Air as a Workshop Tool

Thinking about it, there is hardly a tool that I’ve added to the workshop that I really knew what to expect from it, or whether it would be as useful as the price indicated.  In part I hope that this blog does actually help others so they can make more rationalised decisions about what they are buying, or what would actually be a useful tool to have.

Some tools that I’ve discovered to be indispensable (that I didn’t really know before purchasing) include the bandsaw, the thicknesser and the router table.  In each case it was as much because I’d never actually seen one being used or really knew what it was capable of.  These days it is a lot easier, because I have learned a lot over the last few years and have a pretty fair idea of what I still need and why, but it was kind of exciting buying tools and then discovering what they were actually good for!

One ‘tool’ that I have found to be suprisingly useful is compressed air.  I was quite exposed to it in the navy – it is used for everything on the ships, but I wasn’t so sure if an air compressor would be really useful in a woodworking workshop.  How little did I know.  Now I’d definitely recommend any woodworking workshop to have some sort of supply of compressed air.

I’ve used it to drive an impact wrench to free a rusted nut, as a glorified broom, driving a nailgun, even pumping up a car tire, and blowing up balloons for a party.

I’d definitely say the bigger the better where it comes to compressors, but even so, the small 24l GMC compressor I have has proven very useful, particularly for portable air.  I also have a 40l one permanently located in the shed, and coupled to a hose-reel which is another great addition.

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