July 22, 2009

SawGear

sawgear.jpgRemember how Luke would put R2-D2 in the X-Wing and the little robot would essentially take over all the heavy lifting? Luke would sort of pretend to fly, but we all knew it was R2 that was making all the important decisions. That's sort of what the SawGear does to you and your miter saw. The tool, which made its big debut at this year's AWFS in Vegas, looks like it wants to take over all the measuring and marking, leaving you with only the brainless task of making the cut.

The tool is essentially three parts, a little computer unit, a rail, and a small carriage with a stop that runs along the rail. The SawGear attaches to your miter saw stand, and then after what looks like a quick and easy calibration, you just punch in the measurement that you want to cut and watch the carriage zip over to that distance and create a stop for your lumber.

The SawGear is smart enough to cut miters (no word on bevels though), and it can work in fraction or decimals. It can also evade a squadron of TIE fighters and lob rockets successfully into the Death Star's thermal exhaust port.

Over at the SawGear website they're saying that the tool can cut job completion times by 25%, which is quite a claim. Can it really eliminate one day of a week long project? If this is true, or even if they're exaggerating and the number is something like 10%, it's still a huge dollar amount that you carpenters out there could be potentially saving.

It's a cool idea and we're interested to see how it does in the marketplace. The $3000 price tag is going to scare away most homeowners, so it's up to the carpenters to make or break this one. Like we said, it'll be interesting. It seems to us that the majority of carpenters are tradition-bound and are likely to be suspicious of something that will take away their ability to mark out incredibly over-sized crows feet. But we did hear that a number of units were already sold at the AWFS, which speaks to how impressive this tool must be in person. At most trade shows, we'll happily lay down a hundred bucks (mostly at the bar), but to be inspired enough to drop a few grand, that must be a pretty impressive tool.

Purchase, videos and a ton more information over at SawGear

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

July 21, 2009

Ezy Hang Door Lifter - Review

ezy_hang1.jpgOne of the classic carpentry tasks is hanging a door. From what we've seen pretty much everyone has their own way of doing it and while there is a lot of variety in approach, one fact remains a constant; the door needs to be lifted into place. And this is where the Ezy Hang Door Lifter comes into play.

The Easy Hang Door Lifter is in reality a very simple item and actually something that anyone with a stick welder, a drill press and a few scraps of metal could probably cobble together (minus the powder-coating). It consists of two connected feet, each with a lever and corresponding lift pad. To use it, just maneuver the door onto the pads, press on the levers with your feet, and watch the pads and the door elevate off the ground. When we hang a door by ourselves, we usually have a flatbar and some shims helping us along at this stage. It's do-able, but pretty clumsy and it takes a bit to get the door at exactly the correct height. This is where the Ezy Hang Door Lifter excels. Because there are two independent lift pads, it is extremely easy to adjust the door in the opening in order to mark out or line up your hinges.

ezy_hang_3.jpgezy_hang2.jpg

When not in use, the foot pedals of the Ezy Hang fold in and make the item compact enough to stick in the back of a truck or in a gang box or behind the mower in the garage.

The EZY Hang can handle any door up to 220lbs, which means that it can deal with just about any wooden door and most others. Once you get into metal acoustical doors, you're going to start having problems, but those likely come with the frame and hinges all set up already, so the precision lifting is less of an issue.

ezy_hang4.jpgezy_hang_6.jpg

And that's really all there is to say. While it's a very smart item, it's not a particularly complicated one; no LEDs, no laser sighting, no blade changing. Just a couple levers connected with some bar stock. So our review boils down to, "does it work?" The answer here is, "yup, sure does. Works great."

Being an Australian product, the Ezy Hang isn't in your local hardware store, or even the Home Depot or Lowes. If you're interested in ordering one, check out the website for more information (it looks like you'll have to email the inventor for pricing information and availability).

At Ezy Hang Door Lifter

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

July 7, 2009

Rockwell LogJaws (JawHorse Accessory) - Review

logjaws.jpgAt first glance, we thought the LogJaws were about the silliest thing we'd ever seen. We're huge fans of the JawHorse, and use it all the time, but who would really need to clamp a log at waist height? Definitely not us, and we heat with wood.

To use the LogJaws, you first have to invest in the Rockwell JawHorse, which we think is a good idea no matter who you are. So if you don't have one and you're interested, our review of that tool is here. But simply put, the JawHorse is a workstation centered around a large clamping jaw and Rockwell makes a number of add-ons for the unit, including these, the LogJaws.

logjaws_attach.jpglogjaws_w_log.jpg

What the LogJaws do is give the JawHorse the ability to clamp a log or really any other oddly shaped item that's going to have problems in the parallel clamps that come standard with the JawHorse. The LogJaws sit higher than the regular clamps and have these mean looking teeth that are perfect for sinking into a nice chunk of rotted oak. The LogJaws attach very easily to the JawHorse, just a few screws and it's done. Maybe two minutes max.

We discovered quickly that the LogJaws really are great for clamping cut logs, branches and other bits of tree debris. But where exactly do you go from there? What sorts of things can you use it for? The JawHorse sits too high to use it for your utility, "need to fill the woodshed before the first snow" log cutting. We just don't think it's worth it to haul one end of a 100 lb log into the jaws just so you can cut 18" off of it and then have to reposition the whole thing. But if you're only going to be cutting smaller branches and kindling, then it'll work great. We actually see the LogJaws as more for the wood carving/woodworking crowd. And in fact, we used it to make some nice tree limb coasters (directions here).

logjaws_teeth.jpglogjaws_saw.jpg

The LogJaws also have these little brackets that flip out and allow you to clamp your chainsaw bar so you can easily sharpen your chainsaw, saving valuable knuckle skin.

In a way, the LogJaws sum up the glory of the JawHorse; you can get the basic unit, which is extremely useful, and then you have the ability to customize it, in order to suit your niche needs. The LogJaws aren't for everybody, but if you're one of the people who it is for, you'll love it.

The LogJaws cost about $40 which puts them on the lower side of things when compared to most of the other JawHorse accessories.

As an aside, if you are a wood carver, we suggest checking out our reviews of the Arbortech wood carving tools, the Mini-Grinder and the Power Chisel.

At Amazon.com

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

June 25, 2009

EZY Hang Door Lifter

ez_door_lifter.jpgOur Austrailian invention connection has just emailed us about another interesting item that should be hitting the marketplace at some point soon. This time it's a device to assist with hanging doors. The EZY Hang Door Lifter is basically a jack that raises your door to the appropriate height in order for you to install the hinges. It looks like a much better version of what we usually end up cobbling together out of plywood scraps and a flatbar. Probably the nicest feature of the EZY Hang Door lifter is that it has one jack on each side, so slight adjustments can be made to the door once it's airborne.

The EZY Hang Door Lifter has a maximum lifting height of 25mm, which to us Americanos translates into just under one inch. There is no word on the maximum weight it can hold, but it sounds like it can handle just about any standard solid core door. We're curious about non-standard doors though. Yesterday, we spent the day hanging a 360 lb door (no joke) and something like the EZY Hang would have been helpful.

There is more information at ezyhangdoorlifter.com

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

April 29, 2009

APC SurgeArrest Power Saving Surge Protector - Review

apc.jpgAnyone who was reading this site back in December knows that we had a little power outage and anyone who has read the site since knows that we've made a career out of bitching about it (see here and here). Well why stop now? What follows is a review of a surge protector, which, admittedly is a bit outside of our area of expertise (and by 'a bit' we mean 'a lot'), but before you click back over to your favorite celebrity gossip site, you should know that we found that the item had an intriguing feature that translated very nicely into the workshop setting.

ArrowContinue reading: "APC SurgeArrest Power Saving Surge Protector - Review"

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

April 10, 2009

Veto Pro Pac LT-XL Portable Office

vpp_office.jpgWe just noticed that Veto Pro Pac has a tool bag that's part carpenter, part supervisor. Like their other tool bags, this one is built around the idea of storing tools vertically for easier organization, but the LT-XL devotes half of its storage space to office items, even having room for a laptop computer.

The LT-XL looks like it has all of characteristics that mark the other Veto Pro Pac tool bags; the solid durability, the magnetic handle, as well as the completely outrageous price. The LT-XL will set you back $225 (and no, the computer is not included).

At Veto Pro Pac and Amazon.com

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

March 30, 2009

Quadra Bench

Quadra_bench_1.jpg

Now this looks interesting. It's a workbench out of Australia called the Quadra Bench that is comprised of two connected benches, each topped with a sliding platform, one for the tool and one for the workpiece. In addition to the horizontal movement, each bench can be raised and lowered as well. This multi-axis maneuverability gives the user a great deal of flexibility when positioning the tool and workpiece for making a cut. It also adds makes things quite a bit safer.

Tools for the bench will come in interchangeable modules built specifically for the machine. Thus far, we've seen pictures of a router and a circular saw.

The Quadra Bench is currently just a patented prototype (pictured), but it looks like there is a good chance that it will actually be manufactured. The finished product will likely have more features and be more spruced up than the prototype.

Watch a short video of the Quadra Bench here.

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

March 12, 2009

Rockwell RK9110 JawHorse Miter Saw Station

rockwell_miter_saw_station.jpgAs part of our ongoing series cataloging all of the JawHorse accessories, we've finally come to the Miter Saw Station (see below for a list of the other accessories). The Miter Saw Station is simply a platform that attaches to the JawHorse and can support your miter saw. There are also two rollers that can be used as out-feed support if attached to a 2x, which is also clamped in the JawHorse. It's a pretty basic affair and it costs about $80.

Now, we're fans of Rockwell tools, as anyone who reads the site knows, but we've got to say that this seems like a whole lot of money to spend on something that could be made out of scraps kicking around the shop. To us, anything that needs a customer-supplied 2x4 in order to work, shouldn't cost $80. But that's just us. If you've bought into the JawHorse system and want everything to fit together perfectly and have a similar look, this could be a nice addition to your workshop.

At Amazon.com and Rockwell

Our review of the JawHorse is here
Our thoughts on the Plywood Jaw Accessory are here
Our thoughts on the Jog Jaw Attachment are here

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

March 10, 2009

Tool Box Refrigerator

tool_fridge.jpgIf you like pounding beers while you're out 'working' in the garage but don't want anyone to know how much of a boozer you are, this could be the best $300 you'll ever spend. Designed by Genuine Hotrod Hardware, the Tool Box Refrigerator is made to look exactly like a regular old tool cabinet. In all functional respects, it's a standard dorm room fridge (complete with Dispense-A-Can can stacker!), but in order to hide it's real purpose, the fridge has simulated drawer pulls, a top drawer lock, and it rolls around on locking casters.

At SkyMall

via Random Good Stuff

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

February 12, 2009

Rockwell JawHorse Plywood Jaw Accessory Attachment

rockwell_plywood_jaw.jpgTwo weeks ago, we reviewed the JawHorse, Rockwell's one-stop workshop assistant, and last week we talked a bit about the log jaw attachment, and now, here's a little something about the Plywood Jaw attachment.

This one is simple enough. The standard Jawhorse jaws can open up to 37" wide, making them just barely able to handle a 36" door (something we've use it to hold quite a few times). But as wide as that is, it is still short of the magic 48" needed for sheet goods. The Plywood Jaw Accessory is a replacement part for the movable jaw that is longer. Exchanging the two shouldn't be any problem at all, the existing one just slides out and the new one slides in.

Rockwell makes mention of some stability issues when dealing with larger-sized items in the JawHorse, so if you're going to use the PlyWood attachment, it's worth it to think of those sorts of things. The last thing you want is a collapsing work bench.

The JawHorse Plywwod Accessory costs about $50, which feels a little pricey to us, but given the sturdiness of the JawHorse, it's likely a very well made item.

At Amazon.com and Rockwell

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

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