Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Power Tools

Apropos of power tools, I just read This post over at DC Rowhouse about their acquistion of some new guy toys. I have been in the middle of some crazy home improvement projects, largely predicated on the impending (yet never seeming to be arriving) winter, and the post inspired me to write about my own recent power tool happenings.

Small bedroomWhen I had the floors redone in Petworth (pictures on Prince of Petworth), I took the radiator out of the smallest bedroom. This picture shows the room just after the floors had been redone, with the radiator out. It used to be on the left, where you can see pipes protruding from the floor. There were two problems. First, this room is small. With the radiator in that corner, you really couldn't fit anything other than a twin bed in there in any practical way. The other problem is, someone had taken a bad thing and made it even worse by moving the radiator around the corner from where the pipes were, and hooking it up with a very frankenstein-like system of copper and steel pipes above the floor. It looks like the radiator had to be replaced at some point, since the current one is not sized to fit where the original holes in the floor were. So rather than getting a correctly sized radiator, or moving the pipes, they had done the most awful kind of MacGyvering to hook up the new one. While perhaps suitable for post apocalyptic emergency heating, it was unacceptable for my palatial Petworth property.

The way we prioritize projects in the home improvement game is on a "need to do" basis. That means, when there's a ton of other crap that needs doing, and/or is more fun than other things, stuff like "having the heat work in June" does not fall high on the list. So, the radiator sat where you see it, attached to nothing, for several months.

Come October, that list gets reorganized a little bit. When the weatherman is predicting lows of 38 degrees and the furnace has been idle for six months, what seemed rather unimportant suddenly becomes urgent. So I spent the majority of my free time in the last week or so getting this bad boy re-installed in a place that made a lot more sense. Actually, it ended up exactly where you see it in the picture, except it's now hooked into the hot-water heating system instead of just hangin' out cruisin' chicks. This was the result of a great deal of ceiling-smashing, pipe cutting, wrench twisting, and cursing, but it went well and everything now works. Yay!

Anyhoo, whenever I do a big project myself, I justify the purchase of an expensive new power tool with all the money I saved by not paying someone. It's a great system, see, I still spend a lot less than if I hadn't done it myself, and I get a great new toy.

This time around it was a DeWalt 18 volt three-speed hammer drill with XRP lithium ion battery technology. It's pretty goddamn awesome, I have to say. I already have a hammer drill (a Bosch, great tool) but this one is cordless and once you've been un-wired it's hard to want to plug in those old-timey corded tools again. They have their place and time, but that place is gathering dust in the basement, and that time is when you can't find the cordless one or your batteries are all dead.

I also had the opportunity to test out DeWalt's warranty service. DeWalt makes pretty good tools. Their power drills are very well respected by professionals. My regular 18v cordless drill, which I've had for at least three years and have treated worse than a red-haired stepchild, is my favorite tool, ever. It is perfectly balanced, relatively lightweight, and has enough torque to sprain your wrist if you aren't careful. Picture: me with my trusty drill in the background. It still works like new.

PICT0011So I was surprised and disappointed when the right-angle drill I had bought less than six months before went all Ford on me and started making awful grinding noises at the same time as no longer working. And I had barely used it. This was a while ago, and I kind of forgot about it until this weekend when I found myself considering the purchase of another tool. The experience didn't turn me off to DeWalt because I own at least a half-dozen of their products with few if any problems. But I did want to get it fixed, and noticed while I was at home depot that it had a 3 year warranty.

So I got by butt to the nearest service center in Capitol Heights, Maryland on Monday. Not especially convenient, I must say, but my experience there was pleasant. They took the drill without so much as a question (like, "did you, in fact, use this drill to winch your car out of a ditch?") and they didn't even want a receipt. It has been almost a year since I bought it and their warranty is 100% coverage to a year, and then I think only parts or something. So I was surprised they didn't want proof of purchase date. They said it will be ready in a week, the whole drop-off took less than five minutes. Couldn't have been easier. So at this point, I am impressed with their warrantee service as well.

The DeWalt company has not provided me with any compensation for this shill. However, I will accept any and all donations of cash and/or power tools from DeWalt, or any maker of quality power tools, and will gladly provide completely biased reviews in exchange for said items.


pixability said...

you rock.

Malnurtured Snay said...

Y'know, while I own a drill, I've never actually done like a lot of home rehab/improvement stuff, and it's something I'd like to learn for when I own my own place. If you need help some weekend, drop me a line. At the very least, I think I know how to paint.