Lee Pitts: Charged Up

“The only person who really likes change is a wet baby.”

Personally, I’m fairly adaptable to change but occasionally I’ve been hurt by being on the cutting edge. Take, for example, the first battery powered tool I ever bought. Please. It was a Craftsman drill somewhere around 9 volts that couldn’t drive a screw through angel food cake. It might start a hole but I’d always have to resort to my corded drill to finish the job. I swore I’d never buy a another battery powered tool.

Fast forward several years and a friend gave me a battery powered DeWalt drill made in the USA in the 18 volt range and I was blown away by its performance. Ever since, my corded drills have been in deep hibernation.

Then I went to an estate sale where there was a brand new battery-powered hedge pruner for 10 bucks! The concept really appealed to me because I used to have to prune a lot of hedges and every time I did I managed to cut through the power cord causing an electric spark festival and blowing a fuse. I started with a 50 foot extension cord every year and by the end of the year I had it cut down to a 10 foot cord. So the idea of a battery-powered hedge trimmer really charged me up. Unfortunately I didn’t take into consideration the fact that the $10 pruner didn’t come with a charger or battery which only cost me $200!

But it was worth every penny because a smaller one-handed pruner came with its bigger brother and my wife loved trimming all the hedges and bushes with it. She got so good she was soon making topiaries of horses and cows! So now I don’t have to prune anything!

I’ve owned my own chainsaw since I was 22 and have used several brands. I grew up using a McCulloch to cut walnut, orange and lemon trees on our place and once a year we’d cut oak for the fireplace. Those old McCullochs were bullet proof and so naturally the first chainsaw I bought was a McCulloch. It cut through old railroad ties like butter. I heard that McCulloch went bankrupt so later I bought a Craftsman chainsaw which was one of only two things I’ve sent back in my life. (The other was my favorite potato soup from Marie Calendars only to discover that instead of potato flakes they’d accidentally used all onion flakes. Yuck!) The last two-cycle chainsaw I ever bought was a Husqvarna and it was a very good saw but it too came with the mandatory crappy carburetor and I had to replace the fuel lines regularly.

So when I was in the hardware store I was intrigued by a display of battery powered chainsaws made by EGO. (Not to be confused with the Echo brand.) The salesman raved about his EGO so I checked them out online. No rope to pull and no gas/oil mix, what’s not to like? I have to cut a lot of trees on our place and mostly they are Manzanita, a very tough wood. But the EGO cuts right through it, dare I say, better than any gas powered saw I’ve used since the old McCulloch era. And one charge will last four hours, which is about all I want to work these days.

That EGO chainsaw made a believer out of me but I realize that such change isn’t easy for everyone. When I was in the hardware store the other day the salesman who sold me the EGO said, “Lee, I gotta tell you a good story I heard on the radio about a person who bought an electric chainsaw but tried to return it the next day. The buyer said the blade got too hot, it squirted oil all over the saw making a gooey mess and so naturally the saw collected rocks and dirt with a magnetic-like attraction. It turned out the customer had put the old two-cycle mix of gas and oil in the receptacle for the bar oil!”

Like I said, some people are going to have more trouble adapting to change than others.


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