Monthly Archives

November 2017

Tips on Building a Quality Wooden Poker Chip Case

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So you have decided to invest in a poker chip case to store all of your poker chips. Before you get started, whether building the case yourself, or ordering a custom case from a third party, there are some things to consider that differentiate a quality poker chip case from just a plain wooden box.


Joinery is a part of woodworking that involves joining together pieces of wood, to create furniture, structures, toys, and other items. The characteristics of wooden joints – strength, flexibility, toughness, etc. – derive from the properties of the joining materials and from how they are used in the joints. Therefore, different joinery techniques are used to meet differing requirements. When designing a poker chip case, you have to take into account the weight of the chips, which can approach 50 lbs for a 1000 chip case. The joints have to be strong, or the case will fall apart under the weight of the chips.

Most pre-made cases bought on the market utilize a butt joint. A butt joint is a joinery technique in which two members are joined by simply butting them together. The butt joint is the simplest joint to make since it merely involves cutting the members to the appropriate length and butting them together. It is also the weakest because unless some form of reinforcement is used, it relies upon glue alone to hold it together. Because the orientation of the members usually present only end grain to long grain gluing surface, the resulting joint is inherently weak.

When building or ordering a custom chip case, you should avoid butt joints and use a something stronger, such as a dovetail joint. A dovetail joint is a joint technique frequently used in fine woodworking joinery. Noted for its resistance to being pulled apart (tensile strength), the dovetail joint is commonly used to join the sides of a drawer to the front. A series of pins cut to extend from the end of one board interlock with a series of tails cut into the end of another board. The pins and tails have a trapezoidal shape. Once glued, a wooden dovetail joint requires no mechanical fasteners.

Another simple and strong joint is the mortise and tenon joint, which has been used for thousands of years by woodworkers around the world to join pieces of wood. This is commonly used when the pieces are at an angle close to 90°. Although there are many variations on the theme, the basic idea is that the end of one of the members is inserted into a hole cut in the other member. The end of the first member is called the tenon, and it is usually narrowed with respect to the rest of the piece. The hole in the second member is called the mortise. The joint may be glued, pinned, or wedged to lock it in place.


Hardware for a poker chip case must also be durable. A variety of hinges and hardware are available, but you should avoid a stamped hinge, which is the weakest type of hinge. When building or ordering a custom case, there are a variety of hinges you may request.

A full length piano hinge is a long narrow hinge that runs the full length of the two surfaces to which its leaves are joined. This imparts additional strength to the hinge when a heavy solid wood lid is used.

Concealed Hinges are used for furniture doors (with or without self-closing feature, and with or without dampening systems). They are made of 2 parts: One part is the hinge cup and the arm; the other part is the mounting plate. They are also called Euro/cup hinges, and give a cleaner look to the case.


One thing to consider when choosing a finish for your wooden chip case, is to be sure to use Polyurethane or a non-soluble varnish that does not stain or seep into your chips. You should avoid any type of Oil finish such as Tung or Danish oil, as these oils can penetrate into clay chips over time.


The majority of poker chips are 39mm in size, however, large denomination chips, as well as chips based on the Paulson Inverted Hat and Cane mold, are 43mm size. Be certain that the chip trays are appropriately sized for the type of chips you have. If ordering a custom chip case, be sure to specify the size of your chips.

So when building or designing a custom wooden poker chip case to store your chips, remember to consider the type of joints, hinges, and finish used in the design of you case.

Source by Sven Asnien

Wood Working Projects – Enjoyable and Profitable!

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It is extremely relaxing to stay busy with one or more wood working projects. Especially if you have a job of some type that requires you to be sitting most of the day, because without your carpenter you can come home and relax and gain satisfaction by constructing something with your hands.

This is extremely enjoyable and the satisfaction you get from your finished product can not be explained. This is also a great way to make good money by selling projects that you make after you have made everything you and your wife wants that is. More and more people are turning to wood working as a hobby and to make money in these tough economic times. And this is not just men but women also for recreation and profit.

The first thing to do is to decide what it is you want to build. There are thousands of of things to choose from, just to name a few:

* Playhouse,
* Rocking horse
* Green House
* Shed
* Beds
* Chicken House
* Unique Birdhouses!

And that is not even an ounce of the wood working projects out there for you. Something else I want to mention is the money you will save and the quality you will get. You will pay less and get much better quality than some stapled and glued piece of garbage that falls a part little by little.

You will be constructing something that will last a lifetime, like they used to build years and years ago. Once you have decided on a wood project, now the key is to find a set of plans for that item. A word of advice do not go with a free set of plans, they are hard to read and do not have detailed pictures. Instead pay a few dollars and buy plans that will take you step by step through the entire project and has clear detailed pictures to help you. Find these plans and all of your wood working projects will be made simple.

Source by Brian Stover

How to Choose the Right Wood For Your Project

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Knowing how to choose the right wood for your project is critical to your success in woodworking. So you've found some amazing woodworking plans and now you're ready to get started on that next great project out in the shop. There's only one problem: What wood should you use? While there is no "right" answer, there are a few advantages and disadvantages to the different types of wood available, so we've created this handy guide to some of the most popular wood types. This should help get you started in the right direction. Raw lumber for woodworking can be roughly divided into one of two categories: Hardwoods and Softwoods.


While which type you use depends on your wood plans, there are a few different types of lumber available within each category. Hardwoods are usually more expensive, and some are very rare. Here are three popular hardwoods used in woodworking.

  • Ash – Ash is a pale-brown or white colored wood with a straight grain. It's not too difficult to work with compared to other hardwoods, however it can be quite difficult to find. A larger lumberyard is going to be your best bet.
  • Oak – One of the most popular (and in our opinion beautiful) woods used in furniture, oak is an incredibly strong and heavy wood that you should be able to find at most home improvement stores. Oak is available in red and white; the color you choose will be up to your wood plans and your personal tastes (white oak is highly resistant to moisture and is great for outdoor furniture).
  • Mahogany – Another very popular wood used to make furniture is mahogany. Mahogany is a reddish (sometimes deep-red) wood with a straight grain. It's not as hard as oak, however it is easy to work with and takes stain and oil very well. Unfortunately, mahogany is not available in sustainable forests which means that it is in danger of becoming extinct. Not only is this a tragedy in terms of the environment, but it will also have a hefty impact on your wallet.


Softwoods are usually less expensive than hardwoods, and are often grown in sustainable forests to ensure they are protected from extinction. This guarantees that you're not only protecting the environment, but that you'll always have lumber available for your next woodworking project. Here are three softwood species to consider on your next woodworking project.

  • Cedar – Western Red Cedar, the most common type, naturally has a reddish tint. Cedar has a great smell to it and it is a straight grain, but the best reason to use it on your next woodworking project is its resistance to rot. If you're building something for an outdoor space, Cedar is the way to go.
  • Pine – Pine is another of the popular woods and comes in several varieties (Ponderosa, Sugar, Yellow, and White). Pine is a great wood for furniture plans because of its natural wood grain and beautiful knots. Pine takes stain very well and pine is great for furniture that calls for intricate detailing that needs to be carved out of the wood.
  • Redwood – Redwood is, like cedar, highly resistant to rot and moisture. Available for a moderate price at most home stores, Redwood is an easy wood to work with and has a straight grain. Oh, and if you have not already guessed, it has a red tint.

Source by J. Hansen

Precision Woodworking Tips – How to Cut Wood to Length Accurately With Your Miter Saw

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Woodworking is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding endeavors that anyone can participate in.  Homeowners take pride in the projects that they accomplish to add value to their homes.  But, there is one area that they often have trouble with.  Measuring and cutting to length.

Do you have trouble cutting window and door casing or any other kind of moulding accurately so the the joints fit together perfectly without gaps?  You love your miter saw but you just can’t seem to cut accurately with it?  Would you like to learn some tips on how to make joints that would even impress an experienced finishing carpenter? Here’s how you can do it yourself successfully:

  • Measure – you can relax and forget about measuring accurately.  Measure in the normal way and add 1/8th to 1/4 of an inch to your measurement.  Cut the piece to length and check it to where you will be installing that piece.  Remember, all these techniques start out this way.

Now comes the fun part.  Here are three ways to sneak up on your measurement using your miter saw:

  • Playing cards –  if the piece you are cutting is a short piece then you can use a stop block on the fence of your miter saw.  You can sneak up to the right size by placing playing cards between the stop block and the piece that you’re cutting – one at a time – until your piece fits precisely.  Each playing card is approximately 10/1000ths of an inch thick.  Always have a deck on hand for this and other similar uses.
  • Use the Saw Blade – every saw blade starts out as a blank circular piece of steel before the teeth are either added or set.  The teeth are also referred to as the kerf of the blade.  The kerf is wider than the saw blade blank.  For moulding I use a blade that has either 60 or 80 teeth per blade and has a thin kerf for more accuracy.  Starting with the miter saw turned off I lower the blade until the teeth are below the deck of the saw.  I then push my piece against the blank part of the blade and hold it firmly.  With the miter saw still turned off I lift the blade above my work.  I then turn the saw on and cut my piece.  I’ve just cut the piece 1/2 the difference between the thickness of the kerf and the thickness of the blank part of the blade. This is a very controlled way to cut your piece.
  • Another way to use the Saw Blade – although I have used this technique in the past I don’t use it anymore.  You may find that you like this technique and it may become your favorite but I find it is not as accurate as the other two.  With your saw turned off lower the blade until the teeth are just above the deck of your saw.  Push your piece against  1 or more teeth until it feels like you’ve bent the saw blade slightly. You don’t have to push hard.  Hold your piece firmly and raise the saw blade.  Turn on your miter saw and make the cut.

Source by R. Gajsek

Advantages of Pre-Hung Interior Doors

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Pre-hung interior doors are very easy and quick to install. If you are remodeling or building a new home, using these doors will save both time and money. Most of these types of doors swing like, French doors and double doors. Installing pre-hung doors is easy even for a beginner.

Types of Doors

Hollow core pre-hung doors are the most common type of doors on the market. They are lightweight and can be very elegant in appearance. One drawback to the hollow core type is that they are not soundproof. Noise will filter through a hollow core easily. This hollow cores come in many wood veneer types, and can be stained to match existing woodwork or painted.

Solid core pre-hung doors are more than a hollow core but less than a solid door. Solid core doors generally have a veneer exterior also. They are a little more work to install and are much heavier. They are also more sound proof then hollow core.

Solid doors are also heavy and are even more expensive. They come in all wood varieties and can be stained, varnished or painted.

Some pre-hung doors come pre-trimmed. This saves time, energy and money. If the door you choose does not come pre-trimmed, you may want

to buy casing for it and pre-trim it first before installing. This makes installation quicker and easier.

Decisions to be Made

Before you purchase a pre-hung door, you will need to make some decisions. You will have to choose which way the door will swing. Most people make this decision by where the light switch is located. When swing is opposite of the light switch it will make it difficult to turn on the lights. Other choices to be made include the size of the doorway, whether flooring or carpeting will be added and what style would fit the room best.


Determining the size you will need for the doorway is easy once you understand how to measure. A basic framed doorway is generally two inches wider than the door should be. Many newer houses have standard sizes. Framed bedroom doors tend to be two feet and six inches wide, which means the door should be 30 inches. Bathroom doors are most often two feet and four inches making the door itself 28 inches. Handicap doors are always three feet to allow easy access for wheelchairs. Older homes may have larger or smaller doorways so measure the doorway before making a choice.

Hanging a Door Basics

A pre-hung interior door comes complete with hardware. Carefully unpack the door and check it carefully. Doors should be closed when hanging. Place the pre-hung door in the opening. Starting with the swing side first check to make sure it is level. If not level, you can use shims to make it level.

If you plan to add carpet later, you will need to set the door on small blocks. One half inch blocks will provide enough room for the carpet and allow it to swing freely.

Stand on the inside of the room and set the pre-hung door carefully into the opening. Be sure that the casing is tight against the drywall. Nail the casing about two inches above the floor. This will hold the door while you check to make sure it is level. Shims can be used to support the door while you lift it slightly to achieve perfect plumb. Once the door is level, you nail the casing near the hinges. Open the door and nail the top of the casing. You will be using a nail or two per side until you have checked the door again to ensure that it is level. Once you are sure you will put nails near the hinges and at regularly spaced intervals.

Finishing your home yourself and installing pre-hung interior doors is a way to save money. The time required may translate into more capitol for other projects or that special flooring for the room.

Source by Pat Fisher

Wood Working Projects – A Simple Idea

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Are you struggling for ideas for your next woodwork project? Do not want to attempt anything too big or too involved? Here is an idea you can get stuck into over the weekend.

The Oak Beam Coffee Table

For this easy woodworking project there will be no screws, nails, joints or glue! The measurements for this project do not have to be exact, simply adjust the measurements given here to your own preference. The materials you will need for this idea are four meters of rough cut 120mm x 180mm kiln dried oak. This can be sourced quite easily from most lumbar yards, if you shop around you will get a pretty good deal. If possible get the lumbar yard to cut the oak into four equal one metre lengths.

From one of your one metre lengths cut two 430mm lengths. Pick one 6 inch side on each your two 430mm lengths and measure 25mm in from both edges and draw a line. What we need to do now is make a cutout on each of the lengths 25mm deep between the two lines. The best way to achieve this is with a router but can also be done with a circular saw set to a 25mm depth by making numerous cuts across the timber and finished with a chisel.

Once you have your cutouts, place the two 430mm lengths on the floor roughly two feet apart and lay your three one metre lengths across them sitting in the cut outs. Arrange the one metre lengths so they have a small equal gap between them. Because of the weight of the oak beams no fixing is needed. To keep the beams from moving a small wedge or dowel can be pushed into the gaps, but this is not really necessary.

To finish the oak use a belt sander with a medium grit belt. Try and finish the bottom of the cutouts to a reasonably high standard as this ensures your beams sit square. My personal preference is to give the freshly sanded oak two coats of danish oil which enhances the oak grain. The end result is a rustic oak coffee table, which in the right setting looks very appealing.

Source by Rick Bergen

Real Russian Nesting Dolls Versus Fakes

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Today nesting dolls (a.k.a Babushka dolls or “matryoshka” dolls) available in the market are of very different qualities. It can initially be difficult to differentiate between the quality dolls and the fake ones made elsewhere. Indeed this problem is not unique to Russian gifts or nesting dolls, and because of the availability of fake dolls in the market, many individuals are leery of purchasing anything when they are not sure of the origin or authenticity. Many people find it hard to differentiate between a real Russian doll and fakes; however, with a little bit of practice and knowledge of what to look for, this task becomes quite easy. Real handmade dolls can be differentiated by their place of production (city or town), by the painting style, and by the artists that paint the intricate designs. To make it easier to identify real nesting dolls and even identify the style and town in which they were painted, I’m providing a short by simple guide to help you find these best quality dolls.

Where Real Nesting Dolls are Sold

In Russian cities such as Moscow or Saint Petersburg, nearly all of the nesting dolls sold in souvenir shops are of exceptional quality; however they also have exceptional prices. They are made from the best quality wood and raw materials (e.g. defect-free Lime wood, higher quality paints and gold trim). Larger seven, ten and fifteen piece nesting dolls are usually painted by trained professional master craftsmen. On the contrary, dolls sold by street vendors may be high quality and a great value, individual shoppers will need to have a discerning eye to identify the small defects and other problems that are common. Street vendors that sell these items usually purchase slightly defective nesting dolls wholesale from souvenir shops or directly from the artists themselves. If you seek a great deal, street vendors are the place to look but you should be should take your time, look at all of the nesting doll pieces, and ask for higher quality items – the sellers will be happy to help the smart shoppers.

Differences in Finishing and Polishing

The higher quality babushkas are made utilizing defect-free “blank” or unpainted nesting dolls. Some small defects in the wood are easily fixed by polishing or covering very minor divots and dents with starch glue to create a smooth surface. This is normal in Russia; however, these types of fixes to the wood are never seen in imitation nesting dolls made outside of Russia. The smooth surface is very important – good Russian artisans demand this so that they can apply paints evenly and include precision detailed painting. Russian nesting dolls that are very inexpensive will still often times have some defects – it is simply not economically feasible for artisans to try to achieve perfection in a five piece nesting doll and then sell this for 300 rubles on the street ($6.00 USD). If you come across a large expensive nesting doll with dents and defects, it is likely that it is very old or that it is not an authentic matryoshka doll.

Type of Wood

The wood used for making Russian nesting dolls is taken from the Lime trees grown in Western Russia and throughout Siberia. Lime trees are famous worldwide for the soft but durable wood they produce, which is nearly perfect for wood-working and wood-carving. Interesting enough, many different Russian woodcutters specialize in crafting and cutting blank (unpainted) dolls, but usually they never take up painting these dolls. The woodcutters simply cut, sand and prepare blanks for artisans throughout Russia. They select the Lime wood trees based on quality, lack of defects, and the age. Fake dolls made outside Russia will often be plastic imitations, or utilize cheap pine wood or other low quality raw materials. The differences in wood type are easy to see once you handle the dolls.

Opening and Closing

Quality Russian nesting dolls usually open and close with some amount of effort – pushing and twisting the two pieces of the largest doll. The largest dolls may squeak slightly as you open them – this is normal with Lime wood and one of the ways to identify the dolls. Most of the fake dolls will crack or break easily due to children opening and closing the dolls, and simply playing with them. Dolls made of Lime wood tend to be more durable and long-lasting. Very high quality Russian nesting dolls made of Lime wood can last hundreds of years and retain the high quality painting and clear lacquer finish.

Painting Style and Designs

Making of quality dolls involves painstaking labor and hours of hard work. A single ten or fifteen piece nesting doll can take several months to finish. The artisan or the artist may take several additional weeks to complete the exquisite gold trim and lacquer finish on these one of a kind nesting dolls. Intricate designs and detailed painting is what separates these handmade dolls from its other counterparts made in China. Additionally, Russian matryoshkas often feature styles that are modeled after Russian style lacquer boxes which feature exceptionally detailed painting styles and small miniature landscapes. Russian dolls are also painted utilizing bright and bold colors versus those painted elsewhere. Fakes usually stand out for their low quality painting and poor quality colors. Authentic matryoshka dolls will have contrasting, bold color combinations of red, blue and yellow in the dress of the dolls, which gives them a bright and cheerful look and makes them stand-out from the crowd.

If you’re looking to buy the best quality of a nesting doll, you can choose dolls made by experienced and skilled craftsmen in one of the four villages famed for making them. Nesting dolls from the famous Russian artisan cities of “Fedoskino”, “Palekh”, “Kholui”, and “Mstera” are very popular and unique. This is because artist from the above towns usually study in specialized artisan colleges. They are professionally trained painters and craftspeople recognized by Russian art guilds and other organizations. These towns are the locations well-known for the art of making babushka dolls or matryoshka. Often times great quality matryoshka will be signed by the artist and the artist will also indicate the city where they live. This is a hallmark of real Russian nesting dolls.

In conclusion, real Russian matryoshka dolls always feature high quality raw materials such as Lime wood egg-based tempera paints, Russian style color schemes and Russian-themed landscapes or colors. High quality dolls will almost always feature intricate painting, gold trim, and very high quality clear lacquer finish to protest the dolls for centuries. Finally, it is also common for larger and more expensive matryoshka to be signed by the artist or artisan.

Source by Irina Hinderliter

Three Steps To Building Outdoor Sheds

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Building outdoor sheds has become popular with DIY enthusiasts for obvious reasons. Outdoor sheds are extremely useful to store garden tools and equipment such as mowers to keep them in a place that is not only safe and tidy, but also away from harsh outdoor weather conditions. Sheds are also ideal to store an overflow of household effects, and in some cases, you may even opt to build a 'combination' shed to store both tools and household storage items.

Whatever your storage needs, if you're going to build a shed, there are some basic rules you should take into consideration before starting:

The first step to building outdoor sheds is to decide what the purpose of the shed is going to be, and to determine the floor size. For example, you may decide to use the shed for sting household items, or as a garden shed or, even as a kids' dollhouse or playroom. Each of these uses may require a different square footage.

Before even beginning construction , you will need to obtain planning permission from your local authority. Most local authorities permit outdoor sheds without the need to submit plans, as long as they do not exceed a certain square footage. Find out what the requirements are in your area, and whether you need to obtain special permission or a permission before proceeding. (If you contravene local building regulations, you may be ordered to take the shed down).

Your next step when building outdoor sheds is to decide what base, or floor, your shed is going to have. You can opt either for a concrete floor, or a wooden floor. Both of these methods have advantages and disadvantages. Putting down a concrete slab can be a messy affair and needs a fair amount of skill to make sure the concrete slab is level and has a smooth surface.

The advantage here is that a concrete slab is more durable than a wooden floor and not prone to rot or attacks from termites or other insects. Concrete will also yield better insulation against cold and wet weather conditions. Once the floor is laid, it needs no further maintenance.

However, building a wooden floor / base is quick and lightweight and needs very little skill – even the untrained DIY enthusiast can accomplish this with relative ease. The disadvantages of a wooden floor as opposed to concrete, is that it will require constant maintenance in the future (as with all wooden materials) and may be sentenced to rot and wood inviting insects. An important factor to remember is to use treated timber for the floor to prevent the invasion of insects. (Tip: A useful timber to use is treated lumber plywood).

Source by Steven Gail

Guitars – Ovation

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The year was 1966. Guitars had already been around for some time. People expected them to be more or less of a certain type and design. There were not any real radical innovations in the manufacture of the guitar. And then came along a company by the name of Ovation. They were not going to just make another guitar. They were going to come out with something completely different. So in 1966, when they broke out into the scene, they came out with their very unique round back guitar, thanks to a guy by the name of Charlie Kaman. The pro musicians of the time absolutely loved the guitar. The guitar purists were not quite as enthused. They just did not get it.

The odd part of how this guitar actually came to have had nothing to do with guitar manufacture at all. Kaman's knowledge of helicopters and more specifically, helicopter blades, game him a really good understanding of vibration and applied this principal to the making of his new guitar model.

Kaman said that he did not want to just make another guitar. He said that we had the technology to make something really different and not only different, but better. So Kaman chose a team of engineers and technicians from the aerospace industry to work on his new project. It did not hurt that many of these guys had taken up woodworking as a hobby.

What these scientists had come up with was that the common flat body of the guitar was actually not a help but a hindrance to the sound of the guitar. So the first thing they did was break the first rule of making a guitar. They chucked the idea of ​​the flat body completely and made the round body. This design actually wave the guitar a more consistent sound from the bass end to the treble end. They also made the guitar stronger and more sturdy.

Today, Ovation makes a large number of guitar models including the LX Series Standard Balladeer. This guitar is a 6 string acoustic / electric. Its body is a mid depth bowl type. It has a bound rosewood fretboard, rosewood bridge and original patented pickups. The Standard Balladeer is one of Ovations most popular guitar models.

Then of course you have the Custom Legend guitar series. The 1779 USA model has a painted American Flag on the body that is just breathtaking. It also has a mid depth body, bound ebony fretboard and ebony bridge. Even if you do not play the guitar, this is one show piece that just having around the house is going to bring up lots of discussions.

The Elite series has a mid depth cutaway body type. The fretboard is bound ebony with an ebony bridge. It comes with an Ovation Hi-Output pickup which is really loud. This is one guitar that you will not have any trouble hearing even in a large hall.

These models only scratch the surface of the Ovation guitar line, all featuring their round body.

Whatever the critics may think, these guitars sound like none other on the planet.

Source by Michael Russell

Picking the Right Power Tools for Your Own Needs

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A lot of time when people need new power tools they will either go to the store and look around, do a little research online, or maybe even ask friends or family for recommendations. This is a good way to get some opinions.

If you are going to be going to the store to check out what is available, it is best to be prepared ahead of time. You should familiarize yourself with common trends for each type of tool you need and then figure out what features are the best fit for your situation. You can save yourself a lot of money by looking at what you need rather than what is the “best”.

What are some example of what I’m talking about? Let’s take a look at the example of cordless drills and drivers. You might be tempted to buy something that has Lithium Ion batteries and hammering action, and possible 18 volts of power. That would be nice, but it will also be expensive. The description of what I just threw out there is for contractor grade tools.

What are you going to be using the drill for? Let’s say that you are planning on building some light furniture and maybe will use the drill on weekends mostly. You probably don’t need a super powerful drill with the most expensive battery technology. You could probably get by with a 12 volt drill, no need for hammering action, and you could probably do fine with a NiCad battery as opposed to Lithium Ion. Sure, a Lithium Ion battery would be really nice, and would charge faster, but if you aren’t planning on using the drill for continuous hours at a time you could save a few bucks in this department.

See what I’m doing here? I’m trying to find the specific features that I probably do need, and then going out and finding a tool to match those needs. This will help me to maximize my dollars and get what I need all at the same time, rather than blow all my money on a tool that may be a bit overblown for my needs.

Source by Lukas Petters

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