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I’m old enough to remember when you needed an extension cord and a chuck key to use a drill. When cordless drills came along I was grateful, and these tools just keep getting better. I’ve been remodeling my kitchen at home, and borrowed the three drills in the picture below to see how they performed outside the shop on a job site.
The smaller-size drills now available (thanks to Lithium-ion batteries) are a great leap forward. My old 12-volt drill was heavy enough to make my wrist hurt by the end of the day and it wouldn’t always fit in tight spots. The Bosch I-Driver has plenty of power and the articulating head makes setting drawer slides in a 12″ wide cabinet, or reaching high overhead, a breeze. It’s been my go-to drill in the shop for a couple  years now. My co-workers say I hide it, but I just make sure it is put away in a safe place.

The little white Makita is a contender for my new favorite. It’s light and comfortable to use, has a three-jaw chuck and two speed settings. The ergonomics are outstanding, and the LED light (which I didn’t think was important in the shop) turned out to be a real help working inside dark cabinets. I knew it was a comfortable, easy-to-use tool when my wife asked me where “her” little white drill was.

The large Makita is a four-function tool-drill, driver, hammer drill and impact driver. I used it extensively driving screws for concrete board for the new tile floor. If I were still working on site on a regular basis I would have to have one of these. It would replace three big, heavy specialized tools that I used to carry but didn’t use often. I had to carry them, because when you need a hammer drill or a powerful impact driver, there  used to be no good substitutes.

Of course any project has interruptions, and tools sometimes get used for things the designers and engineers never dreamed of. This happened on my project last week. My teenage son had his wisdom teeth removed a few weeks ago. The other night he was feeling some pain and asked me to take a look. Peering into your child’s orifices is one of the duties that comes with fatherhood, so I went looking for my flashlight.

I keep a big Maglite under the kitchen sink. It’s not only a great flashlight, but if it turns out that there really is a burglar in the house at 3 a.m., it’s also a decent defensive weapon. The problem was that the old sink cabinet had been removed and the new one was still a pile of unassembled parts. I searched for a while to the tune of “Dad, this really hurts, can you take a look?” and a lightbulb went off over my head. I remembered that the big Makita has an LED light that functions by depressing the trigger without engaging the motor.

So this is the kid’s-eye view. I didn’t see any signs of infection and the pain went away with a salt-water gargle. Hunter and I thought it was pretty amusing (once he stopped flinching as I approached with drill in hand saying “open wide”). His mother, however, was not so amused.

, Robert W. Lang

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Showing 3 comments
  • winston49

    Nice job, but extra novacaine, please.

  • dave brown

    Nice creative use of the driver as a flashlight but I can see why your son was nervous — the bit and bit holder were still in the drill! lol

  • Dan

    There’s a bunch of new 10v – 12v drills/drivers on the market these days. Are you guys planning a review? When? I recently bought the Rigid and have high hopes on the functionality and usefulness of a small drill.


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