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

April 14, 2009

Gator Micro Zip Sander - Review

Minizip.jpgAli 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.

minizip_in_hand.jpgminizip_tight_space.jpg

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.

At Amazon.com

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

April 13, 2009

Nail Jack & Nail Hunter - Review

nailjack.jpgWe 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.

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

April 7, 2009

Dead On Annihilator Wrecking Bar - Review

dead_on_annihilator_1.jpg

"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?

dead_on_annihilator_head.jpgThe 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.

dead_on_annihilator_beer.jpgThe 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

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

April 3, 2009

Striker Mechanical Carpenter's Pencil - Review

striker_pencil.jpgStriker, 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.

striker_pencil_drawing.jpgThe 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.

striker_pencil_lead.jpgOne 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)

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

March 27, 2009

Striker Folding Multi-Blade - Review

striker_knife_open.jpgStriker, the company who makes the little magnetic LED that saved our rears during the power outage, has recently released a little folding utility knife that has a number of nice features to it. And even though Jude over at Toologics did a very nice review of the Striker Folding Multi-Knife, we thought we'd add our own two cents.

striker_knife_closed.jpgTo us, the utility knife is one of the most essential tools in our repertoire; we keep one on us at all times and during the course of the day we're constantly using it, whether it's sharpening a pencil or cutting out a line of caulk or slicing open the plastic wrap around a new window. So for our testing of the Striker knife, we simply put the thing in our pocket and kept it there for a few weeks. Here's what we found.

We quickly discovered, as Jude did, that the handle of the knife is nice and big. Not too big for a pocket, but big enough to get a good grip on it and to feel in control when using the knife. The body of the Striker also has a belt clip which might be good for some people, but since we carry our knife in our pocket it just caught on things and got in the way. The folding action of the knife is nice and after three or four tries we got so we could both open and close it quickly and easily with one hand.

Striker has also added a nice little file up by the blade that can easily shave off that last 1/8" of drywall when necessary. This is a nice touch and using the rasp is much easier and cleaner than trying to shave the edge with the blade. The underside of the rasp can also be used as a saw for cleaning up things like the corners of an outlet box cut-out. There is also a reinforced piece of metal at the base of the knife that can be used for tapping in a nail or punching out a cut piece of drywall.

striker_knife_storage.jpgAnother nice thing about the Striker is the fact that it is a folding knife with blade storage. For around the house use, this doesn't really mean much, but on a construction site, it means everything in the world. We use our knife all day long and go through blades like tissue paper, so it's always advantageous to have an extra one on hand instead of having to stop what we're doing and spend 20 minutes digging through the JoBox looking for the extra blades.

The bottom line here is that this is a very useful knife with a number of 'drywall-oriented' features, but unlike the Husky 5-in-1 drywall knife that we reviewed way back when, the additional features don't interfere with it being a great day-to-day knife as well.

The Striker Folding Multi-Blade costs about $13, which is on the high side of the more expensive utility knives. We think the Striker is a solid enough tool to warrant the price.

At Amazon.com

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

February 27, 2009

Hitachi 10.8-Volt Right Angle Impact Driver - Review

hitachi_rt_ang.jpgProbably the most interesting tool in Hitachi's new 10.8-volt lineup is their new right angle impact driver. We're pretty sure that this is the first right angle impact driver in any of the new micro lines of tools, which is why we were interested in checking it out and seeing how it holds up to both it's larger cousin, as well as finding out what kind of niche it can carve for itself in the world of tool functionality.

First, like Hitachi's mini-reciprocating saw, the ergonomics are off the charts. Again, the crazy Spiderman design, which we've been critical of in the past, gives it all the right bulges in all the right places (well, we never thought we'd ever write that sentence), making it a very easy tool to hold and maneuver into tight spots, which you'll likely be doing with the right angle feature.

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

February 23, 2009

AltusLumen PAD-L Flashlight - Review

Pad_in_hand.jpgThe AltusLumen PAD-L Flashlight is one that is built with the company's ecologically-friendly mission fully in mind. AltusLumen states that it is the first "sustainable portable LED," that "the main housing is made of recycled and recyclable aluminum and polycarbonate," and finally that the light "is over 75% recyclable at the end of its useful life." This is all fine and good, but if the flashlight doesn't work that well, we're not really going to need to know what parts of it we can recycle, because we simply won't be buying the thing in the first place. That said, when we tested out the AltusLumen it was to see just that: is this a light worth buying? Does it work? Is there anything that sets it above the thousands of other flashlights on the market?

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

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