Offcuts: Truly Brushless By: Don Heisz

So, I’ve been busy. You know, busy with work, yachting, smoking Cuban cigars, eating caviar in Morocco, dodging arrest warrants, flying rockets to Uranus, and other wastes of time.

But quite truly, I’ve been pretty busy with work.

Several months ago, my trusty 18-volt hammer drill, a nice turquoise-coloured one, the best one I could find, which was about 8 months old, more or less stopped working. I determined the brushes were worn out. So, I ordered new brushes and broke out a spare drill, identical to that one.

I was careful to order from a reputable source. But they had the brushes on backorder. I was fine with that, I let it slide. And then they canceled the order. They were, however, kind enough to let me know they had the item in stock. And then, they canceled the order.

Turns out credit card authorization actually expires for reputable sellers. That wasn’t a problem for whoever ended up with my card number in Singapore over the holidays. Apparently, though, my credit card company thought it was unlikely I was buying thousands of dollars worth of travel vouchers in Asia and didn’t let any of the purchases go through.

Good people all around.

Eventually, my re-ordered brushes arrived and I replaced the old ones.

New Brush on the Left, old Brush on the Right

I was pretty much astonished at how little of the original brushes were left and I kinda wonder if just maybe they are encouraging people to buy the new, more expensive, brushless tools by having brushes that wear out quickly.

But eight months of my use of a drill is pretty punishing. I have broken more drills than all of you have ever owned added together. In fact, I have broken more yellow drills than any of you have ever seen in person or on TV. For a while, I was breaking a yellow drill every second day. Then I started in on red ones.

These turquoise (for want of a better description) ones I find fairly robust, if you can manage to pick the right model out of the catalogue. And I really mean that. All these companies offer a wide assortment of tools that all look roughly the same but the majority should come with a key, since they are about as useful as a wind-up toy.

Twins. The “new” one is on the right.

I, however, am not ready to move to brushless tools. It’s not because they have fancy electronics inside there to control the magic that makes the motor turn without brushes. It’s not because they lack power or have too much power or are the wrong colour or have too many raised letters on them. It’s actually because they don’t seem to work as well. Eh, well, yet. I’m sure they’ll get better.

But I had a brushless grinder that just stopped one day. I don’t have time to mess around, I just want to get my work done so I can return to the Riviera and spend quality time roasting clams on the beach. I was filled with an oozing amount of hate and loathing as I walked though the snow to my van to get my hated but trusty corded grinder, which will run until the rivers run dry.

I ordered another brushless grinder.

I have more tools than you. Most of them are broken and useless but I still have them. Let me know if you want to buy any.