PM Senior Editor Mike Miazga tests out DeWalt’s latest 12-Volt line of tools.

Black & Decker University in Towson, Md.

WhenJim Turnbaughfirst got his plumbing license, he was dispatched to a local daycare center to fix a clogged toilet.  

“I couldn’t get whatever was down there out,” he says. “I had to take it outside and turn it on its side. It turns out one of the children didn’t like their strawberries and flushed whole ones down the toilet.”  

Now take a guess at what’s the most common foreign object that causes toilet clogs today? The folks atDeWaltrevealed during their12V MAX* Launch Event at Black & Decker Universityin suburban Baltimore that the winner was a Matchbox car (I preferred to smash mine with a sledge hammer and bend off the doors).  

Turnbaugh, owner of JE Turnbaugh Plumbing & Heating in Westminster, Md., adds GI Joe action figures and Transformer action figures rank right up there as well.

Jim Turnbaugh, owner of JE Turnbaugh Plumbing & Heating

So it’s makes perfect sense Turnbaugh was on hand at the 12-volt event to talk about the benefits of some of the seven tool products in the new lithium ion cordless line. Turnbaugh was one of numerous professionals that field-tested the new tools for DeWalt.  

Turnbaugh notes of the seven tools (there are also two combo kits), he uses thescrewdriver(with 3 LED lights) the most and is extremely fond of thework light(130 Lumen LED light), which features a magnet (for hanging nearby the work area to free up an extra hand) and a belt clip. The flashlight was also a major hit among trade media members.  

I enjoyedIR Thermometerthe most (one of the lights measured over 250 degrees F in the BDU product shop when I pointed it at it). Did you know a glass of ice-cold Diet Coke is about 37 degrees (or at least that’s what it told me)?

Seven new tools comprise the 12 Volt Max* lithium ion cordless system.

DeWalt’s newinspection camera(which includes a detachable monitor) is something Turnbaugh wishes he had when he was tasked with removing those strawberries back in the day.  

Turnbaugh is also impressed with the design of the tools in the line, many of which feature rubber guards on the side so the tool can be laid down without scratching or damaging surfaces.  

“The last thing a customer wants to see in a new $80,000 kitchen is tools being laid on the counter top,” Turnbaugh states. “Keeping customers happy is what keeps me in business.”  

The reason I’m writing about Turnbaugh is he represents what made a lasting impression on me when I left BDU in the 99-degree Baltimore summer heat.

PM Senior Editor Mike Miazga tries out one of the new DeWalt 12 Volt Max* tools (and later touches the hot screw).

Not only did trade media members get to learn about and test out these new tools (Tip from the king of nonmechanical people: Never touch a screw right after it’s been driven in and extracted back out at high velocities - it’s going to be quite hot), but we got to learn about the process that went into creating the tools.  

And the one thing that impressed me the most was the massive amount of time and energy DeWalt puts into reaching out to the actual users of their products to see what they do and don’t like about a particular tool or what their jobsite needs typically are.  

The end result was an impressive newline of 12-volt toolsthat will make the future removal of whole strawberries from a toilet much easier.

DeWalt’s new 12-volt line of tools will be available in the fourth quarter 2010.