Monday, August 18, 2014

Fun with hand tools

When most people think of hand tools, they usually think of things like shovels and rakes. I think a hand tool is anything powered by your body, and we think it's a great idea to have a lot of hand tools. Saws, drills, shovels, rakes, screwdrivers, pliers, nail pullers, hammers, different saws, etc.

Saturday I was up nice and early and started to add supports to the woodshed roof area. We need to add about 8 2x6 supports, but need something to brace them against. It's a typical easy job of measuring, cutting and drilling screws in.
Nothing is 'easy'. The battery powered circular saw cut one 2x4 and then died. No problem, we have 3 batteries so I grabbed another one and the same thing happened. It's a craftsman, not a Dewalt, but it's done well over 10+ years. The third battery didn't get me anywhere so I got my hand tools out.

Sawing 2x4's is easy, using a hand drill is easy. What's not easy is balancing at the top of a ladder while trying to keep pressure on the hand drill while you are stuffed against the underside of a roof. I decided to try again next weekend when I 'll have some help, I'm not a wobbly-ladder kind of guy.

Since the hand tools were out I decided to cut down a small dead aspen tree. This was followed by another, and another, and some bigger ones. Once it's cut you need to drag it out into a pile so you can get the chainsaw out and make firewood lengths, and then split it. 3 hours later I stopped cutting and dragging since I was dehydrated and completely soaked with sweat. 80 degrees in the shade is still  80 degrees.

I headed into town and picked up a corded skill saw at the one and only pawn shop. It was a Dewalt and appeared to be almost brand new for a great price. I can use hand tools, but I figured it would be great to have some nice power tools too.

I got a 2 mile hike in, a 40 minute run and even a 9 mile bike ride. I slept amazingly well for once in the last few weeks. It probably had something to do with the temperature being cool and the house getting down to 60 inside.
Sunday morning it was 44 outside and of course 60 inside. Perfect time to make muffins, run the laundry through the dryer (need to get a clothes line up still) and get some inside stuff done before the temperature decided to get hot again. It's late summer and I have to remind myself that we work with what we are given.

I went for a hike in the morning but got distracted by talking to my new neighbor. He isn't staying, he backed out of the deal once he found the subfloor rotted bad from a leaking water heater. He is renting for a month while he closes on another house he found on the other side of town. Sure, he annoys us by not containing and/or leashing his dogs but he would still be a great neighbor to have. He reminded me of my own Father, including the way he dressed and his sense of humor and self sufficient oriented lifestyle.

More chores were done, we use my hand drill bits (12" bits) to clean out a cable hole in the side of the cabin so we could run some wire in it. I just knew those long bits would come in handy. I did almost an hour of trail running and it was brutal. You can't look up or you trip/slip/slide and you have to constantly plan where to place each foot for each step. It was exhausting but fulfilling as usual and I'm just doing what I can to keep in good shape while I'm able.

It was still another great night of sleep, something I really needed again. I almost feel whole again. 64 inside this morning, 44 out. Headed out for the 1 hour 40 minute drive to work and enjoyed every mile of it.


  1. I've only recently begun to buy some decent power tools. Always made do with cheaper hand tools in the past, but it's just so much easier to get things done with the right equipment.

    1. I really enjoy my hand tools, but cutting down tree's with a saw vs. a chainsaw... no comparison. I'm glad we have them and know how to use them but you are right, sometimes easier is better.