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Thread: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

  1. #1
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    Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    I'm not going to be putting a 40' cord on my saw any time soon, but after watching EC's video early last year, I got to thinking about the functionality of the cords on my power tools.

    Unlike most, I'm not a fan of batter-operated tools. Yes, I agree that they are wonderfully handy and the lack of a power cord getting in your way is really nice a lot of the time. However, I've had to throw away perfectly good power tools simply because the manufacturer stopped supporting them and I couldn't find a replacement battery that was worth a toss. I still have that old Ryobi drill my brother gave me as a gift.... and it now sits there as a testament to today's throw-away culture. Shameful, to be honest!

    Corded tools deliver constant power to the work as long as they're plugged in to the wall. Since my tools are used in the shop or house, it's never very far to an outlet..... but it's always farther than the length of the power cord on the tool.


    In the shop, I have an extension reel mounted to the ceiling right over the bench, and love how it keeps the cords off the floor. When I'm away from the bench, though, running an extension cord from a wall outlet becomes mandatory.... and aggravating. You might only need five more feet of reach, but you're stuck with a fifty-foot extension piled up on the ground to get you that five feet.

    Something to think about anyhow.


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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    there are aftermarket battery makers that you can get obsolete battery packs for, or a rebuild kit for the pack you have....
    I have put longer cords on a sawsall and right angle drill, approx 10 to 12 ft cords as that is the length I seem to use or need from outlet to outlet in a normal house or building for work...
    I like the battery tools for ladder or awkward work where dragging an electrical cord could be dangerous or just a PITA..also any areas where im working in a puddle or very wet or damp situation I will use battery tools so I dont get electrocuted...
    I have a bunch of 18 volt dewalts and now the newer 20 volt tools, I bought a few adapters about $15.00 a piece that lets me use 20 volt batteries in 18 volt tools..that saves me from buying 2 types of batteries...

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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    I bought a couple of 10 foot extension cords from Amazon, and I have a few home made custom length heavy duty cords, 12 AWG with Hubbell ends. I also recently made up a 120 foot #10 SO cord to a fourplex with GFCIs in a WP box with a WP cover fastened to a 14x14 chunk of wood which in turn is fastened to a small hand truck. This is for big outdoor projects or job sites, I connect it right to breakers instead of plugging in. All my Milwaukee corded tools have the replaceable twist on cords.
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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    +1 for corded tools. A lot of contractors like to put long cords on their worm drive saws. I have tools I may only use a few times a year and I fear the batteries will not last the life of the tool. That said, I really like the new cordless stuff. These newer batteries don't bring out my rage like the old 9V stuff. I swore off cordless tools for over a decade after raging on my blue Makita. I was always the one guy rolling out 100' of cord. I then bought some 18V stuff and decided they aren't so bad after all.

    I put a long cord on my Millermatic and it was best thing I ever did.
    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/threads/8...illermatic-175

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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    I did not think the older 18v dewalt were rebuildable. At least i was told that the tab would not reconnect.

    I was searching for a cordless rotary hammer yesterday. Sure is faster using cordless tools.

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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    For really power hungry applications you can never beat the cord, but other than heavy grinding I pretty much use my cordless tools for everything these days. In the trades the only tools I consistently still see corded are compressors, circ saws (when cutting all day), and screw guns (drywall or floor/sheathing).

    I've been on the ridgid platform forever and highly endorse them for the following reasons:

    I've worn out numerous drills/drivers through sheer use but have never had a failure that wasn't 100% user fault. I don't buy their low end offerings, but own many generations of their tools.

    They carry a LSA (lifetime service agreement) that is absolutely LEGIT. As long as you register the tool and make sure the registration was accepted - which about 3 out of 10 times involves the extra steps of needing to upload a receipt/email or call customer service - it is a better warranty than any other power tool manufacturer excluding hilti.

    I've had over 5 batteries replaced with a less than 10 minute phone call over about 10 years. This includes perfectly functioning batteries that just didn't have the capacity they once did (worn out but working). They tell you to hook it up to a charger, and after telling them what the lights say they ask you to recycle the battery and a factory new battery arrives in about a week. The new battery must be registered with another >10 minute call, after which it also carries the LSA. They will do this, supposedly for life - so far it has been (again) about 10 years.

    Under the LSA I've also had 7+ year old tools fixed and refurbished for free. Worn drill chuck on one drill and a broken LED (likely from dropping) on an impact. Both tools were repaired and arrived refurbished with new motor/gearbox units, triggers, and i would assume other wear parts.

    Their newest gen batteries/chargers/tools are all backwards compatible back to the NiCad days (about 15 years and every tool/charger/battery still work together).

    The drawback is their tool offerings are limited compared to other brands, though they slowly have been releasing a wider range of tools and have really caught up with some of the more obscure tools in the past couple of years.

    Cordless tools had a remarkable advancement these past few years and even low end offerings would have blown everyone's mind 10 years ago - it is pretty amazing.

    full disclosure: I don't have any ties to ridgid. I've been in construction all my life (dad is in the business and I grew up in it). I own and have owned cordless tools from every major manufacturer: makita dewalt milwaukee hilti and yes ryobi.

    I always have a 100ft, 50ft, and 25ft cord at hand - makes it a littler easiler to not have an extra 75ft of tripover wire lying around (especially with the 10awg i use).
    Last edited by SlowBlues; 03-06-2021 at 08:05 AM.

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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by forhire View Post
    +1 for corded tools.

    I was always the one guy rolling out 100' of cord. I then bought some 18V stuff and decided they aren't so bad after all.
    I recently bought a used Dewalt 18v Hammer drill for a specific job.... DAMN I don't know why I never owned a hammer drill before.... makes tapcons in concrete a joy...

    I've owned the 18v dewalt impact and regular drill for a while.... they work good for my use.... But it does seem like the battery always peters out in the middle of the job.... The battery pack "walk of shame" then ensues....

    the Li ion 18v's seem to be better.


    I've been procrastinating on buying a pull-down cord reel for the garage... In 12 gauge wire flavor ...... but most seem to be cheap and 14ga wire.
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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    I recently bought a used Dewalt 18v Hammer drill for a specific job.... DAMN I don't know why I never owned a hammer drill before.... makes tapcons in concrete a joy...

    I've owned the 18v dewalt impact and regular drill for a while.... they work good for my use.... But it does seem like the battery always peters out in the middle of the job.... The battery pack "walk of shame" then ensues....

    the Li ion 18v's seem to be better.


    I've been procrastinating on buying a pull-down cord reel for the garage... In 12 gauge wire flavor ...... but most seem to be cheap and 14ga wire.
    just get this adapter and use 20v batteries on the 18volt...

    https://www.amazon.com/Biswaye-Batte...s%2C220&sr=8-8

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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    It has been discussed. The adapter need to be disconnected from the battery when not in use. Mine would die if left connected.

    The dewalt 20v lit ion (larger battery) has been good for me.

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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    I recently bought a used Dewalt 18v Hammer drill for a specific job.... DAMN I don't know why I never owned a hammer drill before.... makes tapcons in concrete a joy.

    Wait till you discover it is a hammer, too. It is a pretty useful tool.

    20v stuff is considerably better.

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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post


    I've been procrastinating on buying a pull-down cord reel for the garage... In 12 gauge wire flavor ...... but most seem to be cheap and 14ga wire.
    I bought a Snap on which I won't recommend as it has a 15 amp circuit breaker in it that requires climbing up to the ceiling to reset which I found out when trying to run a table saw and shop vac at the same time. I moved it to another area and bought one off Amazon that was heavy duty, no circuit breaker and with great reviews. 5 years later I am still happy with it. The only issue it has right out of the box is when retracting, due to it's thickness and weight, you have to help the cord up as it retracts the last bit or it will stop a few feet short. This fact was stated in some of the reviews but well worth putting up with in return for it's heavy duty quality. If you are interested I will climb up and get the name.
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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by bigb View Post
    I bought a Snap on which I won't recommend as it has a 15 amp circuit breaker in it that requires climbing up to the ceiling to reset which I found out when trying to run a table saw and shop vac at the same time. I moved it to another area and bought one off Amazon that was heavy duty, no circuit breaker and with great reviews. 5 years later I am still happy with it. The only issue it has right out of the box is when retracting, due to it's thickness and weight, you have to help the cord up as it retracts the last bit or it will stop a few feet short. This fact was stated in some of the reviews but well worth putting up with in return for it's heavy duty quality. If you are interested I will climb up and get the name.
    Yes thank you.
    I looked at a few this morning and saw that problem on a couple different models.

    Thatís not too big of an issue I have to deal with that with my air hose reel occasionally.
    I just guide it along and move it left to right

    No Big deal
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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by tapwelder View Post
    It has been discussed. The adapter need to be disconnected from the battery when not in use. Mine would die if left connected.

    The dewalt 20v lit ion (larger battery) has been good for me.
    only the true dewalt adapters..not the generic ones..the dewalt ones have electronics that let you drain the 20 volt dry..but if you use the generic ones you can only use the battery down to 1 bar before having to recharge and not damage the battery..

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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    Yes thank you.
    I looked at a few this morning and saw that problem on a couple different models.

    That’s not too big of an issue I have to deal with that with my air hose reel occasionally.
    I just guide it along and move it left to right

    No Big deal
    any chance you can take them apart and wind the spring a few more times and grease any bearings or wear surfaces to slide easier as the cord is going in?

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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbytime View Post
    any chance you can take them apart and wind the spring a few more times and grease any bearings or wear surfaces to slide easier as the cord is going in?
    probably not.

    It's the nature of the beast
    there is no mechanism to guide the hose or wire from left to right....

    If you have 30' out and just yank it and turn it loose, Most likely the wire/hose will bunch up on one side or the other... stopping it prematurely.

    Like said, not a big deal for me...
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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    Yes thank you.
    I looked at a few this morning and saw that problem on a couple different models.

    Thatís not too big of an issue I have to deal with that with my air hose reel occasionally.
    I just guide it along and move it left to right

    No Big deal
    This is the one, looks like I bought in in June of 2014 and still going strong. Like I said the only challenge is getting it to fully retract but I got the hang of it pretty quick. The light duty ones roll up easy but I wanted heavy duty and I can tell you I have loaded this one up with a table saw and a big shop vac running at the same time with no issues. https://www.amazon.com/Bayco-SL-801-.../dp/B0081EEFOO Of course it's made in China but what isn't?
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    Cool Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by forhire View Post
    +1 for corded tools. A lot of contractors like to put long cords on their worm drive saws. I have tools I may only use a few times a year and I fear the batteries will not last the life of the tool. That said, I really like the new cordless stuff. These newer batteries don't bring out my rage like the old 9V stuff. I swore off cordless tools for over a decade after raging on my blue Makita. I was always the one guy rolling out 100' of cord. I then bought some 18V stuff and decided they aren't so bad after all.

    I put a long cord on my Millermatic and it was best thing I ever did.
    https://weldingweb.com/vbb/threads/8...illermatic-175
    Those old 9 volt makitas would drill a 1/4" hole through 18gauge if you had five batteries.

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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    My Dad has been gone for over 25 years, my brother still holds onto his 9v Makita drills and other tools, when they announced that they might stop shipping rebuild kits my dad bought what they had in stock. Yeah, he has 40v drill. But the old blue ones still work too (hand built NiMH battery packs).

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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by thenewguy299 View Post
    My Dad has been gone for over 25 years, my brother still holds onto his 9v Makita drills and other tools, when they announced that they might stop shipping rebuild kits my dad bought what they had in stock. Yeah, he has 40v drill. But the old blue ones still work too (hand built NiMH battery packs).
    I might have to look into some hand-built batteries. I don't mind paying for them if it means keeping that old drill going. Of course, then I'd have to find the battery charger. I know it's around here somewhere....

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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    I own a fab shop that I built. I put outlets every 8’ as per code, but put them about 40” high. When I was teaching cub scouts I bought a couple 100’ extension cords and cut them into 15’ or so and taught the scouts how to put on the cord ends. I still have and use those short cords every day. I put cord hangers right under the outlets.

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  27. #21
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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by John T View Post
    makes tapcons in concrete a joy...

    I absolutely loathe tapcons under 1/2" diameter! I'm on a job now that the foreman chose 1/4" tapcons vs. hammer sets, and I snap them constantly. Unfortunately, uniformity on this job is of extreme importance.

    At work, the great majority of us use Milwaukee 18V Fuel. Even though I'm an old school guy, I wouldn't want any corded tools other than a grinder, cold cut chop saw, and a Skil saw. Batteries have come a long way, and they don't die like they used to.

    Heck, I have an almost brand new, old Milwaukee 12V 1/2"drill motor, low speed/high torque, with a case, 2 chargers, and 4 dead batteries. I can get after market batteries, but the 18V are so nice, why bother. Someday I will put it up on evilbay and get what I can.
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  28. #22
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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Stick-man View Post
    I absolutely loathe tapcons under 1/2" diameter! I'm on a job now that the foreman chose 1/4" tapcons vs. hammer sets, and I snap them constantly. Unfortunately, uniformity on this job is of extreme importance.

    At work, the great majority of us use Milwaukee 18V Fuel. Even though I'm an old school guy, I wouldn't want any corded tools other than a grinder, cold cut chop saw, and a Skil saw. Batteries have come a long way, and they don't die like they used to.

    Heck, I have an almost brand new, old Milwaukee 12V 1/2"drill motor, low speed/high torque, with a case, 2 chargers, and 4 dead batteries. I can get after market batteries, but the 18V are so nice, why bother. Someday I will put it up on evilbay and get what I can.
    Tapcons are a tool of the devil. The flathead ones with a philips head are the absolute worst. Removing anything with those pretty much guarantees using a reciprocating saw.

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  30. #23
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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    I add cords to a lot of my tools. Used to buy extension cords to do it, but most are plastic coated that stay curly when wrapped around the tool for storage, so I buy lengths of swoo cord (rubber wrapped) and put good ends on them, way better.
    I like my old milwaukee 14 and 18 volt tools, but went to makita for li-ion so I made an adapter.
    Hmm, too bulky, why bother? I bought several makita flashlights, cut the bottoms off. Cut the bottoms off my milwaukee tools and super glues the flashlight bases on and wired them up. Love it.
    Now this may not work with some brands, most, like dewalt and the new milwaukee have the battery BMS (battery management system, needed for li-ion) in the tool, so you can kill the batteries, but makita builds the BMS into the battery so all is good there.
    Btw, the 14.4 work fine on 18 volt, I would guess 12 volt will too, most dc motors have a fairly wide range of dc input.
    Last edited by Poleframer; 04-24-2021 at 07:08 PM.

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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    VaughnT, I have a lot of very good power tools w cords and have only purchased some few battery powered tools as they've become powerful and long lasting enough (recently last few years) to be useful in continuous work.

    What I've done is to install one or more 4gang boxes with receptacles and a short male drop cord lead, under the table, cart, bench or work station. Then I plug that table, bench or work station into the wall w/ a longer drop cord and since there's only one user- i only need to have power for one single hand held power tool at a time.

    So if I'm cutting and fitting the chop saw 'bench' has four (or 8) receptacles and one single wall connected drop cord. ( might need a belt sander [1" or 1/2"] to bevel or de-bur) All the tools used there; or at the drill press, or sanding stations or other work locations (router table, band saws, table saws) have one single drop cord to the wall and all the original cords reach the under-table mounted 4X or 8X receptacle box and the tools stow below when not in use.

    I have a couple of cheap-o roll around carts in the shop- they too have 4X receptacle boxer and a couple just have off the shelf, fused power strips mounted on the sides - so the entire cart can both hold tools and distribute AC to the individual tools.

    I get by rolling these carts to the shop location where I'm working and load them with the sanders, grinders, saws that are going to be used and use one drop cord to the wall and all the tools plugged into the power strip on the cart.

    After some time I do have to unplug all the tools- and clean up the rat's nest of tangled and overlapping cords!! but I'm still using tools that are in great shape i got 25 years ago. Some w original cords too.

    I'd like to invest in more battery tools but the cost isn't a clear path for me yet.. in the meantime installing multiple AC receptacles in the benches, on the rolling carts has worked well and is low cost and time savings.

    I just mentioned this because it wasn't brought up yet.

    Cheers,
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    Re: Longer Lines for your Hand Tools

    Cord reels are nice additions for sure.

    It is just a extension cord and since all cords don't have a breaker on them surely it isn't hugely important.

    I bet it would take all of 5 minutes to defeat the circuit breaker if that is the problem on any of them.

    They do nuisance trip so easily just like the surge strips.

    Might be safer for some but when you are present at the end of the cord not much to go wrong that you would not be able to pick up on pretty quick. I wouldn't over look a decent piece just based on the breaker they added for extra safety. The snap on one you would have to think is a pretty good one but has built in overload breaker. Open it up and bypass that sucker.

    I have gone to almost all cordless and have no problem with the power of the new tools or the battery life. Have enough packs for several days without needing to charge if needed.

    Have every cordless bandsaw Milwaukee sells. The full size, mid size and little 12 volt one. The little 12 volt one is really handy for quick light duty cuts. The full size you would not know it from corded. Have the smaller Dewalt one too and it is nice little saw. Have every cordless brushless SDS hammer drill Milwaukee sells from 5/8 to 1-9/16". The big one is useful for so much besides just drilling and chipping. Really handy for driving things out with or driving ground rods(electrician by trade). The brushless grinders do pretty well too. Have two cordless chop saws that are great for aluminum cuts without the cord layout and roll up. Cordless 1/4" die grinders are great to have with no cord or air hose makes some jobs easier.
    Last edited by danielplace; 04-25-2021 at 11:00 AM.

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