82 - The Complete Miter Saw Workstation, страница 46

82 - The Complete Miter Saw Workstation, страница 46

Are your extension cords always a mess? Cord reels can help you clean up the tangle.

Using an extension cord in the shop is almost inevitable. The problem — no matter how carefully you coil up the cord and put it away, it always seems to end up in a tangled mess. And spending time undoing the mess means spending less time working on a project.

To avoid this problem, you might want to add a cord reel to your set of "tools." A cord reel is just a storage "box." It simply keeps a cord perfectly coiled so it's ready to use — without any tangled mess.

Cord Reel Styles. Cord reels come in two styles. The first is a fixed (mounted) unit that you can attach to a ceiling or wall, like the ones you see above and at left.

The other style of cord reel is portable, like the ones you see in the margin on the opposite page. With a portable cord reel, you can

have a power cord in your shop, in the house, and wherever you need one. (For sources, turn to page 51.)

Depending on the features, cord gauge, and style, cord reels vary quite a bit in cost (from $10 portable models to $100 fixed reels). So how do you decide what you need?


In my shop, it's important to get an extension cord out quickly and easily when I need it. And then be able to put it away just as fast.

Auto-Lock & Retract. That's the reason I mounted a retractable cord reel in the center of my shop ceiling. An adjustable stop at the end of the cord (see photo) keeps the plug within easy reach. Simply pull the cord out to where you need it and it automatically locks in place. It's like pulling down a window shade.

But there's something even better. When you're done, just give the cord a little tug and the spring-loaded reel automatically retracts the cord into the case quickly and easily. In fact, it's so fast, it's a good idea to control it by hand so the cord doesn't whip around.

Added Features. Another handy feature on some cord reels is they'll often have a "triple tap" at the end of the cord, as in the photo above. So you can plug in up to three tools without having to deal with the hassle of swapping cords around while you work.

The tap can even be lighted to let you know the reel is plugged in. And if you should overload the cord, some reels have protection built right in. So you can reset the unit after removing the load from the cord.

Even though you can plug in up to three tools, you're not going to want to run all of them at the same time. The main reason is most fixed cord reels (like the one at left) contain 14-gauge cords designed for medium-duty. If you need a heavier-duty model, consider the Luma-Site reel with a 12-gauge cord, as shown in the main photo.

46 ShopNotes No. 82

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