previous
  • Gallery: Custom Flooring
    Gallery: Custom Flooring
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • Solid Deck-Framing Advice
    Solid Deck-Framing Advice
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • Video Series: Install a Rock-Solid Tile Floor
    Video Series: Install a Rock-Solid Tile Floor
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
  • Deck Design & Construction
    Deck Design & Construction
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Video: Install a Fence
    Video: Install a Fence
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
next
Pin It

A cordless screwdriver without the battery problem

Call me old-fashioned, but I still get a lot of satisfaction from using my old hand tools. I sometimes can even outperform modern power tools, especially cordless tools, and be quieter and safer at the same time.

I wonder if anyone knows how many man-hours are wasted every year searching for a charged battery or a place to plug in a charger. At precious job-site electrical outlets, the old Medusa of extension cords has been replaced by Hydras of battery chargers. I wonder, too, how much energy is lost and wasted in the charging and storing of batteries.

And what about all those batteries? I don’t know many people who are conscientious about recycling them. And even if they were, I have been told by more than one service center that collected batteries are simply chucked into the garbage.

I just love the feeling of political and environmental correctness that comes over me when I get out my old North Bros. Model 31 Yankee Screwdriver (for which I paid $1 at a tag sale) and plow in hundreds of screws without using an electron of nuclear- or fossil-fuel-generated electricity. It is faster than a cordless driver, and I have just as much depth control, if not more. The length of this model of screwdriver extends my reach 18 in. to 25 in., and I can snake it into tight areas where a bulky drill cannot go. It is lightweight and hangs neatly in the cat's paw/trisquare loop of my tool belt.

I admit that the bits for this dinosaur are expensive, short-lived, and of limited utility with modern fasteners. So years ago, I had my local machinist turn a magnetic bit holder from my screw gun into an adapter for my beloved antique, as shown in the drawing. I can use any 1/4-in. hex bit and replace it cheaply and quickly when it becomes worn or broken. The magnetized bit not only holds screws ready for driving but also can retrieve dropped screws and small hardware.