My fascination with tools started out at a really young age. From as far back as I can remember, my grandfather was showing me how to do simple things, like changing the headlight on the car, rewiring a lamp, or even just changing a flat tire on my bicycle. After I’d watch him do something a couple times, I could usually replicate what he had done.
Regardless of what the task at hand was, he always emphasized using the right tool for the job at hand. That basically meant not to use the vice grips to adjust the chain on the bicycle when there was a box wrench sitting in the toolbox that would do the same thing without stripping the nut. It also meant not to use the back end of a socket wrench to hammer in a nail…no matter how small the nail happen to be. It took getting caught a few times to learn my lesson, but to this day, if I don’t have a tool that meets my needs, I can still hear my grandfather in the back of my head, and its not long before D and I are in truck heading to Home Depot for a new toy.
A great example of this happened last weekend as we were building D a toolbox. I sketched it out, made all the cuts and started to assemble it before I realized I overestimated the amount of space I had to attach the sides. I had placed the pocket holes on the inside to hide where we’d have to patch up later. Normally we’d use a drill or impact driver, but in this case, neither would fit.
The answer to most tight spaces would be a stubby screwdriver and painfully driving in the screw by hand, but with the angles that pocket holes require, that option was out as well. It was time to go find a better tool for the job.
That afternoon, after a great lunch at Stoneybrook Farm Market, we made our way to the local Home Depot. I looked at a few different alternatives, but most were variations of some type of screwdriver I already had, just in a different size. Eventually, I stumbled across a right angle drill adaptor.
Its an attachment that fits in a drill or impact driver and allows you to use your hex screw bits like you normally would, but at a 90 degree angle. Seemed like it may do the trick, so $18 later, it was mine and we were headed back home.
Once we got home, we grabbed our impact driver and gave it a try. The first lesson we learned is that you MUST have your hand on the adaptor when you squeeze the trigger. If you don’t, it WILL become an unpredictable screw bit thrower, as it starts to turn and the magnet holding the bit gives way. Luckily there were no injuries…just bewildered looks by the innocent bystanders.
After playing with our new toy for a few minutes and some trial and error, we were able to get the adaptor positioned correctly, and reach the pocket holes without any issues. By the last screw, we wondering why it had taken us so long to add one to our collection.
Next time you’re caught in a situation requiring you to drive screws in a tight spot consider a right angle drill adaptor. I know after using it for just one project, our stubby screwdrivers will be collecting more dust in the coming months.