August 9, 2012
Imagine if a Dremel mainlined Human Growth Hormone and anabolic steroids for weeks on end. The result of such an ecstatic binge of doping would be a massive, bulked-up handle with a spinning head capable of whirling an abrasive bit into thick metal. It would be a durable tool that could withstand the constant abuse of a jobsite and remain unfazed at being casually thrown into the back of a pick-up truck. This newly engorged tool would look exactly like Bosch's new cordless die grinder.
Continue reading: "Bosch DGSH181K 18 Volt Cordless Die Grinder - Review"
August 8, 2012
Some time this past winter, we were sent a press release about The Art of Fixing Things by Lawrence E. Pierce. We were asked if we'd like a copy to review and we said, "sure, sounds like it could be cool." We figured that since we spend about 80% of our waking hours fixing things (are you listening, Tool Snob Jr.?), we ought to give it a look see. So it was sent it on for us to look at. Like we said, this was back in winter, in the midst of the worst part of the renovation (phase one), so this review is long, long overdue. Apologies to the author.
First off, we dig the Frank Miller vibe that the cover has. We opened the book and quickly discovered that it consists of a series of tips. It doesn't have chapters, but it's broken down into categories: The Basics, Automotive, Appliance/Household/Garden, and General. The 154 numbered items each come with a title and, in most cases, a paragraph or two of description. All but a few have accompanying photos. We went through the book a few times and came to learn that it's a collection of all of those small nuggets of information and tid-bits that one accumulates over a lifetime of working with their hands.
On the whole, it's an interesting, wide-ranging, and sometime baffling selection of tips ranging from "Tip 115: Vice Grips: A Must Have Tool" to "Tip 128: Making Gaskets."
We thought the book was entertaining and we enjoyed paging through it. With 10+ years in construction, there were only a few items that were new to us (all in the automotive section), so the book won't be much use to someone with a lot of experience, but someone just starting out might be able to save some time and hardship by paying attention to these items.
Oh yeah and...
Tip 67: Oil That Sewing Machine.
Yup, with 154 tips, there are bound to be a couple duds.
$11 at Amazon
August 6, 2012
The whole "Fein owned the patent to the oscillating tool" thing has been well documented. The eventual fall out is that now that the patent has expired, there are all kinds of oscillating tools on the market; some for $40 and some for $400. We've always admired Fein for sticking to their guns with their own product during this onslaught of competitors. Seeing company after company undercut them on price (and quality), they never blinked. Their tool remains what it always was: a hand-held piece of finely engineered cutting, sanding, and grinding goodness. They didn't release a DIY version made from cheaper materials and they didn't make a less functional one for short money.
Continue reading: "Fein 250Q START MultiMaster Kit - Review"
July 30, 2012
It wasn't until last year that we even knew about Sola levels. We were approached out of the blue by the company, an act that leaves us with two distinct thoughts:
1. Thank the heavens that they contacted us.
2. How the hell did we not know about this company?
Sola, a company with a big market in Europe and is now making inroads in the US, makes some top-notch levels that use a unique method of vial stabilization. If you cut open an inexpensive level you'll see that the vial is probably held in place by wishes and unicorn dreams. A Sola, on the other hand, uses a two part system, one rigid and one flexible, that ensures the vial won't move even in extreme temperature situations (more info on that here). According to Sola, it's a system that is superior to the one that is used by the mighty Stabila. We reviewed Sola's 4' level here.
The company recently sent us one of their torpedo levels to check out. And check out we did...
Continue reading: "Sola MM 5 25 Torpedo Level - Review"
July 26, 2012
Since we started writing this site, we've become aware of a strong flashlight sub culture; a group of people obsessed with lumens, watts, and focused beams. These apparent dwellers of the dark seem to go hand in hand with knife enthusiasts, because, when you think about it...if you need a flashlight...there's a good chance you could also use a knife. So it's not much of a surprise that Coast is a company that has built a reputation around this marriage of steel and light beams. Recently, they sent us a knife to check out (more on that another day) as well as a flashlight, their HP7, and a headlamp, the HL7. And while we're by no means manic about flashlights, we are definite fans of their practicality and lead a lifestyle where they are an essential part of existence (i.e. "is that a raccoon up in that tree?" and "yes, dear, I'll go out to the wood pile even though it's 11:30 pm and the wood box is full).
So on to the review...
Continue reading: "Coast HP7 Flashlight and HL7 Headlamp - Review"
May 25, 2012
We've gotten enough of those massive vertical grain fir splinters (the ones that look more like large toothpicks) to be really in favor of gloves. For finish work, we'll sometimes bypass the hand protection, but with framing work, we've gotten to the point now where we feel naked if we don't have gloves on. It's slowly ingrained itself in our mind the same way safety glasses have. They're just part of the fabric now.
So we were pretty happy when Ansell sent us a pair of their ActivArmr Gloves to beat on. That was months and months ago (sorry Ansell and thanks for the patience), and we've worn them quite a bit and have come to our final conclusions on the gloves.
Continue reading: "Ansell ActivArmr Gloves - Review"
April 11, 2012
We've been meaning to write about this tool for a long time now, a few years actually. Back in 2009, we had two of them on a site and they were worked so hard and treated so abusively that everyone was stunned they somehow survived. Pictured is one of those two tools as it looks today; a little ragged and worn, but still a complete warhorse.
Continue reading: "Makita 15 Amp Reciprocating Saw - Review"
April 9, 2012
Oh Festool, what are you going to do to us next?
Festool has a certain way of reimagining a tool and messing with our heads while they're at it. They've done it with circular saws and they've done it with sanders. Now, they're taking a stab at cordless drills. They sent us one of their new 18 volts to check out and it didn't take long for us to see that this time the Fes-mojo is centered around their FastFix chuck system. This feature basically makes the drill a PTO with a trigger. The removable chucks (of which there are four) click on and off a couple of ways and all of them are beyond useful (and all of them are quite durable). We have...
Continue reading: "Festool T18+3 Li-Ion Cordless Drill - Review"
April 6, 2012
So there's this crusty old bastard of a carpenter that we've been working with. (And don't get all offended, because we tell him that to his face. "You know, you're a crusty old bastard." "Grumble....grumble...") Like all crusty old bastards, this one is completely set in his patterns and nothing, and we mean nothing, is going to change the way he does things.
Continue reading: "Makita LXPK01 18V LXT Li-Ion Cordless 3-1/4" Planer - Review"
April 4, 2012
So a while back (over six months....) we were contacted by the peeps at Goo Gone. They said, "yo, we're gonna send you something smeared with some nasty goo and along with it, we'll include a bottle of Goo Gone so you can clean up the mess and keep whatever is is we're sending you." (note: heavy paraphrasing going in). We said, "yo, honestly, don't bother, we've been meaning to write about your great product for years, we'll just write about our previous experiences with it." Then they said, "yo, this is already in the works, you got some of our product coming your way." At which point we said, "yo, thanks!"
Continue reading: "Goo Gone Pro Power - Review"