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My tools, with comments and alternatives

E. Bickford
The list author says: "Here's a list of the tools I've bought to do jobs from frame to finish. I research my tools pretty exhaustively. While I can't always afford the really fancy stuff (Fein, Festool) I try to get a very good balance between durability, reliability, accuracy, and cost. Here are some of my tools."
Makita LXT211 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 2-Piece Combo Kit
Makita LXT211 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 2-Piece Combo Kit
"I own the 14.4 volt drill/driver, impact driver kit, it's been great but they don't make it anymore. If I was going to buy today this is what I'd get. The ergonomics are excellent, and there is a plethora of bare tools available in this line."
PORTER-CABLE 560 QUIKJIG Pocket-Hole Joinery System
PORTER-CABLE 560 QUIKJIG Pocket-Hole Joinery System
"The quick jig is awesomely easy to use without a lot of fiddling around trying to get everything set right. I've used it a LOT more than I thought I would. Fantastic."
PORTER-CABLE 557 7 Amp Plate Joiner Kit
PORTER-CABLE 557 7 Amp Plate Joiner Kit
"Great joiner, key for edge joining. I will sometimes use in conjunction with pocket hole screws. Biscuits align the face of the stock and screws clamp tight."
Fasco 11297F F23C A64-50PB 23-Gauge Headless Pinner, 1/2-inch to 2-inch
Fasco 11297F F23C A64-50PB 23-Gauge Headless Pinner, 1/2-inch to 2-inch
"An excellent alternative to the more expensive Cadex or Grex pinners. All the features of the Grex and the ability to fire slight head brads. Only missing the built in blower of the Cadex. Been VERY pleased."
BOSTITCH BT1855K 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
BOSTITCH BT1855K 18-Gauge Brad Nailer
"A lot of bells and whistles but also reliable so far. Only issue have been jams when driving 2" fasteners into strand bamboo (VERY hard stuff) but this doesn't come as much surprise 1-1/4" drives fine."
Factory-Reconditioned RIDGID ZRR150FSA 1-1/2 inch 18 Gauge Finish Stapler with Magnesium Housing
Factory-Reconditioned RIDGID ZRR150FSA 1-1/2 inch 18 Gauge Finish Stapler with Magnesium Housing
"I find that overall it's a great tool. But overdrives staples in softer materials at min pressure and min depth of drive."
MAX SN883RH2 SuperFramer 20-Degree Strip Framing Nailer
MAX SN883RH2 SuperFramer 20-Degree Strip Framing Nailer
"Just purchased this framing nailer. Why? Remodeling work requires tight tolerances. Nose to back of body this nailer is just under 12" good for sistering 16" OC rafters (@13" clearance with sistered rafter in place). Bostitch recently released similar tool."
Legacy Manufacturing HFZ3825YW2 Flexzilla 3/8" x 25' Zillagreen Air Hose with 1/4" MNPT Ends and Bend Restrictors
Legacy Manufacturing HFZ3825YW2 Flexzilla 3/8" x 25' Zillagreen Air Hose with 1/4" MNPT Ends and Bend Restrictors
"Best air hoses around in terms of flexibility, and laying flat. Color is hard to miss too (bright freaking neon green). Not sure about longevity."
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
Makita MAC2400 Big Bore 2.5 HP Air Compressor
"Solid compressor I've had no problems with this one at all. Reasonably quiet as far as compressors go."
PORTER-CABLE 390K 5-Inch Low Profile Random Orbit Sander Kit with Hook & Loop Pad and Dust Collection
PORTER-CABLE 390K 5-Inch Low Profile Random Orbit Sander Kit with Hook & Loop Pad and Dust Collection
"I'd generally recommended this for those with larger hands due to the large grip area. The dust collection is excellent especially with a vacuum. Issue? Pad stops spinning with moderate pressure. Press harder, it starts up again!"
Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag
Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag
"A brute of a belt sander, but that's the idea. Tracking is easy to set, removes stock quickly. Not the flattest platten around but there are replacements and upgrades for that. Dust collection works fairly well for a belt sander."
Fein FMM 250Q Top Plus MultiMaster Oscillating Detail Sander Tool Kit
Fein FMM 250Q Top Plus MultiMaster Oscillating Detail Sander Tool Kit
"This is not a cheap tool, so why pay more? The attachments are top notch, the quick release blade mechanism and dust collection are fantastic and this tool is built to stand the test of time."
Bosch 1590EVSK 6.4 Amp Top Handle Jigsaw
Bosch 1590EVSK 6.4 Amp Top Handle Jigsaw
"Smooth and solid. Settings allow you to select the right speed and aggressiveness for all kinds of materials. Get a range of blades, the right blade also makes a huge difference in the quality of cut. Newer version has LED lights and improved blade tracking."
PORTER-CABLE 9750 Tiger Saw 11.5 Amp Reciprocating Saw with Variable Angle
PORTER-CABLE 9750 Tiger Saw 11.5 Amp Reciprocating Saw with Variable Angle
"Awesome tool. Versatile! This thing will get into places you simply can't get other recip saws with this kind of power. The trade off is that it vibrates, a lot. Big job with lots of cutting to do? Look at the Makita AVT saw."
Makita JR3070CT Orbital 15-Amp Reciprocating Saw with Anti Vibration
Makita JR3070CT Orbital 15-Amp Reciprocating Saw with Anti Vibration
"A beast. 15 AMPs, orbital, variable speed, and vibration reduction. Got for tearing out subfloor/joists/hangers/doubled 5/8" drywall, for basement stair build. At one point I needed to break down materials to get them into a dumpster. Piled them up @ 10" thick and spent a minute or two cutting the whole stack... roar."
Makita 5008MGA Magnesium 8-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Electric Brake
Makita 5008MGA Magnesium 8-1/4-Inch Circular Saw with Electric Brake
"I own and older Makita 7 1/4" saw. If I had to do it again I'd go for an 8 1/4". why? When using a site-built saw guide to cut thick stock (1 1/2" wooden countertop) you need the depth of cut that an 8 1/4" saw will give you."
Festool TS 55 EQ Plunge Cut Circular Saw (set)
Festool TS 55 EQ Plunge Cut Circular Saw (set)
"Fantastic for cutting finish sheet goods in small spaces or for splinter free door cutoffs. Lay the track down, clamp it and go! Longer track is key for ripping 4'x8' sheets."
Bosch 4100-09 10-Inch Worksite Table Saw with Gravity-Rise Stand
Bosch 4100-09 10-Inch Worksite Table Saw with Gravity-Rise Stand
"Very solid, and accurate. The stand is amazing, very easy to set up, break down and move. Only downside? It's quite heavy (@100lbs), so if you need to move it in and out of a truck or van regularly make sure you've got help."
Milwaukee 6955-20 12-Inch Sliding Dual Bevel Miter Saw with Digital Miter Angle Fine Adjust
Milwaukee 6955-20 12-Inch Sliding Dual Bevel Miter Saw with Digital Miter Angle Fine Adjust
"Huge capacity, wide range on the bevel and miter, great dust collection and accurate out of the box. 70 pounds but handles on either side with built-in rubber grips, so it's actually pretty easy to move around. New Bosch is sweet but $$$"
Bosch 1617EVSPK 12 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit with 1/4-Inch and 1/2-Inch Collets
Bosch 1617EVSPK 12 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit with 1/4-Inch and 1/2-Inch Collets
"Consistently top customer and editor pick in multiple articles. Smooth, solid, versatile and reasonably priced. Only issue slick fixed base handles. Scuff 'em up with sandpaper. New Bosch router promises to be even better!"
Fein 921072K13 Step Adaptor
Fein 921072K13 Step Adaptor
"A lowly vacuum adapter? Yup. Fits small vac hoses and handheld tool vac fittings from Bosch, Fein, Porter Cable, and Makita. Rubber, relatively cheap, and easily cut to size. Get a few for different tools."
BOSTITCH PN50 Mini Impact Nailer
BOSTITCH PN50 Mini Impact Nailer
"Need to nail something off in a really tight spot? This is the way to go!"
Milwaukee 49-22-8510 Right Angle Drill Attachment Kit
Milwaukee 49-22-8510 Right Angle Drill Attachment Kit
"Need to get into a tight spot? This is solidly built and very adjustable (handle rotates 360 degrees and pivots over 90 degrees). Needs 1/4" hex drill bits, great for driving."
DEWALT DWX724 Compact Miter Saw Stand
DEWALT DWX724 Compact Miter Saw Stand
"All the features of the bigger stand in a more compact package. Great for 90% of what I do. Work supports can deal with the other 10% (16' long trim stock or longer framing lumber)."
Rolair JC10 1 HP Oil-Less Compressor with Overload Protection and Low RPM for Quiet Operation
Rolair JC10 1 HP Oil-Less Compressor with Overload Protection and Low RPM for Quiet Operation
"Awesome little made in the US compressor for small and or trim jobs. Lightweight and QUIET. I can have a conversation in the same room as this thing when it's running and barely have to raise my voice. Only downside is gauges are at an awkward angle for viewing."
DEWALT DCK210S2 12-Volt Max Screwdriver/Impact Driver Combo Kit
DEWALT DCK210S2 12-Volt Max Screwdriver/Impact Driver Combo Kit
"I actually have the discontinued 3 tool kit w driver, impact, and drill. Awesome kit, great ergonomics surprising power for size. Impact drives 2-1/2" timberlok screws and 3" decking screws no problem. Additional batteries are actually affordable!"
DEWALT DCL510 12-Volt Max LED Worklight
DEWALT DCL510 12-Volt Max LED Worklight
"Handy light to have w/ 12v dewalt kit."
One list item is no longer in our catalog.