Understanding Impact Driver

When they first came out years ago, impact drivers were very popular in Japan but it took a while for Americans to realize what a terrific advantage impact drivers have over an electric drill when it comes to driving long screws into wood, especially decking. American companies like Porter Cable caught on to the idea and started competing with impact drivers offered by overseas companies. impact driver for the money, The idea for impact drivers was born long ago with the inventions of (1) the impact wrench, used in every automotive garage, and (2) the hammer drill used to power masonry bits into concrete and other extremely hard materials.

The technology that allows them to do this is sometimes referred to as “hammer and anvil” meaning that, unlike the simple twisting action of an electric drill, the impact driver literally “pounds” the screwdriver bit around as if being repeatedly being hit by a hammer. This action gives these woodworking tools tremendous power that simply would not be possible if the same screwdriver bit were chucked up in an electric drill with the same size motor and battery. An additional advantage is that there are hex shank drill bits available so that your impact driver can double as a quick-change cordless drill thus becoming one of your most versatile woodworking tools.

The first time I picked up an impact driver, a 12-volt Makita, I thought it looked, to me, like a toy. I then tried it out by driving a 3-inch deck screw into a 4″ x 4″ piece of fir. I was amazed as I watched (and felt) the tiny machine effortlessly drive the screw home, sinking the head below the surface of the wood. I had to remember to keep a lot of hand pressure against the tool so that the screw driver bit did not pop out of the screw head and strip it. From that moment forward, I have never been without one of these amazing machines at my side.

Over the years, these drivers have been improved to the point of near perfection and this includes the batteries that power them. Battery size has grown from 9.6 volts to 18 volts and more. More than that, battery life has been greatly extended from what it was with the advent of Lithium Ion technology and subsequent improvements on that. In fact, a significant part of the cost of any impact driver, whether it comes from Makita Tools, Bosch or DeWalt is the battery or batteries that come with it.

I love wood, especially fine hardwoods. I love woodworking which is the art of turning beautiful wood into useful or decorative objects. I love woodworking tools which enable me to do my woodworking accurately and efficiently. I have been a professional woodworker since 1981 when I established Craftsman Woodworking, LTD in Honolulu, Hawaii. My 7 employees and medium-sized shop produced unique furniture designs, mostly out of Hawaiian Koa wood. During the time that I have been involved in woodworking, I have learned a great deal about the craft, often benefiting from my own mistakes. I have used a wide variety of hand, power and stationary woodworking tools and I’d like to share what I have learned about these woodworking tools, hopefully to the benefit of other woodworkers like myself.