Power tools for papa

Sunday, June 8, 2003

P Strong do-it-yourself market keeps power tools popular.

By David Bradley ~ The Associated Press

Bob Johnson knows the answer before the question is asked. Before Fathers Day, Johnson is the answer man.

"I walk customers to the power equipment," says Johnson, manager of a Midwestern Lowes. "They want to know what's hot for Father's Day and that would be anything that involves power. That won't change this year."

The push toward power coincides with a strong do-it-yourself market among homeowning dads for whom standard power tools are merely a good start toward the ultimate power tool collection.

"We definitely see people move up to major-league power tools, tools that would be welcome at any job site," says Johnson.

"Its the better hand tools, but its also the commercial quality saws and compressor-driven equipment."

Here's Johnson's list of dad's day gift ideas:

Gas powered pressure washers. These brutes are ideal to power off dirt and grime from decks, siding and gutters, grills, outdoor equipment, walks and driveways. Models range from 5- to 13 horsepower. Heavy-duty versions pump out 3,700 pounds per square inch (PSI) of water pressure.

Gas powered electric generators. A pull of the cord and you've got enough power for the entire household. Small generators crank 900 watts with 2.5 horsepower engines, while beefier units on wheels can produce a whopping 13,500 watts with 15 horsepower motors for six hours to 13 hours. Johnson says generators are popular in areas where storms knock power out often enough to be bothersome.

Lawn and leaf blowers. Why rake when you can blow debris aside? Backpack style gas blowers do the dirty work around shrubs and trees. They're good for prodding leaves off roofs and from gutters, too. Some models vacuum debris.

Compound mitre saws. No shop is complete without one of these versatile table-type saws. They take the guesswork out of angled cuts. Upper-end models feature carbide-tipped blades.

Gas chain saws. If you've spared a tree but nature has taken some limbs, chain saws come in handy. Smaller models are fine for brush and sticks, but thicker limbs and trunks are easily managed by stronger saws.

Cordless drill-drivers. "Cordless drivers will forever be popular," says Johnson. "The batteries hold a charge very well, and there's plenty of power without the bother of cords."

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