The Year Of The Cordless Tool
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 conservatory. We had just spent money on hiring tree surgeons to cut back an ash tree and getting someone in to mend fence panels and fit supports to rotted posts had been a further expense, so I was reluctant to call in more paid help. We tried telescopic loppers but the shrub had become a tree and the loppers were not up to the job.
The thought of using any kind of chainsaw or power-driven hedge-cutter has always rather terrified me, but when I saw that there was a battery-driven chainsaw available in the same range of cordless tools that I already owned, I investigated further by watching YouTube reviews. The end result was that I made another purchase, making it four tools, three batteries, three chargers.
The ‘chainsaw’, being battery-driven, is more like a toy than the real lumberjack item, but I was nevertheless cautious while using it, and it got the job done.
I am now turning my attention to another door. This time a garden shed door which has become too rotted to repair, so I have decided to build a new one. The result of watching YouTube videos is that, as I write this, I am awaiting delivery of a circular saw (also ‘bare’) to join my family of cordless tools. So call it five tools, three batteries, three chargers. Also arriving today, a button hole jig. (What’s that you ask? I wouldn’t have known what it was either before watching those YouTube videos.)
More used to watching videos relating to children’s authors and illustrators, or photographers and cameras, the DIY Tubers fascinate me. I am sure that during the pandemic lockdown of 2020/21 they have attracted many new followers.
I am disappointed that the manufacturer—in the DIY range I have been purchasing—makes only a corded planer. A cordless planer comes in their more expensive professional range, which uses a different battery system, and a different colour theme. So I am either going to have to look at alternative makes, or consider a good-quality hand planer. You know where I shall be going for advice, but the odds must be in favour of adding to my recently-started but rapidly-growing cordless collection.