All Reviews

November 4, 2014

Vampliers Pro - Review

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I have to admit that the name "Vampliers" was a little off-putting at first. It sort of sends the vibe of, "yeah, the tool doesn't have much going for it, so we gave it an interesting name." Turns out, that's not the case at all. The Vampliers are, in fact, a unique, useful and interesting variation of a set of linesman pliers. The fact that they're very well made only adds to the goodness.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

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October 17, 2014

Powerstrike Framing Hammer - Review

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The Powerstrike Framing Hammer is easily the strangest hammer I've ever seen. With it's exposed welds, its nuts and bolts vibe, and the hollow metal handle, there is nothing about it that says "normal operating procedure." They sent me a couple to check out and I've been pounding on them for at least a month now. They're great too, maybe not perfect, but really nice.

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

October 6, 2014

Irwin Vise-Grip Cutting Pliers - Review

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[I updated the piece with more info on the handles]

The other day Irwin sent over a sample of their new line of cutting pliers and man o man, are they nice. Really nice. They ain't cheap, but they're slick.

We first saw these a while back when Stu from ToolGuyd mentioned them, noting that they're manufactured by NWS. NWS is a German company and beyond the message board tool junkies, they don't have much presence in the US. Everything I've ever read about them has been positive but I've honestly never even held one of their tools until now. That apparently was a mistake.

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

August 26, 2014

Hart Quick-Tatch Trowel System - Review

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I'm no pro tile guy, but in my recent/current/never-ending renovation I've tiled four bathroom floors, two tub surrounds, a shower, a kitchen backsplash, and 500 sq/ft of basement floor. So I've come to understand a a decent amount about tiling. Of all this accumulated knowledge, one of the most annoying things I've learned is that trowels are very, very difficult to store.

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

August 19, 2014

Klein Coaxial Cable Cutter - Review

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Klein recently sent us a sample of their new Coaxial Cable Cutter and after taking it down to the basement and doing some serious slicing and dicing with our A/V wiring, we're pretty impressed with it, more than we were expecting to be.

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

June 20, 2014

Holdsabit - Review

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On-board bit storage on a drill is like cheese on a cracker (and I'm not entirely sure what I mean when I say that). I think the point is that it's kind of essential, or at least, if it's not there then it feels like something is lacking. But the bar here is set pretty low; even the best drills only come with room for maybe one or two 1" bits. This is alright, but if you're really getting into a project, it sure would be nice to have a spot to stick a bit for pre-drilling or to have room for four or five additional bits (P1, P2, P3, R1, R2, T15, etc). So yeah, wait a minute, here comes something called the Holdsabit. It actually looks like a one of those backpacks that you put on a dog for camping, but instead of holding Alpo and whiskey, it holds bits.

Holdsabit was nice enough to send us a sample to test out and we've been playing with it for a while now and have come to our conclusions.

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

February 12, 2014

Simple Scribe - Review

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We split our scribing needs between a set of dividers and whatever block of wood we have on hand. Honestly, unless we need to be precise to the 1/64th, we generally opt for a block of wood. This method may not carry with it the finesse of the dividers, but it provides a stable surface to hold the pencil against and it's very easy to keep the pencil tip in line with the scribed surface. Dividers are definitely more precise but if you accidentally shift the angle of your hand, things can go awry. The needle end can also get hung up on things from time to time and there's the potential for the adjustment to slip, especially if you're keeping them set for multiple scribes. On top of all this, they're delicate, so some caution has to be taken with their storage.

Well some smart dude recently took the wooden block idea and ramped it up to Ferrari status with something called the Simple Scribe. It's a very oddly-shaped tool that completely stabilizes the pencil and lets you choose between seven different scribe distances. About a month ago, they sent us one and while it may not fulfill 100% of our scribing needs, it handles most of them with ease. To the point where it has even secured a coveted spot in the toolbelt.

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

January 16, 2014

Bostitch BTC400LB 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Drill/Driver

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Update: Bostitch just informed us that the pricing on the drill should be $150 and not the $80 that Amazon is selling it for. Who knows what's going on over at Amazon, but they just bumped the price down another $10 and added "only one left in stock," so go on and get while the Gettins good.

Sooo...Bostitch is into power tools now. At the moment, they've got a basic line-up; Standard carpenter gear, nothing too fancy. Jigsaws, recips, circ saws type things. No routers or anything specialized. We were curious about the line-up and the quality level, so Bostitch was nice enough to send us one of the 18-volt drills to check out (the flagship tool of just about every product line).

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (5) | social bookmarking

January 14, 2014

Klein Compact Ratcheting Modular Crimper - Review

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Klein has really been stepping up their game lately. It seems like every week we're getting a new press release announcing a new tool or accessory. Most of them are geared toward the electrician but some, like their great line of tool bags, go beyond that into general interest.

In the category of "electrician's only," they recently hit the scene with a new Compact Ratcheting Modular Crimper. They sent us one to check out.

In the past, about 8 years ago, I used a crimper, exactly once. So, I really don't have much business writing a review of one. To get a sense of the tool, I spoke to my brother-in-law who is a bit of a wiring fanatic. He's constantly rewiring his house by himself. He recently had some Verizon guys there to install some stuff and he ended up taking over and doing the work himself.

But back to the crimper. Klein describes it as:


  • All inclusive tool cuts, strips and crimps data and voice cables.

  • Cuts and strips CAT6, CAT5e, CAT3 and flat-satin voice cables.

  • Crimps 6 and 8 position modular connectors (RJ11, RJ12, RJ45)

  • Compact, ergonomic design for natural, single-hand operation.

  • About 40% smaller than other crimpers for easy storage.

  • Heavy-duty ratchet ensures complete termination.

  • Quick reference connector wiring diagrams provided on the tool and downloadable to your mobile device.

  • Direct lateral crimp action provides more even, precise contact termination across all pins.

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Here's what the Bro-in-Law had to say...

"I have a separate toolbox for doing the electrical stuff around the house; rewire / replace plugs, switches etc., add new outlets, put in new / replacement lights etc. If I can find a Klein tool to do the job, I'll buy it. They tend to be expensive but worth the cost in the long run due to their durability and reliability. Making data and phone cables can be a painful process with the wrong crimper tool... I have a non-Klein crimp tool made by IDEAL that has a bit of a problem cutting the wire prior to crimping. I like the quick reference connector wiring diagrams that can be downloaded because I just don't do enough cables to remember the wiring off the top of my head (someone doing it every day would probably not need this feature). And the idea of a smaller crimp tool is great because my box is already stuffed. Cool that it does all the CAT types."

So yeah, there you go...now you know at least a little about the tool...and my brother-in-law...

It's a little over $30 at Amazon

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

December 16, 2013

3M Patch Plus Primer - Review

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If you read this site with any regularity, it probably means that you're sick of listening to me complain about painting. I cry and moan about it a lot and now that I'm painting my entire house, I've ratcheted up the ire quite a bit in the last few months. Well, 3M's new Patch Plus Primer is designed to skip a step in painting. They asked if I wanted to try some out and of course I said "oh yeah!" I've been using it for a few weeks and here's what I think...

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

December 2, 2013

Rockwell 4-1/2 Inch Circular Saw - Review

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Rockwell has just hit the scene with a little circular saw. 4-1/2-inch blade, to be exact. This is a good sized step down from the standard 7-1/4 or the increasingly popular 6-1/2 inch blades. These smaller trim saws aren't uncommon, but Rockwell decided to give theirs an "in-line" body style, as opposed to a traditional circular saw body. The result is that it looks like one of those "all-purpose" saws that claims to cut tile, stone, and wood. But given my experiences with those saws, I'm happy to report that this one is nothing like them and thankfully, is only geared towards wood. Rockwell sent us one to check out and here's what we thought...

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

November 21, 2013

Klein Multi-Bit Power Driver - Review

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Klein has a very distinctive style of screwdriver. It has a reversible shaft and at each end fits a reversible bit. Also, the hex ends (which are different sizes) can be used as nut drivers. Its a clever way to have multiple driver tips at quick disposal. We were happy to see that they've also released something called the Multi-Bit Power Driver. It's an accessory that takes that same concept and puts it on the end of your drill or impact driver. They have two sizes available; one holds five different drivers and the other six.

Klein was nice enough to send us a sample of each to check out and we pretty impressed with them. There's not a whole lot to say, really. They're easy to use, convenient, and, according to Klein, rated for impact guns.

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

November 18, 2013

Festool SysLite High-Intensity LED Work Lamp - Review

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A while back Festool released a little worklight, called the SysLite. They sent us one a looong time ago and we haven't gotten around to reviewing it until now. This is actually pretty strange. It's not like we've forgotten about the light. How could we? We use it for literally everything.

Most work lights don't offer much beyond, "here is the bulb and here is a swivel adjustment." Not so with the Festool. The SysLite is a whole different animal.

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

November 8, 2013

Rockler Koostik Kit - Review

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Couple weeks ago, we mentioned the Rockler Koostik kit. It looked like a cool little diy project for just about anyone. Rocker was kind enough to send us one to check out so we took a little time from the schedule and assembled it and this is what we think.

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

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