January 24, 2008
If you're tired of the giant pile of hand tools on your workbench and peg boards don't do it for you, you should check out this 24" Magnetic Tool Holder. It has a capacity of 50 lbs and can be hung either vertically or horizontally. The best part is that it's so cheap ($8), that getting two or three of them isn't out of the question.
Since there are other brands that can go for up to $30, we checked and there is a 1-year warranty if this thing turns out to be a piece of junk.
January 18, 2008
We're thinking about building some sawhorses and wanted to see what designs were out there. Well, we found a number of sites with a lot of different designs. Here they are:
The Sawhorse Workshop - This place has four different designs, each with different features (you have to pay to get one of the plans). It also has plans for making clamping tables.
AlterEagle - Here is a very detailed tutorial on how to make the kind of horse that we usually make. They're very durable and can hold a ton of weight, but they're bulky and don't fold up, so they can't be stored all that easily.
Popular Mechanics - Here is a detailed how-to for the classic time-proven sawhorse, the one your dad probably had.
Sawhorse Brackets - Or, if you're not interested in putting the time into building horses, you can pick up a set of inexpensive ($6) sawhorse brackets, like these.
November 9, 2007
If you're looking for something that can clamp anything, you should check out Triton's Superjaws. Although known primarily for their routers (which are apparently some of the best on the market), Triton has a number of other unique tools in their catalog. After one look, it's obvious that Superjaws is one of them.
Superjaws is a giant clamp that is capable of opening to 36" and delivering about 2200 lbs of clamping pressure. The tool is made of corrosion-resistant powder-coated steel and the whole thing folds up to a fairly compact unit, making it nice and portable.
Continue reading: "Triton Superjaws"
November 2, 2007
Craftsman has recently released a tool chest that's so pimped out it needs to be called a "tool storage system." It's loaded with some features that we've never seen on a tool chest, so maybe the name change in appropriate.
For starters, the chest is comprised of a 6-drawer chest and a 7-drawer roll-away (each sold separately). The drawers are on ball bearing slides and the pulls run the length of the drawer. From here things get interesting. The AXS features a LCD display that provides you with the time, date, and temperature. There is a slide out work surface (with a light), and a six-outlet power strip. I addition to all this, there is even a 12-volt power outlet and an optional set of speakers (so we're sure there is some sort of mp3 player hook-up).
The key system is set up in such a way so that you can use your house key to open the lock, reducing the load on your already over-stuffed keychain.
If you own a tool chest or have ever priced one out, you know that they can be expensive items and this is no different. The AXS system costs a combined total of $1300. But when looking at all the features on this set, it's probably not a bad price at all.
6-Drawer Chest at Sears ($550)
7-Drawer Roll-Away at Sears ($750)
October 31, 2007
Maxxeon, a company that specializes in work lights geared towards auto mechanics and other professionals, offers a little light called the WorkStar 1200.
Its features include a retractable hook; two magnets in the body so you can stick it against the hood of the car while you work; and an interesting head with two swivel points, allowing you to position the light in just about any way imaginable. The light also has a squared off body, so when you're not using the magnets, you'll be able to easily stabilize the light on it's side. The Workstar is cordless and can go for about five hours on a charge.
From the features, it's easy to see that although it would be a great light for a mechanic, it would also be a nice light for anyone in the trades (we're thinking plumbers and electricians), as well as any serious DIYer. It looks like a quality item and, because of that, it's going to cost you quite a bit more than your average work light. The Workstar retails for just under $100 at Amazon and almost $140 if you get it straight from Maxxeon.
For more information, there is a video here.
At Maxxeon and Amazon.com
October 4, 2007
Northern Tool, one of our favorite online tool stores is having a preseason sale on all types of heaters. They've got portable jobsite heaters, larger ones for the shop, and even wood stoves. Pretty much anything having to do with heating an area is on sale over at Northern Tool. Just think, it's better to buy them now, then to be scrambling around in late November when you really need it and everyone is sold out. The sale is for a limited time (we're not sure how long).
Check out Northern Tool
October 3, 2007
Husky has just released a new tripod work light and they were nice enough to let us try out. It's an interesting design, and one we've never seen before.
The light comes folded up, looking sort of like a camera tripod with a very large central shaft. At the end of the shaft is a small light. Once the legs of the tripod are set up, the shaft stands upright with the light on top. When you plug in the light (which is made easy by a nice 12' cord), the light on the top lights up (it's blue). Now, here's where it gets interesting. At this point, you find a little locking tab that you press and once that's done, you can now grab the little blue light and pull the main light out of the central shaft, where it's been nicely protected. Once the light slides up to as high as it will go, it locks into place and automatically turns on. This, we weren't ready for.
Continue reading: "Husky 84-Watt Portable Tripod Fluorescent Work Light - Review"
September 12, 2007
If you're at the stage of your woodworking career where your workshop is filled with bizarre handmade jigs, mostly constructed out of plywood and 2x4s, now might be the time to step things up a bit. Rockler, one of our favorite stores, has a good supply of jig hardware, ranging from clamps to t-track accessories. They're handy to have around and with a little creativity, you can do just about anything you want with them.
For about $20-$30 you can get a great assortment of this, that, and the other thing.
August 28, 2007
If you're a DIYer or even a contractor who ends up working alone quite a bit, you should look into getting a set of FastCap's 3rd Hand Supports. They're an easy to use, multi-function support stick/clamp/brace/whatever.
They start at 5' and can extend to 12'. They are strong enough to help with a sheet of blueboard and the pad on the end is small enough to deal with crown molding. Both the top and bottom plates have non-marring rubber pads and they swivel on a ball joint, so they can be easily placed at an angle (if you were putting up crown, for example). They can also be used to create a dust barrier, similar to a Zipwall. In fact, they're practically half the price of a Zipwall system, but have far more functionality.
Continue reading: "FastCap 3rd Hand Support System"
August 27, 2007
UPDATE: SKil is now offering a Deluxe XBench Kit. More info here.
Skil might have another winner on their hands with the new XBench Portable Workstation. It looks like they've managed to combine a lot of good, standard features with some new and interesting ones.
The XBench Portable Workstation is made of MDF with steel legs, each of which is independently adjustable, so you can set up anywhere and get a nice level surface. It also has a universal plate system for things like routers, as well as a channel for featherboards and miter slides. We're not sure of the specifics on how the plate system works, but we assume that at least Skil tools can be fitted into the table. There is also a power outlet with a bump-off switch as well as ruler markings along the side.
Keep reading to learn how to win one for yourself.
Continue reading: "Skil XBench Portable Workstation (and how to win one!)"