Sunday, February 04, 2007

Cordless Saws Great for Cutting Parts

These are the two saws I'm using the most to cut out the Tiki 26 parts from the plywood sheets: a jigsaw and a small 5 1/2" circular saw. These are 18-volt battery powered Ryobi saws, which are inexpensive but surprisingly powerful and efficient. I use a lot of power tools in my work on other people's boats and in cabinet making and other residential carpentry. I've come to realize most hand-held power tools are going to need replacing in a few years or even less, so I don't often buy the most expensive brands, but there are definately some cheap consumer grade brands I stay away from. I've found most Ryobi tools are a good buy for very little money and are far better than the competition in their price range. I've been using the circular saw in the photo above for more than two years now, any time the convenience of a cordless saw outweighs the need for the extra power and heft of my Makita 7 1/4" saw. I've only had the jigsaw about 6 months, but I've found it incredibly handy. The key to any saw is the blade anyway. Before starting this project I stocked up on new blades for each: Marathon for the circular saw and Bosche for the jigsaw.

In the Wharram plans a jigsaw is recommended for cutting out all the parts. This is much too slow and inaccurate, and I only use the jigsaw in tight curves and for cutting such notches as those found in the bulkhead sides. A small circular saw with the blade set to minimum depth will cut most of the curves in these boat parts, such as the hullsides, bulkhead sides, etc. It's much faster and more accurate as well. Of course there are a lot of other tools that are handy to have as well and speed things up if you have them. I can't imagine being without a table saw, for example. I used mine to quickly rip the 1-foot wide plywood panels for the hull topsides. And it will be essential for making the stringers, bearers, braces, mast and beam parts and other solid wood parts.

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