October 21, 2009

Campbell Hausfeld WL6701 26-Gallon Compressor - Review

CH_compressor.jpgCampbell 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.

CH_compressor_2.jpgCH_compressor_switch.jpg

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.

CH_compressor_3.jpgThe 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.

CH_compressor_1.jpgWe 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)

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

July 30, 2009

Campbell Hausfeld Angled Finish Nailer - Review

CH_nailer.jpgCampbell 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")

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 20, 2009

Bosch Finish and Trim Nailers Available

bosch_angled_finish_nailer.jpgWay 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)

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

June 16, 2009

Duo-Fast DF350S Framing Gun - Review

df_350s.jpgDuo-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.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

June 10, 2009

Paslode Unveils New Website

Paslode_Logo.jpgPaslode 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.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 22, 2009

Campbell Hausfeld Nail Guns

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It looks like Campbell Hausfeld is revamping their line of nail guns with the release of three new pneumatic weapons. The guns have a number of interesting features, which appear to gear them towards the DIY set. The price is also going to be a bit lower than the pro crowd, which is always nice.

There are three guns in this release; a 34 degree framing gun, an 15-gauge angled finish nailer, and an 18-gauge brad nailer. The three guns have a new streamlined look which is a nice departure from the blocky primary blue of past CH guns. As far as features go, there are a number that have essentially become standard on today's guns like an adjustable exhaust, dry fire lock out, and easy access to a jammed nail. But the CH guns have quite a bit that we've never seen before. These new features include a little laser point to indicate nail location, a low nail indicator light, and a tethered no mar tip. But the boldest of these new features has to be the built-in stud finder on the finish nailer. One other thing that is worth mentioning is that the CH guns all come with a swiveling male plug. Sure, it's a small touch, but to us it's an essential (and smart) one. Why swiveling plugs aren't on every gun made is beyond us.

Like we mentioned earlier, the guns look like they're geared toward the DIYers. Most carpenters we know still scoff at using a laser with a miter saw, so we can't imagine the eye rolling we'd see in this case. But if you're not using nail guns everyday, we can think of some situations where the laser could be helpful. And as for the built-in stud finder, it initially strikes us as a tool trying to do too much, but when we get down to it, we realize that if it works, it could save a lot of time and anguish. And when we hop in the time capsule, we can envision a world 10 years in the future where all finish nailers come with some sort of stud finder on them. Who knows, maybe this is the initial stage of a technology that will catch on.

The pricing on these tools is just where you'd expect, pretty much one 'level' below the pro tools. The framer will be about $200, the 15 gauge about $140, and the 18 gauge around $90. These prices sound reasonable to us.

The tools will be available in early June at select retailers (CPO, Air Compressors Direct), but it's our guess that we'll also start seeing them at Amazon as well as the box stores.

There's plenty more information on the guns at CHnailers.com, which, by the way, is one of the nicer micro-sites that we've seen in a while.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 20, 2009

Bosch Full Force Pneumatic Nail Guns

bosch_fullforce.jpg

If the tool industry was an above ground pool, last week Bosch was the 300 pound man cannonballing into the center of it. While the company is doing a lot that is impressive, the waves and splashes mostly emanate from the release of their new line of pneumatic tools.

This is a wonderfully aggressive move for a couple of reasons. First, until now, Bosch hasn't shown any interest at all in the pneumatic category, seemingly content to leave that arena to Hitachi, Paslode, Bostitich, Senco and all of the other companies known for their quality air tools. Secondly, because they're bosch, they're not going to simply release a line of tools that is equal to or even slightly above the competition, they felt the need to throw the long ball and redesign the category from the ground up.

The chief advancement of the new Bosch nailers has to do with something as seemingly boring as resetting the nailing piston. If you take a look at the framing gun you have out in the garage, the first thing you'll notice is how bulbous the body is. This is because when you pull the trigger the firing piston not only shoots the nail, but it also directs some of the air into something called a 'return chamber,' which then becomes pressurized and causes the piston to reset. Bosch and their engineering mentats saw a way to remove this return chamber completely by having the release of the trigger set off a second, smaller blast of air that does the job of resetting the piston. The two chief benefits of this development are 1) air is no longer wasted in the return chamber resulting in a stronger gun (10%, according to Bosch) and 2) without the added bulk of the return chamber, the guns can be slimmed down considerably (20% smaller, according to Bosch).

We were lucky enough to get our hands on these new nail guns and we have to admit that they are very impressive. The majority of the size reduction seemed to have taken place in the width of the tools, giving the line a very sleek and streamlined feel. And from what little we got to test them out, we really liked what we saw in the power department.

Bosch is leading off the line with the release of two framers, one full head and one clipped head. May will see the release of two wheelbarrow compressors, and the rest of the current lineup will hit in July; an angled finish nailer, a straight finish nailer, a coil roofing nailer, a narrow crown stapler, a brad nailer, and three hand-carry compressors. Our guess is that it won't be long before we see a 23-gauge pinner as well.

Now how about price? The Full Force guns are hitting the market as top of the line items and therefore aren't exactly being given away. As a reference point, Amazon looks like it will be selling Bosch's 15-gauge angle finish nailer for about $225. The Senco and Porter-Cable, both quite high end are going for just a hair less than $200. Most other models average out to a price of about $150-$170. So the Bosch are definitely more expensive, but it all comes down to that crucial cost/save analysis. From what we saw (and felt) of these tools, $25, $35, $65 isn't a whole lot of additional investment for what you're getting in return.

Like we said earlier, it's a bold move by Bosch and one we suspect will pay off in the long run.

Bosch Full Force Pneumatics at Amazon.com

Here's a video we found that does a nice job of describing how Bosch removed the air chamber...

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 17, 2009

Bosch Did What?

Here's something to chew on over the weekend. More to come soon...

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bosch_finish_nailer.jpg

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 16, 2009

Cadex CB18.50 Brad Gun - Review

cadex_brad.jpgAnyone who is even the most casual reader of this site it likely to know that we're slobbering idiots when it comes to Cadex's CPB 23.50 23 gauge pinner (our review is here). It has always been our opinion that it's just one of the finest tools we've ever used. That said, we were obviously interested when we discovered that Cadex just released a brad gun called the CB 18.50, and that it is equipped with a lot of the same features that made the 23.50 so successful. We were lucky enough to get our hands on one to try out and try it out we did.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 16, 2009

Tiger Claw Deck Fastener Gun

tiger_claw_gun.jpgHidden 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.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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