I first saw this gadget on the PBS TV show, "The New Yankee Workshop." As host Norm Abram was fastening the plywood back panel on a cabinet, he paused so the camera could get a close-up of the tool he was using. It was a dual-purpose gadget that allowed him to drill a pilot hole and sink a screw without stopping to change bits in the drill's chuck. It struck me immediately as one of those "Gee, why didn't I think of that" ideas. Norm really liked it, too, so I got one to try. As a gadget, it turned out to be simple, foolproof and a real timesaver—just like a good gadget should be.
The Chuck Mate consists of a conventional pilot drill/countersink bit with a three-pronged adapter that allows it to fit snugly over a standard Phillips-head screwdriver bit. You mount the screwdriver bit in your drill's chuck and lighten it as usual. To use the drill/countersink, you slip it over the driver bit. The adapter's three prongs fit into the little gaps between the chuck's three jaws, which locks the bit into the chuck. It takes about two seconds to switch from drilling to screwdriving mode or vice versa without having to mess around with a chuck key.
If you use a lot of Phillips-head all-purpose screws in your woodworking projects, you'll wonder how you got along without the Chuck Mate once you try it. Thev're available in several different size bits for dif-
m ferent screws, and also with a Vix-Bit attachment for installing hinge screws.
Price: $12.95. Available from mail-order catalogs, woodworking stores and some hardware stores. For a retail outlet near you call: ROBERT LARSON CO., INC.. 33 Dorman Ave., San Francisco. CA 94124. (800) 356-2195.
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