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Thread: Tools that are much better than you expected

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    84

    Tools that are much better than you expected

    I have a lot of tools. My career was in new product innovation, so I'm always curious about new tools. I thought I'd start a thread about tools that were better than expected.

    1. Ryobi cordless brad nailer: I have a friend who knows the guy that invented the technology TTI uses (or so he said). I was curious and bought one (now own two). I found this thing very useful in a number of unexpected situations. It's so easy to tack something in place for a glue up or to hold a board until you can place a proper fastener. Air powered tools do the same but this tool is always ready to go anywhere (assuming the battery is charged of course).

    2. Fein Multimaster: I could never see why I'd want one of these saws. Especially for the price. After the patent expired, I bought a HF version on a whim "just to see." I was shocked at how often I found a use for the tool. Especially in any remodeling or rough construction (e.g. framing). I now own two Feins and a Dewalt cordless. I still have the HF version somewhere but it was abandoned once I bought the Fein. BTW, I like the Dewalt cordless version MUCH better than the Fein cordless. Less vibration and trigger controlled variable speed.

    3. Skil HD 5510 circular saw: This small 5 1/2" "professional" circular saw is outstanding. I have two and it's my "go to saw" for framing. Small but very powerful, it's realatively light weight and the small blade causes less kickback. I have about 10 circular saws and it's my favorite by far. Unfortunately, it isn't made anymore.

    4. Impact drivers: I've had impact drivers for years but I image there's still someone out there without one. They're simple fantastic for driving screws, nuts and bolts.

    5. Shopvac "6.5 HP" 5 gal. vacuum: With a claimed capacity of 200 CFM, this little vac has a lot of power. It's small and easy to grab for a quick job. I hooked it to my Kapex and measured greater CFM's than my CT 36 was pulling. And I can buy 7 Shopvacs for each Festool CT 36 and HEPA filters are available on Amazon. It's so small and cheap that I have "dedicated" units for some tools.

  2. #2
    12" JET Shopline Series Bandsaw. It was a closeout and I think I paid $175. I love that little saw. I just couldn't part with it. I use it more than my 14" Rikon.

    HF Wood Lathe (model #34706). This is the one that's a twin sister to JET's low-end lathe. This lathe, and my set of HF lathe tools, gives me a lot of capability for the money. Both are better than I expected, which is why they're typically on the list of HF gems..

  3. #3
    Best recent one is a little Rockwell 4.5" circular saw bought for a single tight space job and I just love the little saw. Use it more than our 7 1/4" saws now.

    Mirka Ceros would be another.

  4. #4
    $9.99 HVLP spray gun from HF. Saved enough in paint on first job painting stair rails to more than pay for them. I say them because I bought two, one for primer,and another for black finish coats. Also HF multi tool. Saved enough time on first job I used it on, that I went back and bought a second in case first one did, which it did five years later.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    West Central Mn
    Posts
    24
    I bought a used Leigh D4 several years ago and was too busy at the time and never gave it a try until this summer. Opened the manual and wondered what I was about to get into. I tried through dovetails, half blind and even inlaid dovetails. The manual is excellant and everyone of the different styles I tried turned out way better than I expected. The only shortcoming i see is the length of time needed for set-ups. When I start doing drawers this winter, I plan to use two routers to avoid switching bits all the time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    644
    Hilti Hammer drill. i have owned several so called hammer drills the Hilti blows them away. I think it is rated 1/2 hole at 18" per minute in concrete.
    Bill

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    143
    Mark Bolton mentioned the Rockwell saw. I was given one (mine is 3 3/8" diameter though) and had it a couple years before using it much as I thought it was more or less a toy. I was so wrong.

    I don't like cordless tools and needed a drill and screw gun as mine were in a shipping container while the house was being built. I found that Royobi makes a corded drill driver much like their cordless ones and it is cheap too at about $70Can. Now I don't always have to have a screw gun and a drill when I make stuff.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Fuder View Post
    I bought a used Leigh D4 several years ago and was too busy at the time and never gave it a try until this summer. Opened the manual and wondered what I was about to get into. I tried through dovetails, half blind and even inlaid dovetails. The manual is excellant and everyone of the different styles I tried turned out way better than I expected. The only shortcoming i see is the length of time needed for set-ups. When I start doing drawers this winter, I plan to use two routers to avoid switching bits all the time.
    Two routers makes it infinitely faster and more enjoyable IMHO.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Rutherford Co., NC
    Posts
    1,086
    Just about all of my Ryobi One+ tools, but especially the drills. Shot tons of screws, drilled tons of holes, even in cinder block and concrete (neither is a hammer drill), and they still going strong after more than ten years. I've upgraded to lithium ion batteries, but that's it.No problems or repairs.
    "Live like no one else, so later, you can LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE!"
    - Dave Ramsey

  10. #10
    I bought my shaper used and it came with a power feeder. At the time I didn't think much of the feeder - a pain to set up etc. However... it has turned out to be the thing that makes the shaper an efficient and effective machine for many jobs.

    When I got the jointer I splurged on a Starret straight edge - expecting, in ignorance, to use it once in a blue moon for testing and set-up. Ha, turns out I use it on nearly every project - often merely as a ruler, but still..

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    1,421
    All my Festool tools (minus the Trion jigsaw) were much better than I expected. Does that count?
    If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

  12. Not new tools by any means, but stepping up to a big jointer and a big bandsaw was an eye-opener for me. Both tools opened up more possibilities than I thought they would. Definitely better than expected.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Placitas, New Mexico
    Posts
    43
    The little Ridgid palm router is now my go-to router for inlay work and edge routing on small projects - also great for hinge mortises. It's only drawback is that it does not have a base that accepts template guides. I plan to make one for it.
    Johanna
    Placitas, New Mexico

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Southeastern PA
    Posts
    109
    Have to agree with Will. I never realized how nice it was to shop for wood and know that almost any width would fit on my jointer.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    84
    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rivel View Post
    All my Festool tools (minus the Trion jigsaw) were much better than I expected. Does that count?
    Sure. For me though, none of my Festools have exceeded my expectations. That's because my expectations were high...to go along with the price I paid.

    That said, some Festools have not met my expectations. The Trion as you mention. The Kapex is very good but I still need to mod the dust extraction a bit (there's a thread on here somewhere about how to fix it). I'm not impressed with the vacuums for the money. I don't see much innovation over a standard vacuum with an after market vacuum switch and HEPA filter. The drills are OK but I have some Dewalt drills and drivers that are better in some ways.

    Overall, I like the Festool products and find them well made. But I was expecting that giving the innovation and price.

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