The Year Of The Cordless Tool

How lockdown got me started on battery powered DIY

Michael Thorn
4 min readApr 10, 2021


Photo by Maarten Deckers on Unsplash

Up until some nine months ago, I did not own a single cordless power tool. It’s true that, right at the back of the under-stairs cupboard, there was a boxed corded hammer drill and jigsaw but neither had been properly used since I had made and fitted some bookshelves soon after moving into our house in the early 1990s. Drilling into the inconsistent walls of a Victorian terraced townhouse is not something that encourages further DIY adventures.

Last summer, I needed to remove and repair a wooden conservatory door and, using some earnings from copyediting, acquired a cordless driver and orbital sander. The door is going to have to come off its hinges again at some point this summer, to make the repairs more permanent, but that will be another episode in the story that started with the purchase of those first two cordless tools.

I enjoyed using the tools. They were both made by the same manufacturer and I liked the fact that the driver came in its own plastic briefcase, containing the battery and the charger. I looked for other cordless tools that I might find equally useful and next bought a multi-tool, which also came with its own green briefcase, containing the tool and its accessories. My purchase qualified me for a free additional battery, which was good, because the orbital sander had been purchased as a ‘bare’ tool, meaning it came without a battery or charger. So, I now had three cordless power tools, three batteries, and two chargers.

The wooden conservatory door always swells in wet winters, sticking in the frame, especially at top and bottom. Pushing, shoving and kicking the door open and closed gradually weakens the joints. Using a combination of a hand scraper tool and a sanding attachment on the multi-tool, I have been able to loosen the door to some degree, and have fixed a temporary metal bracket at the top of the frame to prevent it coming apart and breaking the glass window inserts. We are treating it gently (nudging, rather than pushing; toe-tapping, rather than kicking) until I can get it off its hinges again.

More recently, we have needed to cut back a pittosporum that had grown incredibly tall. Neighbours were complaining that it was blocking light from reaching their…