Love the new blog! I am curious about tools for the various building projects around the urban homestead. Do you use mostly hand tools, or a combination of hand and power tools, and — if many power tools — does it have much of an effect on your solar energy usage. Thanks! – Jen
Justin here, glad you are enjoying our new look. My sisters have put a lot of their time and effort and these new upgrades are made possible by our reader’s support.
My sister passed your question onto me since I was the best person to respond.
Yes, we use a combination of power and hand tools. The power tools that we do use are a cordless drill, a sawzall, and a circular saw.
When we build something on the homestead, we use wood screws to put everything together. So a cordless drill is the one and only power tool that we use the most. We could use more nails but it is much harder to take apart something to reuse the wood at a later date, such as when you make a mistake (hey – it happens!), or change your mind down the road, it is much easier to work with screws. The garden beds and trellises are entirely cut by hand and assembled with screw by the cordless drill.
We do occasionally use a circular saw for big jobs like cutting concrete or for cutting some of the 100 sheets of plywood we used to re-roof the house. However, the plywood was nailed in all by hand – all ~20lbs of nails! Now that is a lot of nails!
The sawzall comes in handy for cutting things like hardwoods or wood pallets into small enough pieces for firewood. Also, this saw is used for cutting the metal pipes for fencing and trellises.
The amount of green electricity we use to power or recharge the tools (and to homebrew biodiesel) is minimal since we don’t use them all the time. There was a spike in electricity usage for major tool usage like when we rented a jack hammer to break up the huge concrete patio.