Welcome to my blog, where a 30-something couple from the UK renovate and extend an old cottage, build some outbuildings, raise some hens and grow firewood trees and vegetables on our Acre in Hampshire. It's a bit like a smallholding but without too many animals, so we call it a homestead - living within our means, relying on ourselves and having a wonderful life!


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

My manliest power tools yet...?

The construction of the Barn is going to be quite simple - great big bits of Oak with square ends will fit into square holes, and an oak peg will fit through a hole drilled through both parts. Easy enough - but how to actually MAKE these deep, square holes?

On my Oak Framing course, we tried both methods - you could drill a series of holes of a suitable depth (100mm, about 4 inches)...

...and then chisel out the waste...

All well and good - this is how oak buildings were made hundreds of years ago, after all. However, this would take about an hour for two holes - and I have 60 square holes to make just for my diagonal braces! I think we need a manly power tool...

After scouring eBay for months, this little beauty popped up - it's a Chain Mortiser, named because it uses a special chainsaw chain to cut a deep and wide mortise (a square hole, basically...) The only current manufacturer of a chain mortiser is Makita - and because they are the only player in the market, they can charge whatever they see fit - a new Makita costs over £1000.

Needless to say, when this Ryobi (who stopped making their machine some years ago) popped up on eBay for less than a third of the price of a new Makita, I jumped at it. As you can see from the plug, it is 110v - which meant I had to buy a transformer as well... still, lots of industrial tools are 110v - I won't be scared of buying tools with a yellow plug now.

Also on the shopping list was a large circular saw - to make the tenons (the square pegs which fit into the mortises) a series of cuts is made across the width of the oak post, and the tabs are then chiseled away - as seen here on a curved brace...

I needed at least a 60mm depth of cut - and my little Bosch circular saw would only cut to 50mm. More Man Shopping required! Another eBay bargain - this time a Bosch Professional 235mm saw, which will cut to 85mm. My main posts are 175mm oak - in case I need to shorten them, I'll saw around the perimeter and only be left with a 10mm square in the middle to cut by hand.

I really rate Bosch tools - they are very reliable in my experience, and the spare parts availability is excellent - a far cry from Ryobi (reliable, but poor spares). As such, any new tool purchases I make from now on will be Bosch unless I have no option.

On that subject, more Exciting Bosch Power Tool News coming to AnAcreInHampshire soon!


  1. Just for the record there are at least two other companies Mafell and Swiss pro mind you they will cost the price of a small barn !!

  2. Ohps missed out a bit " Who make chain mortisers"

  3. That's a great tool. I have a power tool, Milwaukee 18v and I enjoyed using it.:D

  4. Hey Simon, you are right. The power tool Bosch is really an excellent and reliable tool. Also, their spare parts are available.

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  11. The big drill you used to drill out those larger holes are great drills! We use them as mixing drills instead but are great for drilling larger holes (like you did) too. I too like Bosch tools and like the fact that they are made in Germany, didn't think about parts replacement though, thanks for the tip!

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  14. I discovered this post only yesterday. I see you’ve thought about your powertools earlier than us. But I don’t expect you to end your discussion on the specific matter so soon. Can’t you please share more of your insights into it. Really, our neighbor groups who visit our website Spottingpro oftentimes would be happy. Thanks a lot, Simon!

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