Power tools have been around for millennia – literally: the earliest documented evidence of a “power tool” dates from Ancient Egypt, called the “Lathe Machine” (which still exists today). That is some pretty interesting trivia there, right?
Obviously, this so-called lathe machine used to be manually-operated back in the days of yore. Today’s power tools are more often than not powered by electricity, compressed air, gasoline, external air, batteries, windmills, water wheels and even explosive cartridges. Their purposes have also become widely-varied in that they are utilized in an ever-increasing plethora of industries, facilitating strenuous work that would otherwise be impossible to do via manual labor. Who has time and enough manual power these days anyway?
This article intends to cover the main power tools commonly used in wood construction. Before we begin though, we would like to clarify one aspect right off the bat: although it will seem as though the following power tools can be exclusively used in wood construction, all of the appropriate entries can be attributed to a wide array of usages, such as drilling a screw into a wall, removing that annoying backyard stump, and even honing steel, so much so if you have a personal workshop which is in need of some aiding tools.
Without further ado, let’s pore over the main power tools used in wood construction!
Perhaps the most popular entry in our list is the chainsaw, which not only is a phenomenally-portable, heavy-duty saw designed for outdoor use, but also a pretty notorious tool used to instill fear, featured in various horror movies (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ring a bell?). This saw can be battery, gas, hydraulic, or compressor-powered, and comes in different sizes suited for different purposes, ranging from hacking down a 100-year old leaning baobab tree to cutting a simple log into wood for your fireplace. On the same note, do bear in mind that, usually, the more complex the chainsaw is, the heavier it will be, so get prepared for strenuous physical effort until you get used to the routine.
2. Circular Saw
Both the chainsaw and circular saw are used to cut wood, but there is however one notable difference. You use the chainsaw to cut wood into lumber, which is then processed into raw wood, whereas you use the circular saw to refine the resultant raw wood. You can either make straight cuts on framing raw wood or fencing boards, or adjust the disk-type blade at an angle to make diagonal cuts as easily. Unlike chainsaws, you only need to purchase different blades suited for different types of wood, such as plywood and finishing trim, and not entirely different kits, which is a huge plus.
Do you remember the previous lathe machine from Ancient Egypt? Well, the very same machine exists to this day, only that it’s become … quite different at all points, and is a very popular power tool worldwide.
Specifically, the lathe is a free-standing power tool, mainly used in woodturning, metalworking, thermal spraying, parts reclamation and glass-working, that cuts wood pieces as they rotate on an axis. Thus, it can create amazing furniture legs or staircase spindles with decorative shaping. In contrast with the ancient times, today’s lathe effectiveness and usability have surely increased.
The bandsaw is a renowned power tool in wood construction due to many reasons. Many home workshops have or at least should be in possession of this indispensable power tool in their vaults due to its wide array of usages it can be attributed to.
This tool cuts by means of a continuous, single-edged metal saw blade, which helps create different wood and metal shapes needed for various industrial woodworking and crafting, ranging from tracing letters for road signs to cutting house numbers, for example. In terms of how it’s sold on the market, you can usually find it as a free-standing tool due to the accuracy needed to perform the respective wood or metal operations, but handheld bandsaws are not a rare occurrence either – most constructors do prefer the former choice due to its inherent precision-related advantages.
5. Impact Wrench
The impact wrench is mostly used in wood construction, but also in automotive repair, heavy equipment maintenance, product assembly and major wood construction projects to help the operator deliver high torque output with little to no exertion. It does so by storing energy in a rotating mass, then delivering it to the output shaft. In terms of how they can be found on the market, they are available in all sizes and styles, both depending on the actual application. We can however distinguish two main types: inline impact wrench (the operator must hold the tool as if it was a screwdriver) and pistol grip impact wrench (the user must hold a handle which is at right angles to the output).
6. Scroll Saw
The scroll saw is an electric, pedal-operated saw, the purpose of which being to cut intricate curves in wood, metal and other materials.
This power tool is similar to the previously covered bandsaw entry, though it is different in some if not many aspects. For example, it has a reciprocating blade (unlike the bandsaw’s continuous blade), which can be fitted into a pre-drilled hole for cutting designs at the center of a wood blank without actually cutting through the edge.
On the market, scroll saws are divided according to the size of their throat, which represents the distance from the blade to the rear frame of the saw. The throat depth obviously determines how large a given wood piece can be cut, with most industrial scroll saws easily approaching 30 inches at a maximum and costing as much as a whopping $2.000.
We’ve summarized the six most used power tools in wood construction, which are indispensable for the realization of a potentially-unprecedented wooden house, for example. Do feel free to purchase/make use of these tools, too, as by no means do they require special knowledge to be operated. Anyone can do it, including yourself!