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.

 

 


We had a great turnout at the Habitat ReStore demonstration on Saturday! Thank you to everyone who showed up. It was nice meeting some new friends. There will be another talk at 1 pm on Saturday, December 10th at the Cary, NC Habitat ReStore! I hope you can make it, because I’ll be showing how to turn some common ReStore items into holiday gifts and décor.

And now for the tutorial that you really wanted to see — but couldn’t make it to see — making a shoe storage bench out of an kitchen wall cabinet!

Wall cabinets that fit over your fridge or stove work really well for this shoe storage bench project. Ideally the cabinet will be 18″ in height (standard seat height). If it is shorter, you can build a base for your bench to raise it up a little.

It is more than likely that these cabinets will be coated with about 5 lbs. of grease. But, have not fear, I found THE BEST cleaner for removing grease. Hot water and ammonia! You must work in a well ventilated area when working with ammonia. Sponge on the ammonia and hot water concoction and wait about 10 minutes. Wipe off the cabinet and repeat until clean.

Materials:

  • Ammonia, hot water and a sponge or rag (to clean off grease)
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Miter saw
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Wood putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Construction or thick wood glue
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • 2″ finish nails
  • 1 and 1/4″ finish nails
  • Quarter round moulding for base of cabinet
  • Cove moulding for top of cabinet
  • 1″ thick board (cut to fit inside cabinet dimensions)
  • 1×4″ pine firring strips
  • Plywood or pine board cut to fit 3″ wider and 1.5″ deer than finished dimensions of the cabinet (after moulding is added.)
  • Optional: Thin plywood to use as a filler strip

 

Remove all the hardware and the doors. Remove any nails that are poking out or hammer them flush with the wood.

Measure the inside depth of the top of your cabinet.

Cut three 1×4″ boards to sit on top of the cabinet and use for the bench support and to give your nails something to grip when attaching the bench top. (Without these supports it would be very difficult to nail or screw into the particle board cabinet without it flaking and chipping.)

Use thick construction glue to attach the boards. (Glues that have a toothpaste consistency.)

Nail finish nails into the boards at an angle to secure them.

For good measure, nail two more finish nails through the back of the cabinet and into the ends of the support boards.

Measure your cabinet sides and front. Cut quarter round (convex shape) for the base of your cabinet and cove moulding (concave shape) for the top of your cabinet.

Here is a close up of the moulding I used for the base and crown of the cabinet.

If the face frame of your cabinet juts out past the side, you’ll have a gap (see below). No worries, we can fix that!

Slip a piece of thin plywood to fit behind the quarter round (and cove moulding). Draw a line at the top of your quarter round (and bottom of the cove moulding). Cut the plywood piece with a jig saw.

Glue the thin plywood strip onto the cabinet.

Rest your moulding on top of the filler strip.

Predrill holes in your trim moulding, then hammer finish nails to secure the trim. If you are using a finish nailer to secure the moulding pieces, you won’t need to pre-drill.

Fill any nail holes or cracks with wood putty.

Fill the seams of the filler strips with wood putty too.

Allow the wood putty to dry and then sand it smooth.

Your cabinet should look something like this:

For the top of your bench, cut a piece of wood that is 3″ wider and 1.5″ deeper than the top dimensions of the cabinet (be sure to measure to the edge of the crown moulding.) Sand it smooth. Stain or paint the bench top.


At this point, you can attach your bench top by screwing a few screws from inside the cabinet up through the support pieces and into the bench top.

*For demonstration purposes, the video will show how I attached the bench top with glue and finish nails from the top: Add some construction glue to the wood supports. Then, nail the top into the three support boards on top of the cabinet. Fill the holes left by the nails. And touch up the spots with stain or paint. Either way will work, but the screws from below will save you the work of adding wood putty and/or touching up the nail holes.

To install the shelf, level the board you cut to fit inside the cabinet (or shall I call it a bench since we are almost done!)


Use either “L” brackets inside the cabinet to hold the shelf or hammer nails from the side and into the ends of the shelf to secure it. Luckily shoes aren’t super heavy, so you can get away with using finish nails to hold the shelf in place.


Use a nail set to sink the nail below the wood surface.


Add a small amount of wood putty to the nail hole.


Gently sand the cabinet and shelf to scuff up the surface and give it a “tooth” for the primer to adhere to. Prime the cabinet and bench.


Paint the cabinet, shelf and bench.


Protect your bench with a few coats of polyurethane and you are done!


Room for about 8 pairs of shoes! If you wanted a larger bench or more storage, you could attach two cabinets side by side.


Here is the video from my Habitat ReStore talk. (I apologize about some of the background noise.)

By the way, thanks to my sponsors Bogs Footwear (boots) and Tomboy Tools (tool belt.) I need to lower that belt a little ;-). I was rushing in and just buckled it on me without adjusting it.

 

 

 

Sharing this tutorial with Home Stories A2Z Tutorials and Tips Link Party and The Shabby Creek Cottage’s Transformation Thursday

A cordless drill is an essential tool for any DIYer. If you don’t have one, stop reading this and go buy one! Seriously, a cordless drill is one of the most important tools for your toolbox.

how to use a cordless drill plus buying guide

How to Use a Cordless Drill

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know I use a cordless drill for almost every project. You could say, my drill is my right-hand man. Over the years, I’ve used many different brands with a variety of features. Today we’ll discuss how to use a cordless drill and a list of features you should look for when buying a new drill. Consider this your comprehensive guide to cordless drills.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

These Tools are Not a Drill:

Before we talk about how to use a cordless drill, I want to explain to you the difference between a cordless drill, a cordless screwdriver, and an impact driver.  Although they may look alike, impact drivers and cordless screwdrivers are not drills.

Cordless Screwdriver:

Some may look like a drill, but a cordless screwdriver does not have the power or speed to drill holes, or drive screws into hard materials. It also has no torque or speed adjustments. In fact, a cordless screwdriver is strictly for loosening and tightening screws.

cordless screwdriver vs a drill

Impact Drivers:

impact driver

Although they also look like drills, impact drivers are solely meant to drive screws or bolts into tough material. But, can also be used with a quick change drill bit for small holes.  An impact driver has rotational force onto the sides of the bit giving more force when driving screws or bolts. Unlike a drill, the impact driver does not have torque adjustments or a twisting chuck to change bits.

quick change bits

Impact drivers don’t have a chuck to hold the bit. They use a collet to hold bits. Impact drivers accept 1/4″ hex and quick change bits. The collet releases the bit when pulled away from the tool.

Now that you know the difference between a drill and a cordless screwdriver or impact driver, let’s talk about the features on a cordless drill.

About Cordless Drills:

When you first pick up a cordless drill, all the buttons and symbols on the drill may seem confusing. Have no fear, I’ll break it down and give you a little more information about torque, speed, and those symbols to simplify things.

variety of cordless drills

What is Torque:

Torque is the amount of force your drill uses to turn an object (like a screw or drill bit.) All cordless drills have a clutch to change the torque setting. The clutch on your drill is the dial on the front of your drill just behind the chuck.

torque settings on drill

If you need more torque, use a higher number. But, if you are driving screws into softwoods, use a lower setting for more control and less likelihood of driving the screw too far into the wood.

Speeds on a Cordless Drill:

Some drills have an adjustable speed setting (or gear) switch on the top of the drill. Switching between one or two will give you access to more speed or less speed. Selecting the number two will produce higher speed and more power for drilling and driving bigger screws. This is a nice feature and helps when you need to switch from driving smaller screws into softwood vs. driving larger screws into hardwood or drilling.

speed setting on drill

Direction Selection:

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

drill rotation direction button

Optional Features on a Cordless Drill:

Drills come with a variety of features. Depending on your needs, you may be fine with a standard drill that drives screws and drills holes. But, if you are working on more difficult tasks, you may want a drill with a hammer drill setting.

settings on a drill - drive screws, drill holes, hammer drill

Task Selection:

  • Drive Screws: The first function is self-explanatory. Use the drive screws function to screw in fasteners or remove them.
  • Drill Holes: The hole drilling function runs at the fastest speed and is used for drilling holes with a drilling bit.
  • Hammer Drill: A hammer drill is useful for drilling holes or driving bolts into tough material. A hammer drill has a hammer action from the rear that pulses force directly onto the bit (like a small jackhammer.) In contrast, an impact driver has a rotational pulse on the sides of the bit. (See above for more information about impact drivers)

Light Up Your Task:

Another nice feature to have on a drill is a light. Most mid-range to upper range drills have a light that is activated when pulling the trigger on the drill. Although not 100% necessary, anyone who has tried to see inside a cabinet while using a drill appreciates the light feature.

lights on drill

Belt Clip:

Having a belt clip on a drill is one of those features that a tradesperson finds exceptionally helpful when juggling tools on a ladder. Instead of setting the drill precariously on top of the ladder, it can clip onto your belt.

belt clips on cordless drills

Magnetic Holder:

One of my favorite features on a drill is a magnetic bit holder. This is not standard on drills and frankly I have only seen a few drills with this feature, but I wish more were manufactured with it.

How to Replace Bits on a Drill

Cordless drills have a keyless chuck. To change the bits, simply turn the chuck counter-clockwise to loosen. Insert the new bit and turn clockwise to tighten onto the new bit (making sure the bit is centered in the claws of the chuck.)

counter clockwise loosen chuck, clockwise to tighten chuck

A keyed chuck is found on most corded drills. The key (black tool shown below) fits inside the hole on the side of the chuck and turns the gears on the chuck to loosen or tighten it.

key and chuck

 

Costs for a Cordless Drill:

4 cordless drills, different brands

Brand and features factor into the price of a cordless drill, but typically a DIYer can expect to spend $50 – $150 on a drill.  My first drill was a Ryobi 12 volt Lithium Ion cordless drill, but I quickly upgraded to a more powerful Milwaukee Drill/Driver. Now I’ve switched over to a cordless DeWalt drill/driver set because most of my cordless tools are DeWalt cordless tools. Keeping all your cordless tools in one family will save you money, space, and the hassle of having too many different batteries in your toolbox. (Side note: DeWalt batteries are cross-compatible with most of their 20v tools? The exception is the 12v tools that will only run on the 12-volt batteries. And the 60V and 120V tools will need the stronger FlexVolt batteries.)

How Many Volts Do I Need?

You may be curious about what the volts mean on the drill you’re considering. In short, the volts equal the power of the drill. The higher the voltage, the stronger the drill. In all honesty, I would recommend purchasing an 18-volt drill if you plan to use it for multiple DIY projects. In the beginning, you might try a 12-volt drill, but as your projects grow you’ll find the 12 volts don’t have the power needed to muscle through hardwoods and other tough materials. The DeWalt drill I use now is a 20 volt, but I needed the power to muscle through old-growth lumber in the renovation I was working on.

Batteries: Ni-Cad vs. Lithium-Ion

When I first wrote this article, lithium-ion battery drills were just coming onto the market. Lithium-ion is the latest battery technology. Lithium-ion batteries will last through many more recharges than a Ni-Cad battery.  And, they don’t lose charging capacity over time. The lithium-ion batteries also maintain power as the battery runs low. As the battery loses charge, it will stop when the battery runs out.

Luckily over the years, lithium has become more the norm in the cordless department. If you are in the market for a new drill, be sure to make sure you are purchasing a lithium-ion battery-powered drill. Beware of used or inexpensive Ni-Cad battery drills. You will save money on one now but will need to replace the battery (or worse not be able to purchase new batteries) for it before long.

Speaking of battery life, I recommend choosing a cordless battery that has a charge indicator on it. There’s nothing worse than grabbing a battery you thought was fully charged only to realize it’s not.

battery charge indicator on cordless battery

Feel the Weight of the Drill:

Now that you are honing on in the features you want in a drill, let’s talk about weight and balance. I highly recommend trying a drill before you buy it. Go to the hardware store and ask to hold the drill with its battery inserted. Some drills (especially the higher voltage drills) will be significantly heavier than a smaller 12-volt battery drill and may cause wrist fatigue if you aren’t used to the heft. You also want to feel the balance of the drill in your hand. A nicely balanced drill can easily be held with one finger wrapped around the trigger and the tool resting balanced on your hand. A front or back heavy drill can put extra strain on your wrist.

How to Use a Cordless Drill:

Time to start using a cordless drill! This is a very user-friendly tool as long as you know a few simple safety tips.

how to use a cordless drill

Safety Tips:

Never wear loose clothing or gloves when using a drill. Keep long hair tied back. You don’t want anything to catch and wind up into the drill. Always keep hands away from the drill bit, screws, or fasteners. Never put your hand behind the piece you are drilling into. Always wear safety glasses when using a drill. (Ear protection is a good idea when using the hammer drill function.)

To Drive Screws:

Set the drill on a low torque setting. Hold the screw perpendicular into the wood (hold it up at the top against the smooth portion of the screw if there is one.) Slowly squeeze the trigger to rotate the screw clockwise far enough into the material for the screw to start to grab. Remove your hand, keep pressure against the drill as you depress the trigger again and drive the screw into the wood. Stop when the screw is flush with the material (or slightly below the material).

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Troubleshooting Screw Driving Issues:

If the bit is spinning and not gripping the screw, try one of these solutions:

  • Apply more pressure against the back of the drill
  • See if your bit or the screw is stripped
  • Try lowering the torque
  • Check the bit size, if it’s too small or large it won’t grip the head properly.
  • DO NOT continue to let the drill bit spin on top of the screw. This will strip the head.

If your drill makes a loud sound and stops turning the screw, try changing to a higher torque or speed setting. This usually means, you need more torque for the task.

To Drill Holes:

Measure and select the appropriate drill bit for the hole size you need to drill (and for the material you are drilling into.)  Insert the drill bit into the chuck and tighten, making sure the bit is centered in the chuck. Set the drill onto the drilling setting. When drilling into wood, gently depress the bit into the wood to create an indentation to keep the bit from sliding. If you are drilling a hole into metal or other slick surfaces, try using a piece of painter’s tape on top of the material to keep the bit from sliding.

Drill through back of organizer for plug

When drilling holes into masonry, ceramic, porcelain, and other hard surfaces, be sure to cool the bit occasionally with water.

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To drill large holes, use a hole saw or a Forstner bit. It helps to use a corded drill with more power for drilling large holes.

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Trick for Drilling Holes to a Certain Depth:

Use a piece of painter’s tape wrapped around the drill bit to the depth you want to drill to. Stop when the painter’s tape is even with your surface.

Trick for Drilling into Lumber at an Angle:

When drilling into wood at an angle, start by drilling into the wood perpendicular to the surface about one-eighth to 0ne-quarter of an inch. Then change to the angled direction. This will keep your bit from sliding on the surface of the lumber.

How to Install Shelves on a Tile Wall (using Corbels) | Pretty Handy Girl

Alternatively, you can use a jig for drilling at an angle (especially helpful for drilling pocket holes.)

Various Attachments for Drills:

Did you know you can also clean with your drill? Yup! Check out this attachment set for cleaning a variety of things around your house and your automobile!

brush and buffing attachments for drill

 

Besides the cleaning and buffing, you can also use a drill to mix paint! A paint mixer attachment can be used to mix up an old can of paint or mix new colors.

attachment for mixing paint with drill

There is also an attachment for your drill that will dig holes in the ground when planting bulbs. I think this is next on my wishlist.

bulb planting attachment for drill

Can you Mix Mortar or Concrete with a Cordless Drill?

You may be able to mix mortar or concrete with a powerful cordless mixing drill, but chances are your standard cordless drill won’t stand up to the challenge. It either won’t have the power to mix, or you’ll burn out the motor. It’s best to use a corded drill to mix heavy mixes.

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Video Tutorial on How to Use a Cordless Drill:

I hope the video tutorial helped you learn how to use a cordless drill. It’s definitely one of the most used tools in my toolbox.

If you are just joining me and missed the tutorial for building board and batten moulding, you can view that tutorial HERE. Today I want to show you how to hide the holes, seams and how to paint the board and batten moulding. Plus, how I paint the wall so it looks more like wood and not like drywall.

Start by taping off the moulding. I used ScotchBlue painter’s tape with edge lock technology because 3M just sent me these rolls to try out.

If you are re-painting the crown moulding and the door, tape them off as well.

Usually I fill the nail holes with wood putty. Then I fill seams with caulk. To view a tutorial on filling holes with wood putty, click HERE.

I actually just read about a neat tip on Diane’s blog (who also just added board and batten moulding in her bathroom.)  She uses ice cubes and cold water for working with caulk. I’ve never tried this, but am happy to report that it really helps smooth the caulk and keeps it from sticking to your fingers.

 

Which caused me to amend the Pretty Handy Girl’s tried-and-true caulking method:

  1. Squeeze out your bead of caulk, using a caulk gun.
  2. Dip finger in the ice cold water.
  3. Run your finger along the bead to smooth it.

Seal every seam in your moulding and then let it dry.

Once all the putty and caulk has dried, get the primer out. Paint primer on all the wood moulding using a paint brush. In the center (drywall areas), you can roll on the primer.

But, before the primer dries use the brush to spread it in long vertical strokes.

After the primer has dried, go ahead and add one coat of paint. Follow the same direction of strokes with the brush as you did when priming.

I made a video to show you the technique I used to give the wall a wood grain texture. Please forgive the painting clothes and unwashed hair! I haven’t hired a hair, makeup and costume stylist yet.

I have yet to be able to get away with only one coat of paint. If you look close you can still see some of the blue wall color showing through.

After the paint has dried, it is time to remove the tape. Anywhere that you caulked between the wood and the tape, you need to score the caulk to give it a clean edge when you remove the tape.

Remove the tape and looky at that clean edge! I’ve used ScotchBlue painter’s tape before, but I can honestly tell you that the new Edge lock technology is a big improvement. As long as you press the edges down firmly there is hardly any places where paint seeped underneath. The only places seepage occurred was where there was a dimple or imperfection in the wall.

One thing I didn’t caulk was the light switch plate which I had to cut to fit next to the batten. I will probably go back and add a little caulk between the switch plate and the moulding.


I hope you learned something today. Coming up next, the bathroom reveal!