I still remember the bewildered look on my nephew’s face after watching an episode of “The Flintstones.” Fred had been working at his quarry in Bedrock and sawing off a giant piece of stone with a live swordfish. His best friend, Barney Rubble, had been drilling a hole in the granite cylinder of his neighbor’s car with a stone spear. “They sure could’ve made good use of dad’s power drill and motor saw,” my nephew had commented sarcastically.

Fact is, everyone could always be making good use of reliable power tools and equipment, whether it’s the Stone Age or the 21st century. Working with the right equipment is paramount to successful projects, and contractors know that dependable tools are their “bread and butter.” The more efficient, comfortable, durable and safe hand and power tools are, the better a job will progress. And just as “The Flintstones” is littered with Stone-Age equivalents of modern-day inventions, our own world today clearly reflects the numerous advances in technology that consistently affect our daily lives.

We all know that to remain competitive, equipment must constantly evolve to better reflect electrical work. And the electrical contracting industry itself has proven to be a rapidly changing area. Contractors have realized that investment in tools is an investment in future profits, so tool companies and product development teams have been launching new lines of tools and equipment faster than ever. But what differentiates one tool from the next and what factors define sophistication and productivity?

In this issue of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, you will find several tool-related stories that will guide you through the latest changes and improvements in the hand and power tool arena. From the use of alternative materials to lessen tool weight, to converting tools from single to multipurpose instruments, our authors will tell you what you can expect and provide you with expert advice.

Claire Swedberg’s Focus on improving job site communication (page 104) will introduce you to other smart tools contractors are incorporating into their businesses. You’ll discover how busy electricians are using cutting-edge wireless technology such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) and smart phones to ease their workloads and increase profitability.

So be it a swordfish, a power drill, a motor saw or a PDA, make sure you and your team are always well equipped to complete every assigned task, small or large. After all, today’s investments are bound to bring tomorrow’s triumphs.

STANIMIRA Z. STEFANOVA, Associate Editor