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Old 03-30-2012
Jgbrown Jgbrown is offline
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Re: Are you a do-it-yourselfer?

Question for the DIY'ers, what do you guys do for power tools, rechargeable battery or inverters+cables?
What are your favorite power tools?
Favorite hand tools?
What are your favorite parts to have on hand? Especially the kind of stuff where it will pay off to have a large assorted bulk pack vs buying as needed?
How do you secure tools to avoid losing them if you slip/drop them while working?

No boat experience but I have spent a bit of time on both sides of the DIY/Pro fence in a couple of different fields, which has led me to the two approaches I use.

When I'm doing work that may be awkward or unsafe alone, especially where I may need lots of tools/pieces handed to me in an challenging workspace, or parts picked up after I get into the project it I'll hire a helper, or work out a labor trade with them if they are the DIY type too.


I am happy to pay a pro for a complicated job with the understanding that I'll pay full price, as well as being their gopher in exchange for getting to ask questions and have a running explanation of what they are doing and why.
The education alone is usually worth the price a pro charges, and the work is done right. They are often happy to avoid the menial parts of the job. As a bonus, people who are willing to teach are less likely to be taking short cuts and leaving messes, plus if we come across something else I can make the choice on the spot.

Additionally I will see what tools the pros actually use instead of buying an expensive tool ahead of time that may only be sold to amateurs.
I caught on to that as a granite counter-top fabricator/installer. When work was slow we'd finish up failed DIY installs.

We always had the same things in a 4 gallon bucket:
Cheapest variable speed angle grinder, one solid diamond wheel, a pack of velcro backed abrasive pads, a cordless drill, a roll of masking tape, a tube of epoxy, a tube of clear silicone, a pack of a coloured powder, 2 bar clamps and a small chunk of steel wool soaked in beeswax+solvent.
That covered us for everything from cutting slabs, shimming them up and glueing them together out to refacing entire edges and installing sinks.

Total cost of the tools was under 500$ and used 8 hours a day 5 days a week generating income.
We'd throw a bit of plywood scrap and some offcuts as we went.

By comparison the amateur home installer when we were finishing a failed DIY would usually have
in a pricey awkward toolbox:
Expensive angle grinder, individual polishing wheels and toothed diamond wheels(fast wearing, hard to use, poorer cut, more money), fancy aluminium clamping guide systems(ruler+tape was better), specialty sink holders(2 bar clamps and 2x4 was better), expensive shims(offcuts were better), plates for gluing sinks(plywood and granite scraps were better), fancy tools for smoothing silicone around the sink(nothing beats a drop of dish soap in water and a finger) special cleaners, specialty waxes, expensive pigments and whatever else they got fooled into buying.

They'd easily break 1500$, mostly on tools they'd never need again and often waste a lot of material due to the limitations imposed by their choices(not counting plain incompetence)
The ones who hung around to watch us work were usually furious by the end, realizing how much money they wasted on specialty tools, which actually made a perfect fit and finish harder to achieve!
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