December 23, 2008

Gator Sanding Sponge Holder - Review

sponge_holder_hero.jpgWe thought that Gator's Zip Sander (which we reviewed here) was a great little sanding accessory. Once we got over the fact that it looked like a bath toy, we found it to be a great solution to the age-old problem of holding a piece of sandpaper. The company that produces the Zip Sander has just come out with the Sanding Sponge Holder, another sanding helper. This time it's not sandpaper that they're helping us hold, it's the common sanding sponge.

sponge_holder_grips.jpgWe did some joint compound work with the tool and, like the Zip Sander, we loved it. It's got a good grip to it, it's comfortable, it fits all standard 3x5 sanding pads, and you don't have to worry about the wear on the hands that can come from working a sanding sponge all day. It's really a wonderful little accessory. We use the Zip Sander all the time and our best guess is that as time goes on, the same will hold true for this item. And why not, it's not like it takes anything away from the process. In fact, with the price where it is, there are absolutely no drawbacks to owning this little tool. It just, plain and simple, makes sanding easier.

The Sponge Holder costs about $6.50 (with one pad) or $10 (with four pads), so it falls in that, "even if it sucks, I've only spent less than $10 on it" category. That said, we're sure that you'll like it and use it. To us, it proves that inventive products don't need to cost a ton of money.

Sponge Holder with one sponge at Amazon.com
Sponge Holder with four sponges at Amazon.com

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

December 5, 2008

Final Cut II : Saw Blade Bugaloo

final_cut_on_saw1.jpgA while back, we reviewed the Final Cut saw blade, which is essentially a 10" blade with a piece of sandpaper adhered to it. Although we thought it was kind of a hokey idea, it worked as advertised.

After our testing, we noticed that the glue that holds the sandpaper to the blade gave out, causing the paper to get destroyed soon after. We updated our review accordingly. As it turns out, the fellows at Final Cut saw the review, already knew about the problem, and were actually in the process solving it. Soon after that, they sent us an updated version of the Final Cut and since then, we've been testing it out, giving it plenty of time to become un-adhered.

Well, we can now happily say that the problem has been solved and we have updated our review accordingly.

The review of the Final Cut Saw Blade is here.

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

December 2, 2008

Black & Decker Bullseye - Review

black_decker_bullseye.jpgThe Black & Decker Bullseye Auto-Leveling Laser with Stud Sensor is a small laser level with the single purpose of hanging things on walls, or more specifically, lining up two or more items on a wall. There's really not a whole lot else you can do with it, but since it does its assigned task so well, the limits of the tool aren't really a problem.

The unit looks like a plus-sized stud sensor with switches on both sides and laser lights coming out of the sides of the rounded top. The switch on the right activates the stud sensor and the switch on the left turns on the self-leveling laser. We tested the laser against one that is about seven times more expensive and we have to say that the Black & Decker was spot on level.

The beam is nice and bright even in a well-lit room and if the unit gets tilted too far to either side, the laser gets blocked and can't be seen. After a few simple tests, we came t o the conclusion that the stud sensor works fine too.

The Bullseye comes with two attachments that allow it to be held on a wall so you can work without having to hold it, freeing up your hands for picture hanging.

The Bullseye costs about $40 which sounds like a lot, but anyone who has ever hung pictures with a loved one realizes that it's a process prone to making one generally unloving. That said, maybe $40 is a small price to pay for a tool that will make picture hanging a little less difficult.

The Bullseye comes with a nice nylon case that can hold the unit and both attachments.

At Amazon.com

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

November 28, 2008

Fein MultiMaster 250Q Top - Review

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We've repeated the oscillating tool 'situation' in a number of articles here, but we feel the need to do a quick recap. Fein created the hand held oscillating tool and released the MultiMaster in 1986. At the same time, they slapped a patent on the creation, prohibiting other companies from using the same technology, giving them total marketplace dominance. What is interesting (and cool) about this is that they decided against making a variety of oscillating tools available at varying quality and price. Instead, they stuck to their guns and made the best tool that they could and refused to compromise any standards. Now, with the patent recently expired and a number of relatively inexpensive oscillating tools available, Fein is still at the top of the pack, refusing to enter the fray with anything less than perfect. Which brings us to their latest model, the Fein MultiMaster 250Q Top.

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

November 26, 2008

Paslode CF-325 Cordless Framing Gun - Review

paslode_cordless.jpgA while back, we reviewed Duo-Fast's new cordless framer. It's a great tool and since it was our first experience with a cordless framer in many, many moons, it greatly revitalized our opinion of the tools. Instead of us thinking of them as malfunction-prone stinky guns, we now think of them as very handy, stinky guns (that gas reek from a cordless nailer can be brutal first thing on a Saturday morning). So, with our new outlook on the tool, we were interested in testing out Paslode's latest entry into the cordless framer arena, the CF-325 Framing Gun.

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

November 10, 2008

Rockwell SoniCrafter Oscillating Tool - Review

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Of all of the new oscillating tools heading to the market in the wake of Fein's patent expiration, the Rockwell is the dark horse. Everyone knows Dremel and Bosch, but who are these Rockwell guys and why should you drop some coin on a tool from a relatively unknown company when the tried and true fellows have some nice items to offer?

Before using the SoniCrafter, we knew very little about Rockwell, other than that they offer a reciprocating saw with a cool handle and that they produce the JawHorse, an interesting clamping device that is seemingly identical to the Triton SuperJaws (Triton is an Australian company and we're not sure who had the tool first or what the relationship between the two is). But here they are with an oscillating tool. If the tool is a success, it's sure to catapult Rockwell into the upper echelon of tool manufacturers, cementing their name and popularizing their products, if it's a failure, well then, they're just another company that makes passable tools.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (51) | social bookmarking

October 21, 2008

Bosch T308B Extra Clean Wood Jigsaw Blades - Review

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It looks like we're the last ones to the party here. Both Toologics and CopTool have done nice reviews of Bosch's new Extra-Clean Wood Jigsaw Blades, and honestly, there's not a whole lot we can add. We tested the blades ourselves and, like the others, found them to be something of a revelation. In fact, we've never such clean cuts come from a jigsaw.

bosch_jigsaw_blades.jpgThe science behind it is that the blade is divided in half, with one set of teeth cutting on the up-stroke and one set cutting on the down-stroke. The results are astounding, leaving a clean cut and causing absolutely no chipping or flaking. We would recommend these blades to anyone interested in his jigsaw cuts not looking like they were chewed by a dog.

Over at Ohio Power Tools and Amazon, the blades are selling for just under $10 for a five pack. This puts them at just a little more expensive than the rest of the herd, which goes for anywhere between $7-$8. We think the extra buck or two is a small price to pay for what you're getting.

At Ohio Power Tools and Amazon.com

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

October 15, 2008

PDY Systems Lift-N-Lok Organizer - Review

lift_n_lok_all_open.jpgWe're starting to have a bit of a storage issue. The big stuff is fine, it can go on shelves, it's the small stuff that starting to get to us.; the small hand tools that keep ending up in a pile at the end of the workbench; the fasteners that we have so few of left, they don't deserve a box, but we hate throwing them out; things like our glue gun and our Skil Power Wrench, which aren't big enough for their own dedicated box, but which also have enough accessories that there needs to be some containment. We recently tried out a new organizer called the Lift-N-Lok to see if that would help us with our clutter problems.

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

October 13, 2008

Dremel Multi-Max Oscillating Tool, Bosch PS50 Oscillating Tool - Review

oscillating_line_up1.jpgoscillating_line_up.jpg
Update: Because there is so much interest in these tools, we're going to keep updating this article as we use the tools more and as you write us and let us know any questions or comments that you have. In a sense, this will be a 'living document.' Sounds very intellectual for a review of a couple of power tools.

Update II: We've spent more time with these tools and have updated our review with further thoughts. We also have review up of the Rockwell SoniCrafter Oscillating Tool and the Fein MultiMaster.

*****

We're going to review these tools together because it seems that there are two questions to be answered here: 1) should I get an oscillating tool? and 2) which one should I get? The answer to the first question is a simple, yes. Of course you should get an oscillating tool. The Fein Multi-Master, which has essentially been the only one on the market for years (aside from the mini-model making Proxxon) is without question one of our favorite tools. Its durability and versatility make it the go-to in a wide range of circumstances. Oscillating tools can cut, plunge cut, sand, grind, and polish. To this point, they've been indispensable to the carpenter, and because of the price, unreasonable for the homeowner.

But now that Fein's patent has worn out, both Dremel and Bosch are offering their own versions at lower prices. A while back Proxxon struck some sort of licensing deal which allowed them to make their oscillating tool, but due to the fact that it was so much smaller than the Fein, it wasn't a competitor (our full review of the Proxxon is here).

This review is going to be broken down into the following categories; ergonomics and ease of use, power, accessories, the case, and price. We're going to comment on both the Dremel and the Bosch for each one and add in comments on the Fein and Proxxon where we see fit. Our goal isn't to pick a winner, but rather, since we've already decided that you need an oscillating tool, to lay it out which one's best for your needs.

So onward with the Bosch v. Dremel v. Fein v. Proxxon smackdown...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (37) | social bookmarking

October 6, 2008

Clarke Power Products Crocodile Saw - Review

Croc_saw_front.jpgClarke Power Products has recently released something called the Crocodile Saw, which, at first glance, looks like a hybrid between a grinder and those great little trim saws that Makita and Porter-Cable make. The hook on the Croc is that it has the ability to handle wood, tile, stone, and metal. It has a 4 amp motor and a number of interesting safety features to help it along this task. We've had one in the shop for about two months now and have come to our conclusions. Is it too good to be true; to have one saw to deal with all of these materials? Read on to find out.

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

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