Tip #169: Consider Power Tools. (Just one.)
I remember distinctly—or believe I do—the first time I used a power tool. I was in fourth grade, sitting in a patch of sunlight on my kitchen floor. My dad was helping me make a wooden sign for a school project. I had written a report from the perspective of an early American colonist, an apothecary, and I’d be playing the part during an elaborate affair staged at the historic house across the street from my school.
In my memory I was the only girl in my class to take on a male role, though it’s perfectly possible that I’m misremembering that detail. What I’m sure I remember clearly is standing proudly next to the sign that my dad and I had made and handing out horehound candies to my classmates.
On the day we made the sign, my dad and I had used his ancient power drill to bore holes through the bottom of the sign. We hung a golden ball—the namesake of the shop, in this case made from styrofoam and spray paint—from the holes we made. I can still conjure the feeling of the drill in my hand. My dad held a board steady below the sign so I didn’t drill right through the kitchen floor. I remember the buzz of the drill, the pressure of the contact with the board, the sweet satisfaction of seeing curls of wood spin out from the holes. Then, the sweeter still pleasure of accomplishment.
For anyone new to this space, this is my tool box. It was my dad’s before me, a gift given to him when he was ten, from an uncle who owned a hardware store. (It came, I recently learned, with an electric drill inside it.)
As an adult, I’ve always kept my apartment tools relegated to this spot. The tools I keep are relatively simple: a set screwdrivers, a hammer, a tiny level, a few metal clamps. There are small mint tins, covered in washi tape and labeled, which house extra picture hangers and shelf brackets and other things too tiny to be left loose but too handy to part with. (There’s also a bit of the kind of miscellany that closed-up boxes of this nature tend to attract: remainders of painting tape and a bike tire repair kit and bottle of wood glue.)
What hasn’t been in there, is a power tool. Whenever I’ve needed an electric drill in the past, I’d put the project on the back burner until I’d stockpiled a small list of chores that needed finishing. Then, on a weekend when I could borrow my dad’s, in a fit of productivity I’d install curtain rods or hang a shelf or do whatever else needed more than my own strength to accomplish.
You can imagine where I’m going with this. There comes a time when a woman in a tiny apartment needs a power tool of her own. And if you invest in one power tool for a small space (or anywhere) I’d make the strong suggestion that it be a small but sturdy electric drill and driver. For my part, I chose a compact drill that runs on battery and that’s highly recommended. It arrived in a small black carrying case and while it doesn’t quite fit into my tool box, it’s small enough to fit neatly into our closet all the same. It’s been handy for hanging the bathroom shelf and for quickly swapping the colorful brakes on Faye and Silas’s scooters. It made quick work of reinstalling hooks post-painting. Soon, I hope, it will help me to hang an improved knife rack in our kitchen. Mostly, it’s nice to know that it’s there (just in case Faye needs it).