My favorite impact driver

A comparatively small tool that can handle big jobs, an impact driver utilizes an innovative clutching mechanism to generate a revolving force and create more torque compared to an ordinary cordless drill. This makes the impact driver suitable for handling demanding jobs such as removing lug nuts from a truck or doing deck construction.

Impact drivers are available from an array of manufacturers, but my favorites are the ones below. Please note that I am not getting paid for these reviews, as I have used them here in my tool shop in Illinois.



The Makita XDT111


While doing my research, I read somewhere that in terms of torque, anything from 1,500-inch pounds is what professional, high-end impact drivers come with. Well, guess what? The Makita XDT111 offers a broad range of fastening applications at just a bit below that level, at 1,460-inch pounds.

And if that’s not enough, this model comes with variable speeds from 0 to 2.000 RPM and 0 to 3,500 RPM while the industry standard for fast impact drivers is pegged at 2,000 and higher. How’s that for versatility and pure driving power?

A smaller model may be handy and less pricey, but at less than $100 on Amazon, this impact driver is absolutely the best for me. It is equipped with a 4-pole motor that boasts a 4-brush design to ensure the delivery of 26 percent (!) more RPM without compensating on the torque.

If you are searching for a power tool in this category that is guaranteed to last for years, this is the one. It has an all-metal gear housing designed for toughness. And if that’s not enough, this unit only weighs in at just 3.9 pounds even with the lithium-ion battery installed.

Best of all, this impact driver is cordless, and coupled with its ergonomic, compact design, bravo! The Makita XDT111 is a real steal!



The Bosch PS41-2A


One time, I had to take my Makita impact driver for repairs, peccato! However, I needed the same type of tool to work on a relatively large order. Fortunately, my next-door neighbor, who is also into tools though he doesn’t run a business, was kind enough to lend me his Bosch PS41-2A. I fell in love instantly. Not with my neighbor, of course, Santo Cielo, but with the power tool I borrowed.

I got to thinking that I should get one of that for use as a backup in case my trusty Makita decides it needs a visit to the repairman again. Anyway, the Bosch PS41-2A was lightweight at just 4.8 pounds. The compact head length allowed me to reach into the tight areas and corners I had to work on for my project.

I could even do continuous head work with the compact design. At 930 in. Lbs of Torque, the tool was no match for my trusty Makita, but fortunately, the project didn’t require that high a torque level anyway.

I loved that the cordless tool offered 2,600 RPM, which more than made up for what it lacked in torque with higher speed. I also liked that it came with its battery level indicator so I could do my work with the remaining power before I needed to recharge the lithium-ion battery.


Well, those are my favorites thus far. If you can provide other great models on the market, I would be happy to feature them here in future posts. Grazie!

How to clean your drill press and keep it in top shape

Maintenance is extremely important if you’re always looking to preserve the life of the tools in your workshop. In my opinion, a clean and tidy environment can help both you on a mental level and your tools as they won’t suffer and develop all sorts of issues such as corrosion. With the right set of tools and just a bit of commitment, you can take your drill press to a whole new level and make it last for more than two or even three decades. I’m not going to tell you that you’ll be able to pass it down to your grandkids, but who knows if you won’t?

Lubricating the chuck is the first step you have to do. All you need is a bit of drying lubricant, but you have to make sure that the jaws are open completely before doing so. Use compressed air to get rid of any dirt that might have built up in this component and then just spray the lubricant.


Belts can get worn out pretty quickly if you don’t take care of them. First off, you have to make sure that the belt is the problem you have to deal with. Chances are you’ve started to hear some nasty noise or have begun to experience vibration.


The golden rule of working well with a drill press is that, should you notice any thick sections or separations in the belt, you ought to replace it as soon as possible. Something other you have to check for is whether or not the tension is right. Since the manual is the golden book you have to refer to as often as possible, make sure to consult the instructions supplied by the manufacturing brand before making any modifications that might affect the way your machine functions.


I’d like to add that there are loads and loads of online resources that you can use efficiently if you need a bit of help in this area. For example, the Woodworker’s Journal has a nice section dedicated to drill press cleaning and maintenance. If you’re more of a visual person, you need to take advantage of the great Internet and look up some cleaning tips on social media networks like YouTube. I myself have found two that address this topic, and if you’re just starting out, these resources can mean the world to you.

Also, if you’re a beginning woodworker, it might be a good idea to look up the company that has manufactured your drill press and other machines and see whether the brand has come up with some informative videos, as well. In most cases, you can either find them on their official website or their social media channels.



What I do to keep my tool shop tidy

Now that I have my workshop in Illinois built and ready for action, there’s much I need to do to make the tasks I intend to complete there easy and less stressful. This includes ensuring that my workplace is always tidy, sì?


To do this, I have installed an inexpensive anti-fatigue mat right on the spots where I will be using my power tools and workbenches. This is through a double layer of foam carpet pad that I bought from the hardware store. I used a utility knife to cut the pad to size, but you can use a pair of scissors or tin snips if you like.

I made the mat so I can avoid tripping on my feet and with a tool in hand, that prospect indeed conjures plenty of scary scenarios. After all, shop safety is always of primary importance to someone like me who has decided to make something out of my real passion: woodworking.


As for my tools, I shall make sure they are all nicely organized while being easily accessible. In organizing my shop tools, I seriously considered their various uses or purposes most carefully so there wouldn’t be any spare or duplicate tools that all look alike and provide the same function while eating up considerable space.


It is best to organize tools efficiently by categorizing them. Cutting tools go with cutting tools, metal working devices should be near each other, and woodworking ones should be grouped together. Make sure to do this categorization with time enough to think about how to organize everything correctly.


We have a saying in my native Italy that goes like this, “La gatta frettolosa ha fatto i gattini ciechi”. Literally translated this means “The hasty cat gave birth to blind kittens”. Metaphorically, it means that anything done in haste will present a tendency to produce bad results. Keep that in mind during the shop organization process and you should be good to go, si?


Observe a balance of accessibility and functionality to keep working efficiently and safely. This ensures your shop remains free from tool clutter. I mounted my primary power tools such as my drill press, miter saw, and others on caster wheels so I can simply wheel them into and out of a corner. The wheels are, of course, lockable for safety.

I freed up floor space by using wall space storage options. I have mounted metal tool cabinets high on my shop walls so they aren’t simply left lying around. I also suggest having overhead racks with pulleys for easy access and lowering, as well as freer floor space if you have a high-ceilinged workshop.


Most importantly, I clean my workshop personally to ensure it is the best looking one in Illinois. Forgive me for bragging about my shop, but as any native American will say, “ A ogni uccello il suo nido è bello.” which is an Italian’s poetic way of saying that every bird considers its own nest beautiful. You will agree, si?


Safety tips when working with a drill press

One of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can ever own, the drill press is available in mini, benchtop and freestanding models. The motor-powered head comes with a chuck that accepts bits, and in some models, this component is engineered with enough versatility to accept a variety of drill bit sizes. This is pretty awesome if you intend to do more than just drill holes with the machine. You can attach a sanding drum as well as mortising attachments to use the drill press for various tasks. Like any other power tool, the drill press must be used while observing a number of safety tips.

Begin with meticulous risk assessment to ensure a hazard-free work area.

Observe a two-foot perimeter space around the machine. This means there should be a two-foot clearance all around the sides of the device kept clear of people, sawdust and debris that can interfere with good traction or solid footing, thus preventing accidental slips and falls.


During operations, the user should wear safety glasses outfitted with a face shield or side shields. Hearing protection is also needed. Wear snug clothes and avoid loose fitting ones, and remove jewelry as well. Long hair should be tied back too.


Remember to approach the drill press task with a safe attitude. All drill press adjustments, from the spindle speed to the tightening of the drill bit, should be done prior to switching the power button on.


Use a drill bit size that is equal to or less than the chuck capacity. Insert the drill bit into the chuck and use the supplied chuck key to tighten it up. Do not leave the chuck key in after tightening.


Operate the drill press with safety being constantly in mind.

The stock should be securely fastened to the worktable using a vise or clamp. Never attempt to hold the stock by hand during drilling operations. The underside of the workpiece has to be supported with a backer board secured to the worktable as well. Use a V-block when drilling into cylindrical material. Drill a long workpiece with the excess to your left so when it rotates, the post will be hit and not you.


Make sure the drill press work table is cleared of everything save for the workpiece (If you are searching for a worktable, I recommend reading reviews on this site). Avoid wearing gloves or anything that could potentially make the fingers, hands or clothing get wrapped around the rotating drill bit. Your fingers should be at least 3 inches away from the rotating drill bit. Devote undivided attention to the task. Make sure all covers and guards that are supposed to be on the machine are kept on while it is running.

For deep hole drilling, raise the drill bit periodically to remove cuttings and also cool the bit. As the drill bit starts to break through the underside of your workpiece, ease up on the pressure to avoid tearing on that side.


Should the drill bit get stuck in the workpiece, turn the machine off then turn the chuck manually by hand to free the bit off the stock. Never ever attempt to stop the machine by grabbing the chuck or reaching under or around the revolving bit. Ignoring this can result in hand injury or worse.

Do not leave the machine unattended during drilling operations. Turn it off even if you just intend to grab something from your workbench, or before looking up. Do not attempt to touch the drill bit and collected shavings immediately after drilling, as they could still be hot due to the friction generated between surfaces. When the drilling task is done, always clean the worktable of the machine as well as the work area. Use a bench brush or a shop vac instead of your hands to sweep up the shavings.