In the January issue of Practical Sailor, technical editor Ralph Naranjo opens his workshop to readers and offers his advice to power tool selection. He also talks tools with Patrick Tewes, owner of Marine Electric Systems in Severna Park, Md., who specializes in custom electrical system installations, work that often entails significant modification and fabrication. Most of Tewes favorites are battery-operated, allowing him to take on big projects in small places. Almost all of them would make great gifts, so Ive pulled four of his favorites here. For the complete list youll have to wait until the January issue comes out. It should be online by Dec. 18.
At the top of Tewes preferred list is a Fein Multimaster 250Q, a plug-in, variable speed, right-angle oscillating tool that accepts a carbide tipped saw blade, a wide array of triangular-shaped sanding pads and host of other cutting, scraping and filing gizmos. The lock-and-load, quick-attachment process and the long throw of the oscillation cycle makes it a very efficient cutter, sander, or scraper. When it comes to cutting out a small rectangular slot in a bulkhead or sanding woodwork in a tight corner this is the tool to tackle the job.
The speed of oscillation of this 2.4-pound super tool ranges from 11,000 to 21,000 rpm. It draws about 250 watts of AC current and the cutting tool options even include a $76 diamond saw blade. The price of the basic kit is about $270.
Milwaukee M12 right angle drill/driver kit
Boring holes in hard to reach spaces often requires a right-angle drill, and this compact Milwaukee cordless tool fits the bill. It has a 3/8 chuck, operates at 0-800 rpm, and delivers 100 inch-pounds of torque. It easily drills through FRP laminates and wood. The units compact size, light weight Li-ion battery and modest price make it an appealing to pros and amateurs alike. It runs about $100.
Milwaukee M12 rotary tool
When it comes to cutting off a fastener in a hard to reach location this slim 9.5-inch-long rotary cutter can get the job done in a hurry. Its 5,000 to 32,000 rpm range affords excellent control of the cutting tool held in the 1/8 collet and the built-in LED light puts its beam right where the cutting action is taking place. The unit with battery only weighs 1.3 pounds and though not needed as much as a drill/driver this tools earns its keep more often than one might anticipate. Its 30-minute charge time and $100 price tag make it a fast riser on most DIYers’ wish-lists.
Rigid 3/8-inch driver/drill 12-volt with lithium-ion battery
This is Tewes’ pick of the litter when it comes to 3/8 a power tool thats always in his carry bag. The little Rigid drill/driver may not rank as a pro heavy-duty cordless drill, but its light weight and compact versatility is a big plus. It sports a hand operable chuck, two ranges of rpm, and rechargees in 30 minutes in the Lithium power pack. The unit comes as a kit with an LED flashlight, two Lithium-ion batteries and a charger with a discount price of around $150. A lifetime warranty, including battery replacement, make this an appealing tool.