Ryobi Battery Powered vs. Campbell Hausfeld Pneumatic Finish Nailer Comparison

Ryobi-nail-strike

 

finish-nailer-comparison

A finish nailer is a great tool to have in your workshop.  It’s great for small projects, installing moulding, wall planking and more. After using both types of finish nailers for many projects, I wanted to break down the pros and cons of each.
Compressor_finish_nailer_combo_kitI was able to score this Campbell-Hausfeld nailer and compressor combo around Father’s Day at Lowe’s for $69! (Normal MSRP is $99.) I’ve used the compressor-powered nailer for many years on an assortment of DIY projects (like my Art & Craft Studio scrap wood wall.)  I haven’t had any problems with it. It’s reliable, lightweight and can fire a variety of length finish nails and U-staples. For the value, you can’t go wrong. The cons of the Campbell Hausfeld are mostly related to the compressor. It is very loud when the air tank is recharging. It’s a little bulky to store and haul around. You are limited to the length of your air hose and a power source. And you must empty the tank and maintain it periodically.

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Ryobi-nail-strike

In all the ways that the Campbell-Hausfeld fails, the Ryobi Air Strike excels. It doesn’t take up as much room to store. No compressor needed because it is essentially built into the tool. As long as the battery is charged you are ready to fire nails on a moment’s notice. The light helps illuminate in dark working areas. You aren’t tethered to an air hose or compressor. This allows you the freedom to wander anywhere with the nail gun. And it is quiet (with the exception of the bang when firing the nail.)

The downsides are it doesn’t shoot U-staples. The gun itself is heavier to hold because of the battery and size of the gun. If you lose charge in the battery you have to wait a while for it to charge. Finally, the price is slightly higher than the MSRP of the Campbell-Hausfeld at $129.

I hope this comparison helps you select your own finish nail gun.

PHGFancySign

 

Want to learn how to use a finish nailer? Check out my tool tutorial videos and more!

Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review

Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review | Pretty Handy Girl

Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review | Pretty Handy Girl

A few months ago I got an email asking me if I wanted to test an Xtend + Climb telescoping ladder. I said I’d be happy to try it, but I couldn’t promise I’d blog about it. I try lots of products, but only the ones I love get mentioned on the blog. The litmus test is if I would recommend it to a close friend. If I would, then I share it with you (because y’all are like friends I just haven’t met yet.)

Xtend + Climb Telescoping Ladder Review | Pretty Handy Girl

The 760P Xtend + Climb ladder arrived in a compact box. When it arrived, I doubted that it really contained a 14.5ft ladder. But, sure enough inside was the telescoping ladder. Over the course of three months, I truly gave it a work out. I used it to clean the gutters and… [Read more...]

10 DIY Gift Ideas for the Rock Star DIYer

10 DIY Gift Ideas for the Rock Star DIYer

10 DIY Gift Ideas for the Rock Star DIYer

Christmas is next week? Christmas is next week! Who else is still running around buying those last minute gifts? {Me raising my hand.}

If you have someone on your list who is an avid DIYer, I have a new list of the Top 10 Gift Ideas for the Rock Star DIYer in your life! These tools will transform the newbie DIY junkie giving them better street cred and true rock star status! (Results may vary.) In all seriousness, these are the tools and products that I found helpful this year.

In order from  least to most expensive Top 10 DIY Gift Ideas: [Read more...]

How to Install a Scrap Wood Wall

remove_baseboards


I’m so thrilled to be healthy again, that I’m doing a happy dance (see the video below if you want to witness it.) The pneumonia is gone and my boys are back in school. Can I get a “Woot Woot!”?

The bonus room/art studio renovation is rockin’ and rollin’ again and I have some progress to show you: [Read more...]

How to Salvage Wood from Shipping Pallets

scrap_pallet_wood

Pallet upcycling is all the rage today. But, if you’ve ever tried to actually remove wood planks from a pallet, you know that it is not an easy task. The nails that are used are typically spiral nails and are designed to really grip that wood. And if that’s not enough, they usually shoot 4-5 nails per joint. Sheesh, you’d think they were building a foundation for a 10 ton elephant. Okay, actually it is the foundation that has to hold tons of product as it is lifted by a fork lift. Which explains why harvesting pallet wood can be a labor intensive task.

I figured you’d appreciate it if I shared with you the quickest and easiest way I’ve found to salvage this beautifully rustic pallet wood. [Read more...]

How to Use a Kreg Jig

How_to_use_a_kreg_jig

Hey, look at this! Tool Tutorial Friday is back! Today I have a great tool for creating strong joints when building with wood and furniture construction.

I’ve been using my Kreg Jig more and more lately. It didn’t take me long to figure out how to use it, but I thought you might want the quick tutorial.

I was first introduced to the Kreg Jig by my friends Ana White and Rayan with The Design Confidential. These two DIY ladies opened my eyes to pocket screw joints. Be sure to check out their blogs for more tips from the masters!

The Basics on How To Use a Kreg Jig [Read more...]

Rustic Wooden Caddy with a Branch Handle

insert_branch_into_caddy

You know when you are browsing through a yard sale and you spot a sad little box that is just begging for you to buy it and give it a new life?

No, okay I might be alone on this, but it happens to me all the time!

A while ago I spotted this little box for $3 at a yard sale. I couldn’t just leave it there in it’s sad burgundy dust-covered state. So, I brought it home and it sat in my garage collecting more dust. (This happens more often than I’d like to admit. It’s a sickness I have.) [Read more...]

How to Remove a Stuck, Stripped or Painted Screw

unscrewing_screw

Isn’t it frustrating when you are trying to unscrew a screw and the head is stripped? Or some moron painted the screw and now you can’t get your screwdriver into the slots. (I might have been the painting fool mentioned.) Luckily there are two ways to solve this problem. [Read more...]

Tool Tutorial Friday – How to Use a Caulk Gun

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You know the old saying, “No question is a dumb question.” Well, I have to say that about this tutorial, “No tutorial is a dumb tutorial.”

I realize that a caulk gun isn’t a big scary power tool, and yet I still think learning how to use a caulk gun is a very valuable skill for any handy person.

So, let’s get right down to some Caulk Talk.

A caulk gun is a necessary tool for any homeowner. Sealing gaps in siding, replacing the seal around the tub and shower surround when the old caulk gets dry and brittle is a must. Caulking around the trim around windows and doors will improve your homes energy efficiency and get rid of unsightly gaps. You can also use it for spreading construction adhesive and any other substrate that is sold in tube form. A caulk gun saves your hands from cramping, especially if you have a lot of caulking to do.

A basic caulk gun costs about $10 – $20, but you could buy a power version which run up to $200! Sheesh!

Starting a tube of caulk:

Cut off the tip of your tube by inserting it into the hole at an angle.

Poke the stick attached to the gun into the tube to puncture the seal.

 Loading a caulk gun:

Pull the hooked rod all the way back. Insert your tube base first. Then tilt the nozzle end into the top of the gun.

Rotate the hook so it is facing up and the teeth are facing down.

Pull the trigger and you’re good to go!

Be prepared to pull the hook rod back when you finish or the caulk will continue to flow out of the nozzle.

Watch this video for more details on using a caulk gun (also called a caulking gun) and why it is important to fill any cracks or seams in your siding!

*Thanks to The Real Tim Jones for sharing the secret about how to cut and start your caulk tube! Tim is sooo right, I never knew about this until I saw his video!

And, if you want to find out how to keep your caulk from drying out in between uses, my friend Sandra at Sawdust and Paper Scraps has this tip.

Happy Caulking!

Best of Pretty Handy Girl 2011

It’s the end of the year and I know y’all have been busy. So, I thought I’d give you the cliff notes version of Pretty Handy Girl in 2011.

Gift Bucket Liner from Goodwill Pants

How to Paint a Dandelion Wall Mural

Fork Photo and Note Holder

Spring Paper and Button Flowers

How to Paint Doors the Professional Way

 

How to Paint Like a Pro Series:

 

Build Your Own Ladder Display Shelves

Photography Secrets for Shooting Indoors

 

Toilet Repairs Series:

 

Dream Big Butterfly Window

Backlit Cut Out Bookcase

Rustic Wine Crate

How to Replace an Ugly Hollywood Strip Light

Board and Batter Tutorial

How to Make a Branch Towel Bar

Light Bulb Comparison

How to Install Low Voltage Landscape Lighting

Ombré Paint Chip Lampshade

 

Cabinet Door Revamped to Chalkboard Message Board

Kitchen Cabinet Turned into Shoe Storage Bench

 

Dollar Tree Placemat Garden Flag

 

Beveled Glass Light Fixture Ornaments

DIY Matchbox Car Race Track

 

And Finally, A Whole Slew of Power Tool Tutorials:

Compound Miter Saw

Jig Saw

Finish Nailer and Compressor

Cordless Drill

Circular Saw

Table Saw

Band Saw

I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited for 2012! I hope you’ll stick around for some more DIY tutorials and empowerment!

Did you have a favorite post of mine this year that I forgot to mention? Do tell! Chosing from almost 200 posts makes for some tough decisions.

Tool Tutorial Friday – How to Use a Band Saw

table_adjustment

Welcome back to another Tool Tutorial Friday! I hope you enjoyed some time off last week. Today I want to share with you a power tool that can cut long straight lines and it can cut curved lines with ease. This tool is also my “go to” tool when I need to cut plexiglass. I’m introducing you to a band saw.

Although the band saw is big and may seem intimidating, it actually isn’t very scary. The blade is usually a mere 1/4″ wide and the cutting action is not super loud and it doesn’t usually throw wood back at you. So, cutting with this power saw really gives you a lot of control and can help eliminate the intimidation factor.

The band saw I have it old, but it still gets the job done. If you were to buy a new band saw, the mechanics are basically the same and not much has changed over the years. The size of the band saw (usually 9″, 10″, 12″ or 14″) refers to the distance between the blade and the neck or side column of the saw. Prices for a new band saw vary from about $125 – $600. I would definitely recommend buying a band saw used unless you are running a business that puts out tons of wood projects. Also, make sure that your band saw comes with a detachable rip fence or you will need to purchase one to fit your saw. This is important for making straight cuts.

A band saw has a circular one piece band shaped blade. The blade rotates around the two wheels at a high speed and allows for precise cuts.

There are several blades available for a bandsaw. In addition you could buy a sanding band for sanding intricate cuts. Band saw blades have a TPI (teeth per inch) number. In general, the more teeth per inch the tighter the cuts and more intricate details it can handle. However, that blade will flex more and cannot cut harder stock wood as efficiently. For straight cuts and thicker stock, a lower TPI number is desired. For a more detailed explanation of band saw parts and blades, check out WoodworkingHistory.com’s bandsaw syllabus.

The ONLY saw that I know of that will make more precise cuts than a band saw is a scroll saw. And when I talk precise, I mean making doll furniture type precise. A band saw is used for ripping, cross cutting, curved cuts, circles, you name it! So, why would you need anything else if this saw does it all? Well, sometimes speed is a factor, the band saw is not super fast when ripping a piece of plywood. Plus, you are limited by the width of your bandsaw. You have to work with a board that will fit in between the blade and the neck of the saw (this is specific inch size of your saw.)

Personally, I prefer using the band saw for smaller projects and cutting plexiglass, thin metal, or intricate shapes. It is a staple for anyone who wants to cut letters out of wood! When making intricate cuts, you will need to plan your cutting paths. In other words, you can’t put your wood in and cut around like you would scissors in a piece of paper. Here is an example of what I’m talking about:

To cut the letter “T” out of a piece of wood, you’ll likely have to make several cuts into the wood, making your cuts meet at tight angles or corners.

Before making any cut using a band saw, you need to make sure that your guide is set for the proper depth. You want the guide to ride just above your board. There should be approximately a 1/16″ space between the wood and the guide so the board doesn’t get pinched between the guide and the work table. On my band saw the adjustment is made by loosening a screw at the back of the machine, raising the guide, and re-tightening the screw.

My band saw also has a work table tilt lever for making bevel cuts. Honestly I’ve only used this feature once, but it is nice to have. Simply turn the lever to loosen the bolt holding the table in place. Then tilt the table to the desired angle and re-tighten the bolt.


That’s basically it for setting up the band saw. Before cutting be sure to wear safety glasses. Ear protection is a good idea, but I’ve been known to skip it since this saw doesn’t bust my ear drums as much as some of my other power tools.

As I’ve said before, keep in mind your safety is in your own hands:

DISCLAIMER

The viewer assumes all responsibility and liability associated with the hazards of woodworking. Pretty Handy Girl is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may be present in this tutorial. She also assumes no liability for any action or inaction of a viewer.

Please use extreme caution when using power tools. Read your tool manual thoroughly and wear protective safety gear. Take your time familiarizing yourself with a tool before using it. (If you are missing the manual, you can easily find it online by going to the manufacturer’s website or google your saw’s make and model + manual.)

Please recognize that I have tried to put together a basic band saw usage tutorial to get you started. I have tried my best to show the safest way to use a band saw. That being said, I am not a professional (I only play one on this blog ;-) .)

And here is the video tutorial:

Okay, time once again to let me know what you think about this tutorial; ask any questions; or simply beg to win. When you do so, you will be entered to win this cutie!

Don’t let her pink attire fool you. This lovely lady packs a punch that will knock out any “boy’s” hammer! So limber up those fingers and leave me a note. Your comment will automatically enter you into the 13 oz. Tomboy Tools magnetic hammer giveaway. Good luck!

Sharing with these link parties:

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Tool Tutorial Friday – Table Saw Tutorial

cross_cut_rip_cut

Welcome back to another Tool Tutorial Friday. I have a secret to tell you, this is one of the two power tools I own that I fear the most (the other is my router.) However, everytime I use my table saw I get a little more comfortable. Regardless, I will always keep that “healthy fear” so I won’t forget to use caution when using this power tool.

If you are just getting used to power tools, I would use a jigsaw or miter saw before tackling this big bad boy! That being said, I believe in all of you and know you can use a table saw, so let’s get to it!

A table saw is a great tool for ripping long pieces of wood. Unlike the miter saw which is limited to a certain width stock, the table saw can handle long sheets of 4′ x 8′ plywood.

Explanation of a cross cut vs. a rip cut:

  • Rip – ripping a board is cutting with the grain along the length of a board. This is usually done with a table saw, but can be done with a circular saw and a straight edge.
  • Cross cut – a type of cut that is perpendicular to the grain or along the width of your board. Cross cuts are usually made with a miter saw or circular saw, but can also be made with a hand saw. (I’ve been known to make this cut using my band saw before I had either a miter or table saw.)

We bought our table saw when we laid the wood floors in our living room. I knew that we’d probably have to rip a board or two once we reached the end. Well, wouldn’t you know that our living room ended up being the perfect size for all full width boards. I kept the table saw anyway knowing that I’d use it (and I have used it a fair amount.)

Table saws come in either a stationary or a portable style. I prefer the portability of my table saw. I can roll it out into the driveway (to keep the sawdust outside.) And, because the stand is built-in, I can fold it up on its side, roll it back into the garage and store it away when not in use.

Table saws cost anywhere from $120 up to $1,000 or more. The Ryobi 10 inch table saw with transportable stand that I use costs $300 at Home Depot.

I highly recommend wearing ear protection, safety googles and a dust mask when using a table saw. Hooking your table saw up to shop vac will greatly reduce the amount of saw dust that is discharged (and it spits out a lot of sawdust!)

Two common dangers of using a table saw are kickback (the board being thrown back toward the user) and hand injuries from forcing material through or feeding the wood with the hand too close to the saw. Kickback will happen if the wood is pinched too tight between the rip fence and the blade. When making a cross cut with a table saw, DO NOT use the rip fence! This can cause kickback to occur.

Table Saw Features:

Safety features are super important on a table saw. A blade cover is essential to keep hands away from the blade. And for that reason a table saw should never be used without the guard in place. For even more protection from hand injuries, there is a table saw that is manufactured under the name Stop Saw, that retracts in a split second if it detects flesh against the blade.

Behind the blade on my table saw are anti-kickback pawls. This is a close up view of this safety mechanism. They are basically teeth that will dig into the wood should the blade start to “kick back” the material toward the user.

 

The rip fence is used to setting the width of a cut and keeping the board straight when making a rip cut. Never use the rip fence when making a cross cut. My saw has a miter fence for making angled miter cuts. I honestly haven’t used that feature yet.

The blade depth adjustment and bevel adjustment knob are one and the same on the Ryobi. To adjust the bevel, push the knob in and then turn it.

The material support and the sawdust chute are located on the back of my table saw.


When using a table saw, be sure to have a clear work area. Set up supports or have someone help you to support large pieces of wood after they exit the saw. Use a push stick to assist when making a narrow cut. Do not wear any loose clothing or jewelry that could catch on the machine. Always use a table saw when you are well fed, alert, and are not in a hurry. This is a serious power tool and requires all your focus to use it.

DISCLAIMER

The viewer assumes all responsibility and liability associated with the hazards of woodworking. Pretty Handy Girl is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may be present in this tutorial. She also assumes no liability for any action or inaction of a viewer.

Please use extreme caution when using power tools. Read your tool manual thoroughly and wear protective safety gear. Take your time familiarizing yourself with a tool before using it. (If you are missing the manual, you can easily find it online by going to the manufacturer’s website or google your saw’s make and model + manual.)

Please recognize that I have tried to put together a basic table saw usage tutorial to get you started. I have tried my best to show the safest way to use a table saw. That being said, I am not a professional (I only play one on this blog ;-) .)

If I haven’t scared the sawdust out of you, here is the video tutorial for using a table saw:

I hope I have empowered you to use a table saw at some point. It is a good saw to have in your shop. Especially if you need to lay wood flooring, install beadboard wainscoting and many other projects that require you to rip a board.

And now the moment y’all have been waiting for: The winner of last weeks Tomboy Tools Magnetic hammer is Seansmom! Congratulations. I clicked over to her profile link and am determined to stay in their Carolan guest house if I’m ever in the Northwest Iowa area. What a view from their guest house:

Check your email and get back to me to claim your hammer!

I can’t believe how few comments I had last week. If the same happens this week you have a great chance of winning! So, once again leave me a comment below and let me know if you are willing to try a table saw after watching my video tutorial. I hope the answer is yes! Your comment automatically enters you into the 13 oz. Tomboy Tools magnetic hammer giveaway. Good luck!

 

 

 

Linking this tutorial to Serenity Now’s Weekend Bloggy Read

Tool Tutorial Friday – How to Use a Cordless Drill

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know how I feel about my cordless drill. Yes, I really do love it.

He’s my right hand man. I can’t think of a project that I have completed that I haven’t used my drill.

A cordless drill is an essential tool for any homeowner. If you don’t have one, stop reading this and go buy one! Seriously, they are that important to the DIYer!

Cordless drills can range in price from $30 – $200. The Ryobi 12 volt Lithium Ion cordless drill I use costs $79. The drill came with two batteries, a charger, a fabric case, the drill and a screwdriver bit. That should be the bare minimum that any cordless drill kit includes.

You may be curious what the volts mean. In short, the volts equals the power of the drill. The higher the voltage the stronger the drill. In all honesty, I think I need to upgrade to an 18 volt drill this year. The 12 volt has been good for 90% of the projects I complete. But, I want the 18 volt to help me drill and drive screws through harder wood.

If you are in the market for a new drill, I highly recommend a lithium-ion drill. Lithium-ion is the newest in battery technology. It lasts much longer than a traditional battery.  And, they don’t lose power as the battery runs low. It will just stop when the battery runs out.

Most drills have a torque adjustment. I rarely take mine off the high setting (because my drill isn’t super strong to begin with.) But, basically the torque is the setting where the drill disengages so that it won’t burn out the motor. If you need more torque, use a higher number. But, if you are just starting out, try it on a lower setting. Some drills have an adjustable speed setting. This is a nice feature and really helps when you need to switch from drilling through soft wood to a harder surface.

 

There is a button on each side that is used to change the drill rotation direction. Clockwise to drill and drive screws. Counter-clockwise to remove screws and bolts.

The chuck is the part of the drill that accepts your bits. Keyless chucks are pretty much the norm right now unless you have an older drill. Back in the day, drills came with a key to loosen the chuck. If you lost the key you were out of luck. Thank goodness for innovation!

Besides the obvious uses for a cordless drill (hole drilling, driving screws and bolts), I also use my drill to mix paint!

I bought this paint mixer attachment and use it all the time to mix new colors or just to mix paint that has separated. There is also an attachment for your drill that will dig holes in the ground when planting bulbs. I tried this attachment, but I couldn’t keep the chuck tight enough on the attachment to bore through our southern red clay ;-(.

Okay, let’s get this video started!

DISCLAIMER

The viewer assumes all responsibility and liability associated with the hazards of woodworking. Pretty Handy Girl is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may be present in this tutorial. She also assumes no liability for any action or inaction of a viewer.

Please use extreme caution when using power tools. Read your tool manual thoroughly and wear protective safety gear. Take your time familiarizing yourself with a tool before using it. (If you are missing the manual, you can easily find it online by going to the manufacturer’s website or google your saw’s make and model + manual.)

Please recognize that I have tried to put together a basic cordless drill tutorial to get you started. I have tried my best to show the safest way to use them. That being said, I am not a professional (I only play one on this blog ;-) .)

If you don’t own a cordless drill, I implore you to add this DIY essential to your holiday wishlist!

(I was not paid or compensated to write this post. This is my honest opinion and true feelings about my cordless drill!)

Winner announcements…

First, let me say, WOW! We had some interest in the Bogs Footwear giveaway. Rightfully so — those boots are super comfortable. I have to add a pair of McKenna’s to my Christmas wishlist this year ;-). If you didn’t win, you really need to add them to your list as well!

The winner of the Bogs Footwear gift certificate was: Jacque K. She said, “Oh wow these are GREAT! I love the McKenna and the Classic High Tuscany!”

AND, the winner of last week’s magnetic hammer was : Carla. She said, “Thank you so much!! I recently bought a compressor/finish nailer combo (awesome deal @ Home Depot!) and I hate to admit that it still scares the crap out of me. I have so many plans for it and now, thanks to your video, I’ll be much more confident about using it. Your video was my prize for the day, but if I should happen to get luckier, I’ve been wanting a smaller hammer for some of the projects I do (& I could use it for some of my sewing projects) – the 8 oz. pink magnetic hammer would be great!”

To be entered to win your own hammer from my sponsor, Tomboy Tools:

  1. Leave me a comment letting me know if you have any questions or comments on the Tool Tutorial Friday series.
  2. For a second chance to win, head over to Tomboy Tools and name one of the Tomboy tools that is available in blue (not pink!)

You really want to win one of these hammers. It is just as tough as any hammer I’ve owned. And the pink hammer insures that it will remain in YOUR toolbox, not your man’s ;-).

Have a great weekend y’all. I’ll be at the Raleigh Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Saturday for a demonstration. Hope to see some of you there!

 

 

How to Use a Pneumatic Finish Nailer and Air Compressor (with video)

trimmed_window

Welcome back for another Tool Tutorial Friday! Today I’m going to introduce you to a 2 gallon compressor and pneumatic finish nailer.  I use the Campbell Hausfeld 2 gallon compressor with Pneumatic Finish Nailer. I bought these as a kit when they were on sale at Lowe’s for $69! A good price on this set is $89. There are loads of other brands out there and I’m sure they have other features and capabilities, but frankly I’ve been happy with my set that I’ve had for 2 years. Other kits can cost up to $300. The only drawback with this set is that they can not be used for framing (building walls of a house structure.) But, so far I haven’t needed to do that.

The finish nailer works very well on moulding, trim, board and batten, wainscoting, and other small wood projects.

The compressor is a fairly simple tool. When turned on, air builds up in the chambers until it reaches the maximum 110 psi.

The pressure going into the air hose can be controlled by the regulator button. I typically use my compressor and nailer at about 90 psi. But, if the nails are going too far into the wood, I might turn it down to 80 psi. Or if the nails aren’t going in far enough I will turn it up to 100 psi. With continual use, the pressure will drop down. When the pressure is low enough, the compressor will start itself back up to raise the pressure again.

The on/off switch on my compressor is in the back.

The finish nailer holds small brad nails up to 2″ in length and “U” shaped staples. They are held in the magazine. The safety tip on the nailer must be pressed into the wood before a nail will fire. Otherwise, the gun will not discharge.

While using the nailer and compressor it is very important to use safety goggles and ear protection.

When you are finished using the compressor, it is important to release all the air from the compressor. If you don’t release the air, moisture can build up and rust the tank. Start by reducing the pressure by turning the regulator down. Then pull the safety valve ring. It will close automatically, so you will need pull it a few times or hold it open. I also unscrew the valve at the bottom of the tank to insure it is completely empty before storing. Then I screw the valve back in.

After the tank is empty, release the hose from the nailer. Add a drop or two of penetrating oil onto and in the air inlet on the nailer to keep it well lubricated. Cover the air inlet and then you can store your nailer and compressor.

DISCLAIMER

The viewer assumes all responsibility and liability associated with the hazards of woodworking. Pretty Handy Girl is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may be present in this tutorial. She also assumes no liability for any action or inaction of a viewer.

Please use extreme caution when using power tools. Read your tool manual thoroughly and wear protective safety gear. Take your time familiarizing yourself with a tool before using it. (If you are missing the manual, you can easily find it online by going to the manufacturer’s website or google your saw’s make and model + manual.)

Please recognize that I have tried to put together a basic finish nailer and compressor tutorial to get you started. I have tried my best to show the safest way to use them. That being said, I am not a professional (I only play one on this blog ;-) .)

Without further ado, here is the tutorial video:

 

How to Use a Miter Saw – Tool Tutorial Friday

my_miter_saw

Hello and welcome to the very first Tool Tutorial Friday! Come right in and have a seat. If you give me less than 10 minutes of your time, I will empower you with some new power tool skills! Today, I’m going to show you one of my favorite power tools. In fact, I dreamed of owning one for years. Using a hand saw and a cheap plastic miter box was really putting a cramp in my DIY style (if you know what I mean.)

My Makita 10″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw (I just love saying that) was a Mother’s Day present to me a few years ago. That’s right, I don’t ask for jewelry for big occasions. Pretty Handsome Guy knows to ask one thing before a upcoming holiday, “So Honey, what power tool do you want now?” It’s true, I’m a power tool junky.

Here is the deal, I really want these workshops to be interactive, so don’t be shy! Ask questions, leave comments, let me know you are learning something new.

Okay, let’s get started…

This is my Sliding Compound Miter Saw (oooo, ahhhhh.) She’s a diva of a power tool and therefore demands a little respect.

 

Miter saws come in all shapes, sizes and colors. The size (usually from 7.25″ up to 12″) refers to the diameter of the blade on the saw. The larger the blade the wider the boards it can cut. However, if you purchase a “sliding” miter saw, you can usually cut a few inches wider than your blade diameter. Miter saws run anywhere from $80 up to $800 depending on the features and brand you choose. 

A non-slide (regular) miter saw will not slide forward and back. Most of the lower end models will still cut a miter and a bevel. Sometimes, these “lower end” models are affectionately referred to as chop saws.

I highly recommend a sliding miter saw, if you can afford it. Being able to cut a few inches wider means the difference between using your miter saw or having to break out the circular saw or table saw.

The modern miter saws have a trigger built into the handle. Some also have a safety button that you must push with your finger or thumb before you can squeeze the trigger. To start a straight downward cut, press the safety button, squeeze the trigger and wait for the saw to reach maximum rotation. Then slowly lower your saw into the board you are cutting. Never force the saw through the wood. Let the saw cut and then guide it downward. Once you have completed the cut, bring the saw back up and out of the wood, then you can release the trigger.

A compound miter saw has a blade that will cut miters and bevels at the same time (thus the name compound, as in compound cut.) The diagram below shows the bevel and miter adjustments.

Most miter saws should have a fence. The fence lets you rest the back of your board against. It keeps the wood steady and helps your miter saw cut true to the degree setting you have chosen.

My miter saw has a clamp, if yours has one, use it! Let the clamp be your right hand man (literally). If you don’t have a clamp on your saw, be sure to always position your hand far away from the blade as you hold your board up again the fence. AND NEVER reach under the saw while it is rotating (guard or no guard!)

When using a sliding miter saw, there is a proper way to make a sliding cut (used to cut wider boards):

  1. Start by putting your board against the fence and clamp it.
  2. Before you start the blade, pull the saw toward you until the blade is directly over the board’s edge that is closest to you.
  3. Squeeze the trigger to start the saw and wait for it to reach peak rotation speed. Then pull the blade down and into the wood.
  4. While the blade is still rotating, push the saw back and away from you as your blade cuts through the rest of the wood (see photo below.)
  5. Once the blade has finished cutting through the wood, raise the saw and release the trigger to stop the saw.

Before you watch the video — a few necessary words of caution:

DISCLAIMER

The viewer assumes all responsibility and liability associated with the hazards of woodworking. Pretty Handy Girl is not responsible for any errors or omissions that may be present in this tutorial. She also assumes no liability for any action or inaction of a viewer.

Please use extreme caution when using power tools. Read your tool manual thoroughly and wear protective safety gear. Take your time familiarizing yourself with a tool before using it. (If you are missing the manual, you can easily find it online by going to the manufacturer’s website or google your saw’s make and model + manual.)

Please recognize that I have tried to put together a basic miter saw usage tutorial to get you started. I have tried my best to show the safest way to use a miter saw. That being said, I am not a professional (I only play one on this blog ;-).)

And now, let’s get you more familiar with using a miter saw!

I hope you have been empowered! Go on and give the miter saw a try if you own one. If you decide to buy a new miter saw, I recommend buying a reputable brand with a decent amount of features. My goal has always been to save up to buy a saw that will last my lifetime, and not settle for a cheap saw just because that is what I could afford at the time.

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May I Have Your Attention Please – Morning Announcements

PHG_signature_on_wood

Did my post title take you back to grade school? Now sit up straight in your chair and don’t fidget. ;-D

I apologize for the randomness of this post, but I have just a few things to tell you. I figured I’d roll them all up into a nice little neat blog post (kind of like a sushi roll!)

Sharpie Goes Pink!

In October Sharpie joined the fight against breast cancer by kicking off their “Ink it Pink” campaign. For every signature that is uploaded this month, they will donate $1 to City of Hope, one of the nation’s leading cancer research, treatment and education centers.

I’ve uploaded my pink signature:

Won’t you join in and help in the fight against cancer? More details here.

GMC Let’s Trade Secrets Challenge

If you haven’t entered the GMC Trade Secrets contest, you are missing out on the opportunity to win a trip to LA or New York City where you will co-star with Carter, Eric or Sam!

But, hey, if starring on TV ain’t your thang (I totally understand that), 2nd prize is an iPad2 and a $500 iTunes gift card (Suh-weeeet!)

Upload your photos or video by October 25th and good luck!

Finally, I have some big news for you. I will be starting a tool tutorial series this coming Friday called Tool Tutorial Friday (very creative I know.)

Every Friday I will introduce you to a new power tool via video.

I’ll show you the basics of using the tool. And then open up the comment section for any questions you may have about it!

This is definitely something I have wanted to do for you since the beginning of my blog. I can tell you now, honestly I wasn’t very comfortable on camera. I’m sure you’ve seen a few videos popping up on the blog. They have all been in preparation for this tutorial series. I’m very excited about empowering you with some basic power tool operation knowledge.  I’ll slowly work through my arsenal until I’m all out of tools. I hope you will join me every week for Tool Tutorial Friday! I may have a gift for you as well.

See you next week ;-).

 

New Life for a Borders Bookshelf

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I hope you will take a moment to view how I test drove my Dremel Trio. This is seriously a really fun power tool! Just be sure you are safe so as not to ruin the fun. Eye protection, face mask, and ear plugs. Check.

For those of you who like to skip to the end of the book and see the ending, here you go:


For the rest of you, here is how I created this cut out/back lit bookshelf that started life as a bookshelf from a closing Borders bookstore.


Tutorial for creating a cut out bookcase:
Almost any bookcase will work for this project, but the ones that have a thin wood (can be masonite) backing will work best. Set up a work area that you don’t mind getting dusty and dirty. Remove the shelves from your bookcase.

Cutting the endcap:

Materials:

  • circular saw
  • level
  • clamp
  • scrap wood
  • screws
  • drill

I cut the endcap in half lengthwise so I could use half for each end of my bookshelf, and to position it flush against the wall. To cut a straight line using a circular saw, I clamped one end of a level to the endcap. My level wasn’t long enough, so I drilled a scrap piece of wood on top of the level and into the end cap to support the other end.


I set the circular saw blade just below the depth of the endcap. By resting the endcap on two 2×4″ boards, I was able to creative a gap below the endcap for the sawblade to pass through.Then I ran the circular saw along the level for a straight cut. Straight as an arrow, and it met Pretty Handy Dog’s approval.

Cutting out the backing design and painting:

Materials:

  • Dremel Trio
  • Palm sander
  • Sandpaper (100 grit & 220 grit)
  • Scrap 2×4 lumber
  • Chalk or pencil
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Primer
  • Paint (white and navy blue)
  • 3M Clean Edge technology painter’s tape
  • Newspapers
  • 2″ paint brush
  • Small paint roller and tray

Sketch out the design on your bookshelf (using chalk or pencil) before beginning.

Before using any new power tool, take some time to read through the manual.

To insert a bit into the Dremel Trio, you push in the blue (shaft lock) button on the front and use the enclosed wrench to loosen the collet nut on the tool.

Insert the cutting bit into the Trio. (The trio also comes with a sanding drum bit and a routing bit!)

Tighten the collet nut with the wrench.

Turn the blue handle on the side of the TRIO to raise or lower the base plate.

Adjust the base plate until the cutting bit extends slightly below the wood backing of your bookcase.

Lay the bookcase down on its back. Position 2×4 boards under the edges of the bookcase (or you will be cutting into concrete. I’m pretty sure the TRIO is not capable of that, but I could be wrong.)

Plug in your Trio and get ready to have some FUN! You may want to practice on a scrap piece of wood before working on your bookcase. The TRIO allows you to change directions quickly and easily. Creating fanciful cuts is a breeze!

Squeeze the trigger and when the bit reaches full speed you can plunge it into the workpiece. For the pin holes hold the Trio steady, insert the bit and then lift it back out of the same hole.

To cut trees and other designs, plunge the TRIO into the wood and then slowly move the tool through the wood to carve your design. Be wary of long “V” shape cuts as they will make the backing weaker.

When your design has been completed, use the power sander to sand the back of the bookcase (where the majority of the splintering will have occurred.)

Insert the sanding drum bit into the TRIO and sand any large cut out areas.

Fold a piece of sandpaper in half and feed it through the thin lines of the branches to sand any rough edges that can’t be reached with the sanding bit.

Set the bookcase upright and inspect the cuts for more splinters. You can preview what your design will look like when lit up. Lookin’ good, huh?!

Before sanding the rest of the bookshelf, repair any dents or holes with wood putty. (This is a post I wrote about repairing all types of holes if you need help.)

Use the palm sander and a fine grit (220 grit) sandpaper to rough up the rest of the bookshelf.

Apply a coat of primer to the bookcase, shelves and sides. (Still working on emptying that can of KILZ Clean Start primer! Love that stuff.

When the primer has dried, mask off the sides of the bookcase where they meet the back.

3M sent me this Scotch Blue Painter’s tape with Edge-Lock protector to try. I was skeptical, but when I pulled the tape off it did give me a clean edge. The only place I had a little bit of seepage was in the corners where I didn’t press the tape tightly into the corner. The key to using this tape is to firmly press the edges with your finger to engage the “Edge-Lock” seal. I haven’t tried it for painting walls, but you better believe I have a wall project coming up that I can try it on.

Paint the back of your bookcase. I chose a very dark navy blue. To save paint, I used a medium blue paint for my first coat to darken the back and hopefully save paint.

Then paint one coat of the navy blue.

Follow up with a second coat to eliminate any streaking.

When the navy paint has dried, tape along the edges of the navy blue backing, where it meets the sides. Slip pieces of newspaper underneath to catch any paint splashes. (Will you get a load of my lazy supervisor! You think he’s been working hard in the heat? Uh no, that would be me doing all the work and him snoozing away the day.)

Paint the rest of the bookcase, the sides and the shelves white. I used two coats of Benjamin Moore Impervo Semi-gloss white.


Once the paint has dried completely, re-assemble the bookcase. And screw the end cap halves onto either side of the bookcase.

I installed a light rope behind the bookcase (tutorial to come at a later date) and set the lights on a timer. The rope light comes on at dusk and illuminates all the cut outs.

There is a very soft glow emitted from the back of the bookcase.

It provides the perfect amount of light for my son who HAS to have a light on at night.

My only complaint about the rope lights is that they give off a strong plastic odor. But, after a week the smell has dissipated.

I had the foresight to purchase a few of the clear display stands that slide into the end caps of the bookcase. It makes it easy to display books to pique my son’s reading interests.

Oh look! There he is now! Mission accomplished, reading interest piqued. Yes, I think he is double-jointed and a teacher pointed out that both my son’s sit like that. Must be in the genes.

A few more detailed pictures of the bookshelf. This has to be one of my favorite projects I’ve created recently. And it wasn’t very difficult to complete.




 

 

 

Irwin Tools Giveaway

Irwin_tools

Irwin Tools has graciously donated a pair of groove lock pliers and a Universal saw to my readers. They have sent me various tools over the past few months to try, and I can honestly say that they have all been top notch and many have exceeded my expectations!

I have been using my own pair of groove lock pliers around the house. You saw them in action in these posts:

Replacing a Flush Lever:

Retrieving Dropped Objects from the Drain:

Removing Door Knobs and Latches:

I think it is fair to say that my groove lock pliers have become my right hand assistant. I may have even used them to undo a stuck mod podge jar lid (shhhhh, don’t tell Irwin.)

And the Universal Saw crushed my hand saw in a sawing competition:

I know you will really like these tools. They have ergonomically designed handles and are very comfortable to use. They make a great addition to any DIYer’s workshop.

Here is how you can enter to win!   Sorry this giveaway has ended.

 

 

And in this corner we have an Irwin 15″ Universal Handsaw…

Handsaws

While sanding down my garden bench, I decided to make a design change. I chose to saw off the ball finial posts that are at the end of the armrests. I felt they were too tall and since I’m moving my bench onto our screen porch I didn’t want them obstructing the view if I was sitting with friends and chatting. So, I decided “Off with their heads!”

It was also the perfect opportunity to try out a new handsaw that Irwin sent me to test. They claimed that it is up to 3x faster than a traditional handsaw. Honestly I didn’t believe the claim. I mean – come on – a handsaw is a handsaw.

So, I decided to put their claim to the test with a good old fashioned match up.

The competition:
In this corner we have the challenger: the 15″ Irwin Universal Handsaw.

And the reining champion in this corner is my trusty handsaw.

Let me back up and tell you that I have a like/hate relationship with that traditional handsaw. I bought it a long time ago before I could afford a compound miter saw (power tool). So, I bought an el cheapo plastic miter box to use with it when I wanted to cut perfect angles. It took me about a dozen times before I learned how to properly use the hand saw. The key is to let the saw do the sawing (well, duh, right?!) Trust me, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. It is so tempting to press into the wood. But, if you put any force or pressure on the saw, it will skip and bind. Instead you have to gently push and pull the saw back and forth a gazillion times until the saw works its way through the wood. It can be  a brutally slow process.

So, back to the match up. I started with my traditional handsaw and started the timer.

About halfway through I had to take a break (and a picture). I gulped down some more coffee and continued sawing. (I stopped the clock at 1:15:20 when I took a break and restarted it when I began sawing again.)

Finally at 2 minutes and 32 seconds the ball finial met it’s demise and toppled to the ground. I wanted to topple down with it, exhausted.

I resisted the urge to go grab one of my power tools for the other side, but instead picked up the Irwin Universal Handsaw.

The angled handle felt a little strange in my hand (not bad, just different from the traditional one I was used to.)

I set the blade against the base of the post and began to saw. It cut through the wood easily and within 32 seconds it had lopped of the head of the other post. I was amazed. I double checked my timer, but it was working. Only 32 seconds and I was barely breathing heavy!

AND THE WINNER IS:

The Irwin 15″ Universal Handsaw by a longshot!

Here are a few details about the saw: It has a triple-ground tooth design, I’m guessing this has something to do with its speed. And the unique angled handle combined with the tooth design is supposed to eliminate binding. I had no binding, so it appears to work.

There are 45º and 90º angle markers built into the blade. I’m not sure that I would use them instead of my carpenter’s square, but I suppose they are convenient to have in a pinch. With a retail price of $18.99, the 15″ Irwin Universal Handsaw is a great and economic addition to your toolbox. (Especially if you can’t afford a power miter saw).

I’ve decided to send my traditional handsaw packing to make room for the Irwin Universal handsaw in my toolbox. Anyone want a gently used traditional handsaw for cheap?

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. I was sent the Irwin Handsaw at no charge, but the opinions and testing were my own and were not influenced by Irwin or anyone else. For more information you can view my disclosure statement HERE.

I Love My Cordless Drill

Recently I was asked what my favorite tool is. My Ryobi 12 volt Lithium Ion battery cordless drill was the first thing to pop into my head. Barely a week passes that I don’t reach for my drill to assist with a few loose screws (not that I personally have any of those.) For a homeowner or DIYer, this tool is indispensable. It allows you to drill holes, remove or drive screws and – well – just look like you know what you are doing.

I don’t just like this power tool, I love my cordless drill! Shhhh, don’t tell Pretty Handsome Guy, he might be offended. My drill is my right hand man, helping me breeze through projects with power and speed.

About 15 years ago my father-in-law asked what I wanted for Christmas, and I boldly told him that I wanted a cordless drill. He kind of chuckled and said, “Heh heh. Okay.” You see we didn’t own a house at that time, and I was still a young woman in my 20′s. But, I had big DIY dreams and I knew I wanted a power tool.

Christmas morning I opened a present to reveal a brand new 18 volt Ryobi Cordless Drill. It had loads of power, two torque settings and the whizzing whir that made me feel like I was one mean carpenter! Plus, it came with a flashlight attachment that would make any nighttime lurker look like a deer caught in the headlights.

I have owned two more Ryobi cordless drills since that Christmas present. The first one had to be replaced when the battery no longer held a charge (and buying a new battery cost almost as much as a new drill.) The second one met its demise when I accidentally drove a screw right up against a fence post and didn’t notice that the chuck was winding the opposite way until the collar was stuck wide open.

So, it was back to my super box home improvement store to shop for a new drill.

As I was checking out the drills and learning about the merits of the lithium ion batteries, I asked about the voltage difference since I had been using a 14.4 volt drill. The salesman at the “Big Orange” told me that I wouldn’t notice the difference between a 12 volt and a 14.4 volt. Pisshwah! I did notice a difference, especially when trying to drive screws into hardwoods! (My DIY abilities are sometimes underestimated by a few.) But, the salesman was correct, under normal daily use I don’t notice the difference.

Two things that I DO really love about this new Ryobi 12 volt Lithium Ion drill:  

1. Battery Life: Yes, yes, yes! What you have heard is true. The battery does last much longer. I’ve told you how much I use my drill, and I have only charged the battery on this drill three times since January 2010. That is 11 mos. of use including laying a sub-floor in our living room. The only downside to the lithium ion battery (but also could be considered an upside) is that the drill doesn’t slow or lose power until a few seconds before the battery is dead. Therefore there is very little warning that the battery is about to give up. At least this drill comes with a spare battery, so I always keep it charged.

2. Size and weight: 3.5 lbs. of cordless drill made me feel like I had some serious power in my hands! That is how much the old 18 volt Ryobi weighed. When I held the new 12 volt Ryobi drill, I embraced the lightness of its lithe 1.8 lbs! I can really appreciate the difference when reaching overhead to use the drill. Plus, this new drill with its smaller size and smaller grip fits perfectly in my hand.

As you can see below, my drill shows signs of being loved used frequently. But, it still works like the day I lifted it out of the box.

Some other features about this little green mean machine: 

It comes with a charger, extra battery, a phillips and flat head bit. There is a magnetic bit shelf right above the battery. And a canvas storage case. But, my drill doesn’t get that much time stored away. It usually rests right here…

…ready to leap into action at a moments notice.

If you don’t own a cordless drill, I implore you to add this DIY essential to your holiday wishlist!

(I was not paid or compensated to write this post. This is my honest opinion and true feelings about my beloved cordless drill!)