Steve Veroneau is a custom framer and is a contributing editor to Hanley-Wood's Tools of the Trade.
When I began working in the building trades some thirty-plus years ago, carpentry tools fell into two categories: basic hand tools and simple electric power tools. I didn't start working with cordless tools until the mid-80s, when I bought my first 9.6-volt, 3 3/8-inch blade cordless saw–more of a toy than a tool. Today, however, cordless technology seems to be the fastest growing segment of the construction tool market, and cordless saws have come a long way in terms of technology, power, and performance. I was eager to test the newest models on my jobsites, and I am happy to say that many of these saws finally can be considered power tools.
As a builder in the Washington, D.C., area, I spend a lot of time with a nailer in my hand and, of course, a lot of time dragging an air hose around the jobsite. It was an eye-opening experience for me to try out the current generation of hoseless (a.k.a. cordless) nail guns, both framing and finish; it's an impressive array of capable tools, whether they are powered by gas fuel cartridges or by rechargeable batteries. After a few months of testing, I came to the conclusion that we are inching closer to a time when air compressors will be a thing of the past. I'm convinced that we are already at that point with finish nailers and, hopefully, are on the threshold of a great leap forward with framing guns, too.