Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day #31: Some Things are Better Now……….Battery Drills and Drivers…a Drive Buy.

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 01-11-2011 02:30 AM 1388 reads 0 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 30: Today I am thankful to be a Lumberjock.............. Part 31 of Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day series Part 32: ........when the brain won't a no brainer.......Worksharp 3000 »

OK, let’s be honest, we all do it………the impulse buy, or let’s call it a Drive Buy. Much more descriptive. You know, you have been eyeing something, even may have done a little research on what to buy……..but you are Driving your cart down the aisles. Eyes flickering to everything new and shiny, wondering what would fit in your nest, at this point your brain functioning in Crow Mode, you know……birdbrain. Impulse in Command. Feeling good, perchance. Probably pleased the spouse recently, perhaps got a raise, or you’re down in the dumps looking for any kind of high.“Yup, I may be feelin’ worthless, but my credit card still has charm. Let me lay it on you……………”

Actually, in all honesty, I was looking for a reviewed item, by the Fine Woodworking gods……a Porter Cable 12V drill/driver and impact driver combo. They thought it was a great buy. Powerful, light, and reasonably priced……..

……………but wouldn’t 18volts be even brighter…….have a little more shine……hmmmmmmmm…….

Really folks, I looked for that PC set in Lowe’s, while buying some electrical stuff for my latest and greatest shop endeavor, modular tool carts, project carts, and cabinets. But I didn’t find the exact one. I knew that my old friend Makita lurked at the nearby Home Depot store, but…….I was in the aisle at Lowes. I had decided my Dewalt Power Screwdriver was a failed purchase, after about 3 to 4 years. Not enough power, and the battery had to be charged daily. No Dewalt. Porter-Cable……..not a stand out in the battery operated realm. A little dubious.

But there, the new romance in my shop life……Bosch………recent good experience with a router buy. I had confidence. There it was shining to my right……….as I drove the cart down the aisle….needing a Drive Buy.

I picked up the drill/driver…….holstered it and then after appropriate hestitation…. drew it again slickly and smoothly, definitely a kill.

Hmmmmm. Well, really it hefted just like the latest Makita, last purchase before the Dewalt……a Nickel Metal Hydride brute, but it is heavy……and definitely passé.

The impact driver…….I could see those screws and lag bolts succumbing to its manly power. Even more compact…..perhaps would fit in a leg holster, for a last ditch attempt at survival……

While contemplating a rigorous search for the absolute best…..the box found its way into my cart. The Drive Buy. $199.00……….not on sale. More than the reigning FWW PC superduper saver scoop.

But it was 18V, it exuded testosterone, I don’t think I deceived myself…….Bosch…….cool stuff………worth more…….pride of ownership. More chrome than the competitors.

The next day…..some pretty inconvenient angles, confined spaces, drove a couple of pilot holes and a couple screws, then a lag screw………a perch for a 4” dust collector tube when not in use. Impressive power. Light weight. Compact. Just great.

Today same thing, drilling holes, very difficult approach. Holes………I just couldn’t believe how fast that drill went through ¾” ply, and a piece of metal.

And then I set up the 5/16 inch bolt with the nut in back, with an oversized washer. It was a bad angle for the second one………couldn’t see well……the first one went perfectly….and with the second one gave the impact driver a second squeeze couldn’t tell if the bolt-nut was tight……and watched a 5/16 inch hex bolt head with an oversized washer behind it sink into and start to destroy the ¾ inch plywood.

Yikes………I had a monster in my hand!!!!!!!!!!

Did I tell you, the drill has an automatic chuck lock so that you can really ratchet down on that drill bit with minimum effort…….wonderful.

I have rarely been so impressed with a tool on initial use…… this case two of them. I don’t know what the long term will bring, but I am optimistic………

……….with my latest Drive Buy……….

By the way, I still haven’t read the instructions……….(-:

Bosch 36618 drill/driver
Bosch 25618 impact driver

$199 for the set at Lowe’s…………


I have a zillion things to blog about, I am way behind……….but trying to complete some stuff……..

But I knew……out there…….someone……would feel much better that they were not alone……….

……when they do a Drive Buy………

Alaska Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

26 comments so far

View lew's profile


12098 posts in 3777 days

#1 posted 01-11-2011 04:07 AM


You deserved this combo!

I envy you- I haven’t been in the shop since mid November except to pass thru on the way to the washer and dryer.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 2790 days

#2 posted 01-11-2011 04:27 AM

I also have experienced tools mysteriously jumping into my cart. I don’t think I’ve ever regretted the tool choice, occasionally the price paid. As they say “Haste makes waste”. On the other hand, sometimes we get so caught up in getting a good deal that we bypass the tool that we really wanted for the one that’s on sale. I have fewer lasting regrets when I pay too much then when I settle for a second choice tool.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3390 days

#3 posted 01-11-2011 04:56 AM

Great post Jim, been there, done that. My drive buy was the same kind of set in that sexy makita black and white. ;-)

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3186 days

#4 posted 01-11-2011 04:56 AM


I feel for you, as you pass by, the action of the washer…...reminds you of the…...orbital sander maybe.

The dryer, of the gouge as you start a new laminated creation, perhaps a rolling pin.

Ahhh….......such sorrow in you voice… need treatment…......a remedy….....

Maybe…..a pepper mill is in your future…......(-:

..........may the gods of the woodlands and the spirits of inspiration overcome your inertia and tribulations…

Time to create…....I have spoken….......(-:


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 2995 days

#5 posted 01-11-2011 05:00 AM

I had my eye on Bosch stuff at a tent sale on Thanksgiving weekend. Had a good grab and spin of your new set, very sweet, but I had router lust.
My little dude was with me and is no help in stopping the bird brain shopper mentality you define here. In fact with tools, he and I are a dangerous combo. So I fondled the Bosch Colt trim router once and put it down, walking away as I really am too smart to be such an impulse buyer. Halfway around the next table my son says”are you going to go buy that router? You know you watnt it and will be talking about it all weekend long. Go get it, I will cover for you with mom”
So I got it, and ‘mom’ still does’t know. Now you have corrupted me with the drill and driver combo, oh well.

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3186 days

#6 posted 01-11-2011 05:01 AM

Dan, the ShopTinker

Hmmm….....somehow our most primitive instincts overcome our reason….....and we go for the moment. What to say? Life is but a moment…….....we must enjoy it. Sometimes during the moment….shiny tools jump into our cart. Ain’t it great when a moment brings a fine day…......(-:

Yup, second choice doesn’t cut it…......

Thanks for viewing, nice to hear from you again…...


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3186 days

#7 posted 01-11-2011 05:12 AM

Hey Scott, thanks for stopping by.

I was on a project to do something, and then it all got interrupted. In the meantime, I bought the Colt also, a couple of months ago. Would you believe, yesterday I finally opened the box. The project, on the back burner, will get done eventually, and the Colt will be waiting, now in its special place in the shop. What a coincidence. Hope all is well there in Burnaby…....and everyones teeth are doing well. Would a Colt be useful for the hygienist? Well maybe a little too robust…(-:

My daughter from Fairbanks, with husband and 3 grandkids are coming down next weekend. Ought to really be fun. The oldest may be ready for the scroll saw, 10 years old, may give it a shot. Stefang (Mike in Norway) has done well with that age and the scroll saw, something to keep in mind.

Have a good one….....hope all is well there, and you are getting some time off…......

....and this combo is really great….


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3186 days

#8 posted 01-11-2011 05:21 AM

Dan, papadan

The only thing for me is my cart was rolling down the aisle in Lowe’s instead of Home Depot. Either would have been fine. I alternate between the two for variety. The Makita stuff has good reviews….......I think it is the new technology that makes the difference.

Hope that Indianapolis Show goes well or went well, can’t remember when it was happening. We don’t have shows like that up here. But I did find a new shop with all the wood goodies I need. They have a woodturning group meeting there. I may have to get a lathe just to join.

Thanks for stopping by…....nice to see you here again…....


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3195 days

#9 posted 01-11-2011 06:39 AM

All I can say is …. that early British automobiles had a following—a cult following, marked by people with a passion for fixing them that equaled their passion for driving them.

This was a good thing, since … by and large … they were constantly broken.

Their electrical bits, you see, were made by Lucas Industries.

This gave rise to the classic bumper sticker—“Lucas: Prince of Darkness”

But then … somehow … Lucas got replaced by Bosch.

And the cars just worked. Fewer fires. Actually safe to drive at night.

Bosch. They do a LOT of things right !

My impact driver—like yours—demands a bit of temperance and restraint, on the part of the user. Heads snap righht off. Bits strip out the heads, leaving you wondering how to extract what’s left.

It’s a lot of power, you’ve got your hands on—not for the weak, and not for the uninitiated.

This IS the “heavy machinery” that one should NOT operate, after taking antihistamines and the like.

It’s a brave new world you’ve entered, Doc. Vaya con Dios !

-- -- Neil

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3186 days

#10 posted 01-11-2011 07:06 AM

Thank you for the history, which I was totally unaware of. So… I know to watch for when the bolt is tight…......and quit!!

I have an impact driver, Craftsman of all things, which I bought maybe 15 to 20 years ago, labeled as industrial…’s corded. I know it would not be used in industry, but it is an indestructible beast, only used when I change tires from summer to winter , and then back. I suspect I will never replace it and it will never fail. It has that feel and look.

So when I look at this new Bosch driver, I say to myself….....hmmph…...a toy….........but NOT. I couldn’t believe what it was trying to do…....and succeeding. And the drill was exceptional also. Oh well. Things have changed. Like the title says, some things are better, and battery operated drivers are one. I just didn’t expect the vast difference in both the drill and the impact driver, from what I had used before, especially considering their weight and size. Zooooooouuuuuuuunds…........!!!

‘Tis nice to have a nice surprise for a change….......


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile


5723 posts in 3253 days

#11 posted 01-11-2011 08:03 AM

I love it!

I still haven’t been willing to go cordless, but if I did, Bosch would be on my short list for sure!

Actually come to think of it, I have a Bosch belt sander on my Amazon wish list… I know it sounds weird, but I want a belt sander to share the same belt size as the Ridgid Oscillating belt sander… I know, that’s big, but what the heck right?

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3355 days

#12 posted 01-11-2011 12:46 PM

You can’t go wrong with Bosch Jim, and the 18V will give you plenty of power. Also, the new Lithium batteries make a big difference. The combination is really great too. Enjoy.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3130 days

#13 posted 01-11-2011 03:34 PM


I start out my hardware store shopping without a cart. I try to train my mind into believing I am not going to buy anything substantial. Sometimes, it even works. Unfortunately, for me, it isn’t the big purchases that get me, it is all the nickel and dime stuff. “I need those sandpaper discs for my Work Sharp”, “Hey, I need these driver bits…”, “Hmmmm, Freud came out with some new router bits…”, “I could use one of those blumetal hole saw kits…” Before I know it, a drill/driver set would be the cheaper route. So now, I don’t do a drive buy, I do a run by and hope my eye hand coordination is not what it used to be… ;)

Congratulations on your new purchase.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3186 days

#14 posted 01-11-2011 05:23 PM

David dbhost
My old Skil belt sander is a 21”, and of course the Rigid is a 24”. But I don’t think 24” would be to big for a hand held belt sander, the longer sander might improve the ability to get things level. Same principal as with planes…........

I find when I am working I frequently have a use for 3 or 4 drill and driver tools for pilot holes, driving screws, different size screws, etc. If you don’t have a battery operated drill/driver, you will find the convenience irresitable when you get one, and the corded stuff will gather dust. My corded Skil has been used only on rare occasions, when I wanted a bunch of power drivers due to a large number of hole-screw combinations that need to be repeated over and over. Now I have 4 battery operated drills/drivers, and that Skil will probably not be used again.

There is no question that a corded drill is a better buy in terms of longevity, price, no batteries to replace or recharge, etc. But convenience and speed rule in my life. I would say, don’t by NiCd, those batteries slowly fade. The 18V Bosch Li-ion stuff seems just as powerful if not more so than my 18 V Makita Ni-MH, or the corded Skil.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3186 days

#15 posted 01-11-2011 05:34 PM

I am having good luck with Bosch so far. I don’t find their products particularly expensive, but the quality seems high. I found a good source for high quality hardwood, Baltic Birch ply, etc. here in town. They carry Powermatic, Festool, and some Jet stuff. I was looking at some Festool stuff yesterday, and the sticker shock there is very real. I might consider the Festool plunge saw, but I am not sure I would get enough use to justify the price. The rest of the items were just more than I need for the application, especially because I am not using tools commercially.

14deg F, -10deg C at 0630hrs…....


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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