Top Timber Tools for 2014
Top Timber Tools for 2014
If a bad workman blames his tools - should a good workman credit them? We certainly think so, which is why we've rounded up some of our picks for the top timber tools of 2014.
While brushless motors are nothing new, 2013 was the year they truly entered the mainstream. Unlike the motor in your average power tool - brushless motors make the electromagnet that drives the device more efficient.
By making this fixture stationary and wrapping it around the device's driveshaft - manufacturers can do away with the brushes that are typically needed to power up the magnet. This leads to an extended battery life, lower maintenance requirements and greater power.
While the relatively high price tag associated with the computer circuitry needed to make these devices work stood as something of a barrier to the average tradesmen for some time, 2013 saw an exponential drop in prices for brushless technology.
We were treated enough to get to grips with several brushless tools over the course of 2013, but our top pick for this year simply has to be the DeWalt DCD795D2 Compact Brushless Hammer Drill Driver.
It's a great choice for serious DIY enthusiasts and tradespeople alike - offering a lightweight alternative to a typical hammer drill that can handle brick as well as it does wood, plasterboard and just about anything else.
It's hard to believe there was a time before we were wise to the benefits of Japanese-style hand saws in woodworking. These razor-sharp, flexible blades cut on the pull stroke - offering a finer cut and better control than typical saws. Japanese pull saws come in a range of styles - with general-purpose ones offering less teeth for ease of use and more refined models being bolstered with a stiff back for greater control.
Although it's hard to pick a favourite, we think the Shark Corp 10-2440 Fine Cut Saw is among the best in terms of both value and utility. We've found it a joy to use in joinery, cabinetry and a wealth of other jobs - both commercial and domestic.
The Circle of Saw
Circular saws are often the subject of fierce debate - with some purists claiming they're strictly a carpentry tool, while others find them perfectly acceptable for finer woodworking. Personally, we think it's down to the tool.
Our top pick for this year simply has to be the Bosh CS5, which offers a robust, ergonomic and simple design. It's left-bladed orientation will be a boon to right-handed woodworkers (sorry lefties) and once you make the switch, you won't ever look back.
Having such a great view of the blade's trajectory allows for greater accuracy and the depth of cut at 90° offers a useful breadth. Adjusting the bevel is also a doddle - simply loosen then re-tighten the lever as you see fit.
No toolbox is complete without one - and our top choice in this category simply has to be the Stanley 151628 570g 20oz Fibreglass Curved Claw Hammer. Cost-effective and extremely light-weight - this hammer has it all.
It strikes a perfect balance between its polished steel head and fibreglass handle, allowing a hearty swing in the tighest of spaces. And the rubber grip ensures it won't come loose - even in the sweatiest of hands.
The Stanley 141628 is far from glamarous, but it's a sturdy tool that'll last you a lifetime, whether you're an amateur woodworker or seasoned contractor.
New Sander on the Block
A good orbital sander is a must for anyone working with wood and while we're big fans of Bosch's s ROS20VSK - our top pick for 2014 goes to the Dewalt D26451K. Whether going against the gain, with the grain or across it - this is one unstoppable machine.
It's lightweight, which means that it won't become a burden after an extended sanding session and does a great job of evening out the vibrations.
This beast is built to last and you can work it as hard as you please. It tackles tricky surfaces as well as it does flat ones and runs under a heavy cyclic load for hours on end without complaint.
You can't please everyone all the time and you've undoubtedly got some of your own top tools that you'll want to share. So don't be a stranger and give us a shout on Twitter, we're always keen to hear what you have to say.
Image used courtesy of Mark Hunter on Flickr