This is a companion piece to the article "Drilling Holes in Containers."
I�ve placed this information here because I�m not the Editor of the Power Tools Site (hmmm�maybe I should talk to the powers that be about that?) For many women, power tools are shrouded in mystery. Most of us were inside helping mom cook and scrub bathrooms while our brothers were outside with dad, getting in real experience with the drill and saw. But why should the guys have all the fun!
I tell women everyday - if you can use a mixer, you can use a drill. If you can use a vacuum, you can use a saw. Think about it. These things, the mixer, the blender, the vacuum, they�re power tools too and you use those without any fear or uncertainty.
So here are some drill basics. This is written for those of you who have no experience what-so-ever with power tools. Those who know the basics may find this too elementary, but please read on � you can lend your expertise and experience to the discussion!
Drills can be corded and run on electricity or be battery operated. When using an electric drill you�ll need a nearby power source or an extension cord. The advantage to an electric drill is that it will have more power than most battery operated models. Unless you�re building a deck or adding a second level to your house, a battery operated drill will perform most of the tasks you encounter around the house.
Older battery operated drills include a nickel-cadmium battery and newer models come with lithium-ion battery. Both are rechargeable; when it runs out of power, simply place it on the charger. If you�re going to run out and purchase a drill after reading this thread, invest in a drill with a lithium-ion battery. I�ve used both and the lithium-ion battery is far superior to the nickel cadmium. The lithium-ion has more power, holds its charge longer and recharges very quickly. Actually, a new lithium-ion powered drill is on my wish list for the holidays (did you get that, Dad?).
Keep in mind that every drill has the ability to drill in two directions � in and out. A drill moving to the right will move forward through a surface, or tighten a screw. A drill turning to the left will pull out of a surface, loosening a screw. Remember, �righty-tighty, lefty-loosy.� Drills will have a switch or button that will determine the direction the drill moves in.
I will humble myself by admitting that I lost sight of this fact a few years ago when I was building raised beds with landscape timbers. The plan was to drill pilot holes in the timbers and use foot long galvanized nails to secure the timbers to the ground.
I was no stranger to drill usage back then, but I couldn�t get my drill to make holes in the timbers! I was using an electric drill so I had plenty of power and I had the right kind of drill bit. But no matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I leaned into it, it wasn�t making holes!
Of course, Dad came home, took one look at the situation and reminded me that drills move two ways. Once I flipped the switch - once the drill was moving in the right direction � it drilled through those timbers without any problem � ugh!
The key to successful drilling is using the right bit for the job. It can feel overwhelming to approach the drill bit section of your local hardware store - you�ll find wall to wall drill bits. But take a closer look at the packages. Most will have a small picture or illustration that tells you what materials the bit will drill through.
See the little picture of the concrete block or brick? This can be used in any stone surface, including terra cotta. The picture of the sheet metal means it will drill through metal, and if you see a picture of the PVC pipe, that tells you the bit can be used for plastic, resin or fiberglass. Often one bit will have several pictures, meaning it can be can be used on multiple surfaces.
Older drills needed a �chuck key� to insert the bit, but these types of drills are a thing of the past. Nowadays, you simply unscrew the barrel of the drill until it opens enough to insert the bit. Then just tighten the barrel until the bit is firmly in place.
I�m a big advocate of safety glasses. I own several pair and always wear them when I�m using power tools, even when I�m drilling through a soft surface like wood or sheetrock. Safety glasses are inexpensive and available in the same place you purchase your drill or bits, so pick up a pair on your way to the register.
Although there are still plenty of male chauvinists out there, most hardware or home improvement stores are full of people who will gladly take the time to give you advice and answer your questions about purchasing or operating a drill, and choosing the right bits.
So put on your safety glasses and drill away � you have the power!
Share your experience with us! Whether you�re a power tool diva or a new convert, we want to hear it!
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