August 29, 2012

Veto Pro Pac TP3 - Review

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It is our opinion that Veto Pro Pac makes the best tool bags in the industry. Hands down. No question. They can handle any and all abuse, there are a wide variety of models available, and most importantly, they're designed for not only storage but organization. The unique vertical pockets means a lot of tools in a little space with all of them somehow remaining accessible. We've had one of their XLs (review here) for over a year and we have no idea what we would do without it (or how we survived before it).

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

August 15, 2012

Makita BO5041K 5" Random Orbit Sander - Review

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A few months ago, we wrote up a touching and tearful obituary about our old and dear friend, the Makita orbital. We'd had that little fella almost since the start of our carpentry career and it had always delivered and never complained. Heaving it into the dumpster was one of those moments when you realize that time flows like an unstoppable river. It was like watching the kids pack up and head off to college, except that it wasn't kids and a college, it was a tool and a dumpster. Sort of the same thing really.

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

August 9, 2012

Bosch DGSH181K 18 Volt Cordless Die Grinder - Review

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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.

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

August 8, 2012

The Art of Fixing Things - Review

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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

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

August 6, 2012

Fein 250Q START MultiMaster Kit - Review

Fein_fmm_tool.JPGThe 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.

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

July 30, 2012

Sola MM 5 25 Torpedo Level - Review

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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.

and

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...

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

July 26, 2012

Coast HP7 Flashlight and HL7 Headlamp - Review

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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...

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

May 25, 2012

Ansell ActivArmr Gloves - Review

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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.

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

April 11, 2012

Makita 15 Amp Reciprocating Saw - Review

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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.

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

April 9, 2012

Festool T18+3 Li-Ion Cordless Drill - Review

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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...

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

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