Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas gift to myself

Well, no one else would do it, I usually get things like a bar of very nice dark chocolate, maybe a bottle of tawny port or a book or two, but no one dares to get me tools.  I'm picky you see, and the way I see tools may not be the same as the giver,  so they leave me to make my own choices which is fair enough.

Now a little while back I bought a Ryobi 18 volt 2 speed cordless drill, and in case you did not spot the blog  posting about it, its crap! Absolute rubbish, a complete WOFTAM!  ( Waste Of  %*&%ing Time and Money).
I bitched about the chuck, the way it fitted my hands, the charger and ---- Well,  everything, and my opinion has not changed since.  I mentioned that I'd be looking to buy something decent sometime, and recently when I was in at Robertson and Sinclairs local branch admiring the Festool range of tools manager Andrew Walton handed me the shops demonstration Festool CXS Li 1,3 Plus AUS driver drill kit.

Heres who they are, branches in Auckland, North Shore and Hamilton.

Brief specs, 2 speed, variable speed trigger, 10.8 volt, 8mm chuck. It has an unusual closed handle, lithium ion batteries ( 2 in the kit) , a right angle chuck mount, a standard three jaw chuck as well as a quick action hex chuck, and a small selection of drill mounts and such.
All this in a particularly nice box shaped case which stacks with any other Festool box, they interlock so they are secure, have a latch which is both secure and able to be operated by fingers that might be wet, numb or encased in gloves, and is very professional in appearance.

I took some pics on the digital camera, but then found these videos on it, they say it all and show its features very well.  Its worth watching, it shows the tool off much better than I can.

I used it, just a little, for some odd jobs around the shop and thought about it for a while, went back and used it some more, and after a bit more thought went back to Andrew.  I now own it!

Why?  In random order, quick action chucks which snap on and off by pulling a ring fitting back, it means that one chuck can have the drill, the other the driver bit and switching them back and forth is a matter of seconds.  Yes I know it would be ideal to have two complete drills, one for each, and I'll be there maybe next Christmas, but in the meantime its very very quick to change, much more so than switching bits in a conventional chuc.
Its nice to use, smooth as silk in operation, very good progressive speed on the trigger, fits the hand very well and with some of the injuries I've let myself in for my hands are not as strong as they might be so thats very important, and that dee handle both protects and gives good leverage when driving something heavy.
Remarkably small in size too, and  very light in weight as well, hanging the bigger cordless drills off the end of your arm for a day is a recipe for sore forearms, this is great!
Its powerful, way more torque in low gear than that Ryobi in spite of being 10.8v instead of 18v.  It lasts a very long time on a battery charge, and there are two batteries in the pack so there is no excuse for every running out of charge, I know thats Lithium Ion v/s Ni Cad, but the result is the same.

The right angle fitting for the chuck is helpful when working in close quarters, It just clicks on and off the same as the chucks do, pull the green ring back and its done.

To say that I like it would be an understatement, and I know the above sounds like a rant, and these are not cheap but its such a pleasure to use a really nicely engineered and built tool.  A guy who sells tea says in his advertising, "Try it, you'll like it"!  That applies here as well.  Anyone want a cheap Ryobi?

Thanks Robertson and Sinclair, good deal, good product.

John Welsford, who has his Christmas present already.