February 23, 2011
This one is kinda strange, but also kinda cool. It's a 'pencil-free' tape measure. Just pull out the tape and line up your measurement to the little red arrows at the mouth of the tape, lock it, and press the tape into your workpiece. On the underside of the tape is a little stamp that marks out a line. Like we said, kinda strange, but kinda cool.
I-Mark sent us one a while back and we've been using it off and on. The erratic use of it has come, not because we've forgotten about it, but because getting us to use a tape measure differently from the way we've always used one is like trying to get us to hold a fork in a new way. It's a lot to ask, breaking a habit like that.
Continue reading: "I-Mark 16' Tape Measure - Review"
February 22, 2011
UPDATE: The mini circ saw is now available as a stand alone, with two batteries and a charger. Makita's page is here and it's available at Amazon.com here.
Anyone who was on a jobsite in the 90s is probably familiar with the 9.6 volt circ saw that Makita used to manufacture. You know, the one with the long, skinny handle. Yeah, that one. Well, it's taken a while, but they've finally updated it for their new 12-volt platform (they've bundled it with one of their 12-volt drivers). They shipped us a kit to test out and for the past month, we've been driving it like a stolen car and here are our conclusions.
Continue reading: "Makita LCT208W 12-Volt Combo Kit (Driver and Circ Saw) - Review"
February 4, 2011
Tiling is all about layout and once you get used to spotting bad tile layout, public bathrooms become even worse places than they already are. How could someone leave a 3/4" wide tile at one corner and a 4" tile at the other? Auuugh...the horror.
So anyway, Johnson Level & Tool recently sent us a nifty little item called the Tiling and Flooring Laser Level. Unfortunately, we don't have any tiling jobs coming up, but we are in the process of laying out some wall to wall bookshelves and so we utilized the laser for that project.
The tool basically projects two lines at a right angle. The unit is marked with degrees (sort of like a rafter square) and it has standard and metric measurements along the short sides. These latter marks were nice because we could position the laser against an inside corner and check for square using the measurements as offsets (5-1/16"). It also projects the laser lines a solid 1-1/4" off the floor, so you don't have to worry about the lines getting blocked as you're laying down thick tile.
In a short time we've come to think that calling this a Tiling and Flooring laser sells it a bit short. We'd suggest maybe going with "Right Angle Layout Level" or something like that. This tool will no doubt be a help to anyone laying tile, but also to anyone marking out a 90 degree corner of anything, whether it's a stud wall or (like we were doing) a set of shelves. It was great to be able to finalize our corner location and know where both walls of shelving would end up. Without the laser, it would have been a pretty tedious process.
One thing that did bother us about the laser is that the battery case doesn't stay on all that well. On a bunch of occasions, we would grab the body of the laser and the little black lid would fly off. There is also no easy way to use the tool on the vertical, like for a tiling job in a shower or something similar.
If you're a DIYer embarking on a tile job and you've invested all this money in tile and supplies, the $40 spent on this tool will go a long way to ensure that the results will look good. Also if you do a lot of non-tile layout, you might want to consider this as well. It sure took time off of our project.
The Tiling and Flooring Laser Level comes with batteries and a case.
January 28, 2011
In just a few short years, inspection scopes have gone from, "only the specialists have them" to "my mom's got like three of these things." Actually, that's not true, we're not there yet, but we're getting there. And with its big box store availability and nice price, the Ryobi Cordless Inspection Scope, powered by their 4-volt Tek4 battery gives a solid push in that direction. Ryobi sent us one to check out and after using it for about a month in a variety of settings, here we are writing the review...
Continue reading: "Ryobi Tek4 Cordless Inspection Scope - Review"
January 26, 2011
A heat gun is one of those tools that you're probably not going to carry around with you in your truck, but when you need one, man o man are they ever handy. Recently, Porter-Cable sent us their new model to test out and review. We only used it a few times in the fall, but now that it's winter we're finding all kinds of things to do with it. We also did a few head to head lab tests against our old Kawasaki heat gun (reviewed here). Read on to see what we thought...
Continue reading: "Porter-Cable PC1500HG Heat Gun - Review"
January 24, 2011
There's a new 12-volt platform on the block and it's from a company called i-Drill. They were nice enough to send us one of their new 2-Speed Drills to review.
Continue reading: "i-Drill 2i-Drill Review"
January 21, 2011
An inevitable byproduct of tinkering around on your house is something known in English as 'trash.' Scraps of sheet rock, cut-offs, demo'd materials, etc. For the big jobs, you go and get a dumpster, for the small ones, you cut everything up into small pieces and use contractor bags. But what about those mid-sized projects like a big set of built-ins or relocating a wall? The answer used to be: "find a friend with a pickup truck who lives in a town with a lax dump policy," but now, the answer may very well be, 'get a Bagster." Waste Management, who runs the Bagster program, was nice enough to let us fill one up for a review and here's what we found...
Continue reading: "Bagster - Review"
January 19, 2011
We live up in the northeast and have had a lot of experience with snow blowers (we call them snow blowers not snow throwers, maybe it's a regional thing), but our all-time favorite machine was a 30" Troy-Bilt that we sold with our last house. The thing was a monster and if the driveway wasn't so steep and deadly and the snow blower a necessity of sale, we would have kept it forever.
Tool Snob's current HQ has a long driveway and a number of parking areas and last winter we used a snow blower that was donated by FiLoTS (Father in-law of Tool Snob). It was an old Toro (we think) and it's meant for clearing out small driveways and short walkways, not 300 feet of gravel driveway. While the machine was functional, it was also frustrating. Once you've tasted the high-life of the 30", it's tough to go back. Every time we started it up we would pine for our old Troy-Bilt.
So we were pretty excited when Troy-Bilt offered to let us try out their new 3090 XP Snow Thrower. As it turns out it's the updated version of our old stand-by. We've now had it through three big storms, each consisting of over 12" of snow, and we've spent a total of about 7 hours behind the machine. We've now come to our conclusions...
Continue reading: "Troy-Bilt Storm 3090 XP Snow Thrower - Review"
January 7, 2011
Once you've conquered the massive 12-volt Pex expander market, there's really nowhere left to go but casual outerwear. And that's what Milwaukee has done. Their crushing domination of the 12-volt world is fully on display with the release of their new M12 Heated Jacket. It's almost like they're taunting the other companies at this point. Whether or not that's actually the case (it probably isn't), they nicely sent us one to check out.
Continue reading: "Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket - Review"
January 4, 2011
There's been a lot of hay made lately about these multi-headed dog bone wrenches and many die-hard tool users seem to hail them as useless with such enthusiasm as to make us think the tool was some kind of genetic abomination like one of those seven-footed toads found near Chernobyl. The deal is that it's a double headed wrench with a rotating head at each end. The heads have four sides, each of which has a different sized socket on it. We've actually never handled one of these tools before, but Black and Decker was nice enough to send us their ratcheting ReadyWrench, (which adds a ratcheting feature to the mix), and for the past month we've used it for all kinds of things.
Continue reading: "Black & Decker Ratcheting ReadyWrench - Review"