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What Are the Different Types of Woodworking Power Tools?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2016
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Many of the woodworking power tools a woodworker will use on a regular basis are tools that will remove material from a piece being shaped, cut, or otherwise worked on. Saws, sanders, routers, dremel tools, and drills all remove material from the piece of wood being worked to create a new shape or finish. Other woodworking power tools may be adept at joining pieces of wood together; a biscuit joiner, for example, will create a special type of cut in a piece of wood to allow a biscuit to be used to join two pieces of wood.

Saws are perhaps the most common woodworking power tools. A power saw design can vary significantly according to its purpose; larger saws are great for rough cuts and for cutting very large pieces of wood, while smaller saws such as scroll saws are great for intricate cuts. Circular saws are versatile woodworking power tools that can often be quite portable for use on a job site or in the shop. The size of the blade and the way in which it moves will dictate the ways in which the saw can be used; generally speaking, smaller blades are better for intricate cuts, while larger blades are useful for rough cuts.

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Drills and drill presses allow a woodworker to make holes in a piece of wood. The size of the drill bit will dictate how large that hole ends up being. Some drills are small and portable, and they can be operated by depressing a finger trigger. Such drills are known as hand drills, or handheld drills, and these woodworking power tools are useful for a variety of jobs both in the shop or on-site. Drill presses are much larger units that allow for more precise holes to be drilled. The drill bit is mounted to a unit that can be raised or lowered using a hand crank, and in many cases, the speed at which the drill bit rotates can be adjusted.

Sanders remove various amounts of material from the face of a board or piece of wood being worked. The amount of material removed will be dictated by how fast the sander moves, what grit of sandpaper is used, and how much force is applied to the sander. An orbital sander will move a piece of sand paper in an orbital, or round, motion, while a belt sander will move the sandpaper in one direction. Belt sanders are great for removing a large amount of material, while orbital sanders are good for removing less material and providing a smoother finish.

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