Goodbye, my faithful friend

Goodbye, my faithful friend. You have been with me for over twenty years. Up until last week, you have done everything I asked you gracefully and without any complaint. In the last week, I started asking more of you than you could give, yet you gave it willingly. Today you were grievously injured, but you still did what I needed of you, with nearly the last of of you. Thank you.

Everybody, go ahead and laugh for a moment at me. I am talking about an electric drill. Have your laugh, and allow me to continue. You may stop reading If you cannot imagine loving a tool; this story isn’t for you. It is for my tool-using friends, who can understand.

My Black & Decker Corded Drill
My Black & Decker Corded Drill

This Black & Decker corded drill came into my life back when I was in my third apartment. I think we bought it to drill some holes and stabilize some shelves in the closet. Up until then, if I needed to do a project, I had gone to home and used my dad’s shop and his tools. It must have been 1991 or 1992. Back then, it was just a drill. Cordless drills were so rare that you didn’t have to say “corded.”

You served me more during my years of home ownership. I cannot count the tasks I did with you then. Then you served me well as a boat owner. Soon after starting work on Flutterby, I started taking you for granted. I bought a fancy cordless drill, with a keyless chuck, and I used you a lot less often. I still use some. I needed the wire wheel too long for your replacement’s battery. I was trying to keep your replacement pristine, so I used you for stirring paint.

Your chuck key and chuck teeth started to wear. I finally bought you a new chuck key, but it never quite fit your worn teeth.. Still you did what was needed. Your cord started to fray a bit. I used a lot of tape and stuff, and kept electricity going safely into you. A few years back, Margaret questioned whether we needed you anymore with your cordless replacement. She was right that there isn’t room for a lot of tools here on Flutterby. But I knew you were still faithful, and I still used you for long jobs, and dirty jobs. So we stayed together.

Three days ago, I asked you to do a hard job. Your cordless replacement ran through his battery too fast for this one. I was cutting out windows for the hard dodger. Four windows to go. Twenty corners of those windows. Each one cut out with a hole saw. Through 3/4” of plywood, with fiberglass on each side. I even filed some sharpness back onto the teeth of the hole saw so it wasn’t quite as dull before starting the job. That didn’t last. As you were cutting these holes, I felt you hesitating. I felt your motor getting tired if I pushed too hard. And with such dull teeth, I had to push hard. You made it through that. It was a glorious day of work on my hard dodger. Then after cutting all those holes, I asked put the sanding drum in your chuck and asked you to clean up rough cuts and touch up the corners. I even used you for sanding flat areas. The new belt sander’s motor had already died. You gave me all this willingly at great cost. It was a glorious day of accomplishment for me.

Today I asked you to shape some fiberglass with a coarse sanding drum. I had just filled in the corner between the original ‘whiskers’ on deck and my new hard dodger. I pulled your trigger, locked it in place, and started grinding away. When your body was uncomfortably hot to hold through cotton gloves, I knew something was wrong. I noticed the burned look around your motor vents. I noticed you were not running smoothly. I was mostly done with the job on one side. I sat down for a break. I started shopping for a replacement for you, doubting you would even finish this job.

I wasn’t able to go shopping just yet, so I went back to work. Did other parts with other grinding tools. And when you had cooled down, went back and ground out the other side, hearing your protests that you didn’t have much left in you. Again I had to let you rest, to cool down, so I worked with other tools for a while. At the end of this job, I asked you for a little more fine tuning with the sanding drum. You didn’t let me down.

I know you aren’t healthy or strong anymore. If I ask you one more job, I know you will give me all you have. I won’t be surprised if you have enough.