Rest in Pieces

Bit of a bummer day on the tools, getting jobs finished around the property.  Self inflicted in each case too.

Started when trying to use the wrong tool for the job – using a log splitter like a sledge hammer.  Other than the fact that a log splitter has a much softer metal, so does not transfer impact properly (and deforms easily!), the handle is not designed to absorb the impacts I was delivering, and split itself.

The main failure however, was my Bosch (green) 710W drill.  It has been used, and abused for years and years – 14 to be exact.  Thought I’d manage to kill it more than once, but it kept running.  Had the insulation almost smoking, but it survived.  Until today, when trying to drive large screws (bugle-headed hex 100mm screws!) was just too much torque, and the drill overheated just that bit too far, and the gearbox mechanism failed.  The drill still goes forward, but it is well down on torque, and I will mega-test it before plugging it in again, to test the internal insulation.

But as far as it goes, it is in the dead-tool basket.

So I shopped around for a replacement, and specifically a corded drill.  There is plenty of room for cordless, but I still like to have corded models.

After my previous drill experience, Bosch certainly was a strong contender, but I didn’t let that influence me too much when looking at the range of models out there, at least in my local district.  After a couple of stores and not finding enough choice, I headed into Total Tools.  That is where I found my range.

And settled on……. a Bosch!  Specifically, the GSB16-RE.  That doesn’t mean much to me either, but it is a basic drill – what I needed, and could justify.  It is effectively the Bosch blue version of the drill I had. 700W.


(Bosch blue is the professional range).  It cost around $130 or so – so not too scary.  NOT chosen to drive those bugle screws though – no need to torture another drill to death!

I did try to find something (corded) that could drive the screws – needed something with very high torque.  I know there are plenty of impact drivers out there, and at some stage I’ll get one, but just not this week!  I did try a corded Makita impact driver (230W, 100Nm) failed dismally, and I ended up getting a $17 Koken bit for my socket set to finish the job.  Not sure if it is 100Nm or not – the green Bosch with 30Nm was driving the screws, and got most home until it hit some real hardwood.  Would have thought there would be a more noticeable difference (granted I did kill the drill to achieve it).

The guys at Total Tools (Carrum Downs) did let me have a play with a couple of ‘real’ impact drivers – tried a 14V Panasonic and it drove without a problem.  Didn’t struggle (but could tell it was working).  Didn’t see what the 18V Panasonic was like, but I did get to try the Milwaukee 18V.  Not sure what it would take to stop it, certainly not that 100mm screw!


The Panasonic 14.4V has 150Nm torque, and the Milwaukee 18V has 158Nm.  So there is the benchmark when I do come to the point to choose an impact driver.

As to the sledge hammer, they also had the Stanley FatMax 10lb fibreglass handled sledgehammer.  Done deal.


Bugle Headed Hex Drive Self Tapping Batten Screws

I was in a hardware store yesterday, looking to replenish my supplies of batten screws.  These are by far and away my favourite screw, and as strange as it sounds to even have a favourite, once you try these, you’ll understand.

What bothered me was when I asked for them, they knew what they were, but claimed that they didn’t have any because noone ever asked for them.  Instead, I had to head down to Bunnings to buy them.

So, to advance the cause, if you haven’t yet experienced a bugel headed hex drive self tapping batten screw, give some a go, and join the revolution!

Batten Screws

Batten Screws

These are not the cheap, galvanised variety that can shear when experiencing significant torque.  These are the real deal.  I’ve never burred one, never sheared one, and rarely have needed to drill a pilot hole for one (unless at the very edge of a piece of timber, or screwing timber prone to splitting).

They have excellent joint closing capability, and can punch through most situations required, including thin steel.  They are available in 50, 75 and 100mm.  The hex drive for your drill / power driver is a dollar or so from the tool shop checkout in Bunnies.

I often use them to screw heavy items to the shed wall (there are only 6 of these holding up my entire wood rack for example), for jigs (and they are reusable – another example of their quality), and pretty much anywhere I need a powerful hold.

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