Short Power Cords

Ever get frustrated with the tangled mess of power cords on your portable tools?
Ever wish a power cord was a foot longer to reach the outlet?
I did.

After spending a whole week at home sick, by the time I was able to get out of bed, I was itching to do something in the shop.... anything. But I thought it unwise to be using my Unisaw or anything else, considering the medication I had been taking.

So what did I do? Cut the power cords of all my portable tools.

Being the perfectionistic cheapskate that I am, I couldn't simply cut the cords off at the plug end and install a new plug. Nooooo.... at $2 for each plug that would be too expensive, look bad and would be TOO easy.

No, no, no. I opened each tool and shortened the cord from the inside. A Phillips screwdriver, T20 torx wrench, wire cutter, wire stripper and crimping tool were the surgical tools for this project. Add to that those small crimping connectors found at HomeDepot (7 for 75 cents, why 7 in a package? why not 6? why not 8?). By the way, these are the exactly same connectors that Porter Cable uses in all their tools.

Note: Opening up power tools can be dangerous and may void manufactures' warranties.

I cut each tool's power cord and left 16" of cord. A few months earlier, I did this to my PC690 router when I got the additional D-handle base and soon found that having a short cord was very handy even when in the plunge base. So I did it to just about everything else. My PorterCable belt sander, and the D-handle base itself. My DeWalt drills, grinder, jig saw, RO sander, biscuit joiner. My Bosch sanders. Even my little itsy bitsy Dremel.
A few days later when I was feeling up to a few small projects using power tools and was amazed at how much better I like the short cords.

I did some fine tuning on some of the tools.  I found that having more than 16" of cord on my sanders, for instance, put the connection in an awkward spot that kept on cathing on things when I used them.  I shorted those to about 2" and think that's much better.

So, now you ask: Was it worth it?

Absolutely. No more messing with long cords. No more having 3 tools on the workbench and unplugging the wrong one. No more untangling cords. No more using a 6' cord only to have to unplug it because I need an extension cord to get 10' away from the outlet. I've got two overhead retractable 25' 14G extension cords  plus a couple of 6' extension cords for the wall outlets.

Plus my tool cabinet is so much organized. No coiled up power cords falling all over the place. No more wrapping the cord around and around the body of the tool, only to find that it no longer fits in the cabinet.

Yes, sireee. It's a good thing.

© 2008 Mark Goodall