BY ROSIE WOLF WILLIAMS
WHETHER YOU ARE a professional
woodworker or a DIYer, the claw hammer
is an essential part of a basic tool collection. Costco member Malcolm Gray, of
Montpelier Construction (montpelier
construction.com) in Barre, Vermont,
and chair of the Building Performance
Professionals Association of Vermont
bppa-vt.org), pounds home a few tips for
using this familiar tool.
• Wear safety glasses and earplugs
• To prevent the wood from splitting,
before grabbing the hammer, drill a pilot
hole slightly smaller than the diameter of
your nail. Pre-drilling is recommended
when using wood that is prone to splitting,
when repairing old wood or whenever the
possibility of cracking will a;ect the structure or beauty of the finished product.
© YELLO W CAT /
THE COS TCO CONNECTION
Get your own secret supply of AA, AAA
and 9-volt batteries at your local Costco
warehouse or from Costco.com.
Blunting the point of the nail (by gently
but ;rmly tapping the tip while the head is
against a solid surface) will help prevent
splitting in some cases.
• Professionals are used to whacking
nail after nail, holding the hammer near
the end of the handle. But for others, Gray
suggests initially gripping the hammer
;rmly in the middle of the handle. Once
you have set the nail, move your grip back
toward the end of the handle for more
power. Allow the full weight of the hammer to drive the nail.
• Use small, controlled taps when
setting a nail. Concentrate on the nail-
Hammer skills 101
AFTER ONE OF those days, I was all set.
Over-ready. Big tub of popcorn? Check.
Big, tall, cool one? Check. The timing was
perfect: The game started in six minutes.
Check. Grab the remote, press “Guide.”
Nothing. A determined, desperate aim of
the remote. Still nothing. I opened the
;ap. There were no batteries. My kids had
pirated them for their Xbox controller.
Luckily, my secret battery stash was a
Batteries power all kinds of gadgets,
and there’s a bit of mystery to them.
They’re made with confusing techie stu;,
such as electrolytes, ions, zinc, manganese oxide, and positive and negative
electrodes. There are several types, but
alkaline batteries, the most common and
most readily available, account for ;;
percent of batteries in the U.S. More than
;; billion alkaline batteries are produced
worldwide to power the myriad devices we
rely on. That’s why people dread running
out and usually have a backup supply.
AAs, AAAs and maybe some ;-volts will
do the trick for most folks.
According to Richard Abramowitz, an
executive with Costco supplier Duracell
Inc., “Battery usage trends closely follow
device trends. The AA is popular in toys,
games and electronic devices, and the
AAA was developed as portable device
sizes shrank. D [batteries] are used in
many larger devices, such as lighting used
in emergency situations.”
Even with a standby stash (and the
best consumer-savvy intentions), some
people cause their own battery problems.
“A common myth is that batteries should
be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
That is false.” Abramowitz warns. “Batter-
ies are best kept in a dry place at normal
room temperature. Prolonged exposure
to extreme heat or cold can reduce battery
life and quality.”
Duracell researchers suggest storing
batteries in their original packaging. If
they’re loose, the positive and negative
ends can inadvertently touch each other
and drain each other while in storage.
Also, new and old batteries should not be
stored together or power will be drawn
from the new one, shortening its life.
“Another misunderstanding is that
the ‘Best if used by’ date on batteries
shows how long the battery will last in a
device,” Abramowitz cautions. “Wrong.
The actual date refers to how long the
battery can last in storage. Consumers
should buy batteries with the longest date
range available, and use those on hand
with the closest date ;rst.”
Abramowitz mentions that Duracell
Quantum and Duracell Copper Top batter-
ies are guaranteed for an amazing ;; years
And, yes, people do get a charge out of
Batteries save the day!
How to nail your
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