Power tools

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by wudenbote, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. wudenbote
    Joined: Aug 2008
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    Location: Middleville Mi

    wudenbote Junior Member

    The Keeper of Finances (read wife) has ok'd the budget for some power tools. I will be building a 20' power dory. The only power tool I currently own is a 10" Milwaukee compound miter saw. The boat will be marine ply over sawn frames. I'm interested in your opinions of tools needed. Preferably listing them in order of importance. (usefulness) Band saw, bench sander, joiner/planer, table saw, etc. And no, you can't marry her, she's mine! :) Thanks much!
  2. Manie B
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    Manie B Senior Member

    My 2 cents

    Jig saw
    Cicular saw
    Drill variable speed 220/110 Volt
    Drill rechargeable used as screwdriver
    2 or 3 different types of orbital sanders
    belt sander
    good solid table
    big vice
    plenty clamps = 40 or more

    after this your wife will also hate boats he he he:D :D :D
    and when you are out there and it starts to rain = bye bye wifey:D :D :D :D
  3. Lt. Holden
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Location: Western Massachusetts

    Lt. Holden Senior Member


    Manie B. has certainly covered the basics.

    What is your budget? My father and I built many dories of similiar size back in the seventies using just hand tools and jig saw, Skilsaw, electric drill and reciprocating sander.

    Today you have an almost infinite variety of makes and models available. If you perhaps post the study plans we could narrow it down a bit.

    Much of what you need is determined by the sources and types of materials you intend to use and whether you will be glassing or simply painting the boat.

    If you intend to work from full size patterns then a high-quality jigsaw with variable speeds/orbit and bladeguide could substitute for the bandsaw. If you are buying finished lumber you probably don't need a planer, although a hand held power plane is very useful.

    Since you will be breaking down a significant amount of sheet goods, an efficient, one-man system for laying out and cutting ply will be essential.

    So if you can fill in some more details, myself and others can surely make some informed suggestions.

    Good Luck and don't forget to post PICS!

  4. Butch .H
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    Butch .H Senior Member

    All the above including the most important tool the CAMERA so you can post lots of pics:)
  5. the1much
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    Location: maine

    the1much hippie dreams

    dust masks,,,,are them power?,,
    shop vac
    hammer?? hehe ;)
    but definitely a shop vac!!
  6. BHOFM
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    BHOFM Senior Member

    Also important is the quality of what you buy! With the
    economy being down, pawn shops are a good place to
    start looking!!

    A good table saw! Not a big commercial unit, just a nice
    DIY model! The blade is as important as the saw! Good ones
    are the rule!

    Router, the router is cheap, the bits will kill you! I bought
    mine at Habor Freight for little or nothing and have had very
    good luck with them!

    Planer, hand and table top, again the blades are very

    The miter saw is nice! A good hand saw! I have this little
    Stanley and I could not work without it!


    A hand held power saw is OK, but I don't use it that often,
    I have a Skill cordless that is handy! They lack accuracy and
    are often used for cutting off a piece of stock to make it
    a manageable size and prone to waste!

    A cordless drill in nice, but battery's can run into money as
    they get older, it is often cheaper to buy a new unit than
    a replacement battery! I have a Skill and bought a new
    one on sale for much less than a battery cost!

    A good corded drill is a must, along with bits for wood,
    Brad point!

    A palm sander is nice, a good one, with gear drive, not
    a vibrating type, a beltsander is a must have!

    This is the palm sander I have, if you can swing the price,
    they are the best of the best, mine is over twenty years
    old and still going strong after several dozen boats and
    several hundred clocks and lots of furniture!

    It uses 6" paper, the automotive type, much better and
    cheaper than the 5" DIY paper! Again, good paper is
    often cheaper than bargain stuff in the long run!


    Drill press, bandsaw, scowlsaw, all nice, but you can build
    boats without them!

    Because I have the needed power tools, I can buy lesser
    quality lumber and cut the sizes I need from larger stock,
    with a little planning there is little waste and a large savings!

    Material planning is a big part of building any project at
    a reasonable price!

    And being Scottish, I am just CHEAP!
    Are you going to finish that beer?
  7. the1much
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    the1much hippie dreams

    do it the "hillbilly" way,,,tape measure,hand saw,pencil,and a square,,,,and for the "power" in the tools,,,buy a keg of beer and "invite" friends over fer some free beer,,,hehe :D
    my list seems way more "manageable" hehe ;)
  8. BHOFM
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    BHOFM Senior Member

    Just say "when"!:D :D :D :D :D :D :D
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    A good jigsaw along with the miter saw and a drill can build a dory. All the rest is just fancy stuff to line the walls of your garage. Except for the miter saw, you really don't need any stationary tools, such as a table saw, band saw, joiner, etc. These tools are handy if you plan to produce several boats, but not just one, especially a dory.

    In fact, you could hack one together with a hand saw and a Yankee screw driver, but this is more exercise then most are willing to invest.

    Tools aren't the thing you need, so much as drive, ambition and the willingness to complete the project, which can (and will) get you so pissed off at yourself, that you might just quit. Working through the problems (there's always problems) and coming up with clever solutions, is the hallmark of boatbuilding, not how fancy your tool collection is.
  10. BHOFM
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    BHOFM Senior Member

    Well said!
  11. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    All good stuff, especially the little homily form PAR (as usual - sucint and to the point - are you ever wrong PAR, you frighten me! a Marine Architect who not only knows what he's doing but has done it and talks to us peasants!)

    But you are all forgetting the most important power tool of them all!


    a good radio - you're going to spend hours on the job, you need some thing to make the job 'swing', without it you're going to go mad!!
  12. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    I recommend a panel saw, great for accurately cutting marine ply, light and precise. Ideally you want to be able to see the cutting edge of the blade. Cover your table with a 1 inch thick block of insulating foam; just lay the ply on top and set the saw to just penetrate the ply.

    Also agree with Par on hand tools instead of stationary tools, especially if your workshop is a bit on the small side. You need twice as much space when you move the workpiece through the tool as when you move the tool along the workpiece ...

    A cordless phone will ensure you don't end up wondering who's calling ...

    About routers: I have 2, a big high-power heavy brute I don't use much except on a table, not often at that, and a dinky one I can use in one hand that does just about everything I need.

    Drills: I find a drill press very useful, not so much for boat bits as for making temporary jigs for making tools do more jobs better.

    About planers: a portable power one is good but a couple of hand planes (one low angle block, one smoothing or similar) with really sharp blades would be safer. Invest in a good stone (Japanese water). If you buy wood in the rough then a stationary plane is a boon, maybe a jointer too.

    Cost: BHOFM is right about cost of blades and router bits; you'll find the same after you collect a sufficient supply of drill bits too, don't forget Forstner bits, one or two ship augers and decent quality (bimetal) hole saws. I had a workshop fire (old wiring) last year and can vouch for the fact that it's the small stuff that uses up the cash fastest, especially hand tools. I find decent power tools are quite cheap these days, and the Chinese ones are often adequate unless you decide to become a framer - the quality stuff will outlast them ten times. When it comes to hand tools I spare no expense however; a lot of the good stuff seems to come from Japan.
  13. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    My aged grandfather used to say ..

    "When arr were a bouy we used ta knock a 16ft skiff together before breakfast using nowt but sharpened copper nail and two bladed mattock from the garden.

    Arl ya fancy power tools do nuttin but tear the fingers offen a good boatbuilder"

    He was as mad as a hatter.

    You will find a bandsaw a great asset, even if you own a good jigsaw. You can produce much more accurate cuts by manipulating the ply around the blade rather than 'driving' a jigsaw over the plywood. And it sounds like you will have quite a few accurate panels to cut out.
  14. Lt. Holden
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    Lt. Holden Senior Member

    The mention of a cutting table was apt. You can make a lwt. skeleton type out of 2x3's biscuited together or screwed (keep the screws well below the top!) and use folding table legs. The foam sheet mentioned works well and helps prevent tearout on the bottom side.

    What is essential is a decent Circular Saw with a couple of good edge guides; one for ripping and a shorter one for X-cuts. You can make them or buy them. If you are using expensive ply I would make a zero-cleqrance sub-base for the saw to minimize tear-out.

    A good shop-vac to extract the dust will make the project much healthier and enjoyable for you as well as save a lot of cleanup time.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008

  15. Kaptin-Jer
    Joined: Mar 2004
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    Kaptin-Jer Semi-Pro

    Two things I couldn't live with out:
    My Festool 6" sander and my fathers' Yankee ratchet screwdriver.
    You will be sanding everything forever. It's the most expensive tool I have, but worth every penny. The antique driver is important because you will twist the heads off of stainless or brass screws with an electric driver, but not with the Yankee, and it is just as fast and easy. Sometimes the old tools are better than the new..
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