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Brace Yourselves For The Revolution…

November 19, 2012

“Raking” leaves with Finley.

On Saturday, my wife and I finished up some of the remaining outdoor chores for the fall season. The first project was to rake up the last of the leaves from the sweet gum and the hard maple trees. The little one always makes such things take longer (driving his dump truck through the piles of leaves, helping us out with his own rake, taking my rake to use as a light saber, etc.) but he also makes them more fun.

Another project was to drain the garden hoses, which we were using to water the recently aerated and overseeded lawn, and bring them inside the garage for the winter. (The worst thing about raking leaves after having the lawn aerated is that it looks like there is dog poop everywhere. Am I right?) And that brought up a project I’ve somehow managed to miss or avoid for about three years now.

Back before Finley was born, maybe even before my wife was pregnant with him, I picked up two hose holders from Lee Valley. But you would be hard pressed to find out from me how well they work, because I never got around to putting them up! It just seemed like when I had the time to do it, we didn’t have the wall space cleared in the garage. And when I had the wall space cleared in the garage, I forgot to go out and hang the hose holders.

But the planets must have been in alignment on Saturday – I had the wall space AND I had the time (possibly more importantly, I had the inclination). So I went down to the basement, grabbed a drill bit, a handful of wood screws, and my Panasonic cordless 12v drill; I figured I’d have it done in no time. The nice thing about that Panasonic is the drill runs fine until the battery dies – it doesn’t progressively get weaker and weaker, it just stops. Unfortunately, I was only half way into drilling the first hole when it stopped.

[Insert exasperating sigh]

That stupid drill doesn’t seem to be holding its charge anymore after sitting for a little while (I last used it about three weeks ago). I know I put it away with a full charge on the battery. No big deal, though. That’s what spare batteries are for, right? So I went back downstairs, grabbed the backup battery, popped it in, and tried to continue.

Nope. It was as dead as the first. That one also had a full charge on it when I put the drill away a few weeks ago. Grrr.

[Insert second exasperating sigh]

Cordless Drill: 0
Brace: 6

So I plodded downstairs to plug in the battery charger, my mind trying to figure out how to not lose my inclination in the 30 minutes it would take to charge a battery, when I walked past the one section of my old tool storage that isn’t mucked up with trying to move into the new shop. That happens to be the section where my braces are hanging.

“Psh,” I said to myself, “I’m done with this cordless drill crap.” I grabbed my 8” brace, went upstairs, chucked the drill bit in it, and had six holes marked and drilled out in under a minute. Then I exchanged the drill bit for an extended driver bit and had the two hose holders mounted in another 60 seconds.

And the hand tool revolution edges yet another power tool out the door…

7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 19, 2012 11:58 am

    ¡Viva la revolución! I’m done with cordless drills, myself. Mine crapped out at the beginning of the year and I haven’t looked back. Nothing beats a brace and an eggbeater for versatility and durability. Yankee screwdrivers are great additions to the toolkit for driving.


    • November 19, 2012 12:13 pm

      Yep, I already have a few eggbeater drills I love dearly and use when I’m making boxes. I have a Yankee screwdriver, as well, that my dad picked up for me a year ago when he was at a garage sale. Never have used it, though it looks like that may change in the near future!


      • November 19, 2012 12:42 pm

        I’ve been trying to come up with a rationale for owning multiple eggbeater drills. If nothing else, I need a second one to keep in the dedicated home repair toolkit, right?

        Mostly, though, I’m just not finding them in the wild anymore. Is the rust hunting any better out your way?


      • November 19, 2012 1:33 pm

        McFeelys and Lee Valley both sell adapters for the 1 inch hex bits to yankee drivers. Get one and you can drive any kind of screw you have a hex bit for.


      • November 19, 2012 1:51 pm

        Alex, I have… 4? I think I have 4 eggbeater drills. I can rationalize two of them – the Millers Falls #2 is a huge honkin’ one, and it has the little gear keeper at the bottom that ensures proper gear alignment; I use this when drilling larger holes that are still too small for a brace. Then I have a smaller Millers Falls #5 (?) that I use for my more delicate drilling. I also have another smaller one (Goodell Pratt, maybe?) that I had pre-MF #5 that I really enjoy using, as well. I’m still trying to rationalize it. Finally, I have a slightly larger one (another GP, I think) that has a very unusual bit-storing system in the handle. It is in fine working condition and I think it is going to Israel, where my friend Naomi Weiss lives and doesn’t have access to tools like we do. As I’m Schwarzinating my shop, I’m setting aside some of the good tools for her. The rest will get sold or gifted as needed.

        To answer your question, three of my eggbeaters are local finds. The fourth came from Joshua Clark @, but it was actually the second one I bought; I found two others later at garage sales and rescued them for ridiculously low prices of like $5 each. The MF #2 was not a steal – I paid about $35 for it at a local antique mall. But it was a good FIND, as it was in one of those booths with tons of junk and I just happened to catch a glimpse of it in a big pile of useless non-woodworking stuff.


      • November 19, 2012 2:01 pm

        Thanks for the info! I’ll check it out!

        I have a love/love relationship with Lee Valley. My wish list is under the name “Ethan Sincox” if anyone is ever interested in sending some tool love my way. 🙂


  2. November 19, 2012 8:29 pm

    I don’t use cordless drills for woodworking much. But I love the 12v lithium ion Dewalt kit that I have. I have a little eggbeater that I use on occasion as well.


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