December 15, 2010

Campbell Hausfeld Home Improvement Project Kit (FP260097) - Review

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Campbell Hausfeld has started bundling little 1-gallon compressors with various tool sets, specific to particular DIY audiences. They've got a Home Decor kit well-suited for the artsy craftsies, a Home Maintenance kit which seems to center around drain cleaning and putty spreading, and finally, a Home Improvement kit, which is the one that interests us the most as it's created around carpentry tasks. Campbell Hausfeld was nice enough to box one up and send it our way so that we could check it out.

ch_hik_bag.JPGIncluded with the kit is the little compressor, a pneumatic brad/stapler, a pneumatic caulking gun, a few air hose attachments, and a pouch full of hand tools.

So what are the hand tools like? Well, it's a bit of a mixed bag. The rafter square looks like it would last about 22 second on a job site, but the pry bar looks as good as any we've seen. The utility knife is really basic; the level works fine, but is plastic; and the 5-in-1 looks good.

The brad gun has a nice feel to it and it's only the non-bumpered nose that bums us out. It's the kind of nose that's going to dent the workpiece no matter what you do. But other than that, it's a fine gun. It shoots both brad nails and crown staples.

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It was actually the caulking gun that we liked the most (and trust us, we were pretty doubtful). We put in a tube of cold Liquid Nail and it didn't have any problems getting some to squeeze out as if it were 90 degrees out.

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But let's cut to the chase here. This kit isn't about the subtleties of the tools, it isn't about how ergonomic the handles are, it's about value. It's about bang for the buck. And the bottom line here is that it's a lot of bang, for a-lot-less-than-what-you'd-expect buck. The CH Home Improvement Kit costs about $140 which is pretty nice for all of this in one box.

We think that really anyone would be happy with this kit. It would be good not only for the first time DIYer, but also the carpenter looking for a quick and easy set-up for punch list tasks (after throwing out the rafter square, of course). Or better yet, for the young carpenter who is looking to get some tools, but might not have the cash just yet to get the really aggressive stuff.

At the moment, there is no online availability for the kit, but if you're interested, call 1-888-CHPower (247 6937)

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

December 3, 2010

PowerSharp Chainsaw Sharpening System - Review

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Have you ever sharpened a chainsaw by hand?

It blows. It really does.

It's time consuming, tedious, and we always seem to end up with bloody knuckles by the time we're through. There's the alternative of bringing the chain to the hardware store and having them sharpen it, but who wants to deal with that? So now there is a third option: the PowerSharp Chainsaw Sharpening System. Its maker, Oregon was nice enough to send us a sample to try out. In order to test it, we first had to dull the chain, and to do that, we did horrible, horrible things to our chainsaw. Things that went against everything we believe...

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

November 29, 2010

Bosch GCM12SD 12-Inch Axial Glide Miter Saw - Review

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If there ever was a tool that sucked the oxygen out of the room, it's the Bosch Axial Glide Miter Saw. It's crazy, but everyone is talking about it. Even our non-tool friends are asking, 'hey have you seen that saw with the Bionicle arms?" Until recently, we had actually only seen it on paper. A number of frustrating experiences at the airport prohibited us from making our flights out to Bosch for the unveiling of the tool (we tried twice), so it was just a couple weeks ago, when Bosch nicely packed one up and sent it our way, that we got to see the tool in person and give it a good once over.

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

November 24, 2010

Porter-Cable 560 Quik Jig Pocket Hole Joinery System - Review

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Pocket hole jigs are an easy way to make a nice, tight, glue-free joint. It's basically a jig for pre-drilling the hole for a low-angled toe-screw and it's good for cabinet work, built-ins, saw jigs, all sorts of butt-joint stuff. There hasn't been a whole lot of innovation to the category since Kreg developed their Master Kit, which has since become the standard.

Well, Porter-Cable obviously wasn't satisfied with the current technology, so they've gone and developed something they call the 560 Quik Jig and after reading the initial press release, we did a round of high-fives when we got word that they agreed to box one up and sent it our way for reviewing purposes.

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

November 8, 2010

Skil 3600-02 Flooring Saw - Review

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It's always nice when a tool company releases something that we've never seen before. And that's exactly what Skil has done with their unique flooring saw (unique, that is, until Ryobi recently released an identical tool, our thoughts on that one here).

The point of the flooring saw is that it tries to be a one-stop tool for your flooring needs. In order to do that it needs combines two functions; cross-cutting a la miter saw and ripping a la table saw. Because flooring material is relatively thin and rarely gets any thicker than 3/4", the design of the Flooring Saw can be a miniaturized affair. No need to slice up a 2x4 here.

Skil was nice enough to send a sample our way and for over a month we've been using it, and not just on flooring either. Read on...

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

October 26, 2010

Husqvarna 576 XP AutoTune Chainsaw - Review

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So what does a $1,000 chainsaw look like?

Um...this.

We're not kidding. This thing will set you back a grand. Well actually $909.95, but once you breach the $800 mark, who really cares? This is the Husqvarna 576 AutoTune Chainsaw. Is the engine block made of solid gold? Does it use liquefied silver for the chain lube? What gives? Why the sky-high sticker price?

When we first found out that Husqvarna was going to send us one of these saws to review, we danced around the shop in a very un-logger like fashion. We (obviously) like using tools, and we love using good tools, but when we get the chance to use an elite tool, it's a particular thrill. And at $1000, this one reeked of wonderful, pure, sugary elitism.

So what's the mystery of the Midas saw? We found out. Read on....

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

October 25, 2010

Rockwell JawStand - Review

Rockwell_jawstand.jpgWe're total junkies for the Rockwell JawHorse. In the past couple years it's become the single tool that we use all the time for everything. Since we first got hooked, it's been on every gift guide that we've put together and we don't see any reason why it won't be on every one we do from here on out. Essentially, we're not going to let up until every house in the country has one.

So it's no surprise that we got all numb in the head when we heard that Rockwell was releasing another clamping stand, this one smaller and more compact than the JawHorse. From the looks of it, we took the JawStand as a calmer, gentler brother to the larger tool; a version of the JawHorse that you'd introduce to your parents, as opposed to having it sit out in the car with the engine running. Rockwell agreed to send us one to check out and for almost two months, we've been using it (a lot). It's pretty cool, but....

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

October 21, 2010

Craftsman NEXTEC 12-Volt Right Angle Impact Driver - Review

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Thus far, we've been pleasantly surprised with Craftsman's 12-volt line, particularly their cordless oscillating tool. A couple weeks ago, we got word that they released a right angle impact driver and when they offered to box one up for us and send it on for a review, we happily agreed.

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

October 15, 2010

Fein WSG 10-115 T Tip Start 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder - Review

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You want bizarre?

We'll show you bizarre.

Fein, a company known to most of us as the originators of the MultiMaster also makes a load of other tools, grinders included. They've also recently come up with the freakiest switch system that we've ever seen on a power tool. It's called the Tip Start and, really, why bother with switches when you can turn on the tool just by touching it? They sent us one to check out and we happily did....

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

October 14, 2010

MasterForce 18-Volt Bandsaw - Review

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We've used bandsaws on a variety of job sites, but its always been on metal, so we sort of mentally anchored the tool to that material. Now, after having the MasterForce cordless bandsaw just kicking around the shop for about two months, we can say that the bandsaw is a far more versatile tool than we gave it credit for. In fact, it's sort of our new best friend.

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

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