April 3, 2007
If you’ve ever owned an old house or even known someone who has, you know that the effort involved in keeping them going is huge. The process of fixing one thing usually leads to fixing something else and who even knows where to start when everything needs fixing in the first place? It's enough to make you jealous of Sisyphus and his boulder; at least he knew what was coming at the end of each day.
But old houses are filled with a personality and a feel that you simply can’t get with a new home and, for some, those characteristics far out-weigh the time and effort needed to keep these old warhorses afloat. But, there’s also no doubt that the process can be intimidating and, from time to time, overwhelming, even to the experienced builder. What should you tackle first? How will fixing this problem affect that other problem later on? Is that sagging old roof going to fall in on me while I’m sleeping? All these questions need answers, and thank the Lord for George Nash and his book, Renovating Old Houses, because he has all the answers.
Continue reading: "Renovating Old Houses – Review"
March 27, 2007
Sanding is a very zen experience. It's the woodworker's moment of contemplation; the cutting, gluing, and fitting are all done and the piece is almost finished. The only thing left is to apply some stain and your hand-crafted piece of art is complete. It's a time to run your hands over the wood, to consider the process that got you here, to experience a communion with the piece, and to gently work out any small imperfections in the hope of achieving something that is without fault. A peaceful last breath before it is all over.
Pure garbage. And anyone who has ever done a woodworking project knows it. Sanding is a tedious, and at times, frustrating process. Orbital sanders take some of the pain out of the procedure, but there are always areas, little rabbets, nooks, and cut-outs, that you simply can't get to, not even with a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a pencil or taped to a stick (we know you've done it, we have too). If you're like us, you look forward to, and actively seek out, anything that makes sanding easier.
Continue reading: "Skil Octo Multi-Finishing Sander - Review"
March 22, 2007
Bosch has proven to be one of the most innovative tool companies out there. Just look at the miter saw they released a couple years ago. They not only put all of the bevel controls up front, but they added a great micro-adjust feature. The innovations are so conceptually simple that it’s surprising that it’s taken someone until now to come up with them. Along those same lines comes their Finecut Power Handsaw. You’re telling us that no one’s ever done this before? Why wasn’t there a major market release of this tool, like ten years ago?
It’s a moot point because it’s here now and judging from what we experienced, it’s going to be around for a while. In fact we’d be shocked if a few of the other big companies didn’t follow suit with similar tools in the next few years.
Continue reading: "Bosch Fine Cut Power Handsaw - Review"
February 28, 2007
We are big fans of Bosch tools. They're durable, they look good, and they're incredibly precise. That said, it comes as little surprise that the Bosch Colt Variable Speed Router is an outstanding tool and is now our go-to router for all small and medium sized jobs.
This little machine has some serious power behind it (one horsepower), and the ergonomic grip is far superior to anything we've ever seen on a router of this size. The adjustments, knobs, and on/off switch are all in the right place, making the operation of the Colt feel natural and easy.
The Colt's other perks include a soft start, a 1/4 inch collet, a nice carrying case, an edge guide, and a variable speed dial. Bosch does sell a version of the Colt that is single speed, but having the option to set the speed is worth the additional cost.
Continue reading: "Bosch Colt Variable Speed Router - Review"
February 27, 2007
UPDATE: This book has been recalled after nine years on the shelves. More information here.
With Complete Home Wiring, Sunset Books and editor Scott Atkinson have put together a solid reference for any one attempting a home wiring project. From a brief course on electricity to troubleshooting complicated problems, virtually every topic is covered.
The information is conveyed with clear writing, easy to understand drawings, and helpful pictures and charts. Topics covered include:
Low voltage wiring
How and where to run wires
Planning new circuits
Recessed lights, ceiling fans, and wall sconces
The correct way to strip a wire
And on and on...
Because it is so thorough, it is a great reference to have sitting on the shelf for use when needed. There are a lot of basic electrical guides out there and we think this one stands a bit higher than the rest.
February 22, 2007
We were pretty skeptical when we came across Gorilla PVC Cement, simply because it was so different from other glues we’ve used in the past. It doesn’t stink, it’s only one bottle, as opposed to the traditional 2 part PVC glue systems, and it says it’s Earth friendly. There’s no way it can work. Right?
Boy, were we wrong. This stuff is great, and, without question, worthy of the Gorilla Glue name. We found that each of the characteristics listed above made it our go-to PVC glue for standard plumbing repairs. With no primer, it’s easy to use, and without the fumes, you don’t get that ‘White Rabbit” feeling after spending an afternoon gluing pipes under the kitchen sink.
Continue reading: "Gorilla PVC Cement - Review"
Everyone needs a Leatherman. It’s pretty much that simple. There are plenty of models to choose from, but when it all comes down to it, they’re all pretty similar; knife, screwdrivers, file, can opener, etc. We prefer The Blast, but that’s just what we’re used to. We know other people who are equally passionate about other models. If there’s something specific you want, like a diamond file, just find the Leatherman that suits your needs. But find one nonetheless. You’ll thank us for it.
It’s one of those things that, once you have it in your pocket for a while, you start to wonder how you ever got along without one. How many times have you been up on a ladder wiring a light and you realize that you’re looking at a flathead screw and in your hand is a Phillip’s head screwdriver? With a Leatherman in your pocket, there’s no more standing up there wishing you could levitate the correct tool into your hand like this guy. Crawlspaces, roofs, and under vehicles are other places where our Leatherman has saved painful, awkward, and time consuming trips back to the toolbox.
Now, we’re so dependent that we feel naked without it in our pockets. It’s essential. Also, if you’re worried about the size, there are little ‘squirt’ models as well, half the size for about half the price.