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Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,370
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
Member
I feel like Rip Van Winkle, returning to the trade after nearly a decade. Wow! What changes!

I am amazed at the variety of tools now readily available and designed with the Sparky in mind. Some are new altogether — like the rectangular box hole blade for your multi-tool — while others are readily affordable versions of what once were $$$$ (laser level / plumb bob).

The biggest change has been in the availability of cordless tools. The newest lithium ion batteries are a far cry from the old Ni-cd. Even more important are the tools available: small band saws, roto-hammers, decent lights, and saws of every type.

What tools had the biggest impact on your work?

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 466
Likes: 1
J
Member
My cordless bandsaw gets quite a workout cutting conduit, larger MC and allthread. My grinder come in handy cutting trough. Impact drills holes and drives screws.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,370
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
Member
I thought I’d look over some of the tools I’ve accumulated — mostly in the course of my house remodel — and highlight their utility. In each case the cordless aspect has proven so useful that they’ve often completely pushed aside their corded counterparts.

My mini “hacks all” has completely replaced my corded reciprocating saw.

The mini bandsaw — just big enough to cut strut, or conduit to 1-1/4 — has replaced the beloved Port-A-Band.

I hesitated before buying a large impact driver — it has a 7-16 hex chuck — but I t is invaluable driving selfeed bits through lumber. Where larger holes are needed — say, for running HVAC line sets or plumbing (sleeves and drains) — the cordless HoleHawg shines.

Nothing cuts drywall neater, or kicks up less dust, than the cordless oscillating multi-tool.
With that in mind, cordless vacuums have come a long way. Even the tiny “stick” vacs often have HEPA filters and they are QUIET. No more jet-engine like roars or banshee screams.

Boring through block and brick? Even SDS-Max tools are available. The smaller SDS-plus drivers often have attached vacuums.

Jim mentioned cutting metal. Cordless shears, snips, and nibblers rock. The nibblers are particularly good at making holes in metal buildings.

An impact wrench makes changing a flat tire almost fun. There’s even a tire inflator that uses the same battery.

Still need power for your corded tools? Small generators are readily available, affordable, and the expensive ones are surprisingly quiet.

All this talk of work make you tired? There are coolers, radios, and coffee makers — all using the same batteries as your tools. I’ve see — but not actually used — powered ventilated vests for the summer and heated jackets for the winter.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,788
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G
Member
I just hope for you that they use the same battery. smile
I am an 18v Makita guy and everything I am likely to buy uses that battery. Beyond that, I have power everywhere so a cord is not a burden. I have a Makita drill.driver and an impact wrench.
Corded I have all sorts of stuff, 3 or 4 grinders, wood working tools, a bunch of drill motors, impact etc.
One off label use I found is cutting boxes into paneling or planks. I use my biscuit jointer. You have to be careful with the set up but it plunge cuts nice straight lines. On thick material you may need to finish it up with a little hand saw


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jan 2005
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Cat Servant
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Clever!


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