18 Oct 2020
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United Kingdom
Hi guys,

I have always had a strong interest in DIY but because I was born female I was always told it’s not right for me to do it so never learnt anything. I have now started my transition to male and am building a workstation for future DIY projects, however as I’ve never been taught anything am struggling on basics. I have a few questions. 1) What are the essential power tools I need for woodwork? 2) Any tips on how to saw straight with a handheld saw as I keep going diagonally. 3) What nails are used for what? I understand the third is very broad but any tips would be amazing.

Thank you so much!
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They are all pretty broad, TBH...

1. The most basic power tool you will need is a drill/driver for drilling holes, pilot holes and driving screws. Normally these are cordless (and that will now start a discussion on makes and models...). After that it all depends o what tasks you want/need to tackle. To drill holes in walls you will need a hammer drill of some description (although some cordless drill/drivers, sold as combi drills, have a basic hammer mechanism incorporated and can do light masonry.drilling). Beyond that what you buy depends on the jobs you intend to tackle. Do you have a "hit list" of intended tasksand a budget? (I notice you didn't mention hand tools, which are also important)

2. Assuming you are talking power saws, to saw straight along the length (a rip cut) consider clamping a straight edge (e.g length of straight plywood or even a spirit level) to the material and using that as a guide for the saw. Alternatively many portable power saws have rip guides or rip fences available. For crosscutting I always recommend our apprentices to get themselves a 7in Speed Square as a saw guide. If it is hand saws you need to adopt a position where you stand behind the saw in such a position that you can see both sides of the saw simultaneously. This makes it easier to.folloe the line and keep the cut square

3. Nails... For framing you will most likely use either oval nails or maybe round nails. The former arealigned to the grain of the timber and can be used in wet or dry timber, whilst the latter have a greater tendency to split dry timber. Smaller pieces, such as beadings are held on by small diameter ralmost headless nails called panel pins. Roofing felt is held in place by large headed clout nails a smaller version of which is called a carpet tack and is used to fix stair carpets in particular. And the list goes on...

Bit of a general answer, I'm afraid, but carpentry is a pretty big subject
if you cut at an angle with a hand saw it tends to mean you have the wrong stance so try moving your body until its comfortable
i would personally start with something simple and work your way up
and by simple i mean simple like a chopping board sized item it can be as simple or as complicated as you like but you need to learn safely but make mistakes to learn but not too many otherwise you will get disheartened
Carpentry and any other building trade are not just for boys.
My two girls learnt from when they were toddlers and now grown up are better than their husbands at all heavy diy.
They can and have both built some beautiful furniture .
Now, hand tools first:
Screwdrivers (i have a very good set with all different bits organised in a case; had that for 15 years and use it daily.
Hand saw, first and second fix, course and fine cut.
Sand paper.
Hammer, i mainly use a claw hammer, so that would be your first call.
A lot more I can't think of now, but ask and we'll help you.
Power tools: cordless drill driver
Circular saw (maybe further down the line?)
Mitre saw

Then there are lots of nails and screws, each one of them for a certain job and application.

Now it's your time to invest some time in researching what we suggested: all the basics are online.
Whatever you're not sure about or wanna know more, come back and ask.

Most importantly, welcome to the world of carpentry, you have made the first step towards a very gratifying trade or hobby.
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@JobAndKnock Thank you so much. The reason I didn't mention hand tools is because I have a wide variety already from my parents collection that they no longer use. I am unable to afford a power saw atm, but when I can, what would you reccomend?

Also, I intend to do mostly woodwork and electrical installation but I also want to teach myself plumbing.

Thank you for your time and help.
@johnny2007 Thank you for your response. I literally just got my first toolkit today and I was very excited. It's a 42 peice toolkit with a carpentry knife, claw hammer, wood screws 30mm, tape measure, allen key set, magentic screwdriver and 20 magnetic bits, which can also be used in drills, an adjustible wrench, nose pliers, a magnetic drill bit and scissors.

Unfortunately my drill JUST died, so I'm going to have to wait until I have the money to get a new one. Is there a brand/type you'd reccomend?

The rest I should be able to get in November when my paycheck comes through.

Thank you for your time.
I use a bosh professional drill driver, the blue line, around £180 with batteries.
But if you need something cheaper i can recommend the erbauer (screwfix own brand) which is surprisingly good, I used it at my friend's place.
He also had an impact driver, equally good although slightly heavier than premium brands.
@johnny2007 Would it be ok to get it second hand or would you advise against? That goes for all tools tbh. I am pretty financially restricted.
if you shop in lidls you will understand how the specials work [when they have gone they have gone] but will come back later on maybe 10 weeks maybe 6 months who knows but worth the wait :D
Yes, lidl tools are very good value for money and durable in my experience.
2nd hand it's a bit of a russian roulette: can be lucky or otherwise...
I had many 110v tools that I didn't use anymore as I'm technically retired from building sites and what I gave away was ok but very used so maybe they blew out a couple of days later or maybe ate still going strong.

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