Power Tools 

Brief reviews of all the power tools I use. Full disclaimer, the images are affiliate links that will give me a small commission if you purchase the tool. Every little bit helps out!

Dewalt DWE575SB 7.25 in Circular Saw

I purchased this saw when I started working with larger wood slabs. The battery powered little plywood circular saw I had been using previously was just drastically underpowered and insufficient. I decided to go with a corded version as I have always felt they just had more power and lasted longer than battery powered versions. This baby was able to slice right through a 3 in thick 10ft long black walnut slab without any snagging or stalling, all using the basic stock blade that it came with. It has become a go-to tool in my shop and I would highly recommend it. It costs a bit more than a smaller battery powered one from the lower end brands but it is definitely worth it.

Ryobi Drill/Driver Combo Set P1832 (https://amzn.to/2PSBcc2)

I needed to purchase a new drill/driver set but cash was tight at the time and I couldn’t really justify dropping 150-200 dollars on a dewalt or makita set. The Ryobi set was pretty inexpensive, I got a deal at the local Home Depot for about $100. I liked the drill and driver, they managed to get every job I threw at it done. They did feel a bit underpowered (at least compared to my brothers Dewalt drill) but for the price point it is a hard bargain to pass up. For anything woodworking related you shouldn’t have any problems. I would be a little concerned if you had plans for anything involving metal or concrete. (The Ryobi driver managed to put an 8” deep hole in a concrete wall but it was definitely pushing its limits).

Ryobi 10in 15 Amp Portable Table Saw (https://amzn.to/2q8ZenL)

The first table saw I ever purchased. I didn’t have the funds to drop several hundred dollars on a higher end saw so this fit the bill for me.

Pros:

  • The saw was indeed portable, pretty lightweight.

  • Easy to set up and put together.

  • Inexpensive, it retails for $99.

Cons:

  • Not sturdy at all, the thing is far to light.

  • Mostly plastic with bits of aluminum.

  • Fence is not even close to being accurate (to be expected with a cheap table saw like this but still, it was really bad).

If you have to buy a table saw and only have $100 or your only going to cut a half dozen pieces of wood a year then go ahead and buy this. Otherwise, you would be wise to save up your funds and buy a higher end model. I would also suggest perusing craigslist, you can usually find some higher quality older table saws in the $100-$400 range.

Dewalt 12.5” Heavy Duty Planer DW734 (https://amzn.to/2SfC63K)

This was one of the first big purchases I made when getting into woodworking. I was a little scared of the price, depending on the time of year and store you can expect to spend 325-499 dollars. That said, this can do just about everything you can imagine short of planing full slabs. The 12.5 in capacity is more than enough for 99% of the projects you will be doing. The only big difference I could tell between this and the DW735 (slightly more expensive Dewalt planer) is that this only has one cutting speed whereas the DW735 has two I believe. I didn’t think that justified the additional 50-75 dollars. The form factor is fairly compact, the size of tall toolbox I’d estimate. She is pretty hefty, probably 70 lbs or so which makes moving it a bit of a pain; however, it helps it to stay in one place and keep the vibrations down. All in all I am a big fan. If you take care of this tool it should last you a long long time.

Ryobi 7.5 Amp 4.5-inch Corded Angle Grinder (https://amzn.to/2Rc62fN)

I found that an angle grinder with a flap or sanding disc is awesome for removing lots of material from complex curves (i.e. the bark and cambium from the edge of a live edge slab). Also, you can cut metal if you get the right blades. Angle grinders are actually a pretty powerful tool. Having done alot of automotive work in the past I have abused and burned up a couple of grinders. My advice is to grab this Ryobi 7.5 amp corded gem. Basic tool, powerful enough to get the job done, and actually pretty durable but not so expensive your worried about dragging it under a truck or putting it to use cutting some heavy steel for a table base. I think normally sells for $39.99 or something like that. To good a deal to pass up.

SKIL 2.5 Amp 9-Inch Band Saw (https://amzn.to/2SeRNs8)

This is a pretty basic bandsaw, I picked up mainly because I needed something small for my work space and didn’t want to spend a ton of money (I really only needed it for some small projects at the time). This band saw is pretty basic, mostly plastic construction with an aluminum table. It does come with a fence and nifty LED light that illuminates the blade. Overall the tool is fairly light, weighing in around 25 lbs I would say and pretty easy to set up on a bench and then store away. I was able to cut 1.5” thick white oak into thin strips for laminating with no problem but I don’t think it could handle anything thicker or tougher. Decent tool for a beginner woodwork or if it’s not going to see alot of use but not going to be able to handle the bigger, tougher projects. I am planning to upgrade sooner rather than later.

Dewalt 611 Router (https://amzn.to/2CdJFAO)

This is a little bit smaller than some of the heavy duty routers you can find out there but it packs a punch. The 611 is a lightweight router than will be able to handle 90% of what most people will need to do. It is easy to handle, lightweight, you can change the orientation in the bases for whatever is most comfortable to you, changing bits or bases takes under a minute, honestly it really just is a great all around tool. I was on the fence about spending this much money but I am glad I did. To understand how tough this is, I used it on a router sled to plane down some coffee table size oak slabs. Got the job done.