Cutting Tools


One of the purchases that arise for many individuals is that of a chainsaw. This can be like many purchases where one goes in blindly and is swindled into buying something they weren't really wanting or needing. Sales persons are often trained in techniques to persuade consumers to purchase the extras that are not always worth the money. My purpose for this project is to inform consumers on how to make an educated purchase of a chainsaw. This is best done by helping individual recognize why they need a chainsaw. Once they understand this, it will be easier to decide what type they need, which brand is best for them, how much they should expect to pay, and what special features are important to look for. The following three websites will together provide this information and make the purchasing process easier and more enjoyable.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Guide to Buying a Chainsaw
  2. Chain Saw Reviews Reports Best Products Comparison Ratings
  3. Compare all brands of Chainsaws ...

Circular Saws

A circular saw is an electric saw that turns around flat blade to cut wood, metal, or plastic depending on the blade selected. Circular saws have a handle with on/off trigger switch, an arbor nut to hold the blade in place, and guards to protect the operator from touching the spinning blade.

Circular saws are a critical necessity for cutting the two-by-fours and plywood used in many home-improvement projects. After drills, circular saws are the most common power tool in a home workshop. It is therefore very important to look at the following factors when making a purchase.

Decide the kind of work that needs to be done. For heavy use, a saw with more speed and power than the run-of-the-mill saw is recommended.

A saw's blade is one of its most important elements. Steel blades are the least expensive, but they tend to dull pretty easily when used on hard wood. Most saws come with a carbide-tipped blade. These cut faster and last longer than plain steel blades. With a circular saw, invest in the best blade that is affordable; the more teeth, the smoother the cut.

Accuracy is a key when it comes to saw performance, and many of today's circular saws, even inexpensive models, come equipped with an onboard laser to help ensure accurate cuts.

Also, battery-powered vs. electric-powered saws need to be taken into consideration.Corded models are often more powerful than their cordless counterparts, and deliver more torque. If slicing the saw's blade through its cord is a concern, or if a more portable unit is preferred, a cordless model could be considered. If the saw will be used only occasionally or on smaller jobs, a cordless tool should work fine. For real, professional-grade power, a buyer will want to stick to corded units.

Finally, durability and safety are especially important with saws. Look for a model that incorporates several safety features, including a trigger lock to prevent accidental starting or a blade brake that instantly stops the blade from moving the split second the finger is lifted off the trigger.

Top Online Resources:

  1. How Stuff Works - Circular Saws
  2. Power Saw Buying Guide
  3. Circular Saws - Buying Advice


To find the best resource to prepare a consumer to learn about, review, compare, and purchase a jig saw.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Tools of the Trade Online
  2. Consumer Search
  3. Journal of Light Construction

String Trimmers

String trimmers are used to cut the grass, weeds, or small pieces of wood where lawn mowers cannot reach. The edging gives the finishing touch to your yard. When purchasing string trimmers you have three different kinds to choose from, each with their pros and cons.

The first option is a Gas Powered Trimmer, these are best for trimming tall weeds, things that take more energy. Gas powered trimmers are great because they can be used anywhere, not just near an electrical outlet. They are the most powerful, but with that they also are the heaviest (10-14 lbs) and the loudest. Their motor is on top which makes the weight more balanced. When operating one of these you should wear protective gear for your ears, this might not be the best choice if you have a lot of close neighbors. The price range for gas trimmers is $50-$200 and do require a mixture of gas and oil. It is recommended to buy a gas trimmer with a clutch so that it is not constantly spinning when you lift it up.

The second option is the Electric Powered trimmer. This type is great because it is not as heavy or as loud as the gas powered trimmer. But you lose power with this one, and are limited in mobility because they must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Electric trimmers range in price from $20-$100, this would be an excellent choice if the type of work you do is less rigorous, not tall weeds, or bushes.

The third option is the electric-battery trimmers. The benefits of this type are the quietness and mobility but that seems to be it. They require a lot of power which means that they drain the battery in about twenty minutes, and then need to be recharged which could take a day. While you can trim wherever you need, they are a little harder to utilize, somewhat heavy (10 lbs), and the weakest of them all.

Other Considerations to make:

Ask yourself, what type of landscaping do you do? Is it just around the edges of the grass and flower bed? If so then the least expensive would be your best choice.

Straight or curved shaft? The straight shaft allows more extension and gets into more places; because of this many professionals use them. The curved shaft provides more comfort and balance but is not as useful.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Consumer String Trimmer: Advice on comparing string trimmers from consumer reports
  2. The fastest (and toughest) string trimmers on the market: Popular Mechanics
  3. How to buy a string trimmer

Table Saws

The most important tool in woodworking is the table saw. As Chris Baylor says in his article on, it should be the woodworker’s first machine purchase. A good table saw becomes the centerpiece of the workshop.

Consumers should determine how they intend to used their table saw. Is a large, stationary table saw required to make heavy-duty woodworking projects easier, or is a versatile portable saw necessary for mobility? Bench top table saws (a.k.a. the portable kind) are typically more affordable and can perform tasks required for run-of-the-mill woodworking. Contractor table saws (a.k.a. the large, stationary kind) are a wonderful asset for a workshop, but are less mobile. There are also hybrid table saws and cabinet table saws. For the sake of saving space, click on the SDSD website for details on these two table types.

Several features attribute to the performance of a table saw. The table surface should be smooth; the handles for raising, lowering and angling the blade should be simple and reliable; the motor should run smooth, yet have plenty of horsepower; and EXACTLINE laser lines for precision cutting are always fun. Be very aware of the table saw’s rip fence. It needs to be parallel with the saw blade, very study and adjustable with fine-tuning controls.

The SDSD website gives advice in how to find the best performing table saw at the best price. Consumers typically get the saw they pay for, but there are exceptions.

Top Online Resources:

  1. A Table Saw Buying Guide: Bench top vs. Contractor vs. Cabinet vs. Hybrid
  2. Table Saws - The Workhorses of the Woodshop
  3. Miter & table saws: Making the Cut