Guest Post: Gail schools us on the tools of DIY trade.

I have been sooooo wanting to learn how to work with wood, crafting it into coolio shelves and tables and stuff that I can then slather on coats of creamy blue-grey paint.  Not knowing where to start, I had the brilliant idea to ask Gail of My Repurposed Life to take me to school.  She's been generous enough to work up a post to share here.  Everyone welcome Gail to cottage instincts!

100_3113 Hi, I’m gail from MyRepurposedLife.net,
this is my alter-ego

I want to thank Cindy for inviting me over to talk to you about tools.  I don’t have all the tools a girl could want, but I am fortunate enough to have a generous family that understands that I would rather have something from Home Depot than a new scarf from Target.

This tool box was a gift from my nephew Bubba. I work out of a tool box rather than tools hanging on a pegboard. Would I like to have a pegboard full of tools?  Sure!  But it’s expensive to have one of everything, let alone TWO of each tool.




I wasn’t the best student in math class, so I prefer a tape measure that has easy to read fractions.

A speed square is so handy.  I use it all the time to make sure things are square, to measure the space of an “overhang”, and of course to draw a straight line.

It’s great to have more than one cordless drill.  When my friend Cathy and I build benches, we keep three drills handy. The one on the left is used to drill a pilot hole through the thick parts of a headboard. The drill in the middle is used to drill a countersink hole. (so the screw heads can be sunk and filled in) The drill on the right is used to screw the screws in.  I would recommend a Dewalt cordless drill. Cathy and I both have a 14 volt Dewalt.  It is a workhorse!  My firestorm cordless drill is great in the fact that it has that quick change part. It snaps right off to reveal a screw bit.

One of the power tools I use the most is my battery operated 18 gauge nail gun. (finish nails, not building nails)  This model has been discontinued. Someday I will be lucky enough to have a air compressor and a nail gun that shoots “building” nails.

Every DIY person or weekend warrior needs a good sander. I have a palm sander (the square kind) and this orbital sander.  The orbital is my sander of choice. My daughter recently called me to ask my advice about sanders, and I recommended this one for her. The pad spins around and changes rotations, which gives you a great smooth finish without any worry about going with the grain.  My sander’s best friend is my leaf blower. After a good sanding, every piece gets blown off with the leaf blower, then wiped down with a slightly damp paper towel.  Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to use a tack cloth, but I don’t have one.  The leaf blower is also great to blow the sawdust off of my saws before I store them in the garage.

This is my first compound miter saw. It’s a small one. It did everything I needed it to do for a couple of years, but then I outgrew it.

I got this saw last year for Christmas. It will cut up to a 1x8.  It bevels only to the left. It is not a dual bevel saw.  I didn’t even know they had such a thing until I was watching HGTV a couple of weeks ago.  If you have an unlimited budget, I would recommend a Sliding Compound Miter saw.  It will accommodate  a very wide board.

I got this reproduction radio cabinet a couple of years ago. It is the perfect height to hold my saw. Look, it even has storage! 

I used a scrap piece of plywood on the bottom of the cabinet so I could add wheels.  I always move my saws out of the garage while using them, so the wheels make it much easier to maneuver this saw.

I have secured it to the top of the cabinet with screws.

This table saw was my first saw.  I think it’s a tossup as to which kind of saw should be your first saw.  I actually use my miter saw a LOT more than I do my table saw.  Remember that Home Depot and Lowes will make your “rip” cuts for you.  (a rip cut is a cut made parallel to the wood grain).  You will see on a lot of home improvement shows use table saws without the “guard” installed.  I don’t want to scare you but using a table saw without the guard in my opinion is very dangerous. Some blade guards have anti-kickback devices that allow only forward travel past the blade. There are a lot of helpful videos on YouTube, such as this one that shows a kickback.

I have also put wheels on my table saw. I used scrap pieces of plywood.  Notice I didn’t have to use a large square piece, but two rectangular pieces.

100_6033Because of the “nature of the beast” I used LOCKING wheels.  Your table saw should be level and unmovable while in use.  Safety first!

The last saw I’m going to talk about today is this handy jig saw. You can use a jig saw to do many regular jobs, such as ripping a small piece of plywood, or making a “cross cut” on a 1x or a 2x4.  I don’t make too many detailed cuts, but when I do it’s handy to have this saw.

I hope you’ve learned a little through this post. If you’re interested in learning more about what I do, stop by MyRepurposedLife.net.

Thanks Cindy for having me over today!  I love your blog.

Thank *you* Gail!  Wow!  I feel like I won't look like such a dolt when I go wandering thru the powertools in Lowes now.  And it's always so much better to hear from a regular gal who's using her tools and not working for the company or trying to sell a book.  So....guess what I'll be asking Santa for this year?  A hundred pound box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cakes and some power tools, of course. 

Do you use these DIY tools?  What have you made with them?  If you're a woodworking woman, show me what you've made....leave a link in your comments so I can come see!  And for T.O.N.S. of inspiration, definitely go see Gail at My Repurposed Life.  She makes amazing stuff! 


Marie said...

I um...wow. I am impressed. I can use the drill and all the normal tools. The saws scare me. Its the sound really....well and the fear of losing a finger and then I cant carry as many treasures I find from shopping trips to flea markets and tag sales..lol Well I am impressed!!
awesome post.


Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Goodnight SadieMarie! That's more tools than Tim the Toolman has in his workshop! LOL. That girl can rock a sander for sure!

Thanks for the great post!

Big ole hugs to you, oh creative one!!


My Cottage Charm said...

Hey Cindy! Well after seeing Carson's built-ins that I built you know I have power tools! LOL I have a table saw, sliding compound miter saw, band saw, a couple of jig saws, sanders, circular saw and so on and so on! LOL OH and Gail..you can come over and use my air compresser and nail gun any time you want! :)
Cindy, I do have one post I think you might like...it's my kitchen island built from an old porcelain topped table! Here's the link..


Hope you enjoy it!
OH and Gail you did an amazing job with your guest post!!


Crafty Sisters said...

I need to get myself a leaf blower, genius idea Gail. Loved the post and I hope some big tool company is listening and sends Gail a huge air compressor with builder grade nails. She would definitely put it to good use!:)

Marilyn Holeman said...

I sort of skimmed this, as I'm not much of a tool user myself, but I thought the tape measure with the fractions marked was a really cool idea. I HATE counting those little lines! :-)

My Cottage Charm said...

Cindy..you're right... my towels are so cute and Deborah is awesome! :) It's so nice to have a pick me up like that...especially when you're having a bad day. BUT you know what, shame on me for having a bad day...God is in control and I should have no worries or fears....guess God just used Deborah to teach me a sweet lesson. :)
Blessings & Hugs

The Domestic Fox said...

Oh wow...I LOVE the wheels on the table saw. I aquired one on a whim, for free, without a clue how to make it so that I could clean up after using it while I resides in my studio. What a great idea - wheels and outside it goes. :D

I have quite a bit of that stuff, but you have some neat toys I would like to have. I'll have to put that on my wish list.

Um, yeah - Dear Santa - just shop at Home Depot in the tool section and I will be a happy girl.


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