August 10, 2010
My latest article for Popular Mechanics was posted up yesterday. In this one, I compared the various fuel types available for cordless finish guns. In other words I pitted the DeWalt against the Paslode against the Senco Fusion. As a control, I also threw in the Bosch pneumatic. A few of the test results are pretty surprising, so if you're into finish guns or if you're even just part of the tech crowd, it might be worth a look see.
Read the article here.
July 20, 2010
There's been a lot of buzz around the Senco Fusion. And if you're to believe what Senco has been saying about it, there should be. To give it all some context, you need to know that, to date, the technology behind cordless finish guns seems, well, incomplete. There are the gas powered guns, which take a battery and a removable gas cartridge, but they smell terrible and have the added expense of replacing the gas cartridge. Then there are the nailers powered by a flywheel motor, which have solved the dual fuel problem (as well as the odor), but are lacking in power, particularly when dealing with hardwoods. So there are options out there, but you're getting yourself into a tradeoff; sure I don't have a compressor or hoses, but I've got a smelly gas cartridge or I've got a gun that has some difficulty with mahogany. There isn't any ideal situation out there.
So the Senco Fusion seeks to fill this gap and combine the best of both arenas. Its goal is to fuse the manueverability of the cordless gun with the power of the traditional pneumatic nailer. And how does it attempt to do this, you ask?
Continue reading: "Senco Fusion F-15 Cordless Finish Nailer - Review"
June 22, 2010
Paslode, a company that makes nail guns and only nail guns, has recently released a new Positive Placement Nailer (PPN). If you don't know what a PPN is, it looks like a miniature framing gun, but it has a way to pinpoint the location of the nail. On other brands, this is done with the tip of the nail sticking proud out of the nose, but Paslode does this with a little metal beak. So you just press the beak where you want the nail and pull the trigger. With this in mind PPNs are created specifically for nailing off metal straps, joist hangers, hurricane ties, and other pieces of perforated metal. Paslode was nice enough to send a sample of the new nailer our way, so we happily tested it out.
First, a bit about this gun. The most significant change that Paslode has made is to reduce the gun to a single nail size (1-1/2"). It's the most common size for metal hangers and meets most code requirements. Because there is only one nail size, Paslode could minimize the width of the nail magazine and thus make it longer without sacrificing any weight. The Paslode can accept two full strips of nails meaning less pauses in the workday.
The feel of this tool is great and it looks like it can really take a beating, which is good, because we've seen how professional framers treat their tools. And even with the extended magazine, the gun is compact enough so there's no problem jamming it into joist bays and other tight spots (it's pictured below next to the Paslode framer).
We tested it in the shop with a ledgerboard mock-up and we also took it to work for some day to day action and the tool really performed well. If you've never used a PPN before, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to use and how fast it makes things go. And we're happy to note that the Paslode is powerful enough so that if you feel the hanger is light on nail holes, you can just blast additional nails right through the hanger.
Obviously, this is not a tool for Jimmy, the neighborhood DIY guy who wants to build a deck. He'd be wasting his money. But if you're part of a construction company or if you're just getting started in the business and you're still in the 'I'll build a deck for anyone' phase, this tool will pay for itself in no time.
The PF150S goes for the somewhat large price of $369 and is available at your local Paslode dealer. You can call Paslode direct if you can't find one). It's a lot to pay, but it's a really nice tool.
February 10, 2010
If you're unfamiliar with metal connector nailers, they're essentially nail guns for joist hanger nails. Obviously, they're not for the casual DIYer, or even the serious DIYer. They're for framing crews and construction sites. They differ from framing guns in that they're usually shorter (so they can fit in a joist bay) and the tip of the nail hangs out of the nose of the gun a little so you can place it in the joist hanger hole. Like we said, not everyone needs one, but if you've ever built a deck, you can quickly see the value of the tool.
Paslode has recently released a new version of their gun. This one is specifically designed for 1-1/2" nails, the most commonly used size. It also looks like it has an adjustable exhaust and the same aluminum housing that we saw on their framer. There's no word on price, but something like this is going to be at least $200.
Paslode even has an interesting calculator so you can see how much money you'd be saving with a metal connector nailer here.
November 25, 2009
To go along with their new air guns, Bosch is releasing five new compressors (three hand carry and two wheelbarrow). Like the guns, Bosch isn't content with releasing a generic old compressor with their logo on it, nope, they've got to get all 'advanced innovation' on us.
The new items have a few stand-out characteristics that separate them from the pack. First, the hand-carry models are twin tank units with the tanks positioned vertically. This allows for a more effective single drain system as well as a better center of gravity. As someone who routinely lugs a 4-gallon compressor over uneven ground and up staging ladders, I can attest that this is not an improvement to be ignored.
The wheelbarrow compressors also have the single drain as well as a redesigned handle so it's easier to wheel it around.
I had the opportunity to give these compressors a look over (in a non-work environment), and we liked what we saw. The weight distribution really does make it easier to carry and the drainage set-up is one of those, "you mean no one ever thought of that before" kind of things.
As for pricing, the hand-carry models are in the $300-$400 range and the wheelbarrow's are up around $1,100-$1,500. So like the Full Force guns, they're more expensive than the rest of what's out there, but when compared to other top brands, the difference isn't all that great.
There's more information at the Bosch website here, and if you're interested in more nitty-gritty information on the compressors, the press release is after the jump.
The Bosch compressors are available at Amazon.com.
Continue reading: "Bosch Full Force Compressors"
October 21, 2009
Campbell Hausfeld is in the process of releasing a full line of pneumatics for the DIYer. Among the items are a finish gun (our review here), a framing gun, and a brad gun. Since you need a compressor to operate all of these tools, it makes sense that they're going to be releasing some of those as well. Turns out that in their new line, they've got two 8-gallon models and a mondo 26-gallon model which comes complete with some extra goodies for the DIYer. It's this last one that we were lucky enough to test out, courtesy of the fine folks at CH.
First off, the usability is great. the knobs are all easy to use and are very well marked. The on switch is a bright red foot pedal, so even if you've been drinking heavily you won't be missing it. The compressor also comes with a handle and a cool three wheeled bottom which makes it very easy to move even over the uneven and cracked cement floor of our shop. The whole package sort of reminded us of the robot from Lost in Space.
Usually, compressor space is dead space for anything else, but CH has thought this through and flattened the top of the unit. It's specifically designed to hold other CH air tools, but obviously you can really put anything there.
The compressor also has two different ports for hoses. One, lower down by the foot-operated on-switch, comes hardwired to a coil hose. At the business end of the coil hose is an air gun, and to make things easy, CH has supplied a number of different inflator tools to attach to the gun. So whether it's a car tire, a soccer ball or a bike tire, you've already got what you need. The coil hose is great too. It stretched from the garage all the way around the truck with no problem. After the first stretch, we lost some of the coil tightness, but that's no biggie. The second air port is up by the controls and is the standard female coupling you'd see on a regular compressor.
The most interesting aspect of the compressor is something called No Wait Inflation. What this means is that the coil hose fills with air first, so if you're just going to just top off the tires, you don't have to wait for the entire tank to fill (which takes a while). Because we're so busy lately, we've become pretty impatient, so this feature is a great addition in our eyes.
We were floating around Amazon the other day and saw that someone had written a review of the compressor giving it only one star. They said it was loud and that it took forever to fill. Sounds to us like they just described every compressor we've ever used. It's no question though, the CH compressor doesn't fill up in record time, but it's 26-gallons of compressed air. What do you expect? And if you can't wait, there's the recoil hose. That's sort of why it's there in the first place. If you're going to use the tank for a pneumatic gun, just get the compressor started first and by the time you're set up, you're good to go. Or be like everyone else and never drain the thing.
The bottom line is that this would be a nice compressor for anyone who is looking to bring their home workshop to the next level. It costs about $350 so it's a bit of an investment, but it's less expensive than other compressors of similar size and it comes with a number of useful attachments so you can get right to using it. Also the No Wait Inflation is great in a pinch.
More information at CHCompressors.com
At Lowes ($339) and Amazon.com ($459)
July 30, 2009
Campbell Hausfeld is out with a new line of pneumatics (www.chnailers.com/)that are specifically designed for the casual user. We recently got a chance to test out their new Angled Finish Nailer and check out all the interesting new features.
First off, we have to give CH some serious applause for including an instruction manual that's actually helpful. Like we said, this is a gun for the first time user and occasional DIYer and that's someone who is likely going to need a quick primer on compressors and guns. The instructions are nicely laid out, easily referenced, and very helpful to someone who's trying to understand how their first nail gun works. Thankfully, it has no resemblance to the generic 'manual' that comes with most other tools ('make sure to wear eye protection...etc")
Continue reading: "Campbell Hausfeld Angled Finish Nailer - Review"
July 20, 2009
Way back in late April, we told you about Bosch's new line of pneumatics. Upon announcement of the line, they only released the framing guns, probably because they were worried about flooding the market with too much awesome at once. Well, the first wave has passed and they're now releasing the four finish guns; the angled finish nailer, the straight finish nailer, the brad nailer, and the crown stapler.
We tried all of these out when we visited Bosch HQ and were quite impressed with them. They're all equipped with Full-Force Technology, which boils down to less wasted air, more powerful nail drives and a smaller gun. For more information on FFT and the rest of the line, check out our earlier post on the subject.
FNA250-15: 15-gauge angled finish nailer at Amazon.com ($390)
FNA250-16: 16-gauge straight finish nailer at Amazon.com ($335)
BNS200-18: 18-gauge brad nailer at Amazon.com ($120)
STN150-18: 18-gauge finish stapler at Amazon.com ($125)
June 16, 2009
Duo-Fast has recently released a new framing nailer to the market. The body of which bears a striking resemblance to the latest Paslode framer (our review here). Paslode and Duo-Fast are both owned by the global company ITW so there is some serious cross-pollination going on. But still, with the similarities, there are some differences between the tools.
Continue reading: "Duo-Fast DF350S Framing Gun - Review"
June 10, 2009
Paslode has recently redesigned their website and anyone who ever tried to navigate around the old one knows how welcome this change is. There would be times when we would be looking for information on a tool and we'd simply have to give up. Seriously, it was like they were playing Space Invaders and all the other tool companies were playing Half-Life. But now, after the redesign, the site is really top notch; it's easy to navigate, there's a ton of information on the tools, and it just generally looks alive (as opposed to the old one which looked like it had been sprayed with Round Up). Three cheers for Paslode!
The site also has a blog as well as an invitation for you to become a member of the Advisory Board.
At the moment, you can even win a CF-325 Cordless Framer (our review here) if you help them name the blog.
Visit the site and experience the glory at Paslode.com
Check out our reviews of Paslode tools here.