Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Things I'd Do Differently 1

I'd buy a different drill.

Probably this one that DIY Diva loves.

We'd always had a Craftsman 19.2v cordless. It was serviceable and worked well, so early in the project we decided to get another one and thus be able to use the same battery. Makes sense. Back in the day, the big issue was running out of juice and needing extra batteries. Things are better now and charging happens faster than ever, but still, an exta battery is good. The thing is, the drill was a poor fit.

Poor fit how?

First, it was a poor fit for the job(s). The craftsman is pretty big and pretty heavy. We were up on ladders a lot and working in tight spaces often. This drill is geat for doing a deck or a number of straight forward jobs, or occasional use. For our purposes, it was a bit unwieldy and heavy requiring some unnatural positioning and some precarious perches on ladders, etc.

The drills were also a poor fit for our hands. Neither of us is large-handed. That means that my thumb doesn't easily get up to the reverse/forward button without some unatural twisting of the wrist. For Mrs. OrDie, it's a two handed job in many instances.

So the long and the short of this is over a year and several months of work, we've driven hundrends and hundreds of screws, often in ergonomically incorrected or damaging positions. The upshot is that both of us have arm and elbow injuries that just don't want to heal up. The injuries are similar to tennis elbow in part, but there are also some funny tendon issues from twisting our arms. Both arms, I might add. As our right arms got screwed up, we just learned to drive screws left handed. Then our left arms got screwed up.

I really wish I'd coughed up the extra dough for two of the small powerful makita drills. I'd be feeling much better now.

The lesson learned is this: keep the scale of your project in mind and don't just try to work through something that's not quite right. That's fine for 10 screws. We drove over 600 tapcons, plus pre drilling the 2x4's, plus screwing 1x3's (1200 or so screws, I'm thinking) into the uneven ceiling joists, plus all the funky little jobs that we don't even remember any more. If you're straining or using bad form with that many screws, you're going to develop a repetitive stress injury.

Make sure you get the right tool for you to do the job and not get hurt. Next time, I'll do that differently.


alan herrell - the head lemur said...

Dewalt Dewalt Dewalt!

Not are the tools well built and sturdy, even the chargers shut themselves down after they have recharged.

On the roof repair project I only needed 1 battery to pre drill for the 224 countersunk pilot holes.
I did need 2 batteries to drive the screws home however.

I recommend the XRP if you are only going to buy one drill.

If you wait till the holidays, the big box stores usually have a tool and 2 battery deal w/ charger for around a hundred bucks. Since the batteries are about 50 bucks a pop, this is a smoking deal.

Anonymous said...

OK, let's hash this out. It sure looks like a good drill. A better drill than our craftsman 19.2 drills.

BUT, how heavy is it and how well designed ergonomically is it for smaller handed folks? Is that a standard battery or LI?

I KNOW it was the weighty and unwieldy Craftsman that injured my right arm below the elbow. The dewalt looks smaller and more nimble, but how much? It looks like it might have saved me and my wife our multiple injuries, but then again maybe not if the ergonomics for small hands aren't right.

How does it compare to the little LI drivers?


Shane said...

While I doubt the Dewalt is as small or lightweight as the Makita, I can definitely vouch for their durability. I own a Makita (stick style battery... gift) and it is pretty durable too. I've just seen so many Dewalts handle abuse most tools should never have to see.

alan herrell - the head lemur said...

There is probably not a lot of weight savings, but the balance is superb. I have relatively small hands, and the reverse control is a thumb stroke away.

I am sold on them as I spent 30 years attached to extension cords, and the ability to fold my self into a pretzel in an attic and screw something together is priceless.

I haven't tried any of the LI tools as my needs are more commercial.

Take it for a test drive in the store. It is like any other tool, you get used to it.

DIYdiva said...

I LOVE my drill! lol. I used to have a hand-me-down craftstman, and no shit I had to use both hands and a toe to remove the battery. Don't ask how... it wasn't pretty.

Anonymous said...

DW has the exact same problem.

I've found that if you beat the battery more tightly into the drill, it comes out much easier.

DW, just thinks I have stronger hands.