Don't fear the power tools.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hello all! It's Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick here for a guest post! My friend AnNicole is off traipsing around Germany...well, really, she's "working" (sure AnNicole). I like to think she's frolicking around in fields of tulips or something. (Or is that Holland?)


Anyway, I am so excited to be here at AnNicole's place! And I have one mission with this post -- that you will no longer fear power tools.

Tools are not just for your Dad.
They are NOT just to walk past in Lowe's on your way to furnace filters.
Tools are not just for your Hubby to hoard and use "when he has time," or "when I get home from work," or "woman, will you get off my back?!"

Sorry. You get my point. I once was like many of tool skills consisted of twisting a screwdriver to put furniture together. I was even confused when it asked for a "flathead" screwdriver. Wasn't there just one kind?

When we moved into our house, I discovered my love of all things molding. At this point, my experience with tools had graduated to an electric drill. Upon the direction of my father, I went and got myself a purdy little yellow miter box that comes with a hand saw:

With that miter box, some glue, a hammer and nails and a level, I dressed up our columns:

And fancied up the entry as well:

My love of tools was growing, but I was still hesitant to try out anything new (read: more powerful). Enter the nail gun. My sweet, sweet Lovely:

Three years ago when I was pregnant, my Dad and I made these built-ins together -- for less than $200 for two of them:

It was on that glorious day I used the nail gun for the first time. I still remember the first shot. And good God, it was FUN! I believe I put about 30 extra nails in each time just for good measure. (Dad had to stop me because we were running out of nails.) It was that fun, that empowering.

And from that day on I was hooked. Dad just gave me his nail gun -- he could see the little hearts coming out of my eyes. So with that, I went crazy and did this with beadboard:

And most recently, did this in our living room: But there was still one power tool that alluded me. The compound miter saw...

And this one I really was scared of. I mean, this thing is heavy duty. But one day, while working on my beadboard island:

My hand was about to fall. off. from all the cuts with the miter box, and the saw was only $108 on clearance at Lowe's. I splurged and got it. I was scared the first time I used it and then never again. It is my new Love. The possibilities are endless with you my dear...

I hear it ALL the time -- not just from readers, but from friends..."I'm too scared!"

Well, don't live in fear ladies. I know some of these tools look ominous. But once you learn how to use them, and realize they are all made so that it is hard to mess up when using them, I guarantee you won't be as hesitant.

Here are some tips if you are going to take the plunge:

1. Start small. The miter box is, in my humble opinion, the easiest tool to use and is the smallest but does the biggest job.

2. If you've never used a power tool, PLEASE have someone show you how to use them. Honestly, once you've done it yourself I promise you'll feel a 100 times more comfortable with it. But until then, let someone show you how to use it, even if it's the sales guy at Lowe's.

3. Most of the time there's no reason to be scared. You need to be cautious with tools, you need to take your time, and you should never skip important steps (like wearing eye protection when using the compound miter saw.) But it is nearly impossible to nail into something with the nail gun unless you are using it correctly. The electric saw blade is protected until just before it hits the wood. If you are using them correctly, they are truly, truly easy to use.

Don't wait. Don't wait for your husband (unless you have a really handy one -- lucky you if so!!). Don't wait till you have enough money to hire someone (you can rent these tools). If you want to make your home more lovely, don't wait.

I promise you can do it. Cross my tool belt heart.

16 Suburbanites Said:

Kat said...

I love this post. I would love to try some of these projects. You make is sound easy and exciting! Thanks for the inspiration!!!

Vivienne @ the V Spot said...

As a faithful Thrifty Decor Chick reader, I am well schooled in the Sarah School of Miter Box Saws. It is nice to see her offering classes at satellite campuses acros the Blogosphere.
Have fun in Germany.

Karla said...

LOL! This has got to be one of my favorite posts from you, Sarah! I loved it! I'm even going to make my husband read it...he has heard me say "I wouldn't need to wait for you to make the cuts if I could just do it myself!!" too many times, yet I sit back, too scared to go for it! Thanks for the kick in the pants! Now...I just need to find a project to get going on...

(P.S. I hope you're having a GREAT time, AnNicole!)

~Karla @ It's The Little Things...

Tia said...

Love both blogs so it was so fun to see these two forces working together! :o)
I remember watching my grandpa doing wood working with really loud and fab power tools and I was in awe from that moment on.... yet YET I have never tried it myself.
Thanks for the inspiration! Time to figure out where to start.

Anonymous said...


Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

I think I need a nail gun - you've sold me.

Sarah said...

LOVE this! I'm a scaredy cat with power tools...I need all my fingers...but I think you've convinced me! Great post...and awesome projects!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Fancy meeting you here! ;) Good post! The compound mitre saw scares the bejeezes out of me. My (very handy) husband has one, and I try to stay out of his way when he uses it. The problem is that said (very handy) husband is always at work and too tired when he comes to work on improvement projects. Sigh. I really do need to learn! :)

Unknown said...

I'm so glad you posted this Sarah... When I watch home improvement shows I am flabbergasted by the number of women who say they've never used a power tool. I hope your post will help more women take up the pneumatic nailer and compound miter saw and do what THEY want in their homes.

I'm finding more and more how fortunate I am that my dad is a contractor and tought me how to use and respect power tools. Now we just need to get more women comfortable with them! Thanks again for the post!

ellie mae said...

OHH, I love those power tools too. Your such an inspiration with your moldings and decoration. Love it all!1

Okay AnNichole, your in europe again!! Girlfriend. I want a job like yours. The twins LOVED your pictures of your last trips scenery. Cant wait to see more when you get back. Hope your having a blast! Oh and getting work down too :)

Lorie said...

Hey! I know her! How fun to read Sarah over here too!

Anonymous said...

You are my new hero!!! I love my cordless drill and dremel tool!! and of course my good old fashion hammer and my little red toolbox just for me!lol Have a great week! Sincerely, Jeannette Oh and my trusty step ladder!

Marie said...

I am so impressed! You have inspired me to try something new. I do not own any power tools, but I'm willing to try it!

Mommyto3andahusky said...

what a great blog! :)

gina said...

Great guest post- kind of gives me big dreams for the new house. :)

Victoryperfect said...

congrats! keep up the good work/this is a great presentation.
power tools