July 24, 2009

Bosch DareDevil Spade Bits - Review

bosch_daredevil_kit.jpgBosch is known primarily for their tools, but lately they've really been making a name for themselves in the accessories market. Anyone who has used tools for a while knows that blades and bits are just as important as the tool that they're seated in. Tools are sort of a 'weakest link' scenario; a great drill with a dull bit is only going to be as good as the dull bit. We've been testing out the Bosch DareDevil Spade Bits and can now say that if you put one of these in a great drill, what you have is a relentless wood eradication system.

The primary difference between the DareDevil Spade bits and your standard spades bits is this little threaded nub up at the centering point. Once these threads catch (which they can't not do), the bit is actually pulled into the wood. This happens with so much aggressiveness that we practically felt in danger of dislocating our shoulder while drilling holes. The body of the spade is also contoured so that the shaved wood doesn't clog up the hole and bog down the bit. The pointed spurs are additionally designed to minimize blow-out (which is better than most spade bits, but still considerable). There's a lot going on with these little bits.

The bottom line is that the Bosch DareDevils absolutely devastate lumber and if you're looking for some real fireworks, put one in an impact driver. After a couple of minutes it'll look like there's a pileated woodpecker living in your workshop. We spent about 30 seconds on a pressure-treated 2x6 drilling maybe a half dozen random holes and, as you can see from the image, the results are serious.

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The only issue that we could find with these bits is that you can't just pull the drill out of a half-drilled hole, you actually have to put the drill in reverse. Once the centering threads catch and the connection to the wood is made, it's over. This is hardly a drawback, but just something we had to get used to.

If you're an electrician, carpenter, whatever really, we suggest checking out these bits. If you're a deck builder, just stop what you're doing and find some as fast as you can, and make sure to get the extension so putting holes in 4x6s won't be a problem.

Note that the DareDevil's are so badass they have their own website: http://boschdaredevil.com

At Amazon.com

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

July 21, 2009

Ezy Hang Door Lifter - Review

ezy_hang1.jpgOne of the classic carpentry tasks is hanging a door. From what we've seen pretty much everyone has their own way of doing it and while there is a lot of variety in approach, one fact remains a constant; the door needs to be lifted into place. And this is where the Ezy Hang Door Lifter comes into play.

The Easy Hang Door Lifter is in reality a very simple item and actually something that anyone with a stick welder, a drill press and a few scraps of metal could probably cobble together (minus the powder-coating). It consists of two connected feet, each with a lever and corresponding lift pad. To use it, just maneuver the door onto the pads, press on the levers with your feet, and watch the pads and the door elevate off the ground. When we hang a door by ourselves, we usually have a flatbar and some shims helping us along at this stage. It's do-able, but pretty clumsy and it takes a bit to get the door at exactly the correct height. This is where the Ezy Hang Door Lifter excels. Because there are two independent lift pads, it is extremely easy to adjust the door in the opening in order to mark out or line up your hinges.

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When not in use, the foot pedals of the Ezy Hang fold in and make the item compact enough to stick in the back of a truck or in a gang box or behind the mower in the garage.

The EZY Hang can handle any door up to 220lbs, which means that it can deal with just about any wooden door and most others. Once you get into metal acoustical doors, you're going to start having problems, but those likely come with the frame and hinges all set up already, so the precision lifting is less of an issue.

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And that's really all there is to say. While it's a very smart item, it's not a particularly complicated one; no LEDs, no laser sighting, no blade changing. Just a couple levers connected with some bar stock. So our review boils down to, "does it work?" The answer here is, "yup, sure does. Works great."

Being an Australian product, the Ezy Hang isn't in your local hardware store, or even the Home Depot or Lowes. If you're interested in ordering one, check out the website for more information (it looks like you'll have to email the inventor for pricing information and availability).

At Ezy Hang Door Lifter

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

July 9, 2009

Bosch R2-P2 Driver Bit - Review

Driver_Bits.jpgIn order to exist on our jobsite in any functional manner, we need to have on us, at all times, eight different driver bits. It's a total nightmare, but that's just the way it is. We have all sorts of screws for all sorts of different applications and during the course of a day, we're involved with just about every aspect of the site. We need a P2, P3, 5/16" nut drive, 3/8" nut drive, 1/4" nut drive, R1, R2, and the Timberlok Spider Bit. We used to carry them around in an Altoid tin, but now we just have them in a pocket. It's a complete pain in the ass to have to constantly switch out bits.

So anything that takes even one of these bits out of the equation is something we're going to love. Enter, the Bosch R2-P2 Driver bit. Very simply, it's a bit that can drive both P2 screws and R2 screws. If you're unfamiliar with the terminology, Ps are Philips bits and Rs are Robertson bits (aka: square drive).

We got our hands on one of these dual bits and used it quite a bit. We ended up losing it somewhere along the way, but in the time we had it, it held up great and it took some of the bit-searching agony out of our day. We lost it before we got a chance to work it to death with the impact driver, so we can't comment too much on the strength of the bit, but because Bosch makes it with something called S2M steel, it likely would have lasted longer than normal.

There's not a whole lot more to say about the driver bit other than that it worked and that for a brief shining moment, we had one bit where we now once again need two.

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We can't find these for purchase online, but they'll likely show up at Amazon.com and Ohio Power Tool.

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

July 7, 2009

Rockwell LogJaws (JawHorse Accessory) - Review

logjaws.jpgAt first glance, we thought the LogJaws were about the silliest thing we'd ever seen. We're huge fans of the JawHorse, and use it all the time, but who would really need to clamp a log at waist height? Definitely not us, and we heat with wood.

To use the LogJaws, you first have to invest in the Rockwell JawHorse, which we think is a good idea no matter who you are. So if you don't have one and you're interested, our review of that tool is here. But simply put, the JawHorse is a workstation centered around a large clamping jaw and Rockwell makes a number of add-ons for the unit, including these, the LogJaws.

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What the LogJaws do is give the JawHorse the ability to clamp a log or really any other oddly shaped item that's going to have problems in the parallel clamps that come standard with the JawHorse. The LogJaws sit higher than the regular clamps and have these mean looking teeth that are perfect for sinking into a nice chunk of rotted oak. The LogJaws attach very easily to the JawHorse, just a few screws and it's done. Maybe two minutes max.

We discovered quickly that the LogJaws really are great for clamping cut logs, branches and other bits of tree debris. But where exactly do you go from there? What sorts of things can you use it for? The JawHorse sits too high to use it for your utility, "need to fill the woodshed before the first snow" log cutting. We just don't think it's worth it to haul one end of a 100 lb log into the jaws just so you can cut 18" off of it and then have to reposition the whole thing. But if you're only going to be cutting smaller branches and kindling, then it'll work great. We actually see the LogJaws as more for the wood carving/woodworking crowd. And in fact, we used it to make some nice tree limb coasters (directions here).

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The LogJaws also have these little brackets that flip out and allow you to clamp your chainsaw bar so you can easily sharpen your chainsaw, saving valuable knuckle skin.

In a way, the LogJaws sum up the glory of the JawHorse; you can get the basic unit, which is extremely useful, and then you have the ability to customize it, in order to suit your niche needs. The LogJaws aren't for everybody, but if you're one of the people who it is for, you'll love it.

The LogJaws cost about $40 which puts them on the lower side of things when compared to most of the other JawHorse accessories.

As an aside, if you are a wood carver, we suggest checking out our reviews of the Arbortech wood carving tools, the Mini-Grinder and the Power Chisel.

At Amazon.com

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

July 6, 2009

Milwaukee M12 Power Port - Review

m12_powerPort_w_phone.jpgWe used to own a Jeep Cherokee which had its ups and downs, but would always charge our cell phone even with the engine off and the keys out of the ignition. Now we drive around in a Tacoma which is great but the truck kills the outlets as soon as the engine is off. We're pretty good at keeping our phone charged either at home or during the commute, but sometimes (like the other day) we forget and arrive at the site with the battery not fully charged. The point of this story is to relay how we became fully dependent on the M12 Power Port the other day. If we didn't happen to have it on us, we would have been completely screwed.

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The M12 Power Port is a simple affair, about the size of a bulky remote control. It has an indicator light to let you know if the battery still has some juice and a little flip down door to protect both the USB port and the DC port from dust and dirt when it's not in use. To use the item, just plug in your cell phone, iPod, whatever and the 12-volt battery starts transferring the charge.

But back to our story. It was one of those end of day "how come the condenser stopped working?" things where we had to call the HVAC guys and the electricians multiple times and do all sorts of coordination and troubleshooting. During the first call the phone went dead. After a quick hustle to the truck to get the Power Port, we were back in action and resolved the situation. If we hadn't had the Power Port on hand things would have gotten ugly.

m12_pp_w_phone2.jpgSo what does this all mean? Well, the M12 Power Port is not going to be your full time charger. Why would it? You would constantly need to charge a battery in order to charge a battery. But what it is is a nice insurance policy, a safety net. The price is right too. If you already have a Milwaukee M12 tool with batteries and charger, the Power Port is only going to set you back about $25, which isn't a whole lot for something that you'll use in an emergency. It would probably be nice on a camping trip too, but we're going to keep ours in the glove box.

At Amazon.com (tool only)

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

June 23, 2009

Bosch SPS10-2 4-Volt Pocket Screwdriver - Review

Bosch_4_volt.jpgBosch has been one of the leaders in the 12-volt li-ion market and it seems that now they're branching off into the even smaller 4-volt category. We have no idea if they're going to get into tools other than their Pocket Screwdriver, and for the purpose of this review, we don't really care. We're here to review the SPS10-2 and that's what we're going to do.

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

June 22, 2009

Outside the Not So Big House - Review

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If you're thinking about some landscaping projects this summer, you might want to check out Outside the Not So Big House by Julie Moir Messervy and Sarah Susanka.

A lot of landscape books are simply portfolio pieces, little more than pictures of what other people have done. But the authors here understand the simple fact that every house is different and has different 'needs,' so along with the stunning photography showing you how nice things can look, they also provide a lot of information on how to think about your specific property to better improve it. It's like stepping into the brain of a very good landscape architect.

Their goal here is to bring all of the aspects of your property into a single idea and theme. To show us how this can be done, the authors walk us though a wide variety of successful projects, representing a wide array of house styles as well as landscapes. In doing so they discuss how to gain a new vision of your property and how to design a landscape that flows seamlessly from the interior to the exterior.

It's impossible to cover even a fraction of the ideas presented in this book, and there's no question that, after reading it, you'll have a completely new view of your house in relation to its surroundings. It's far headier than the average landscaping book, but well worth the effort to read and consider.

At Amazon.com ($15 paperback)

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

June 17, 2009

Wagner TurboRoll - Review

Wagner_turboroll2.jpgThe Wagner TurboRoll isn't the first self-feed paint roller, but it's the first (we've seen, at least) that uses the same vacuum system found in a syringe to both store and release paint. It's an interesting idea and one we looked forward to testing out. Is it effective? It is more trouble than it's worth? Is it a gimmick? We gave it a good run it out in order to answer these questions.

The TurboRoll consists of a roller, a little fill port, a long tube which is the stem of the tool, the handle, and the plunger. The handle has a forward and reverse on it which feeds the plunger through the tube forcing paint to the roller. The TurboRoll also has a manual override, so if the automation is for any reason not practical, you can toggle back to 'old school.'

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

June 16, 2009

Duo-Fast DF350S Framing Gun - Review

df_350s.jpgDuo-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.

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

May 14, 2009

Gorilla Epoxy - Review

gorilla_epoxy.jpgThe 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.

At Amazon.com

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

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