November 15, 2010

Tool Snob's Official and Unexpurgated Guide to Making a Tool Demolition Video


So this is officially a trend: tool companies making videos of themselves, or their surrogates, distributing violence upon one or more of their tools. I've been dribbling these videos out to you as I get word of them, but since I now see it as a full on fad, I've decided to collect my thoughts on the genre. After viewing all of the tool destruction videos I could get my eyes on, I've come to some distinct conclusions on what makes a good one and what makes a bad one. I've compiled this list of six items that I feel should be taken into consideration when putting together one of these anarchy-riddled videos.

1. No story...just get to the action.
I don't want to see someone breaking into a warehouse. I don't want to see anyone's name. I don't care what style sunglasses they're wearing. I don't care that they're super alternative, wild n' kerazy guys. I just want to see a tool get destroyed. Exhibit A - The Bosch Power Box video: Why do I have to wait 1:20 before I get to see a tool take a hit? Do you understand how long this is? This is internet video time we're talking about. That translates into like six years of normal time. Watching these two hipsters wander around Wrigley, I felt my hair turning grey. The only time I stick around 1:20 for a build up is if it's one of those slow-motion bullet shots and I'm watching a round slowly spiral towards an apple or maybe a tv set.

2. No editing cuts
None whatsoever. Look, I know you can do whatever you want with a computer. So from the starting line, I'm already suspicious about these videos, but what you can't do is give me a reason to disbelieve. I'm wildly cynical about this sort of thing, so if I see a cut in editing, I immediately assume that you stopped the film in order to replace the broken tool with a brand new one. Sorry, that's just the way it is. Exhibit B - Ridgid Stereo: there's a cut just after they throw it off the roof. There are also a bunch of cuts during the cinder block section. What gives? It's the only stain on an otherwise great video.

3. Don't let Spike Jonze's younger, less-talented brother anywhere near the director's chair.
In other words, kill the MTV style. I'm watching your video in order to see something get demolished, not to see the artistic evolution of the next James Cameron (and who really wants another James Cameron?). Exhibit C: Craftsman - This one is actually an offender of rules 1, 2, and 3 (as is the Bosch video). I mean, this video is so stylized it makes Sin City look like an observational documentary. By the time I was done watching it, I was pining for the realism of 300. I also had to wait 1:30 before seeing some action (see point 1).

4. Laughing in the background.
If it happens, keep it. There's a certain giggle that occurs when someone knows that what they're doing is ridiculous and beyond the bounds of gentlemanly behavior. It's a noise that can't be mimicked, acted, or otherwise faked. If someone just threw a cordless reciprocating saw into an industrial paper shredder and they start not edit that from the video. It's hilarious. See the following (exhibit D) for an example of what I'm talking about.

5. Trebuchet

No one else has done it, why don't you be the first? While I generally recommend brute force a la sledgehammer, the tool abuse doesn't always need to be of the simplistic caveman style. But since it does need to be both brutal and effective, we suggest using a trebuchet. If your tool can withstand a launching from one of these, you know you've done well and you will have our undying admiration. Exhibit E: If this is what one does to a (flaming) piano, imagine what it could do to a table saw....

6. If you're testing a radio, the music better be good.
Milwaukee's video of their M12 radio is great. It's low budget, pretty brutal, and, most importantly, there are no cuts (they cleverly got around this by speeding up the tape during down times). But it does have one huge problem. What the hell is the music playing from the radio? If you're trying to destroy a radio, at least give it the dignity of playing Slayer or maybe even some early Melvins, not Boyz II Men, Cher, or whatever that horrible noise is.

So that's the ticket: start fast, keep it simple, make it brutal, laughing is good, medieval weapons are better. If anyone out there has any other suggestions, drop them in the comments. If there are a bunch of good ones, we'll send a tool out to a random selection.

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at November 15, 2010 7:00 AM
Recent Comments

Christmas is a good time to get a lathe. Perhaps you could run one about a lathe

Posted by: Barry Gardner at November 22, 2010 5:05 AM

i would advise :
-using volunteers instead of actors
-using liquid’s like water paint etc.

Posted by: j.s cor at November 16, 2010 2:00 PM

Doug, I couldn't agree more. Maybe you and I need to get together and put a few of these to the test? I'm thinking a cannon is in order, although I do love a good trébuchet in action. Wasn't that long ago that my jobsite radio fell down the stairwell on a job, which wouldn't have been so bad if the stairs were present, and not just a hole to the basement from the second floor. (Rough framing, still laying the subfloor is why it wasn't block off).

Posted by: Joe "the Pro" Sainz at November 15, 2010 7:33 PM

absolutely hilarious, I was just thinking about how absurd some of these have gotten. Awesome write up.

Posted by: Kevin at November 15, 2010 6:51 PM

Nice. And I agree on most counts. Although really I think the music being played in the Milwaukee video encourages destructive behavior. Which is a boon to the video. On some level you really WANT the radio to stop, working, now so that terrible crap will mercifully stop assaulting your ears. Otherwise I agree on all counts.

Independent tests could include a true tool vs. tool contest. i.e. Stanley Fubar III vs. Bosch radio. Granted the Bosch isn't going to destroy the Fubar but you get the idea.

Maybe a few more "real world" tests. i.e. Knocking down a concrete block wall. "Oops forgot to move the radio, drill/driver, saw." **CRUNCH**

If you want medieval war machines there are a number to choose from. Ballista, catapult etc... any of which could do some serious damage, sounds like fun!

Posted by: Ethan at November 15, 2010 10:47 AM

This might be the greatest thing I have ever read on the Internet.

Posted by: Jake at November 15, 2010 8:22 AM
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