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No More Nails – Impact Drivers In The New Age

There was a time, and for a long time, when being a carpenter meant putting things together with nails. Nails and nail aprons almost defined the trade. That is, in many cases, no longer true. The rise of the cordless drill and the ubiquity of new styles of wood screws has come to mean that being a carpenter is often less about pounding nails than it is about driving screws.

Though they are much more expensive, screws have some definite advantages when it comes to assembling things. The most obvious is that they make it much easier and less destructive to correct a mistake if you have made one. It is often the case that pulling nails from a piece of wood, depending on their orientation, can do quite a bit of damage to that wood. Sometimes to the extent that re-nailing it can be a suspect operation.

lath and plasterPerhaps the best thing about using screws as fastener comes in remodeling. When you are doing surgical work as you sometimes have to do when you are making changes, the advantage of using a screw is that it is much easier to position a new member where you want it and have it stay there as you fasten it. Often in places where it might be difficult to swing a hammer.

It can be hard, when you have access to only fasten something from one side, to put it there and keep it there. Nailing is an inherently vicious operation. When you are pounding a nail into something, you are applying repeated pressure against the member you are nailing. It’s natural reaction is to move away from the blows. Add to that the fact that as you drive the nail home at an angle it wants to draw the wood with it. All of this militates against being able to position the board effectively and to keep it there, so that it is where you want it, and so that it doesn’t spread damage to any members that are already in place.

For example, pushing a new stud to far into an existing sheetrocked wall and having it create nail pops on the other side that might require time consuming and expensive repair.

And since any carpenter in the new age will necessarily need to be able to quickly and efficiently use screws as a fastener method, the cordless drill and especially the cordless impact drill driver combo kit are a godsend. The impact driver is the first choice when it comes to driving screws. It is less bulky than the cordless drill which is a definite benefit when it comes to working in tight spaces, and when driving screws eight hours a day where small weight differences can add up to large fatigue deficits.

The impact driver has two other distinct advantages. It drives screws much faster than a drill motor can. And the nature of the impacting operation means that it drives the screws with much less likelihood of stripping them out and with a lot less recoil, or torque. Not having to fight a tool spinning back against your hand is another reason that an impact driver is much less fatiguing to use than a drill, especially a high torque battery operated drill.

The drill driver combo kit is a cost effective way to buy these two essential tools. They work well in tandem, especially if you need to pre-drill. They are a matched set which usually means they will come with two interchangeable batteries and a charger. In the days of the lithium ion battery, this means that you will always have a battery available, and if you don’t you can put an acceptable charge into one while you have  quick cup of coffee.


Flat Wood Boards Planed To Thickness

That’s what the ad read.

The thing is, you see, that a local guy had gotten hold of a new toy and then promptly lost his job. In his quest to make some sort of income to hold things together, he looked around the homestead for things that he might be able to do to make a couple bucks while he looked for another job.

He had a chainsaw, so he put an ad on the local job boards for “wood cutting and splitting to your specifications”. He knew his way around a car a little bit, so he advertised “oil changes done cheap”. He had a lawnmower so he did some of that.

All those things worked a little bit, but nothing that would do more than just meet the bare minimum he needed to get by. Then he looked at the bright shiny woodworking tools he had in the garage, the ones that he never really had time to use because he was doing so much scrambling to make ends meet.

local craft showHe wasn’t real confident in his ability to make stuff that people would buy, and he really didn’t have the cash laying around to buy boards to try it out anyway. But one day he happened upon a posting on the local board for someone who could make plane some boards to the right thickness for a guy who was working on a chest for his anniversary. Well, wouldn’t you know, the shiniest of the shiny tools he had, the last one he had bought before the boss called him into the office, was a new fangled two speed electrical wood planer machine. So he replied to the guy and made a few bucks thinning down those boards.

One thing lead to another and it wasn’t long before he got his jointer into the act as well. It turns out that there are a lot of guys around who have projects that want doing, but don’t want to fill up their garages with the types of tools that are needed for the doing of them.

Round peg, round hole. Here there were a bunch of guys that had projects and no tools, and a guy that had tools that needed projects. So he put an ad in the local paper for flattening cupped boards and or planing them down to thickness. Heck, he even had the capability to straight line crooked boards on the table saw. That gave him a chance to use that heavy duty cabinet saw he bought from Grizzley on flush month.

That was then, this is now. He still does a little custom work for those guys, partly because he likes the work, and partly because he likes the guys. But what he spends more time doing is making stuff that he sells at the local flea market and sometimes at the farmer’s markets and weekend extravaganzas that spring up around here in the mid and late summer months.

Then he heads to Florida for the winter. Don’t know what he does down there.

I’ve always loved buildings

I have always loved buildings. Buildings of all shapes and sizes. From Yurts to high rises, there is something about them that just plain interests me.

There are so many details that go into designing a structure, even a simple one. The amount of detail that must go into creating a 100 story building is mind boggling. Imagine how many people it must take to design all the little components that make up a massive structure like that, and how many other people it must take to verify that all of those little pieces are fitting together correctly.

And in the end you are either left with a utilitarian eye sore, or a functional thing of beauty.

It is a pity that in these days of profit maximization the glass fronted box has become the epitome of responsible corporate design. And even when it’s not, the experiments in modern design are often ungainly and unattractive monstrosities.

Where are the cathedrals of our day? The Chrysler buildings? Th Taj Mahals? It is a shame that all of the architectural wonders that societies used to create to announce their greatness to the world no longer seem to be important to us. I miss those wonders that will stand the centuries long test of time. I suspect that Westminster Abby will be standing long after the buildings of our age have collapsed into ruin.

Well, those questions are beyond me. I will stick with trying to design a small home suitable for an old bachelor with limited funds. To be honest, the idea of affordable housing has always been of interest to me, perhaps even more so since the housing crash, when it became obvious that not all people should own a home, and certainly people don’t tiny house with glass frontneed the huge homes they have come to desire.

The tiny home is a reaction to that, but in many ways it misses the boat. What started out as a way to save moneyseems to have become a way to make a statement. Since when is building a home that costs $500 – $1000 a square foot a good idea? It’s just conspicuous consumption on a different scale.

I believe the key to building affordable housing is to import some of the efficiency ideas from manufacturing and use them as much as possible in construction. I think panels are probably the way to go, with as much use of power tools as possible.

Nail the wood with pneumatic nailers. Paint the walls inside and out with high volume electric paint spray guns. Use steel roof panels and screw them down with cordless drills.

And if most of that can be done in a panelized fashion in a climate controlled facility to much the better. The tiny house revolution should stay one of concentrating on affordable housing, not on tiny opulence.

It’s hardly patting yourself on the back for giving up creature comforts when you get your water from gold plated faucets.

Wood Eye

Reminds me of a joke…

Nevermind. The fact is that I enjoy two things. Two things that I would like to share with those who are interested. Playing with wood, and playing with cars. Actually I have interest in many things that have to do with using, and owning, tools.

I imagine that is a guy thing, and most of the people who stop by are likely to be guys. But maybe I can make things interesting for other types of folk. And it may be that I will be able to pass on some useful tips about creating things made out of wood. Small things and large things. Intricate or utilitarian. Furnishings or buildings and other things that are useful in their way.

Perhaps things that are neither of those.

Or maybe there will be car things. I am less well versed, but perhaps I can make up for it with interest and interesting things to say.

Currently it is trucks. But that is subject to change in a moment. If I do find that things are as I wish them, then there will be more to say.

Stay tuned as I update this blog every now and again as time, and interest, permits.

This Blog

This blog will be open for business in the coming days and weeks. Not open for business in the way that it will be selling anything. That wil not be its purpose.

It will exist to share information that will hopefully be valuable to its readers. Information about how those who have hobbies are able to enjoy them and live this busy life at the same time. Tips and tricks hopefully and some information about the things that will help you with your chosen hobbies, and stuff that those who share those hobbies with you might find of interest.

If we do our job  well this will be a place that you enjoy stopping back now an again to see what we have been up to. And if we do our job well we will enjoy having you come back to visit. Of course since that is the goal of this job of course we will be more likely to be the ones doing the enjoying.

See you soon.