February 28, 2011

Ridgid MobilAir Tri-Stack 5-Gallon Compressor - Review

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The Ridgid Tri-Stack Compressor really impressed the hell out of us when we first heard about it a few months ago. It's a 5-gallon compressor that splits apart into two smaller units that can be used all sorts of ways. But seeing something on the internet or reading a press release about it is very different from actually using one first hand. So Ridgid sent us one to test out for ourselves. Since about mid-December we've had one that we've used around the shop, in the house, and on a bunch of other projects we've got going on. Does it still impress us? Read on....

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

February 25, 2011

Johnson Glo-View Heavy Duty 48" Aluminum Box Level - Review

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We've always found that of all the levels, a four footer is the most useful. It's long enough to deal with framing and it can also handle most trim applications as well. The shorties are too little for twisted and crooked studs, and the six footer is a bear to deal with on the horizontal. So when we leave the shop, it's usually with our four foot Stabila, the level that we hold head and shoulders above all others. But Johnson recently sent us their new four foot box-beam level so, for a few projects, we used that one instead. Here's what we thought....

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

February 23, 2011

I-Mark 16' Tape Measure - Review

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This one is kinda strange, but also kinda cool. It's a 'pencil-free' tape measure. Just pull out the tape and line up your measurement to the little red arrows at the mouth of the tape, lock it, and press the tape into your workpiece. On the underside of the tape is a little stamp that marks out a line. Like we said, kinda strange, but kinda cool.

I-Mark sent us one a while back and we've been using it off and on. The erratic use of it has come, not because we've forgotten about it, but because getting us to use a tape measure differently from the way we've always used one is like trying to get us to hold a fork in a new way. It's a lot to ask, breaking a habit like that.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

February 22, 2011

Makita LCT208W 12-Volt Combo Kit (Driver and Circ Saw) - Review

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UPDATE: The mini circ saw is now available as a stand alone, with two batteries and a charger. Makita's page is here and it's available at Amazon.com here.

Anyone who was on a jobsite in the 90s is probably familiar with the 9.6 volt circ saw that Makita used to manufacture. You know, the one with the long, skinny handle. Yeah, that one. Well, it's taken a while, but they've finally updated it for their new 12-volt platform (they've bundled it with one of their 12-volt drivers). They shipped us a kit to test out and for the past month, we've been driving it like a stolen car and here are our conclusions.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

February 4, 2011

Johnson Tiling & Flooring Laser Level - Review

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Tiling is all about layout and once you get used to spotting bad tile layout, public bathrooms become even worse places than they already are. How could someone leave a 3/4" wide tile at one corner and a 4" tile at the other? Auuugh...the horror.

So anyway, Johnson Level & Tool recently sent us a nifty little item called the Tiling and Flooring Laser Level. Unfortunately, we don't have any tiling jobs coming up, but we are in the process of laying out some wall to wall bookshelves and so we utilized the laser for that project.

The tool basically projects two lines at a right angle. The unit is marked with degrees (sort of like a rafter square) and it has standard and metric measurements along the short sides. These latter marks were nice because we could position the laser against an inside corner and check for square using the measurements as offsets (5-1/16"). It also projects the laser lines a solid 1-1/4" off the floor, so you don't have to worry about the lines getting blocked as you're laying down thick tile.

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In a short time we've come to think that calling this a Tiling and Flooring laser sells it a bit short. We'd suggest maybe going with "Right Angle Layout Level" or something like that. This tool will no doubt be a help to anyone laying tile, but also to anyone marking out a 90 degree corner of anything, whether it's a stud wall or (like we were doing) a set of shelves. It was great to be able to finalize our corner location and know where both walls of shelving would end up. Without the laser, it would have been a pretty tedious process.

One thing that did bother us about the laser is that the battery case doesn't stay on all that well. On a bunch of occasions, we would grab the body of the laser and the little black lid would fly off. There is also no easy way to use the tool on the vertical, like for a tiling job in a shower or something similar.

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If you're a DIYer embarking on a tile job and you've invested all this money in tile and supplies, the $40 spent on this tool will go a long way to ensure that the results will look good. Also if you do a lot of non-tile layout, you might want to consider this as well. It sure took time off of our project.

The Tiling and Flooring Laser Level comes with batteries and a case.

At Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

January 28, 2011

Ryobi Tek4 Cordless Inspection Scope - Review

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In just a few short years, inspection scopes have gone from, "only the specialists have them" to "my mom's got like three of these things." Actually, that's not true, we're not there yet, but we're getting there. And with its big box store availability and nice price, the Ryobi Cordless Inspection Scope, powered by their 4-volt Tek4 battery gives a solid push in that direction. Ryobi sent us one to check out and after using it for about a month in a variety of settings, here we are writing the review...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (6) | social bookmarking

January 26, 2011

Porter-Cable PC1500HG Heat Gun - Review

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A heat gun is one of those tools that you're probably not going to carry around with you in your truck, but when you need one, man o man are they ever handy. Recently, Porter-Cable sent us their new model to test out and review. We only used it a few times in the fall, but now that it's winter we're finding all kinds of things to do with it. We also did a few head to head lab tests against our old Kawasaki heat gun (reviewed here). Read on to see what we thought...

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

January 24, 2011

i-Drill 2i-Drill Review

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There's a new 12-volt platform on the block and it's from a company called i-Drill. They were nice enough to send us one of their new 2-Speed Drills to review.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

January 21, 2011

Bagster - Review

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An inevitable byproduct of tinkering around on your house is something known in English as 'trash.' Scraps of sheet rock, cut-offs, demo'd materials, etc. For the big jobs, you go and get a dumpster, for the small ones, you cut everything up into small pieces and use contractor bags. But what about those mid-sized projects like a big set of built-ins or relocating a wall? The answer used to be: "find a friend with a pickup truck who lives in a town with a lax dump policy," but now, the answer may very well be, 'get a Bagster." Waste Management, who runs the Bagster program, was nice enough to let us fill one up for a review and here's what we found...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (7) | social bookmarking

January 19, 2011

Troy-Bilt Storm 3090 XP Snow Thrower - Review

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We live up in the northeast and have had a lot of experience with snow blowers (we call them snow blowers not snow throwers, maybe it's a regional thing), but our all-time favorite machine was a 30" Troy-Bilt that we sold with our last house. The thing was a monster and if the driveway wasn't so steep and deadly and the snow blower a necessity of sale, we would have kept it forever.

Tool Snob's current HQ has a long driveway and a number of parking areas and last winter we used a snow blower that was donated by FiLoTS (Father in-law of Tool Snob). It was an old Toro (we think) and it's meant for clearing out small driveways and short walkways, not 300 feet of gravel driveway. While the machine was functional, it was also frustrating. Once you've tasted the high-life of the 30", it's tough to go back. Every time we started it up we would pine for our old Troy-Bilt.

So we were pretty excited when Troy-Bilt offered to let us try out their new 3090 XP Snow Thrower. As it turns out it's the updated version of our old stand-by. We've now had it through three big storms, each consisting of over 12" of snow, and we've spent a total of about 7 hours behind the machine. We've now come to our conclusions...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

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