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

April 29, 2009

APC SurgeArrest Power Saving Surge Protector - Review

apc.jpgAnyone 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.

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

April 16, 2009

Cadex CB18.50 Brad Gun - Review

cadex_brad.jpgAnyone 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.

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

April 15, 2009

Pipe Knife - Review

pipeknife.jpgOriginally 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.

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

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