Category Archives: Tools

A Guide to our New Power Tools

dewalt-miter-saw

As you guys know, we’ve spent the last couple weekends working on some fun projects for my guest room. Most of the DIYs we’re tackling in that space require power tools, so we purchased some new items to add to our arsenal.

tool bag organizationPrior to this, we really didn’t own any “hardcore” tools. Sure our toolboxes were stuffed to the brim with hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches galore…but when it came to “power” we only had our drills. In the past, we’ve always borrowed tools to get the job done. But we figured it was time to invest in some main tools that we could use for future projects. We’re hoping this will force us to tackle some more advanced DIY projects, and really take things to the next level around here.

bostich-nail-gun-comboWe did A LOT of research before buying any of these big-ticket items. We read reviews, looked at posts from other bloggers, and did a lot of shopping around before settling on these specific products. In the end, we think we got the right tools for us! 

MITER SAW

dewalt-miter-sawBrand: Dewalt 10-inch 15-amp compound miter saw

dewalt-power-tools-sawCost: $219

Use: If you’re doing any sort of project with wood, a miter saw is going to come in handy. It makes straight cuts beautifully, but it’s also able to make incredibly accurate cuts on an angle. This was the main work horse for our wood wall project (more on that tomorrow!), and we loved using it.

dewalt-saw-blade-miterDon’t Forget: Be careful & make sure you wear eye protection. It’s a saw, so you’ll want to be extra cautious when using it. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be cutting in no time!

PNEUMATIC NAIL GUN

nail-compressorBrand: Bostitch 150-psi portable electric air compressor

Cost: $169

nail-gun-DIYUse: We’re using a nail gun and air compressor to attach all of the wood to the wall for our guest room project. Bridget also used a borrowed nail gun for all of her board & batten projects. It’s waaaaay faster than using a hammer & nails, and it will give everything a more polished look. A nail gun can be used for so many projects. Woodworking projects, installation projects…there are so many cool things that require a nail gun.

bostitch-brad-nails-wood-wallDon’t Forget: To buy extra nails. Yes, the nail gun kit will come with some…but chances are you’ll need to buy many more for your first project. You can buy a pack of 1000 for cheap. Just make sure they work with the brand/size of your nail gun.

JIGSAW

jigsaw-dewalt-cuttingBrand: Dewalt 6.5-Amp Corded Jigsaw

Cost: $129

dewalt-jigsaw-diy-cuttingUse: A jigsaw can be used to make both straight and curved cuts in a variety of materials (wood, particle board, metal, plastic, etc.) It’s great because it’s pretty compact, and relatively inexpensive. It’s a great saw for any DIY’er who is just getting into projects.

We originally thought we might have to use this for our fauxdenza plan to cut out a spot for the outlet in the back of the kitchen cabinet, but it doesn’t look like we will need to do that anymore. But we know this baby is going to come in handy for many future projects! We’re thinking something like this might be fun, or even this cool curved headboard.

Don’t Forget: Buy the right blade! You’ll use a different blade depending on the material you’re cutting. So make sure you have the right one on your jigsaw before you get to work.

Bridget-miter-saw-diyIf you’re going to purchase any of these power tools, then we recommend you throw these in your cart too.

  • Safety Glasses: A must whenever you’re using a saw! You don’t want any wood shavings getting in your eyes.safety-glasses
  • Sawhorses: We got these ones, and we added a cheap piece of plywood on top. This made for a nice little “work station”, and it was also a good spot to hold our miter saw.saw-horses-work-table
  • Drop Cloths: Things get messy when you’re DIYing. Keep your home clean with some durable drop cloths.

Casey-miter-saw-diyWe certainly are not tool experts. We’re just regular gals learning as we go. But we must admit that we do feel a sense of empowerment using these bad boys all by ourselves. Just goes to show that as long as you’re safe, you can handle anything on your own. Now that’s some girlpower!

Bridget and Casey Signature

 

 

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12 thoughts on “A Guide to our New Power Tools

    1. DIY Playbook

      GREAT question. Poor Bridget is currently stuck with them. She is cleaning/purging/selling lots of items in her garage to make space for an organized workshop! Maybe we’ll do a post about it early this summer.

  1. shawnna griffin

    hey girls love the post! Kuddos to you both for using power tools and for showing these men that WE girls can use them to!! Ha Ha

    Reply
  2. Trang

    So loving (and jealous) of your new tools. I’m drooling over them. Is that strange? I borrowed a compound miter saw for my bathroom renovation and fell in love. I will definitely be buying one of my own soon!

    Reply
  3. Kara D

    I’ve been buying power tools here and there in the hopes of really starting to tackle some fun DIY projects. But I also feel like I need to go back to wood shop class to double check that I’m using everything right! Ack! A miter saw and a table saw has been on the top of my gotta-get-this list for a couple of years now. Glad to get your recommendation! What made you decide on that particular miter saw over all else?

    Reply
    1. DIY Playbook

      Great question Kara! When it comes to making online purchases, I read reviews like it’s my job. Ha! Everywhere I looked people were raving about this one! We knew we wanted one that could do angled cuts easily & accurately. Plus, we didn’t want one that was too hefty. This one fit the bill. Easy to use, easy to store, and makes precise cuts every time.

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12 thoughts on “A Guide to our New Power Tools

  1. shawnna griffin

    hey girls love the post! Kuddos to you both for using power tools and for showing these men that WE girls can use them to!! Ha Ha

    Reply
  2. Trang

    So loving (and jealous) of your new tools. I’m drooling over them. Is that strange? I borrowed a compound miter saw for my bathroom renovation and fell in love. I will definitely be buying one of my own soon!

    Reply
  3. Kara D

    I’ve been buying power tools here and there in the hopes of really starting to tackle some fun DIY projects. But I also feel like I need to go back to wood shop class to double check that I’m using everything right! Ack! A miter saw and a table saw has been on the top of my gotta-get-this list for a couple of years now. Glad to get your recommendation! What made you decide on that particular miter saw over all else?

    Reply

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Hallway Board & Batten

IMG_2261

This post has been in our drafts for just over a YEAR. I took these photos and planned to complete this DIY project last February, but the photos, the plans and the project were put on hold for a thousand different reasons. My dad is the veteran DIY-er that will be helping this Rookie DIY-er tackle this project, so we needed both of our weekends free and the stars just haven’t aligned to make it happen! (Weddings, vacations, snow days, other weekend DIY projects… you name it, it’s delayed the process)

I don’t want to jinx us, BUTTTTT  I’m pretty sure the stars are about to align. I couldn’t be more excited to report that we are about to tackle a mini hallway makeover after over a year of planning!

Our hallway isn’t bad, I just feel like it could use “a little something” in order to brighten the space and add some character. Plus, I have always loved the look of board and batten, so it seemed like the perfect place to bring this look into our home. That’s exactly what I plan on doing– adding board & batten down both sides of the hallway.

I was initially inspired by this post from Young House Love. Their hallway is very similar to ours and ever since I read their gorgeous, informative post/tutorial, I knew that’s exactly the look I wanted. Plus, they tackled their entire hallway of board and batten for under $100! What’s not to love about that plan?! Here’s a peek at the inspiration:

younghouselovePhoto via YoungHouseLove <– miss them!! =(

Gorgeous, right?!

I anticipate that the board and batten will brighten the space, while also adding a “custom” look on the cheap. At this point, just checking this project off the to-do list will be worth it! A year in the making… it’s gotta be good, right?!


So that’s the latest project we have up our sleeve around here. If all goes as planned, look for an update on the progress of our board and batten hallway here on DIY Playbook next week! In the meantime, have a great weekend! We hope you get the chance to check off something looming on your DIY to-do list too.

Bridget Signature

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7 thoughts on “Hallway Board & Batten

  1. Gloria @ GloriaJoy

    Yay to getting long lost projects done! I think it’ll look great in the hallway! You may have just inspired me to put some molding up on my dining room walls, buuuuut may have a few more things to get done before that.

    Reply
  2. Allison

    Totally missing YHL. Was just thinking as I was pulling up your blog that I’m glad I found DIY Playbook to help fill the void left by YOungHouseLove. 🙂

    Loving everything I’m seeing from you guys!

    Reply

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7 thoughts on “Hallway Board & Batten

  1. Gloria @ GloriaJoy

    Yay to getting long lost projects done! I think it’ll look great in the hallway! You may have just inspired me to put some molding up on my dining room walls, buuuuut may have a few more things to get done before that.

    Reply
  2. Allison

    Totally missing YHL. Was just thinking as I was pulling up your blog that I’m glad I found DIY Playbook to help fill the void left by YOungHouseLove. 🙂

    Loving everything I’m seeing from you guys!

    Reply

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Tool Tip: Cordless Power Drill

for
Another post about tools…we know what you’re thinking, “C’mon ladies, where are the pretty pictures and styled vignettes?” Yeah, yeah, yeah…we get it! But we think it’s so important for our fellow rookies to not be intimidated by the word “power tool.” Instead, we want you to be confident the next time you have a DIY project that involves those 2 scary words. So we’re back at it with “Tool Talk Tuesday.”

Last week, we chatted about the palm sander and 2 lucky readers (Kim & Ericka) even received their own sanders courtesy of RYOBI. Today we want to dive into one of the most popular tools out there…the cordless power drill.

the cordless drill for rookies

What does it do? A drill is a tool fitted with a drill bit to bore holes into various materials or fasten materials together. A cordless drill is operated by a rechargeable battery. The attachment is gripped by a chuck and is rotated when gripped.

What projects would I use this for? Ummmm…pretty much anything and everything! A drill can come in handy if you’re putting a piece of furniture together and you need to fasten parts together with screws. It also comes in handy if you want to hang something on a wall and need to create holes for anchors. It is one of the most convenient tools and will help make any DIY project go that much faster.

How much does it cost? The price varies depending on the model and power in the drill. This 12 volt Skil drill cost about $45 from Home Depot. But if you’re looking for lots of power (18-20 Volt) then they can cost around $150. For the general home improvement projects we do, we’ve only ever needed a 12 volt drill.

What projects have you used it for? Wow, many projects on DIY Playbook have involved drills including our Ikea shelves, Ikea dresser hack, B’s DIY desk, hanging curtains, C’s white TV stand, and many more!

drill case
How do I store it? Ours came with a nice little zippered bag to hold all of the accessories…because there is a lot that comes with a drill! This little bag holds the drill, the drill charger, and all of our drill bits. It’s like a handy dandy little purse full of DIY goodness.  I’ve often just grabbed this little bag and headed to Bridget’s house for a day full of DIY.
drill charger
How often do I have to charge it? Because we’re not using our drill all day, every day, I feel like we don’t really need to charge it that often. I can install some shelves, put a piece of furniture together, and hang a gallery wall…and my lil’ drill will still be alive and kicking! But it does give you more power and “juice” if it is fully charged. So after a big project, remember to charge that baby up. You’ll thank yourself when you go to start that next project and it’s all ready for some DIY action.
electric drill

What’s with all of the “bits”? This totally confused us at first too. We thought once you had a drill, you simply put one attachment on and you were ready to go. Nope…not the case at all. A drill comes with many accessories and sometimes those bits can be a well a bit confusing (pardon the tool talk humor). Let’s break it down for ya…

screw driver bits

Screwdriver Bits: Some bits are inserted directly into the chuck. But most need to be put into the “bit holder.” The Black & Decker piece in the above picture is the bit holder. I have a large case of various bits (like the 3 small ones in the above picture) and these are inserted into the holder. The screwdriver bits are used just like a screwdriver. There are flat heads and Phillips heads…just like with normal handheld screwdrivers.

black and decker drill
driver bits

The bits in the above picture do not need to be inserted into a holder. Instead they’re put directly into the chuck. I have about a dozen different sizes and kinds that I pick and choose from depending on my project’s needs.

metal drill bits
Metal Drill Bits:  These are used to drill small and long holes into different types of materials. I mainly use them when drilling into walls. I’ll create a deep hole with a drill bit, and then insert an anchor if I’m trying to hang a heavy item. I have a wide variety of metal drill bits with varying widths.
paddle bits

Paddle Bits: Out of all of the bits, I probably use paddle bits the least, simply because I don’t do many projects that require them. A paddle bit is used to bore large, wide holes. They come in various sizes and will create a hole based on the size of the paddle bit. You simple put the tip on the center of your hole, and then use force to drill all the way through until you have a large circle. I used this to create holes on the back of our TV stand, so we could then pull our cords and wires through to the other side.

1 inch paddle bit
forward and reverse switch

How do I use the drill? A drill is operated by a trigger located on the handle of the base. You simple press this and the chuck will rotate. You can change the direction of the rotation by flipping the forward/reverse switch on the back of the drill. For example, if you’re trying to take a screw out of a piece of furniture then you would want the drill to go in reverse/counter-clockwise.

Most drills will also have a button on the top that regulates the torque and the speed. Higher torque is better for driving screws. While higher speed is better for drilling holes. You can easily move back and forth between the two options.

high torque button

Any rookie tips I should know? First and foremost, do not be scared of a cordless power drill! Using a new tool can be intimidating at first, but there is no reason to be scared of this one. The likelihood that you’ll hurt yourself or damage your home is slim to none. Just go slow, practice, and enjoy it! Power tools are meant to assist your project, and a drill will do just that. Once you start using one, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.

cordless drill tutorial

So there’s the breakdown of this not-so-scary power tool. We hope that you’ll now feel like you can pick this baby up and do projects all by yourself. No reason to call your boyfriend/dad/husband over the next time you have to put something together. Grab that drill of yours (fully charged of course!) and get to work. We promise you’ll do great and maybe even get a little arm workout in using your very own cordless power drill.

Bridget and Casey DIY Playbook
Congrats to our RYOBI Palm Sanding Winners Kim & Ericka! We hope you heart your new sander… check your email for more details. And a huge thank you to everyone who entered; stay tuned for some more free giveaways coming your way soon.
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Tool Tips: Palm Sander

There has definitely been a slow and steady “progression” into the DIY world for both of us rookies. When we started this blog, we dabbled in a lot of crafts and anything that did not require power tools or heavy lifting. We did this partly because we didn’t own any “real” tools at the time, but let’s not kid ourselves here, mostly because we were super intimidated by any project that required a power tool. Who needs a nail gun when you have a glue gun?!

It’s no secret that we are DIY Rookies and are totally learning this whole do-it-yourself thing as we go, most likely not knowing more than a few random tips we picked up from YouTube a few minutes before we are starting any given project (Not a recommended strategy). However, it has worked for us so far- and has actually forced us to get a little dirty and start using those scary tools we used to avoid at all costs. I’m not saying we’re still not a tad hesitant to pull out these tools every now and again (we still love us a nice glue gun!), and I’m definitely not saying we know what we are talking about. But we are here to report that although these tools are a tad intimidating, they are essential in stepping up that DIY game & earning some serious DIY cred around the neighborhood. Allow us to share what we’ve learned so far and hopefully (if you’re anything like we are) you can build up the courage to try your hand at a project that you always wanted to try but never really had the courage. If us two clueless rookies figured it out (blonde hair and all), we know that you can too!!

To kick-off our first “Tool Talk Tuesday”, allow us to introduce you to one of our favs… The Palm Sander.

What does it do? The palm sander, or orbital finishing sander, is a hand-held tool that allows you to sand surfaces to remove the finish in order to add another finish or to generally smooth the surface of something. It can be controlled using one hand and lacks the power to ruin a piece because of too much sanding.
What projects would I use this for?  You would use this if you wanted to repaint/stain an old piece of furniture, refinish cabinets, smooth surfaces in between coats of paint, or just generally sand a surface.
How much does it cost? A little under $30, based on model, brand, store, etc. I bought this one for about $27 at Home Depot.
What projects have you used it on? This two tone nightstand, this Coffee Table, Casey’s TV Stand, B’s Laundry Room Makeover, these Chalkboard Cabinets, & this antique desk… just to name a few. =)

Any rookie tips I should know? Sand outside when possible!! Although this sander looks small… don’t be fooled- this bad boy can make a BIG ol’ mess. Sand outside to avoid a thick layer of dust throughout your home. If you do have to sand inside, use a large drop cloth, tarp or old sheet to cover anything and everything! Come to think of it, use the tarp/sheet/cloth regardless of where you end up sanding.

Where do you buy it? Local hardware stores, large retail hardware stores, anywhere tools are sold really. 

What are these clips or “clamps” for? The clips are what helps the sand paper squares stay secure on the palm sander while you are sanding away. You lay the sand paper square (about a quarter of an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sand paper) under the sander and fold the excess sandpaper around the sides of the sander and secure them with the two clips (one on each side). When that piece of sand paper’s grit has worn away, go ahead and pull up and out on each clip to release and tear away the sand paper. Repeat the process again and again until the surface is completely sanded!

What other supplies should I have available when sanding? Sand paper (lots of it), scissors to cut the large pieces of sand paper into squares that fit the palm sander, and a drop cloth (or some way to catch the dust). To keep things safe…we also recommend wearing eye protection and a face mask. You don’t want to be breathing in all that yuck!

How do you store your sander? In a fabulously organized, zipped bag out of reach of your child, dog, hamster or neighbor.

How can you win your very own palm sander?! In honor of Tool Tip Tuesday, we have partnered with the amazing RYOBI to give TWO lucky readers brand new sanders! Check out the rafflecopter widget below for exact details on how to enter. You can enter until next Sunday… so hurry up!!
Cheers to a little summer sun, a little extra sanding, and a whole new confidence to tackle some serious power tool DIY!
So tell us, how would you use your brand new RYOBI sander?! What project is on your summer to do list?!
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How to Drill Holes for Cords and Wires in 3 STEPS

hole in wood for cords
So yesterday we chatted about our desk updates, and I briefly talked about the hole we drilled in the top of the desk to fish our wires through. I’m sure you’ve seen these holes, but if you’re anything like me, that’s about the extent of knowledge you have of ’em… or ever want to have about them. Trust me, I get it.
2 years ago I never ever would have imagined that I would have even thought twice about these random holes ever, let alone create one all by myself! Who am I?! Since when do I know what a hole-saw is, what a grommet does, or how the heck those holes get there? I’m not sure when this “hole” thing changed, but I promise I’m still pretty darn clueless with power tools and I survived this DIY alone. No boys allowed! And not only did I survive, but dare I tell you that this is so darn easy (and cheap!) Like less than $10 cheap…

All you will need:
Power Drill
Hole Saw Drill Bit to put into the drill (run about $5-8)
Grommet (Plastic cover to put inside the hole, come in a variety of colors for like $2)

Rookie Tip: Purchase the hole saw bit based on the desired size of your hole. They come in all sorts of diameters. I went with the 2″ diameter, and therefore I also bought the 2″ grommet so that it would fit into the hole. Not rocket science, if you buy a 1 1/2 hole saw, can you guess what size grommet you should buy?

Now onto the super simple steps to create one of these super official looking holes while making yourself feel like you actually know what you’re doing for 2.5 seconds.
Step one: connect the hole saw onto drill, you attach it just like any other drill bit.
Step two: Place the hole saw onto the area that you would like to drill your hole. Apply pressure (lots of muscle!!) onto the wood and push the drill through the entire surface. Before you know it, your hole is cut! The wood from inside of the hole will probably stay stuck in the hole saw. Simply stick a screw driver into one of the holes on the side of the hole saw to pop that piece right out.
Step three: Make sure your grommet fits. Just put the piece of plastic into the space and it should fit perfectly, almost like a “cap” in the hole. Because I was painting my wood white, I bought a white grommet.

I removed the white, plastic grommet to prime and paint the wood and keep the piece looking clean & professional. Once I was finished with the wood, I stuck that grommet right back into place and was left with a professional and “finished” looking hole for cords that blended right in with the rest of the white desk. Mission accomplished!

It really was that easy (girl scout honor). I would highly recommend giving this process a try and tackling it as a do-it-yourself mini project. I always noticed the random holes on top of desks, but little did I know that all it took was ONE new drill-bit for under $10 and a little extra muscle to create my very own.

 

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3 thoughts on “How to Drill Holes for Cords and Wires in 3 STEPS

  1. Komrad

    Thanks! I found this article useful because I needed to put a whole for cables into an existing apartment bookshelf built into the wall.

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3 thoughts on “How to Drill Holes for Cords and Wires in 3 STEPS

  1. Komrad

    Thanks! I found this article useful because I needed to put a whole for cables into an existing apartment bookshelf built into the wall.

    Reply

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Tool Storage Solution

With all of the DIY projects going on around here, our tool collection is definitely growing!

In fact, I recently purchased my first power tool…a cordless drill! (Post all about my new toy coming soon, I promise).

We bought 2 magnetic knife holders from Ikea a while back, and only ended up using one in the kitchen.  So we thought the other would be a great solution for our growing collection of tools and supplies.

Finn used our new drill to put up the magnetic strip in our laundry closet, using wall anchors and screws.

Drilling Magnetic Strip
Yes we have a lamp in our closet #I’mafraidofdoinglaundryinthedark
Tool Storage Magnetic Strip Ikea
It now holds some magnetic supplies that we use fairly often. So instead of digging through the tool chest, they’re right within reach in the closet!
I’m pretty pumped about this easy tool storage solution.  Now every time we do our laundry, we’ll be eager to jump right into our next DIY project. 
Have a great Memorial Day Weekend! I’ll be at the lake with my family getting some sunshine and fresh air. Hope you guys have something fun planned too!
The bad news: Spring DIY training is almost over. The good news: there’s still time to get in the game! Sign up and submit your #RookieDIY projects before next Wednesday and you’ll be entered to win a $50 gift card to Target. (get last minute details here)

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