Chris Schwarz's Blog

One of my Favorite Power Tools

For years I owned pick-up trucks or SUVs so I could move wood and projects around town with ease. But I never liked their poor gas mileage.

Oh who am I kidding; pickups don’t go fast enough for me, or have a decent sport suspension.

Now I drive a two-door Acura RSX (yes, it’s the type S) hatchback, and it is shocking what I can get into the thing. Last week I had to transport the entire set of stacking bookshelves for the June issue to my house for a photo shoot. Each of the seven units is 48″ long.

So I folded down the seats, and started stacking.

I also regularly travel to classes in this car, loaded with enough wood for 12 sawbenches and all the tools I need for the week.

And when I’m not spinning at 6,000 rpm, I do like the 31 mpg, too.

— Christopher Schwarz

17 thoughts on “One of my Favorite Power Tools

  1. Joe D.

    Roger on hauling with the RSX – that’s what I drive, but I go one step further. I have a folding trailer that I tow with it; 900 lb capacity. I can and do haul many sheets of plywood, drywall, furniture, loads of stone,… It always turns the heads of the “tuner” crowd.

    By the way, the RSX has a ready-made connector specifically for trailer lights. It’s in the right rear corner of the “trunk”, behind a little plastic door. When I went to the Acura dealership and asked for the mating connector for the trailer harness, they looked at me like I had 2 heads, but they figured it out and got me the parts.

    Joe

  2. muthrie

    Are you guys really fitting 8×4′ sheets in all of these vehicles (except the mini van, of course)? I need a new vehicle and I just can’t bring myself to buy a low mileage pickup .. but I keep havin’ to rent one.

  3. cbf123

    I’ve got an ’05 Matrix. It’ll take 9-foot lumber with the hatch closed, and a lot more with the glass part of the hatch open. Can’t take full sized sheet goods, but if they’re ripped lengthwise a bit they’re no problem.

    I’ve also had many hundred pounds of brick in the back. Likely it was somewhat overloaded, but I took it pretty easy. :)

  4. Michael

    Chris;

    Five years ago, I bought a used Delta Unisaw and needed to transport it to my home 100 miles away. My car was an ’88 Honda Civic Hatchback with over 200,000 miles on it. I folded down the seats, and then I separated the saw’s cast iron wings, top and cabinet base to easily stuff them into the back of the car. The saw’s motor rode up front with me on the passenger side floor.

    What was it like? No problem at all. Hauling those 400 pounds of cast iron was like driving with two mothers in law in the back seat. I just turned the radio up loud and everything was fine.

    In my current hatchback (’07 Toyota Yaris) I’ve carried 20 eight foot 2×4’s at a time and I’m getting 42 MPH!

    Welcome to practical vehicle ownership.

    Michael

    p.s. Looking forward to your presentation in Rochester next month!

  5. Steve D

    I am able to haul 8′ stock in my Camry and get the trunk closed. Lay down the back seats and recline the front passenger seat, and I can get four 2×10 to fit.

  6. almartin

    The summer after I graduated college, I was working at a building supply (not a big box). We found that five sheets of luan would lay flat inside a ’94 Camaro.

  7. J. Pierce

    Ah, I replaced my sedan with a Ford Focus hatchback (not a great car, but the price was right); it’s the proper hatchback type, like a shortened station wagon rather than a sedan with a hatchback trunk. I got it specifically to haul musician gear (I could fit everything we needed for our rock trio, except the drummer, in that car without much work.) but with the seats folded down, I was suprised at the amount of lumber and sheet goods I can cram in there – I can get at least 9 feet of board in there without cutting it down, and if I’m careful, 10 feet of molding-type material. I can’t fit full sheets of ply in there, but I can fit a lot more than I’d think I’d be able to with judicious cutting, and I can stack a whole bunch of 2′x4′ panels in there…

    I’ve been thinking of building a folding sawhorse/sawbench the same height as the rear of the car, to facilitate cross cutting stuff to more manageable lengths before packing up the car when making a big haul. I’ve got a cheap pull saw that basically lives under one of the seats now.

    If you’ve got a way to borrow/rent a large truck as needed, (and I’ve only found it needed for large home reno projects) I feel like a hatchback is the best bet for the money for the casual woodworker…

  8. Andrew

    Aahhh…. I used to drive an RSX, now I’m in a minivan. Two kids didn’t fit very well into the backseat. I will concur with how well it fits “stuff” though. Picture an unassembled Weber BBQ in the back + babyseat + front passenger.

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