March 31, 2009
UPDATE: Our full review of the TurboRoll is posted here.
Wagner Spray Tech, the people who brought us the PaintEater and the Paint Crew Plus have recently come out with the TurboRoll, a battery operated paint roller that looks like a cross between a traditional paint roller and the largest hypodermic needle you've ever seen. The principal behind the tool is simple; fill the stem with paint, adjust the telescoping handle to the desired length (up to 8') and roll your paint, hitting a little thumb control to flow more paint to the roller head when needed.
According to Wagner, the TurboRoll can hold enough paint to handle a 70 square feet and that it can go for about 15 gallons before you have to change the 4 AA batteries. There is also a manual override, if you want to switch to the more traditional way of doing things.
If the TurboRoll works as advertised, we could see it taking a lot of time off of paint rolling which could easily make it worth the $40 asking price.
March 30, 2009
Now this looks interesting. It's a workbench out of Australia called the Quadra Bench that is comprised of two connected benches, each topped with a sliding platform, one for the tool and one for the workpiece. In addition to the horizontal movement, each bench can be raised and lowered as well. This multi-axis maneuverability gives the user a great deal of flexibility when positioning the tool and workpiece for making a cut. It also adds makes things quite a bit safer.
Tools for the bench will come in interchangeable modules built specifically for the machine. Thus far, we've seen pictures of a router and a circular saw.
The Quadra Bench is currently just a patented prototype (pictured), but it looks like there is a good chance that it will actually be manufactured. The finished product will likely have more features and be more spruced up than the prototype.
Watch a short video of the Quadra Bench here.
March 27, 2009
Striker, the company who makes the little magnetic LED that saved our rears during the power outage, has recently released a little folding utility knife that has a number of nice features to it. And even though Jude over at Toologics did a very nice review of the Striker Folding Multi-Knife, we thought we'd add our own two cents.
To us, the utility knife is one of the most essential tools in our repertoire; we keep one on us at all times and during the course of the day we're constantly using it, whether it's sharpening a pencil or cutting out a line of caulk or slicing open the plastic wrap around a new window. So for our testing of the Striker knife, we simply put the thing in our pocket and kept it there for a few weeks. Here's what we found.
We quickly discovered, as Jude did, that the handle of the knife is nice and big. Not too big for a pocket, but big enough to get a good grip on it and to feel in control when using the knife. The body of the Striker also has a belt clip which might be good for some people, but since we carry our knife in our pocket it just caught on things and got in the way. The folding action of the knife is nice and after three or four tries we got so we could both open and close it quickly and easily with one hand.
Striker has also added a nice little file up by the blade that can easily shave off that last 1/8" of drywall when necessary. This is a nice touch and using the rasp is much easier and cleaner than trying to shave the edge with the blade. The underside of the rasp can also be used as a saw for cleaning up things like the corners of an outlet box cut-out. There is also a reinforced piece of metal at the base of the knife that can be used for tapping in a nail or punching out a cut piece of drywall.
Another nice thing about the Striker is the fact that it is a folding knife with blade storage. For around the house use, this doesn't really mean much, but on a construction site, it means everything in the world. We use our knife all day long and go through blades like tissue paper, so it's always advantageous to have an extra one on hand instead of having to stop what we're doing and spend 20 minutes digging through the JoBox looking for the extra blades.
The bottom line here is that this is a very useful knife with a number of 'drywall-oriented' features, but unlike the Husky 5-in-1 drywall knife that we reviewed way back when, the additional features don't interfere with it being a great day-to-day knife as well.
The Striker Folding Multi-Blade costs about $13, which is on the high side of the more expensive utility knives. We think the Striker is a solid enough tool to warrant the price.
March 26, 2009
Our friends over at Charles & Hudson have started a series of DIY city guides. With the help of local bloggers they're compiling lists of vendors, tradesmen, and other helpful resources all within city limits. So far they've managed to cover Los Angeles, Chicago, and Portland, Or.
The guides have everything from hardware stores to salvage shops to tub refinishers. These articles are 'living' and if you're familiar with the area, Charles & Hudson is encouraging you to email them with your own favorites to add to the list.
We contacted a friend of ours in the Chicago area and asked what they thought of the guide and they told us that Charles and Hudson hit it right on the head with the selection of stores and vendors on the list.
It's an ambitious project, but one that we think is well worth the effort. We're looking forward to see what other cities get covered.
March 25, 2009
In May of this year, Porter-Cable is adding seven new tools to their cordless catalog. They're also releasing two new 18-volt lithium-ion batteries (which we covered here). With one exception, the new tools are all 18-volt and they're going to be sold without batteries or chargers, which will be available separately. We discussed the possible advantages and disadvantages of this set-up here.
The oddball tool in the seven tool release is a 12-volt impact driver that is powered by a Ni-Cad battery and comes with a charger and two batteries.
The run-down on the tools is as follows...
From the press release:
PORTER-CABLE introduces two new 1/4-inch hex impact drivers, available in 18-volt (PC18ID) and 12-volt (PC120IDK-2) configurations. The 18-volt impact driver also is available as part of a lithium-ion kit (PCL180IDK-2), while the 12-volt impact driver comes standard as part of a NiCad kit. The impact drivers offer high-torque output, virtually eliminating kickback, thus allowing users to take-on heavy-duty fastening applications for extended periods without fatigue.
With a heavy-duty impact mechanism, the 18-volt and 12-volt impact drivers can deliver up to 1,600 inch-pounds and 1,400 inch-pounds of torque, respectively, at 2,800 blows-per-minute (BPM). The impact block is cold-forged to provide maximum durability.
At 6-1/2 inches, the impact drivers fit into tight areas not accessible to larger impact drivers and drill/drivers. To achieve the shortest length in their class, the impact drivers utilize a high-output, compact motor. The impact drivers incorporate a variable-speed trigger to provide a smooth power curve for maximum control across a range of applications and an on-board LED work light to illuminate dark areas without compromising battery run-time.
The 18-volt impact driver (PC18ID) will be available for a suggested retail price of $69.97 (batteries and chargers sold separately). This impact driver also will be available in an 18-volt, lithium-ion kit (PCL180IDK-2), which contains two standard lithium-ion batteries, a lithium-ion fast charger, a screwdriving bit, a belt clip and a storage bag, for $199.00. The 12-volt, NiCad impact driver kit (PC120IDK-2) contains two NiCad batteries, a one-hour NiCad fast charger, a screwdriving bit and a storage bag, and will be available for $139.00.
Continue reading: "Porter-Cable Introduces Seven New Cordless Tools"
Yesterday, the Northern Tool 2009 Spring/Summer Catalog came in the mail. Other than Grizzly Tools and Victoria's Secret this may very well be our favorite catalog.
The 600+ page book boasts over 10,000 products which range from logging equipment to hand tools to the off-road commode (a.k.a: the bumper dumper). It's a great catalog to have around and one that's perfect to keep next to your non-off-road-commode.
Go to Northern Tool and sign up for the free catalog here.
March 24, 2009
Porter-Cable is in the process of rolling out a number of new tools, both corded and cordless, as well as two new battery platforms. Over the next couple days, we're going to be checking out the new tools, but here, we're going to take a look at the batteries.
Both of the new batteries are 18-volt lithium ion, which are built in such a way that they're backwards compatible with all older model 18-volt Porter-Cable tools. Porter-Cable already has a compact 18-volt li-ion battery on the market, which they released last year, but these two new ones offer longer run-times (at a heavier weight). They're sort of a momma bear and poppa bear to the existing baby bear.
It looks like Porter-Cable's plan is to release the batteries and tools separately. Because in the standard cordless tool kit, the batteries are equally as expensive as the tool, this is going to allow the user to save some money. It's a particular plus to the weekend DIYer, who can buy say three or four cordless tools at short money and only invest in one battery/charger kit (as opposed to paying for all those extra batteries). It poses a problem though for the tradesman who is going to be giving his tools constant use and will need all of those extra batteries kicking around. Porter-Cable's solution to this problem is to offer two new combo kits, which come with the tools as well as batteries and a charger.
From the press release:
LX Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (PC18BLX)
The LX Lithium-Ion Battery Pack holds 18-volts of power in a pack weighing less than one pound. Available for a suggested retail price of $69.97, the PC18BLX is ideal for drilling, driving screws and other applications where a lighter weight and compact size are preferred.
The LX battery pack has a 1.3 amp-hour rating.
EX Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (PC18BLEX)
The EX Lithium-Ion Battery Pack stores twice the power capacity of the more compact LX battery pack, doubling the run-time on a single charge while weighing 20 percent less than the PORTER-CABLE 18-volt NiCad battery pack. With this extended capacity, the EX battery pack is ideal for heavy-duty applications that require high power or longer run times such as projects involving extensive sawing or hammerdrilling. The EX battery pack has a 2.6 amp-hour rating and will be available for a suggested retail price of $89.97.
March 23, 2009
We at Tool Snob have gotten in cahoots with Home Depot in order to bring you, our readers, another contest. This time the prize is a $200 Home Depot gift card which we're sure would give a nice little boost to your planned summer projects.
One way to save money on your spring and summer renovations is to rent the tools that you need instead of buying them. Home Depot has an extensive line of rentals (more than 325 types of tools) ranging from jackhammers to cement mixers to nail guns. In the past, we've actually rented a wood chipper from them and it ended up saving us the money and hassle of getting a tree guy to come and do the work.
Entering the contest is simple. First go to the Home Depot rental page and check out all of the tools they have for rent (they have both home owner and contractor sections), then choose a tool that you might want for an upcoming project and leave a comment at this post telling us what tool you'd rent with a quick description of what project you'd use it for. Then, in two weeks, we're going to have a random drawing and one of you walks away with a $200 Home Depot gift card.
We'll be accepting entries until Sunday, April 5th. We'll announce the winner, the following day, Monday, April 6th.
To see what tools Home Depot has available for rent, go here.
March 20, 2009
The good folks at Popular Science have just announced that they've started accepting nominations for their 2009 Best of What's New issue, due out in December. The issue looks at all of the most innovative, useful new items in a number of categories such as home technology, automotive, and personal health.
In order to be considered, your product must have a release date of no earlier than October 1, 2008.The entry fee is currently $300, but goes up to $350 after August 15th. The deadline for entries is August 21.
It's a great issue and one we look forward to. If you have time, it's fun to browse the last few years of winners.
Check out the rules and regulations or submit a product here
Previous winners here: 2008, 2007, 2006
March 18, 2009
With Spring starting to show it's muddy face, you're probably beginning to dread your first encounter with your mower. Will it run alright? Will it stall out? Will it even start? We just found out about this great service offered by John Deere that might make things a little easier for you. It's a mobile maintenance service called Ready To Mow that covers not only John Deere products, but other brands as well.
From the press release:
"The Ready To Mow mobile service provides standard maintenance and diagnosis of problems in a "service center on wheels' for any type of lawn, commercial, or hand-held power equipment whether it's a John Deere brand or not. A factory-trained service technician arrives at the owner's home or business with one of the 800 Ready To Mow vehicles currently on the road to perform a 14-point maintenance and inspection service, in one hour or less."
Too bad Keith Walendowski hadn't heard of the service.
To learn more or to schedule a visit, go to www.ReadyToMow.com
March 17, 2009
Here is another collection of photos showing the safety practices of people with room temperature IQs. This stuff boggles the mind.
See the photos at IBEW Local 725
See our first installment of Safety Last here
March 16, 2009
Hidden fastener systems can make a big difference with the look of your finished deck, but there's no question that they're a lot more time consuming to install. Tiger Claw, one of the leading systems on the market, is in the process of releasing a gun built specifically for their fasteners. By the looks of it, it could speed up installation to the point where it's much faster than the traditional method of pre-drilling and screwing into the face of the board. How about that? Faster and better looking...
According to Tiger Claw...
The fastener installation gun drives a UFO Ballistic NailScrew® in like a nail, but can be removed like a screw. Simply slip the hidden deck fastener into the nose of the gun and position it in the groove of the board. The gun automatically enables perfect positioning of fastener and screw installation with the pull of a trigger. Builders now have a one-step installation process for hidden deck fasteners
Tiger Claw's inventors say, when compared to manually inserting the hidden deck fastener into the groove with your fingers, the gun decreases installation time by about 75%.
We like that the system incorporates the UFO NailScrews. This way, you'll probably be able to back off a screw and shim the board if you've got a badly warped joist.
There is no pricing information on the gun, but it looks like it's going to be available in early spring, just in time for that deck project you've got planned.
There's more information about the Deck Fastener Gun here and
we wrote about UFO's NailScrew here.
March 13, 2009
We saw this at the local Home Depot the other day and boy does it look baaaad assss. Seriously. We're fans of the Artillery Bar and we've always liked the Fu-Bar, but this is the first demo tool that we've seen that could also be used to fend off a goblin raiding party.
This thing has it all; a jaw for straightening 2x stock, a hammer head, a nail puller, an axe edge, and a mean looking chisel point at the base of the handle. We read somewhere that the hole at the tip can be used as a bottle opener, as if it wasn't impressive enough already.
The Annihilator costs about $40-$50 which is a good price for a high quality demo bar.
At Dead-On and Amazon.com
March 12, 2009
As part of our ongoing series cataloging all of the JawHorse accessories, we've finally come to the Miter Saw Station (see below for a list of the other accessories). The Miter Saw Station is simply a platform that attaches to the JawHorse and can support your miter saw. There are also two rollers that can be used as out-feed support if attached to a 2x, which is also clamped in the JawHorse. It's a pretty basic affair and it costs about $80.
Now, we're fans of Rockwell tools, as anyone who reads the site knows, but we've got to say that this seems like a whole lot of money to spend on something that could be made out of scraps kicking around the shop. To us, anything that needs a customer-supplied 2x4 in order to work, shouldn't cost $80. But that's just us. If you've bought into the JawHorse system and want everything to fit together perfectly and have a similar look, this could be a nice addition to your workshop.
At Amazon.com and Rockwell
Our review of the JawHorse is here
Our thoughts on the Plywood Jaw Accessory are here
Our thoughts on the Jog Jaw Attachment are here
March 11, 2009
Marc, over at The Wood Whisperer, has posted up a very good video review of the new DeWalt Tracksaw. The review not only looks at the DeWalt saw, but gives some direct comparisons to the Festool unit as well as a general introduction to the usefulness of this type of tool.
There's a lot to like about the review. For one, Marc is videoing his very first experience with the saw, so you get to watch him try to figure the whole thing out, just like anyone would. We also like that Marc doesn't get caught up in the nit-picky details of the tools but keeps things at a 'big picture' level, preferring to find out if the tool makes a nice cut rather than get lost in stats like no-load speed and maximum wattage. All in all, it's a very thorough review and after watching it, we realized that there was only one question left unanswered: "Is that a pink feather boa in the background?"
Check out the review here.
A week or two ago, we told you about the three finalists in Irwin's Vise-Grip contest. There was the guy who had his exhaust system clamped to his manifold for 28 years with a pair of Vise-Grips; the Navy surgeon who removed some pins from a soldier's spine with a pair of Vise-Grips; and lastly, the fellow who crimped his brake line with a pair of Vise-Grips during the Baja 500.
As their big winner, Irwin chose the Navy surgeon and although we really like the guy who drove around for 28 years with a pair of pliers holding his truck together, we can't really dispute the winner. Saving a life is far more deserving of praise than being too cheap to repair your truck. The grand prize winner received a $25,000 custom chopper built by East Coast Custom Cycles.
From the press release:
A member of the U.S. Navy for more than 25 years, Dr. Fox found a unique use for his VISE-GRIP as a spine surgeon on the battlefield in the Middle East. In the heat of battle, Dr. Fox needed to perform emergency spinal surgery on a soldier who had a combination of screws and rods that had been implanted into his infected spine. Complicating the medical challenges at hand, Dr. Fox did not have access to the specialized tools necessary to deal with the soldier's different spine implants. Dr. Fox did, however, have access to a pair of VISE-GRIP locking pliers. He sterilized his VISE-GRIP tools and used them to remove the rods and screws from the soldier's infected spine, effectively saving his life.
Irwin tools at Amazon.com
March 10, 2009
DAP is releasing a number of new sealants that are all distinguished by a very quick drying time. The line of sealants is called the DAP 3.0 and once applied, it takes just three hours before they can be exposed to water without being affected.
According to the press release,
"DAP® 3.0™ Advanced Sealants are formulated with Kwik Dry® Technology that allows users to caulk and expose the bead to water after just three hours without washing out; other caulks and sealants may require a 24-36 hour waiting period before exposing to water. This minimal dry time greatly reduces the risk of wash-out from premature water exposure, so both DIYers and professionals alike can save time and money by finishing the job faster and reducing the chance for errors. For outdoor applications, this also means not having to wait for ideal weather conditions to begin or complete a project. DAP® 3.0™ Advanced Sealants can be applied in extreme weather and temperature ranges (-35°F to 140°F)."
A while ago, we reviewed DAP's Kwick Seal, which we're pretty sure is one of the five 3.0 sealants. Our review is here.
The five sealants in this line are (also from the press release):
Continue reading: "DAP 3.0 Advanced Sealants"
If you like pounding beers while you're out 'working' in the garage but don't want anyone to know how much of a boozer you are, this could be the best $300 you'll ever spend. Designed by Genuine Hotrod Hardware, the Tool Box Refrigerator is made to look exactly like a regular old tool cabinet. In all functional respects, it's a standard dorm room fridge (complete with Dispense-A-Can can stacker!), but in order to hide it's real purpose, the fridge has simulated drawer pulls, a top drawer lock, and it rolls around on locking casters.
via Random Good Stuff
March 9, 2009
We just tried checking the Husky website (http://www.huskytools.com) to see if they had anything new to offer and it appears that the site doesn't even exist anymore. Our bookmark redirected us right to Home Depot's front page. We did a search of 'Husky" there and got 222 product results, but because of the way the Home Depot website is set up, there's no way to see if they have any new or interesting products out. There's not even a Husky sub-site or anything. They've just been completely dissolved into the larger entity.
While we're not anti-Home Depot by any stretch, we think it's too bad that a tool maker like Husky no longer has their own identity, even if it has been apparent for some time that they've become specifically a Home Depot brand.
In a way, this really isn't all that surprising. Since we started writing Tool Snob, over two years ago, the Husky website has been updated maybe once.
In related news, the other day we noticed that the Husky Stubby set is back in stores. Our review of those tools is here.
Husky Tools at Home Depot
Bosch is introducing a new family of rotary hammers that they say has both reduced vibration and increased impact strength. The technology behind the improvement has something to do with, "an innovative new approach to the striker pin assembly."
According to the press release,
"A slightly longer air cushion between the piston and the striker pin significantly reduces vibration at the point of impact while increasing impact energy by about 10% at same time. The new design ultimately yields significantly faster drilling (+ 20%) in concrete. The second component of the system is a shock-absorbent main handle. Rubber damping elements at the top and bottom of the handle further isolate the user from vibration. The end result is greater productivity and all day comfort."
It looks like the Vibration Control technology is going to be present in the new 11264EVS and 11265EVS 1-5/8" rotary hammers and the 11321EVS 12-pound demolition hammer. No word if this technology will be transferred to the smaller hammer-drills like our favorite, the Bosch Bulldog. These tools are available now and will all cost between $550 and $600.
Bosch Rotary Hammers at Amazon.com
March 6, 2009
This is a new low for us. Usually on days where we don't have any time to post something up, we glom onto the work of our fellow tool bloggers or we do a quick youtube search for something like "excavator mishap." But here, we're going to take a reader's comment, add some photos and some links and voila, insta-post!
Reader Joel, who is obviously flashlight obsessed and knows far more about the tools than we do, left this comment on our review of the AltusLumen PAD-L:
Continue reading: "NiteCore and ZebraLight Flashlights"
March 5, 2009
If you're the salvaging type like we are, you've got a pile of lumber out in the workshop that most people would have tossed in the dumpster by now. They're good looking boards with a lot of character, but they're peppered with nails, staples, and brads. If only there was some quick way of getting the nails out...
The Nail Extractor looks like just the thing for removing protruding nails. They're sort of like a set of pliers but with the heel of a pair of end-cutting pliers (our standard nail removing tool). The parallel jaws and the innovative way that they hinge creates a grip that will only yield when the user releases pressure on the heel of the tool. Because the tool essentially locks itself on the nail, you're left devoting your energy to the leverage part and not the gripping part. And the long handles assist with the leverage.
It's worth nothing though that the Nail Exractor is only going to be effective on fasteners that are already protruding from the surface, so if you're taking apart some framing that you just put together, you'll still need the cat's paw to get the nails started.
The Nail Extractor sells for just under $30 which seems to us to be a good price for a tool that appears to be very well made and quite useful.
March 4, 2009
With the December arrival of Tool Snob Jr., you all knew that it was just a matter of time before we started dredging up this kind of stuff. We promise though that we're going to keep it to a minimum and that we're not going to turn into one of those irritating people who never stops talking about their kids, so just give us this one pass.
So Bosch makes these little tool toys for the (really) junior woodworker in your life. There are two items here; one is a full on workbench, complete with a vise, hand tools, and some nuts and bolts; the other is a little jackhammer that comes with some work gloves and ear protection. We think it would be more authentic if they each came with a little plastic cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee, but that's just us. Six months ago, we would have thought these toys were about the lamest thing ever, but now we think they're pretty cool. Funny how that happens.
We were tipped off about the Bosch Tool Toys by none other than the great Rob Foster. Follow his twitter updates here.
Bosch Tool Shop at Target
Bosch Jackhammer at Amazon.com
March 2, 2009
During the course of most months, we review one, two, maybe three products, if we're lucky. This past month, the shortest of the year, we reviewed eight new products. That's one review every 3.5 days, or to put it in clearer terms: one review every 302,400 seconds. We looked at everything from a new recip saw blade to an interesting little flashlight (and let us not forget the Spout Popper!). Of all the products we looked at though, the HK1 Hydrokinetic Wrench stood out on the merits of its usefulness and innovation, and for those reasons it's the February Tool of the Month.
We also celebrated our two year anniversary on the 19th, and to mark the event wrote up a little retrospective (here), collecting some of the more interesting items we've posted during our tenure.
In the coming month look for reviews of two new utility knifes, the new Cadex brad nailer, and an intriguing new carpenter's pencil (could it be better than the SuperPencil?). But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, here's a look back at February...
Tool of the Month
Benches, Stands, and Storage
Bits and Blades
Glues and Adhesives
Measuring & Marking