You need power tools, girlfriend!

Kit Stansley

June 29, 2012

By: Kit Stansley, DIY Diva


I can't tell you how often this happens: I'm at a friend's house and there's a leaky faucet, wobbly door handle, or a toilet that won't stop running and needs to be fixed. So I roll up my sleeves -- because I've had a glass of wine, so of course it seems like the smartest thing I could do before dinner is stick my hand in the back of a toilet -- and this eventually leads to asking where the tools are. In response I'm handed one bent screwdriver (appropriately sized for a job no larger than repairing eyeglasses for a hamster) a pair of fifty-cent pliers that don't close all of the way, and a bright pink hammer. And sometimes, inexplicably, a full set of socket wrenches lined neatly up in a case still wrapped in cellophane.

And yet I know an increasing number of women who have a double-bevel, compound, sliding miter saw parked in their garage next to their car. Women who have somehow broken out of the self-perpetuating cycle of tool-frustration brought on by that tiny crooked screwdriver that compels them to say things like "I don't like using tools." No, no. You don't like using cheap, tiny, hand-me-down tools, because hey, guess what? They're useless!

Small, dollar-store tools do not make a job easier. (Unless you're in a tiny space, in which case small is good, but cheap is still, well, cheap.) They're frustrating to use, they can make a job take longer, and you almost never end up with the quality or final product you expected. And yet I don't know one woman who has ever put a 2" screw into a stud using a good 18v cordless drill and remarked, "Wow, I really hated doing that."

Woman wielding power drill

The truth is that as women, we're generally smaller and less powerful than our y-chromosome laden counterparts. I like to think my stubbornness makes up for the lack of bulging muscles, but the truth is my power tools are the real reason for my success. I don't need to have the strongest arm in the world, because I have an air nailer to do the hammering for me (except in cases of sink removal, of course, when a hammer is the way to go, and don't get me started on how much time my eight different power saws save me.

It's not so much that I love the noise, the dirt, the feel of ten pounds of equipment strapped onto my toolbelt (although those things do start to grow on you); it's that the right tool means I can do a job by myself that otherwise might have been impossible for someone my size. So here's to the drills, the saws, the nailers, the sanders and all those other lovely power tools -- and the tiny manicured hands that hold them.


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