com/

Posted by rama on January 08, 2007 at 07:56 AM PST #

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I run the engineering group responsible for Sun.com and the high volume websites at Sun.

Will Snow
Sr. Engineering Director

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