How many people know what the thenar eminence is?

No need to ever visit a chiropractor after this bone-vibrating experience. This 20 Volt MAX saw tore right through the metal rod. Photos credit: Mike Miazga/Plumbing & Mechanical

What about the definition of the word carabineer?

Put me in the category of having no clue on either. These were two of the many bits of information disseminated during the final day of theDeWALTmedia event held atStanley Black & Decker Universityin Towson, Md.

To end the suspense, thethenar eminenceis the group of muscles on the palm of the human hand at the base of the thumb.

According to one of those online dictionaries, acarabineer is a metal loop with a sprung or screwed gate used to quickly and reversibly connect components in safety-critical systems.

The thumb deal is important to DeWALT. With the rollout of its new 20 Volt MAX lithium ion cordless power tool line, contractors will find completely redesigned handles - great news for the thenar eminence. Thanks to a change in battery construction, a slimmer handle design and an adjustment to the product footprint and weight allocation has produced more balance and a lighter feel. The 3.0 amp-hour 20 Volt battery is 38 percent lighter than the existing 18 Volt DeWALT battery.

A big question at this event was what is going to happen to the 18 Volt and 12 Volt DeWALT lines of cordless tools? The answer is nothing. They are both still alive and well and will continue to be.

DeWALT's new 20 Volt MAX line of cordless power tools will be available in September.

This new 20 Volt MAX line will include a compact drill/driver, a premium drill/driver, two impact drivers, a compact hammer drill, a premium hammer drill, a recip saw, a circular saw, a SDS rotary hammer, a right-angle drill and a work light. These tools stress comfort, high-performance and endurance - all buzz words for busy contractors. The aforementioned carabineer can be found attached to one of DeWALT’s new tape rules, allowing a contractor to fasten to his belt or to a nail on a jobsite wall.

The tape rules were part of a mountain of new products introduced by DeWALT during the two-day event. There is simply not enough space to list all of the hammers, drills, chalk lines, impact drivers, saw blades, etc. that will be hitting contractors’ hands either right now or later this year.

To demonstrate how strong the tape rules are, an air-hockey-type table was set up in the demonstration area. The object of the game was to extend the tape rule and use it as a hook to grab the washer-like spheres on the table and drop them in the goal. An intense game between two media members drew quite a crowd of spectators.

But it’s simple things such as contouring a handle on a drill to meet the comfort needs of contractors or adding a gizmo to a tool that allows it to be hung on a jobsite wall and not thrown on the ground, placed in a pocket or back in a toolbox that are the driving force behind DeWALT’s thinking when developing new tools.

“I’m not a big fella, so these new side grips and decreasing the size of the handle makes the tool much more usable,” notedDan Martin, a Maryland-area general contractor who was part of a product development panel during the second day of the event. The 20 VOLT MAX line of cordless power tools are slated to be available in September. A number of combo kits in that line also will be available. There is good news on the battery front. DeWALT is developing battery chargers that will charge different voltage batteries at the same time (so you could charge 12 VOLT and 20 VOLT tool batteries at the same time) - very cool stuff.

One DeWALT senior executive joked the company’s tool development process is like “CSI for tools.” That thoroughness and taking into account the thoughts and opinions of the actual end users ends up being a win-win for not only DeWALT, but for the contractors using their many different tools and accessories.

Tape rule hockey anybody?

If you missed Mike’s first day at the DeWALT 2-day media event, check it out.