Monday, July 17, 2017

Hands versus power tools...

This subject has probably been "Debated' since the advent of the first powered tool... It often centered on speed & efficiency (power) versus reliability & Slow speed (by hands).

To me it always been a mute point, since I uses both in my work and way of thinking.  As much as I love my handplanes, my idea of fun is not to flatten a wide thick board by hand, unless I have to, because it won't fit in the planer :-)

Similarly, I will never relinquish my table saw and Bandsaw, these two, do a lot of the rough dimensioning (no jigs required :-)

But are hand tools really inefficient vis a vis their modern powered counterparts? Only a side by side comparison will tell...

 Part of my landscaping projects is to erect a trellis structure for the vines growing up a tree right now...

Can you see it? 
Look way up for the light green patch

Need something fast, so we went scavenging around our properties to see what we got (resulting in a few more projects for later) and came up with 2 Iron snow fence posts and four bed iron rails.
Great, except that the bed rail pieces need to have the headboard connector taken off at one end, then drill a few holes.

My Dewalt reciprocating saw is Kaput right now, got a Dewalt 4 in grinder, which had a flexible grinding disk on it, and as a back up plan, my Millers Falls No 300 Buck Rogers hack saw....

Cut the first two pieces by hand, and tried to time it by taking pics along the way (meaning stopping to show progress then continue).

Started between 0918 and 0923 AM, 
when these pic was taken and the previous one of the first cut at 0918
So say we start at 0920

0925 AM

0926 AM

0928 AM

0930 AM

And finished by 0932. 
A good 10 minutes to cut one... At my speed :-)

 I was counting on the stamped time that it would gave me a record of the time spent. Yes faster if I had not stopped for pictures, but...

... had to stop anyway to catch my breath  
I am an old man... :-)

Jean found that this was ridiculously slow and ask me for the grinder. She sanded down the two heads of the rivets holding the plate on, then two whack with a mechanic hammer (dad's) and out it came...yeah a lot faster so we finished the last ones like that... :-)

Grounded flush, less than 2 minutes

Two wack of the hammer, done...

Someone would had attempted to cut the bedrails using a band saw or cut thru with a cut off disk.  I think that in this case, using the grinder (power) then the hammer (hand) was more efficient. Not only that, but I had these on hand :-)
 A good example of combining power and hand tool for a task.

The bedrails, of course, have no holes along their lengths, so would need a few holes to attach the metal screening.

Again do we use power or hand. In this case handtools won... here's why

My two choices:
Hand - Stanley two speed Breast drill Model 905
Power - Dewalt 3/8 electric corded drill

Well, in no time, and despite using WD40 as a lubricant, the drill bit quickly lost its sharpness.... and we barely made a dimple in the steel...
Switched bits, used deliberated slow speeds, still made no progress ...

Figured as a lark, I'll used the Stanley and see if it would drill steel, its two speed made it possible.
Lo and behold, it quickly drilled thru without undue efforts on my part.

So you know, I had to try to time making one more hole... :-)

On your mark, get set...Go 1006 AM

1006 AM
Yah, no granularity on the time stamp, using my phone .... :-(
Breast drill in action

1006 AM

1007 AM
Chin drill in action :-)

STOP 1007 AM
So less than a minute, not bad

There you go, and no extension cord required to go fetch, unroll, re-roll, bla bla...
It did the job, silently, efficiently and not too tiring. But of course haven't not used one of these in a while, I would be faster if I did that for a living...:-)

Varying the pressure and speed made a visible difference in the drilling action, you quickly get into a rhythm...

BTW that was thru 1/8 in thick steel, old bed rails, using a 5/32 drill bit in a Stanley No 905 Breast drill, set to low speed.
oh and on the 10th holes, I broke the bit...

Oups! Oh well I was due for a break but was pushing thru instead...
I should know better, and I do, and I broke it anyway :-)

So the posts got erected minus one holes, the vine would never know the difference if you don't tell them... shtttt

Out of 6 possible posts, ended up with 4 with holes 
and only used 3. Room for expansion :-)

Cut the leader branch that was going up the tree and re-routed then all on our treillis, both in the back and front. Within a few years it should cover this treillis pretty good.

Branches cut, area cleaned up

Also prepared a new flower bed around our service pole in my front yard, too long a distance from the road side pole.

Got it all fill back in with the reclaimed soil mixed with sheep shit, peatmoss and the left over top soil I had.
Enough work, I need a cold one...
I'm not sure what is more tiring, hand tool work or landscaping... They both seems a tad demanding :-)

And to all have a happy day and joyful nite

Oh, and one of these June days, the rocking chair project is gonna go in there somewhere...

Bob, getting philosophical when drinking wine :-)


  1. Bob,

    You are having too much fun :-).....enjoyed the post.


  2. I wonder if I can get a hammock to fit in the boneyard in the shop>?