Sunday, July 15, 2018
I started working on the remaining five drawers for the grill cabinet today. It's almost a week since Jim and Michelle left, and I last worked on them – my time has been consumed with all sorts of other things. I started two drawers today: the two that go under the wider middle sections. One of those drawers is the shallowest I've made yet, which means the vertical pieces that tie the horizontal rails together are the shortest I've made yet – under 2" long. That's so short that I can't have opposing pocket screws that line up with each other, as there simply isn't room for them. So I resorted to a “trick”: I offset the screws just enough to let them clear each other. At left below is the piece of wood with the pocket screw holes drilled, and at right is the installed piece. It worked great!
Midway through this construction process, I heard an ominous rattle from my trusty Makita drill. With a little investigation I figured out that it was the thrust bearing – quite an important piece of any electric drill (even when in screwdriver mode). It still worked, but it seemed clear that it wouldn't survive for long. So I decided to make a run to our local Home Depot (one of the few places open on Sunday here) and pick up a replacement. I am delighted with that drill, which I purchased about seven years ago, so my intent was to purchase exactly the same drill. This was not to be, as Makita has stopped making them. There's a newer version, however, with all the same functions (drill, screwdriver with torque limiting, and impact drill), but with more torque, a brushless motor, electronic speed control, and smaller. In the photos below, the all-black drill is the new one, the blue-and-black the old one. I've long been impressed with Makita's battery-powered tools, but I didn't think they had much room for improvement on their drill. I was wrong. The new one is a bit lighter, substantially smaller, and the added torque is impressive. The brushless motor with electronic speed control is really nice – the drill ramps up the torque as required to maintain the speed you've selected. The old drill's trigger didn't select the speed, but rather the power – and often that meant the drill would run much faster than you intended when the load was light. Not this one. Another nice touch: manually tightening the chuck is much more comfortable with the new, larger, rubber chuck grip. Nice one, Makita!