June 16, 2009
Duo-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.
Continue reading: "Duo-Fast DF350S Framing Gun - Review"
May 29, 2009
UPDATE: A second version of the Easy Chamfer has been released. Details on that model here.
We get sent some strange stuff to review, but the Easy Chamfer is by far the oddest. But odd doesn't mean bad, it just means, well, odd. The Easy Chamfer is a tool that fits on the end of a drill that allows you to chamfer the ends of a pvc pipe. And it looks sort of like a space station.
The Easy Chamfer is extremely well built and consists a base plate with two handles, three adjustable rollers, and a conical bit that fits into any drill. To operate the Easy Chamfer, you fit the rollers snug around your PVC piping and then activate the drill which spins the bit and plunge into the end of the pipe. At this point you just have to work the tool around the edge of the pipe, giving the end a nice chamfer.
The first thing we noticed about the Easy Chamfer is that it's not easy at all. In fact, it takes quite a bit of getting used to. We tested it out a number of times and it took quite a while before we even got close to the results in the video. Time and time again, our chamfers kept coming out uneven and with little shavings of Schedule 40 hanging off in every direction. After a while though, we started to get the hang of it and came up with a few acceptable chamfers. But still as difficult as it was to get used to the tool, it was still far, far easier and faster that chamfering with a file. And like we said, this is all initial difficulty, a byproduct of using a very unfamiliar tool. Spend a little time with the Easy Chamfer and you'll probably be like the guy in the video, minus the accent.
There is no question as to the item's durability. It's built to last; the body is made of thick metal plate and the rollers are of a very dense plastic. The spinning blade also has the look of a high-quality router blade.
This isn't a tool for the DIYer or even the residential carpenter. This is something for the industrial/commercial crowd, people who are putting down pipe after pipe after pipe. The price only reinforces the niche quality of the tool. The Easy Chamfer sells for around $200. It sounds like a lot of money, but like we always say, if it's something that you're going to use and it replaces a slow way of doing things, it's not going to take long before you make that money back.
There is a video of the Easy Chamfer here and more info on this unique tool at easychamfer.com
May 14, 2009
The other day we mentioned Popular Mechanics's list of the best items at this year's Hardware Show. If you clicked through the link like we suggested (and why wouldn't you have?) you would have seen that Gorilla's new 2-part epoxy made the cut. We recently received a sample of said epoxy and gave it a whirl to see if Gorilla was indeed one step closer to total world adhesive dominance.
It seems to be the case. It's a very nice glue and without any problems we were able to fix a small stone bird statue that had been broken by an apple (don't ask). The Epoxy mixed easily and as advertised made its initial set in five minutes. We also liked that the Epoxy had some body to it, so where there were shattered pieces of the statue that were too small to replace, we simply filled the gaps with the glue and did a quick faux painting job to finish it off (yes, it's paintable too). Aside from stone, the epoxy is compatible with wood, metal, ceramics, glass, plastic, brick and concrete.
We have used other 5-minute epoxies with mixed success. Our main complaint is that the glue becomes brittle over time. From what we understand, Gorilla has addressed this issue and added a certain degree of flexibility to their adhesive. While we're too impatient to wait a year to test out the brittleness of the statue bond before writing the review, after seeing the amazing successes of Gorilla's other products and how they've successfully backed up all of their other claims, we're going to take their word for it on this one. We'll keep an eye on the statue though and let you know the minute the glue fails (if it ever does.)
The Gorilla Epoxy sells for under five dollars.
April 29, 2009
Anyone who was reading this site back in December knows that we had a little power outage and anyone who has read the site since knows that we've made a career out of bitching about it (see here and here). Well why stop now? What follows is a review of a surge protector, which, admittedly is a bit outside of our area of expertise (and by 'a bit' we mean 'a lot'), but before you click back over to your favorite celebrity gossip site, you should know that we found that the item had an intriguing feature that translated very nicely into the workshop setting.
Continue reading: "APC SurgeArrest Power Saving Surge Protector - Review"
April 16, 2009
Anyone 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.
Continue reading: "Cadex CB18.50 Brad Gun - Review"
April 15, 2009
Originally designed for the auto glass industry, the Pipe Knife is simply a long handled utility knife. There are a number of different sizes, ranging from 24" all the way down to 9". While it's not something that you want to hand off to your five -year-old, over the course of a few weeks, we found it to be a handy item to have in the tool bag. Definitely good for more than just replacing windshields.
Continue reading: "Pipe Knife - Review"
April 14, 2009
Ali Industries is at it again with their little bath toy sanders. We've already reviewed the Zip Sander and the Sponge Holder and how it's the Micro Zip Sander's turn.
The Micro Zip is exactly what it sounds like: the Zip Sander's 'mini-me.' Where the Zip Sander sat in the palm, the Micro Zip is sort of a three-fingered operation. As with the other sanders, this one is made of foam and sits very comfortably in the hands.
The Micro Zip is a helpful little item when it comes to the fussy little inside corners, odd edges, or areas where there is very little clearance, such as the floor underneath our baseboard heaters. In this last case, the Micro Zip boldly went where no oscillating tool could go and successfully assisted with our current flooring project. There's no question that the Micro Zip was easier on our hands that the old-fashioned method of the block wrapped with sandpaper, but because of the way that the hand sits on the sander, it was also easier to apply pressure. We wouldn't say that the Micro Zip Sander is an absolutely necessary tool, but it is one that makes sanding a little easier.
There's really not a whole lot more we can say. It works well, it's sort of silly looking, and it doesn't cost all that much. There you go.
The Micro Zip project pack which comes with 30 sheets of color coded sandpaper costs about $10.
April 13, 2009
We consider nail pulling to be one of the deepest hells of construction, and that's why we're pretty interested when a new tool comes along that might make the process a little easier. Enter the Nail Jack and the Nail Hunter, both from Nail Jack Tools. Can these funky looking pliers give a little relief in the nail removal department? We tested them pretty extensively in order to find out.
Continue reading: "Nail Jack & Nail Hunter - Review"
April 7, 2009
"9 out of 10 gutless thieves prefer stealing the Annihilator over other leading wrecking bars"
So how cool is this tool? Well it's so cool that it only spent three days on the job site before some spineless, worthless, piece of doggie doo-doo stole it. Because it was sitting right next to two traditional crowbars, the theft is actually a testament to the Annihilator's curb appeal. Why grab a simple wrecking bar when you can get something that looks like it kills ghosts?
The good news is that in those three days, we gave the tool a workout and were really starting to grow fond of it. As you can see from the photo, the Annihilator has a lot going on. There's the hammer end, the nail puller, a wrench, a chisel, an axe, a stud straightener, and the always important bottle opener. It's really a one-stop destruction machine and in the fast-paced world of demo, it was nice not to have to keep switching off tools. The only way we could see improving on the Annihilator is if it was equipped with a LoJack or better yet, some kind of remote detonation device.
The Annihilator comes in two sizes; 18" and 14". The 18" is obviously the larger of the two and offers more leverage and swinging force. We unfortunately couldn't photograph this size because the one that we had is now residing in the hands of a slimy, dishonest, lazy scrap of human debris. We could photograph the 14" though and while it is definitely smaller, it can still do some serious damage. They both fit the hand nicely and unless you're a full time carpenter or a serious DIYer, the 14" will probably do you fine. It's worth noting that the jaw of the 14" model is wide enough to grab a 2x4.
As for price, the Annihilator isn't cheap, but it isn't all that expensive either (this is assuming that you're buying it and not stealing it). The 18" retails for around $40-$50 and the 14" is a bit less expensive than that. It might sound like a lot, but when compared to the $75 Fubar it's really not that bad for a high quality demo tool.
The bottom line is that if we were pilfering losers who still lived with mom, we'd probably lift this tool too. And if the asshead who now possesses the Annihilator is reading this, we honestly hope that you do something stupid and break your nose with it.
18" Annihilator at Amazon.com and Dead On
14" Annihilator at Dead On
April 3, 2009
Striker, an innovative company that we've become fans of on the merits of their magnetic LED light and their folding utility knife has just released a mechanical carpenter's pencil. The pencil uses Dura-Lead, also a Striker product, that, according to them, is "10% thicker than the average carpenter pencil lead." Dura-Lead has little grooves on one side that are specific to the mechanism of the Striker Pencil.
The Pencil is a pretty simple affair; click the top to open up the jaws and release the lead, let go of the top to close the jaws and set the lead in place. In order to test out the pencil, we just put it in our pocket and brought it to the job site for a few weeks.
Unfortunately, during that time there wasn't much that impressed us about the Striker. We found that the stick of Dura-Lead kept breaking inside the shaft, which meant that we had to constantly struggle to get these little chunks of it to stay in the jaws of the pencil. The lead also wasn't that dark and it was difficult to get anything close to a precise mark out of it. Striker says that you can rub the lead on sandpaper in order to get a point, but we found ourselves missing the ability to whip out our utility knife for a quick on-the-go sharpening.
One thing that looks good about the pencil is that the Dura-Lead comes in a variety of colors (black, red, and white). We only tested out the black, but we could see the other colors coming in handy, particularly with a tricky bit of framing layout.
After using the Striker Pencil and the C.H. Hanson Super Pencil, we're becoming convinced that improving on the good old fashioned carpenter's pencil is a pointless exercise. How can you beat something works just fine and is literally given away at any decent hardware store? The only way we'd really recommend this pencil is if you were a buck or two shy of getting free shipping at Amazon, then it's probably worth checking out.
Striker Pencil at Amazon.com ($2.29)
Striker Pencil with Dura-Lead Combo Pack at Amazon.com ($3.49)