How to choose a string trimmer

 

I come from a long line of Germans who immigrated to the United States a while ago. Much like my ancestors, I find pleasure in crafting my own woodwork and engaging in many Do It Yourself projects around the house. I find it comforting and extremely useful to do things on your own. Even though they won’t end up perfectly, I consider these imperfections as the mere key to a project’s beauty and success.

One of the things that I am most passionate about my house is my yard, specifically my lawn. Every year I make sure I plant the lawn according to specifications and watch it grow in its own rhythm until reaching that rich, vibrant green color.

However, finding the right tools to trim and cut my lawn is quite difficult because there are many products you could consider.

String trimmers

If you want your lawn to be perfectly trimmed, you need to walk behind trimmers and make sure of that yourself. These are mainly used by professionals, so if you don’t intend on running for the “Best Lawn Of the Year” Award, I suggest opting for other tools.

String trimmers should also be carefully chosen according to your height and the overall surface of your lawn. Needless to say that, the bigger the lawn, the bigger your string trimmer should also be, at least when it comes to its engine size.

In order to use a string trimmer correctly, you will require plenty of practice and some basic knowledge about these tools. First of all, think of them similar to a circular saw. Just like it requires sawdust as it works, a string trimmer will also have to eliminate debris to achieve perfect trims on your lawn. You will find everything you need to know about cutting techniques and how to properly use a string trimmer here.

Electric Mowers

These are not as precise as a string trimmer but will get the job done if you’re thinking about cutting your lawn to an equal level. Electric mowers are quite easy to use and, so, extremely popular amongst gardeners and self-taught handymen.

If you’re a newbie, I suggest you first read how to properly use an electric mower and only after decide which type of product you need. They vary in size, engine power, speeds and, of course, price. Size and quietness are also some features you should take into consideration if you’re buying such a device.

I suggest you choose silent mowers that won’t wake up the entire neighborhood every Saturday morning when you have time to cut your lawn. As for size, if you don’t have a roomy garage or require more storage space, I suggest opting for mowers with foldable handlers because they are easier to deposit.

 

How to prevent injury in your workshop

Having a workshop is something that many dream of without thinking about the responsibility it comes with. Still, learning how to use powerful tools and how to work with devices that can sometimes be unpredictable is not always safe. Hence, after taking into consideration my own experience, I have decided to put together a set of must-follow rules in order to prevent injury in your workshop.

To set off on the right foot, anybody who enjoys being a craftsman as a hobby should buy protective equipment. By doing so, one can make sure that, in the case of any unforeseeable accident, he or she will be provided the needed protection. So, before starting working on that new DIY project, be sure that you have the necessary protection equipment. And, by this, I mean anything from gloves, apron, appropriate footwear, goggles, and shield(s) as well as ear protection. However, making sure that you are protected does not mean that you should buy all of the before mentioned gear. Nevertheless, each should take into account what are the most exposed areas of his/hers body, and determine what type of equipment he/she should invest into.

 

Next, make sure you get a sufficient amount of light. Because of the dimensions of some workshops, appropriate lighting is a problem. As a result, my advice to you is that you ensure that enough light is provided not only to the workbench area but also to the entire room. By doing so, you will be able to prevent any regrettable events caused by lack of illumination.

 

Also, whenever you find yourself working on a new project, try to give your work your undivided attention. Therefore, try to cut back on loud music or any other distraction that may cause you to lose your focus. To make sure that you are not taken aback by unexpected guests that can catch you off-guard, I suggest you let people now you are working by telling them or by placing a sign that signals others that you are busy around dangerous tools.

Moreover, always keep your workshop neatly organized, especially the floor. This way, not only will you know where your tools are stored, but you will also avoid tumbling on equipment that is out of place.

 

Last but certainly not least, you should never venture into doing things that you are not familiar with, and that can seriously jeopardize your life.  So, for example, you should never use a welding machine if you don’t own the needed protection equipment or have never used one before. Likewise, people who have never used a powerful tool before should always pay extra attention when using it for the first time. Moreover, having a more experienced friend beside you in this kind of situations is usually desirable.

 

 

Why you should get an 8-inch drill press if you’re a DIY-er

 

 

As a woodworker, having the proper tools for the projects ahead is crucial, and you may have noticed that time spent on bringing them to a finish is considerably shorter when you don’t need to improvise. Once you’re set on going through a number of operations, having all the tools in place will make you reach record speed.

An important addition to your gear collection is the drill press, and that goes for all do-it-yourself people, no matter what they favor. This versatile device is meant to create holes in wood, metal, plastic or other materials and enables you to drill hole sections to a determined depth.

Adding up to this basic function, the drill press brings along other advantages. Depending on the type of unit, you can use attachments to transform it into a spindle sander, grinder or buffer. That is the equivalent of a handy apprentice in your workshop.

Choosing the drill press might be challenging because there’s types, features, and brands you have to consider. First, there’s the benchtop or the floor models. Then, you could choose between radial or magnetic and start making options for a light fixture, adjustable head or drill bits.

But you can figure out the details after you decide on a budget and some basic features you actually need, like rpm, depth stop, multiple speed and power.

 

In my opinion, you should first decide on the magnitude of your projects. But there’s one advice I have for fellow woodworkers: the 12’’ or 16’’ drill presses may be remarkable, but you’ll do just fine with the 8’’ in your shop.

Purchasing the 8’’ drill press is a clever move because it greatly expands your possibilities. If you’ve been using a hand drill or drilling machine or even a chisel for holes and mortises, then you know what an 8’’ drill press can offer.

The difference is significant, however, because you get to use one tool only, the progress is a lot faster, and the errors are less likely to occur. Precision and easy maneuvering of the material will probably be the first things to show.

The space you can use is usually limited, and it gets stuffed in no time. So I think people who love woodworking really need the 8’’ drill press because it is easy to fit it into their shop or garage.  

It’s also easy to move, either in and out or to a different work location. That’s something to consider if you need to be a little more flexible and switch places or simply to make sure cleaning the garage won’t become a collective effort.

 

Personally, I think one other amazing advantage for purchasing an 8’’ drill press is the low level of noise. It’s more comfortable for you, and it doesn’t cause trouble with your neighbors or wife and kids.  A stable drill press table has to be acquired too, so no unfortunate accidents occur. 

I hope I made my point and my advice to you will prove useful.

What I love about woodworking

 

Geneticists have recently found out that human genes transform during one’s lifetime and the information is passed on to his children, and that started me thinking: maybe that’s why woodworking runs in the family.  

When colonists and immigrants came from the Old World, there was little they could bring with them: hope, ingenuity and some small valuable possessions. I don’t know if my German ancestors brought a woodworker’s tool kit with them, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.

Wood was among the first things you could get, and using it wisely was essential. At that time, you could do about anything out of wood, from soap holders to houses, from plows to suitcases and dinnerware.

Such variety of applications got me inspired, and I enjoy having to deal with a material that offers so much if you set your mind to it. A bit of practice and some good project ideas made me discover how easy it is to work with wood.

When real, usable products started to come out of my hands by using proper tools and a minimum of additional material, I discovered something important: it was satisfying enough to make a hobby out of it and everyone would profit from it.

 

The physical labor required to engage in woodworking projects is just enough to keep you fit without making you feel exhausted at the end of the day. Some choose to do long, strenuous hours of exercise, but that didn’t appeal to me that much.

Putting my creativity to work is important as well. When I look at the lumber and decide what to do next (I usually say I have a “board meeting”), I must figure out how to use the wooden boards with minimum waste and with as few maneuvers as possible.

I love coming up with technical solutions to various problems and woodworking is made for problem solvers. Some of the solutions apply to many situations once you’ve found them, others are a matter of inspiration or need a bit of online research, but it’s never a dull day.

There’s also a financial reason for which I love woodworking. It saves me a lot of money spent on repairs that I can now do myself. I also save a lot by making my own furniture instead of buying it. It’s great to see that the work I get done improves my comfort and is precisely what I needed.

Some of the items that I design have sizes and features that are not available on the market anyway. Designing my own furniture gives the house more personality, and it’s the safest way of getting what I ordered.  

There are other things that make me love woodworking, but I think the ones I just referred to are reason enough. I believe some of them are the same with what you have in mind.

 

 

 

 

4 home shop tools I couldn’t live without

Just as there are things in life you couldn’t live without, there also tools in a woodworker’s life that he couldn’t possibly give up without feeling like he just quit.

First of all, if you pretend to be working with wood, you’d have to be some sort of wizard to figure out the precise size of the boards and determine where the cut must be made without a tape measure.

That’s one tool that should always stick to you as if putting it down would leave you undressed. That’s how I think you would probably feel, but I wouldn’t know for sure because I never put it down. The tape measure is the one tool you usually forget to mention because it’s also been there.

I use it to measure length, width, and even thickness, even though the caliper is the first choice for this type of measurement. When given no choice, you can rely on it to replace the layout square.

I also couldn’t live without my saw. No matter how much technology evolves and transforms all of our tasks into a gadget-handling situation, some things are unchanged. Like the simplicity of getting the hand saw off the tool hanger and adjusting the edges of a small flitch or slate.

That simple steel blade works wonders in record time if I use it correctly. There’s no need to plug it or switch modes, I just apply some regular movements, and it does its job.

Another tool that I sure wouldn’t know how to go without is the claw hammer. Some projects use glue, miter joints or condor tails, but using nails is still the quickest and unelaborate finish. For my basic needs as a woodworker, the claw hammer is the main weapon.

The hammer always comes in handy, no matter what sort of utensils or hobby you keep in your toolshed.

Object number 4 on my list is a hand plane. Planers come in various sizes, and you can either choose a portable one or a benchtop planer. For the couldn’t-live-without-list I can pick the first option without a shadow of a doubt.

As most of the projects require a certain amount of detail work, I think a hand planer is one of the best options in taking care of irregular pieces of wood and bringing them to the same thickness.

One would think that if you put the parts together, your work is done, but woodworking projects are a bit more complicated that following the instructions you received from a Swedish guy. When working with lumber, I had to deal with leveling and curving operations much more often than I expected. That’s why I put the planer to regular use.  

In short, if I were to wake up one morning with these four tools missing from my toolshed I’d have to go and buy others before starting work.