It’s the little things

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Tools companies drive me nuts. They come out with the neatest tools with lots of bells and whistles, but sometimes miss the basics.

There’s no doubt we’re in a Golden Age for woodworking tools. Machines coming out today are heads and shoulders above tools from as little as a decade ago. This is especially true for cordless tools with the advent of ever-improving Li-ion batteries.

I love all my cordless tools, no matter what brand they are. I have my favorites, of course, but I have yet to find a cordless tool from any of the makers that I don’t like. But in spite of the leaps in cordless technology inherent in these tools, most are missing something they all used to have: a bit holder.

My favorite little compact driver is easily my most-used tool. It’s strictly a driver, but in a pinch I can pop in a hex drill bit and make a few holes. It’s especially useful that way when drilling pilot holes then driving screws right behind them. But the lack of a bit holder on the tool means I’m occasionally losing a bit during the swap-out process. What happened to these holders?

If your favorite tool has a removable belt hook, and most are to allow swapping the hook from one side to the other, you may be in luck. Several companies offer bit holder accessories that go in an unused hook-mounting hole. But why? Why not just mold a holder right into the plastic of the tool they way they used to?

It’s good that the companies see the need for the holders and are beginning to offer them as add-ons, but these only work for tools with belt hooks, something lacking from many of the newer compact tools. In those cases you can just do what I did for that favorite little driver of mine: Glue on a small magnet to create an instant DIY bit holder.

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