The Tools for Boat Building. . .

This segment is not to tell you what type of power tools to purchase, it is only offeredas to what type of tools shipwrights prefer to use! In most cases witrh electrical tools, you get what you pay for, quite often the handyman type power tools will not have the grunt or long equitity of a quality power tool. One of the biggest players in the market is "Makita" most of their products have a strong following amongst tradesmen.

  One or two battery drills are essential equipment. Look for adjustable clutches, chuckless, forward and reverse switch and 1 hour or less chargers. The cheap brands have near useless batteries and will not last long.Our preferred brands are Panasonic, Dewalt and Makita.
  You do not need a huge powersaw for composite boat work. A lightweight 6" or 7" power saw is ideal. It will be easy to handle and the accessories such as diamond + tungstan blades are much cheaper than their larger brothers. Brands preferred Makita and AEG.
  The jigsaw will be one of your most commonly used power tools. The cheaper handyman brands are not really suitable. Look for variable speed control and for aft oscillation. Favourite brands Festo, Metabo anf Makita.
  The 4' angle is another must have power tool. Fitted with a cheap diamond blade it will cut through almost anything fitted with 4" Diamond edged blades. It is also an excellent preparation tool, when fitted with the small course sanding pads. Most brands are okay, these tools are inexpensive . Try Makita, AEG, Bosch etc.
  Pictured left is the 2 speed low RPM sander, polisher, not to be confused with the high RPM angle grinders. Fitted with sticky or velcro backed soft pads, they make an excellent fibreglass sanding tool. Makita, AEG, Ryobi.
  The tool box would not be complete without the electric planer. Most Australian carpenters will own a Makita 180B planer. Make sure you buy and use tungsten blades because of their much more durable cutting edges. Makita is probably the most commonly ued planer. However the Metabo pictured left has a much better depth control.
  In this writer's opinion there is only one brand of orbital sander to buy. It is the Italian made Rupes Orbital Sander. Robustly built and with twice the diameter oscillation than most other brands. This tool gets a lot of use and will almost last a lifetime. It is not cheap but is an excellent investment.
  Another sander that is great for sanding curved surfaces is the random orbit oscillating circular sander. The Dewalt model pictured has a nice vacuum attachment point and we have 2 of these in our boat shed. Another good brand is made in Germany by Festo.
    A good quality drill is another must have item.Buy a reasonably lightweight model with high wattage. It needsconsiderable power when used to drive resin stirrers, holesaws and sanding flapper tools. Stick to the heavier duty tradeline models. Make sure its got a forward and reversing switch for driving screws.

A good model router is used with tungsten blades for puttering curves, arises onto foam, timber and fibreglass.Used with a 12m blade for cutting slots in panels to enable the quick hatch technique as shown latter. Try Makita, Metabo and AEG.




A good selection of handtools and few good quality power tool is all you really need to build a boat. Several other larger power tools are nice to have if your budget allows.

Small bench sander linisher is good to have sitting on your work bench.

A light duty bench grinder is good for sharpening drills and hand tools.

A medium size air compressor can be great for cleaning up and running panel beaters, airsanders and spray guns.

A good quality vacuum cleaner will be better for cleaning up by reducing the dust levels.

A bench drill is only really needed if you are doing your metal work.

A bench mounted buzzer is only really needed if you are using a complicated timber trim finish. Most cabinet making shops will machine your timber trim to the right thickness.

Most people believe you need a bandsaw to build a boat. It is a rarely used tool that will only grow dust in your shop. The humble jigsaw will do all the jobs of the bandsaw.

A nice have in the shed is a electric bench saw for accurate cutting. A power saw mounted upside down in a plate of MDF will do the same job. Only buy one if your budget allows.

You do not need to buy all tools new, many can be purchased from garage sales etc. When you finish the project you could sell your tools on to another budding boat builder .

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