Tools, bad and good

I’ve just finished an editor’s project column for the Gear issue that deals with quality tools. The importance of that subject was brought home to me this morning.

For nine years I’ve been using and abusing an excellent Bosch cordless drill, the batteries for which finally died a few months ago. To my chagrin, I discovered that that model drill was one of a very few Bosch made with a battery no longer available. So I put it on my list to buy a new pro-level drill, and until I had the money figured the Sears cordless model someone traded me for construction work a while ago would suffice. It was a nice-looking 18-volt model, and brand new when I got it. Not one of Sears’ professional models, but it should do, no?

No: This morning as I was holding up a panel of sheetrock to secure to the shop ceiling, and driving a drywall screw through the panel and into an ordinary 2 x 6, the gearset on the drill stripped itself of every tooth it possessed. Inconvenient enough that I was balancing sheetrock on my head, and now have to drive 40 miles to town to get a new drill. What if I’d been in the middle of nowhere using it to repair a broken-down vehicle?

It pays to buy good tools.

Update: Mark Weiss sent me a link to voltmanbatteries.com, a battery rebuilding service. I already bought a new 18-volt lithium-ion Bosch set, but now I can have my old Bosch batteries rebuilt so that drill can serve as a backup or loaner.

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