Cool tools for the do-it-yourselfer
Nickel-cadmium batteries freed do-it-yourselfers from tangled
electrical cords, but they came with a price: weight. The batteries are often
heavy and unwieldy for the average handyman or woman. Lithium-ion battery technology
is light and powerful (it's the stuff that powers cell phones and laptops), but
it had its own drawback, expense. But battery prices have come down by up to 50
percent, and many tools featuring the technology are now competitive in price
with their nickel-cadmium counterparts. Here are a few tools where lithium ion
makes a difference:
are the workhorses, so getting one that's lighter and easier to use can be a benefit.
Several companies, including Skil, Denali, and Black and Decker, sell drills with
I-Driver: If you're looking for a drill that you can
maneuver into tight spaces, an I-Driver with a lithium-ion power cell offers lightweight
maneuverability. Bosch has one model, and other companies will be rolling out
similar tools later this year.
saw: If you're out building a deck, a cordless circular saw can be extremely
useful, and if you're making a large number of cuts, the lighter weight offered
by lithium ion can make a difference. Makita is one company that offers a lithium-powered
A fresh coat
Painting is an inexpensive and effective way to spruce up a room. It's also popular.
According to a 2006 Vertis Communications study, 48 percent of adults planned
to do some interior painting over the course of the year. Painters have plenty
of options beyond just color and choice of glossy or matte.
palettes: Choice is a great thing, unless it's overwhelming. With some
companies offering thousands of different shades of paint, just choosing the right
colors for a space can be the most daunting part of the project. Canvas Corp.
decided that less was more. It offers just nine shades of pre-mixed paint. Each
paint shade is paired with the same shade wall putty, so fixing a nail hole in
the wall doesn't require lugging out a gallon of paint, just a quick swipe with
a putty knife.
paint: Kids won't get in trouble for drawing on the walls if you've got
them covered in chalkboard paint, which makes nearly any surface a canvas for
chalk. Several companies offer it, including Chuck's Magic Chalkboard Paint and
paint: Whether you want to save the environment or just have cleaner air
for a new nursery or an asthmatic family member, painting with low volatile organic
compounds (known as VOCs) is a good choice. Several companies, including Olympic
and Benjamin Moore, offer these low-odor paints.
As more women start testing their skills at DIY projects,
they're looking to differentiate themselves from their male counterparts. One
way they've started is with the colors of their tools and accessories, as well
as design and comfort factors.