Remember, a DIY quality drill, for instance, is fine for those maintenance jobs around the house. But will that DIY drill work a full shift six or seven days a week? Reliability and rugged performance are the bywords for professional tools.
A combi drill has got to be the starting point of any tool list. Let’s also go for a cordless philosophy. Today’s lithium-ion battery technology is first class and now the brushless motors give greater run-time, longer battery and tool life and the highest power output. Also, the manoeuvrability of cordless means no wires, transformers and safety risks to worry about. A sound specification for your combi would drive a maximum of 16mm into masonry and up to 76mm into timber.
A dedicated impact driver would be especially valuable if you are using a substantial timber frame construction method. A typically useful impact driver generates a mighty 175Nm of torque and will easily drive those big, M8 timber screws home and even an M14 high tensile bolt.
If you are likely to need the capacity to break into existing brickwork, or find you have to cut into concrete for fixings, then a rotary hammer drill is essential. A 3.5kg cordless rotary hammer drill will generate a massive two joules of energy, enough to power a 20mm drill bit into concrete.
These will certainly be SDS Plus machines which have a chuck that takes a different type of industrial drill bit fitting. This gives stronger interface between the drill action and the bit and doesn’t rely on the grip factor of the normal three-jaw twist to tighten chuck.
Most notably is dust and the reduction of its spread by the use of dust extraction vacuum equipment. Technically, if you are working with brick, masonry, gypsum, tile, wood, plastic, and anything containing silica sand, you should be using an M class extractor, which will remove 99.9% of the harmful elements. Other machines, or L class vacs, don’t meet the M class safety criteria.
Sanding either timber or plaster materials prior to finishing really warrants you adding a sander to your shopping list. Whilst a cordless orbital sander with three speeds will run up to 22,000 strokes per minute and carry the hook and loop velcro-type fitting of abrasive material, the long run times may steer you towards a corded sander and probably a half sheet finishing sander, giving the greatest capacity as you prepare surfaces for decoration.
A cordless jigsaw is invaluable and a circular saw with a 165mm diameter blade will be all you need. The jigsaw, with a maximum cut of 135mm in timber, will be used to install sinks and boxing around waste pipes, whilst the circular saw, with a 57mm maximum cut, will size panels and structural timber easily.
For first and second fix work, a slide compound mitre saw will be useful. To get architraves to fit neatly, a mitre angle range between 45° to 57° is handy and if you need to cut material on an angle, the bevel range should be 45° to 50°. At 90°, this saw will cut 300mm wide stock up to two inches deep.
Fixing plaster board, especially overhead, is made easier with an auto-feed screwdriver, which will carry a tape of drywall screws up to 75mm in length and drive home the screw at up to 4000rpm.