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My Hand and My Dremel Got Married and Made Things

Updated on February 19, 2015

My Dremel Rotary Tool has been on standby since I began framing my own and others' artwork back in the 1980s. As a visual artist I use it daily or monthly, depending on the current project.

It's a workhorse that's light enough for a non-weightlifting arm like mine to spend the day with.

The ergonomic design makes it easy and comfortable to use in a variety of positions, and to pick up and set down between tasks, often I end up turning it off with one hand.

I seem to have a thing for pilot holes. Most commonly I use it to drill pilot holes for finishing nails or mounting screws, or if I have a really big framing job I'll dedicate it for starting the holes for the wire hangers, and then use my electric screwdriver to drive the screws.

Eons ago, before I bought the Dremel, I struggled with an old dying small power drill to open up the pilot holes in the corners of my wood picture frames. But that drill was heavy and the old grip just didn't hold very steady - or maybe it was my wimpy grasp that sometimes lost the mark and bumped the hole over to one side.

I thought I was all set up with fancy tools, back then, never owning any of my own before that, none except all my domestic power movers, like the sewing machines and blenders and mixers, and don't forget the vacuum. But this time I was in business for myself, doing custom framing from our house on the hillside, a driveway cut away from the mountain.

My Jyden Miter Knife made the corner cuts slick as grease on a pole. Then I lined up two molding pieces and anchored them in place with my frame vise, my first cast iron love-affair. Out with the drill (I'm thinking it was my dad's castoff), one of those old ones with a fabric cord cover, almost older than me. Wearing my own safety glasses and goatskin gloves I did the deed, swiped on the glue, and tightened the corner clamps. Presto - I was doing my own business.

Not too far into this process I sought a better means of drilling those bitsy holes. That's when I found a Dremel and it didn't take a second thought to buy one for my studio. I quickly fell in love with it too, and started filing, sanding, and drilling everything I could. It speeded up the frame making process too.

I took it with me when I returned to college to study art, and again when I moved on to the big city. In a studio I maintained in my apartment I rigged up an overhead surge protector so I could take advantage of the snake arm and create without having to move around the power cord. For one artpiece I drilled a zillion pilot holes in a wall sculpture before filling them with glue and tapping in special tacks. In fact, I did a variety of this for two in the series. See a little detail pic of one shelf, below.

I even used a cutoff wheel to trim a cast brass arm from a small lamp. Then I used a grinder wheel to polish the cut before I applied some rubbing paste to cover up the difference in color between the cut and the old finish.

Yes, I do love this little tool with its zillions of attachments, that has permanently affected my life. It just gets better all the time as I find more uses for it. So, I'd say we are wed for good.

Like Me, You May Find That The More Accessories You Get - The More Work You Do & The More Fun You Have!

Here are my 3 top picks:

Dremel 220-01 Rotary Tool Workstation Drill Press Work Station with Wrench
Dremel 220-01 Rotary Tool Workstation Drill Press Work Station with Wrench

Who doesn't want a drill press? This is the one I intend to get to satisfy my dream. Then I'll have to share the Dremel with its stand, but for all the help it will give me, I don't mind.

When I need to drill a line of holes in a line you can always tell I've done it by hand because I get impatient and eyeball it. That's fine but every so often I tilt the tool and end up with a tilted screw head.

Time for the Work Station, I'd say.

Dremel 4486 MultiPro Keyless Chuck
Dremel 4486 MultiPro Keyless Chuck

For less than six dollars, I can afford this keyless chuck today. Lets me dispense with the tiny irk of that extra step of unscrewing the bit and then screwing in the new one.

It's a single handed wonder.

Dremel 225-01 Flex Shaft Attachment
Dremel 225-01 Flex Shaft Attachment

I tell about the fun of using the Flex Shaft, above, but let me remind you of how free it feels to be able use this snaky little device, for less than $25 (today 10.4.13). I even screwed a hook into a board up near the ceiling so I could just reach up and hang up the Dremel between uses. It was swift.


That's an example of what I made with my Dremel Rotary Tool. It's the top end of a Useless Shelf. Have you ever used a Dremel Rotary Tool? or Do you want to use one? Are you tool-handy?

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Have you got any toolie stories to tell? How about your neighbors' stories? Anything else on your mind?

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    • Marja79 profile image

      Marja79 4 years ago

      I have Dremel too and I love it! It is like almost better invention than men :P

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      I adore my Dremel. It has proposed to me a number of times. Perhaps it is time for my hand and my Dremel to tie the knot. I'll send you a wedding invitation (for you and your Dremel).

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      @sousababy: I guess it's just the pioneer in me that wanted to do everything by hand that prevented me from buying one sooner, but after getting heavy into framing I was all too ready to join the power tool crowd.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      @Erin Mellor: Yes, the Dremel has just gotten better over the years and I can't wait to get my hands on the work station when I move out of this apartment.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 4 years ago

      In college, a peer had a Dremel to help her sand the edges of artificial limbs. (I couldn't afford one, but I was wildly impressed at how much time it would've saved me). It's a hand tool that's perfect for intricate work on uneven surfaces - I can see how artists would benefit from owning one.

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 4 years ago from Europe

      I've seen TV ads for the Dremel and it always looked like it was too good to be true - light and maneuverable, with lots of attachments that all worked. I figured it was just one of those "As seen on TV" things that would sit in the cellar unused, but now I'm tempted.