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April 28, 2013

Weekend Home Improvement -- Tools! [Purp]

Having the right stuff is the difference between joy and misery.

Its easy to walk into Home Depot or Lowes and drop a bundle on the latest 18v(or higher) Li-ion drill from Milwaukee or Dewalt and not be disappointed, but those units are heavy. One mondo drill isn't always the best for all situations.

I have a few cordless drills, and I find myself grabbing an old 9.6v Dewalt as often as the new Milwaukee 18v Li-ion.

The Dewalt DW926 model 9.6v drill is the perfect tool for light/medium household use. Its got enough oomph to put quite a few 1/4" holes through wood, its got nice clutch, feels good in your hand, and is much more durable than cheap 9.6v drills, or anything from harbor freight. IOW - its not going to fall apart on you if you flog it hard.

I picked mine up used at a pawn shop maybe 7 years ago. I bought a couple of new batteries and its still going strong. Its outlived several crappy low end Black & Decker models, and some harbor freight junk. The grip is small enough that you don't need a hand with Michael Jordan's wingspan to hold it either. Some of the no-name Chinese junk is real bad in this regard.

The old DW926 has also shown enough market endurance that the aftermarket has even developed compatible 9.6v NiMH battery packs for it that won't bust your wallet. There's an old Makita 9.6v drill that's been around for about 20 year that people don't let go too.

When the batteries for something are still available 10 or 20 years after its introduction, you got a classic, not a fad.

Here's another handy thing to have -- a right angle driver. The Milwaukee one is pricy, but nice. Walmart has a Black and Decker angle driver for under $15. The first time you use it, it will have paid for itself in saved frustration, busted knuckles, and not bleeding all over shit.

OK, enough with the drilly, now a cutty recommendation:

This Milwaukee 18v Li-ion cordless sawzall KICKS ASS. I've used this thing to chop down 8" diameter trees. The batteries last a LONG time, and its got enough oomph to really power through some heavy stuff. If you put a long demolition or pruning blade on it, you can do some serious tree and brush trimming in the yard with it.

The only downside to that Milwaukee unit is its heavy and beefy which makes it a bit hard to "one hand" when you're on an extension ladder up in a tree reaching out. I have an old beat up 14v Black & Decker sawzall I use when weight is a factor.

For a cheap piece of junk, the B & D 14v sawzall is pretty damned good. I've been flogging mine for many years now, the plunger bearing is shot and wobbles, the black rubber grip trims fell off, but it keeps going.

If you can find one used for a few bucks, and want a light weight sawzall buy it. The 14v batteries for it are still available. Its endurance and power are nothing like the Milwaukee, but its the right tool where weight matters.

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posted by Open Blogger at 11:22 AM

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