September 14, 2010
A while back, DAP sent us a tube of their new EnergySaver Air Leak & Gap Sealant. It's been sitting on the desk for a while because, well, who cares about sealing their house in the middle of July? Not us, we've got mowing to do. But the seasons do change and here we are. So last week we cut open the tube, prepped a few window casings, and checked out the label to see if there are any specific instructions that go along with the product. Which is exactly where problems started...
Continue reading: "DAP EnergySaver High Performance Air Leak & Gap Sealant - Review"
September 9, 2010
So as not to use the name of Irwin's competitor in the review, we'll use advanced subterfuge techniques which will ensure that you'll have no idea who we're talking about. You'll basically need a Navajo code-talker to figure it out.
Although they're technically called tongue and groove pliers or groove joint pliers, they're really only known as Channell*cks and if you consider yourself even remotely handy, you've got to have a pair. They're useful for their ability to grab, clamp, twist, pull, and grip just about anything. The unique opening and closing of the jaw lets a fairly small tool grip on to things that are up to 3 inches wide.
Recently, Irwin has made an alteration to the classic design. Their new version is called the GrooveLock and the jaw adjustment is now done, not by opening the jaws all the way and sliding the lower jaw up, but rather with a little release button at the hinge of the tool. Just press the button and slide the jaw. They sent us a few samples so that we could try them out.
To the user this new button method means a few things:
Continue reading: "Irwin GrooveLock Pliers - Review"
September 7, 2010
First off, we need to thank the people at Duo-Fast. They not only sent us this gun to review, but they sent it in, like, February or something. A loooong time ago. They've been very patient while we've had it and not once sent out a 'wtf?' email. There is only one to-be-reviewed item that we've had longer (and that one we've had for about three years). We're a bit embarrassed that it took us eight months to get this one out, but it's amazing that when you're looking for a siding project, siding projects are hard to find....but anyway...
Continue reading: "Duo-Fast DF225C Coil Siding Nailer - Review"
August 26, 2010
A while back we got an email from a reader who was so enthusiastic (or possibly coked up) over a tool that we felt compelled to contact the manufacturer for more information. The tool is the MegaPro 13-in-1 Ratcheting Screwdriver and this is what reader David had to say:
Continue reading: "Megapro 13-in-1 Ratcheting Screwdriver - Review"
August 25, 2010
Continue reading: "Milwaukee Fastback Flip Open Utility Knife - Review"
As part of their steadily growing line of hand tools, Milwaukee recently released two new utility knives, the light and lean Fastback and a larger, submarine-style slider. Since, for years, we've been in a pathetic and forever-failing pursuit of the perfect utility knife, we were thrilled when Milwaukee sent us a Fastback to try out. Would it meet our apparently 'too-high-for-the-industry' standards and be the knife of our dreams? Or would it prove once again that the perfect knife is one made of unicorn horns and dragon scales?
August 11, 2010
Last year, Bosch got into the pneumatic game with a lot of fanfare, most of it centered around something they called Full-Force Technology. In a normal pneumatic gun, a portion of the air blast enters a reserve chamber and is used to reset the firing pin. Bosch removed these chambers and figured out a way to create an entirely separate second blast of air in order to do the dirty work of pin resetting. Without these chambers, a lot of bulk could be removed from their guns, and without a portion of the air used to reset the firing pin, the guns could be more powerful, 10% according to Bosch.
Well they recently sent us the BNS200 brad gun to check out and we put it to the test, first in regular use and then in the shop. In this second setting we directly compared it to two other solid guns that we have; our old reliable Porter-Cable and the gold standard of brad guns, the Cadex 18.50.
Continue reading: "Bosch BNS200-18 Brad Nailer - Review"
August 6, 2010
Continue reading: "Worx GT 24-Volt Trimmer - Review"
If you read the site, you know that we've recently had some big problems with a variety of string trimmers. The end result is that we're now cutting a good part of the tall grass out in the field by hand (for the rest, we got our pal with a field mower to stop by). So that's all fine and dandy, but what about the little stuff that grows around the well head and the flower beds? Since it's assumed that Mrs. Tool Snob would not be thrilled to see a scythe slashing away at the grass around her heirloom roses, we need another option. Thankfully, Worx recently sent us one of their new 24-volt trimmers to try out. We were hoping that it would solve our problem. So for the past few months we've been spending some QT with the tool and we've come to our conclusions.
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"
July 13, 2010
Last week we reviewed Swason's new Lightning Level which turned out to be a pretty nice tool. Just press a button and the vials light up. That one is available in 24" and 48" lengths, which in our opinion are two of the three essential level sizes. But what about the third, the torpedo level? They're too small to house batteries and a torpedo level with LEDs seems a bit like overkill. So do these little levels stay sadly unlit?
Not so says Johnson Level and Tool with the release of their new Glo-View Torpedo Level. This one doesn't have any LEDs to light up the vials, but rather it...wait for it...wait for it...wait for it...glows! Whoa.
Like most torpedoes, the Glo-View has three vials; a level, a plumb, and a 45 degree. It has an aluminum housing and one of the long sides has a v-groove to make it easier to hold it against a pipe. The other side has three magnets on it so you can stick it to a metal stud or whatever. We're not going to get into our thoughts on magnetized levels again, but if you're interested, we spent a paragraph on it here.
The glow feature is nice and subtle. In fact, if someone just handed you the level during the day, it's likely you wouldn't even realize the level had any special ability. The glowing things works like any glow-in-the-dark toy you had when you were little; hold it by the light and let it charge up, and then you've got enough glow-mojo (glojo?) to last you a little while, at least long enough to worm your way into the crawlspace and solder a few pipes.
The Glo-View Torpedo runs for just over $15, which puts it in right in the mid-range for torpedo levels, so it's not like you're paying an extra $30 for the glowing ability.
Johnson has incorporated their Glo-View into their line of box levels, so the feature is available 24", 48", 72", and 96" lengths as well. It's a good alternative to the Swanson LED levels if you're interested in having the vials lit, but you're still a little dodgy about having a level with a light switch on it.
July 9, 2010
Previous to them sending us their new Lightning Level to review, the only contact we had ever had from Swanson was the legal document that their lawyers dropped on us demanding that we stop using the term 'Speed Square' in a generic sense. As it turns out, the only acceptable way to refer to the tool is by saying in its entirety: "SPEED® Square, a registered trademark of Swanson Tool Co., Inc." so if you see anyone else out there who doesn't take the time to write out that entire ridiculous statement, please contact Swanson and let them know that there's some serious trademark violation going on. The whole episode was very irritating and entirely unnecessary...they could have just asked. We hope that those lawyers charged them a lot of money. Due to their heavy-handed approach to the matter, we decided we would rather drink wood glue than aid in the publicity of any of their tools. We created a blacklist and we put them on it. It was the least we could do. We're deeply Irish and capable of holding a mega-grudge.
But, our policy is to review everything that shows up on the doorstep, so we suppressed the battle-axe wielding tribal Irish chieftain who lives in our head (he's in charge of long-term animosities), and carried on with the review of the Swanson's Lightning Level.
So what exactly is it? Well, it's a level with a little LED light at each vial. To operate it, just press the button that is at one end of the level and the lights go on. Press it again and they go off. If you forget to press it again, it goes off by itself in ten minutes.
The level has two plumb vials and one level vial, rubber bumpers at each end (and, at one end, the dual AAA battery compartment), and rubber grips. Both edges have v-grooves for things like pipes and on the model we tested, one side (the side uninterrupted by the level vial), is magnetized.
Thankfully, Swanson has a non-magnetized version available. We sit the fence on the whole magnetic level thing. While there are circumstances when it comes in handy, most of the time we find it to be a nuisance. Once the magnets collect a few metal shavings, which is inevitable, they become VERY dangerous to finished surfaces. It seems to be a matter of personal preference, and ours is to usually pass on them.
And what do we think about the lighted vials? We actually like them and Swanson did a nice execution with the tool. Thankfully, it's not a level with some additional contraption built off the side that lights the vials up, but rather it's a cleanly integrated system. It's not like you feel compelled to always use the lights, but they're there if you need them. It's a level that happens to have lights, not lights that happen to have a level.
And we found the feature to be useful in all the usual places; closets, basements, and job sites (especially when you're only relying on a string of junky temp lights). We also feel the need to note that the pictures we took don't accurately represent the lights. In reality, it's a nice soft glow that lights up the vial, not the Tron special effect that our camera is capable of showing.
So is it a necessary feature that should be included on all levels? We don't think so. Is it handy to have from time to time? Definitely.
The Lightning Level is available in both 24" and 48" lengths and goes for about $45 and $65 respectively (add about $10 for the magnetized version).