Use ’em or lose ’em

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You just never know when you might need rarely used tools. Of course, you still have to keep them in working order…

My framing project – consisting of a new wall and door – is complete, and Sally loves the addition to her glass workshop. But in the process, I called on some tools I haven’t touched in a long time. Not all of them were up to the task.

Most were fine, like the big drywall square that only gets used when I cut drywall. Being basically a hand tool it was ready to go, did its job perfectly, and when done I tucked back out of the way behind the furnace till the next time I need it. All my other drywall tools, knives and materials were also just fine. The hammer drill I rarely find a use for in woodworking performed flawlessly attaching studs to concrete. Even the leftover paint from my initial shop build, now more than two years old, was fine.

My framing nailer, however, not so much. The last time I used it was when I built my utility shed back in 2008. I think I may have pulled it out once or twice in the ensuing years, but honestly don’t remember. The result of being stashed away for 12 years was a balky tool that I never did get tuned up properly enough to make it worthwhile to use. It jammed constantly, and at the point where I had to stop after every second or third nail to disconnect the hose, unload the magazine and pry the jammed nail out with pliers I gave up and switched to screws to complete the framing task. I’ve decided to permanently retire it.

On the one hand, the nailer was a cheap, bargain-basement tool to begin with. On the other hand, even cheap tools can do the job if they’re maintained properly between uses. This one wasn’t, so that’s on me.

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