There are cutting tools and there are cutting tools. PR Diamond deals with the italicized version, which basically means anything that can chew through 10-inches of concrete. The majority of their gear is diamond-oriented, whether it's a diamond saw blade or a core bit. They have an online store and it looks like they sell tools from other manufacturers, but that the bits, blades, and accessories are their own.
In looking closer at their selection, it appears they've got some wood cutting blades in addition to all of their other specialty gear. It's really worth a few minutes to wander around their site for a bit to see what they have (like asphalt core bits and granite saw blades). Also check out the diamond chainsaws, just so you can sit and image the amount of havoc you could wreak.
One thing that's cool and worth noting is that they give their blades a 1-year warranty from factory defects. This is especially nice considering that gear of this nature doesn't come cheap.
I've spent my fair share of afternoons trying to clean old gunked up bolts. I've used wire brushes and I've used small files (between the threads). One thing I haven't used is the Thread Wizard, mostly because I didn't know it existed until just a few days ago.
It's a simple little design and (judging from the video, at least) it looks pretty successful. It's basically a die with a wire brush set behind it. There are two models available (metric and SAE) and each is built to handle eight sizes of bolt. The design also allows for the tool to be held in the hand or clamped in a vise.
They cost $25 a piece, so if you want the set, it'll set you back $50. At first, I thought, "well, now THAT's expensive." But now that I'm thinking about it, the immediate ability to quickly clean up 16 different sized bolts is fairly significant. For the right person, I could see these things paying for themselves fairly quickly.
Ryobi's new Dockit storage system is a clever idea and probably one that is headed to a garage workshop near you. It's a simple, common sense solution to the age old question, "where the hell did I put my drill bits?" The customizable system centers around a wall mounted carriage and relatively small, specifically organized bit and driver boxes that sit in said carriage. They sent on a sample for me to check out and the plain truth is that I really like it.
The innovative company Arbortech has once again found a new way to harness the awesome power of the angle grinder. The TURBOShaft is a strange little carving/shaping accessory that offers a high degree of subtlety, which is notable mostly because grinders are generally low on subtly. The TURBOShaft is a small shaft, about the size of a finger, that screws on to the spindle. At the working end of it are two carbide teeth proud of the shaft. When the grinder is activated, the two teeth, now spinning, become a precision carving tool. They sent us one to check out.
Last week I was able to head off to Milwaukee Tools for their annual Product Symposium where they unleashed all of their latest and greatest tools and gear. There is a lot coming too. To get a sense of what I'm trying to get at, picture a giant red tidal wave with white lightning bolts shooting out of it (a toolnami, if you will). Hearing about each and every one of these new tools over the course of a single day was like being attacked by a grizzly bear made entirely of information. Honestly, towards the end, my mind was beaten down to the point where I felt like Brad Pitt from 12 Monkeys. Now here I am a few days later, trying to decipher my scribbled notes and jumbled memories.
Coast makes some pretty cool knives (and flashlights and headlamps). I carried their RX312 (or something close to it) for a while and always liked it. I still use it from time to time, but I've switched my EDC over to a utility knife (the Milwaukee Fastback). I just finally accepted the fact that my lifestyle is brutal on a blade and I don't have the time to deal with sharpening. Disposable utility blades are just so simple to deal with.
But anyway, Coast recently developed a very interesting item that they refer to as the LK375 Light Knife ($52). It's basically a combo between a ...wait for it... wait for it... wait for it... flashlight and a knife. It's a great pairing, kind of like chocolate and peanut butter, eggs and bacon, or Ashton and Demi. Coast was nice enough to send me a sample so that I could check it out.
There's no doubt that the lamest part of using a hole saw is ejecting the core from the saw. I wonder how many flat head screwdrivers have been irreparably damaged over the years. A while back, Lennox advanced a solution to this problem with their Speed Slot line. These saws come with a cool "step" pattern up the side of the saw, giving you a series of spots to pry your screwdriver against. I have a set and they're nice. Milwaukee recently released a similar design.
But Spyder is wiping the slate clean and approaching the problem from an entirely different angle. Their thinking is, "why move the core, when you can move the saw?" It's a cool idea too. How it works is that once you make the cut, a release button lets you slide the hole saw back along the bit. This leaves the core in place where it can be easily removed. Then press and slide the saw back in place.
On-board bit storage on a drill is like cheese on a cracker (and I'm not entirely sure what I mean when I say that). I think the point is that it's kind of essential, or at least, if it's not there then it feels like something is lacking. But the bar here is set pretty low; even the best drills only come with room for maybe one or two 1" bits. This is alright, but if you're really getting into a project, it sure would be nice to have a spot to stick a bit for pre-drilling or to have room for four or five additional bits (P1, P2, P3, R1, R2, T15, etc). So yeah, wait a minute, here comes something called the Holdsabit. It actually looks like a one of those backpacks that you put on a dog for camping, but instead of holding Alpo and whiskey, it holds bits.
Holdsabit was nice enough to send us a sample to test out and we've been playing with it for a while now and have come to our conclusions.
Skil has recently hit the scene with a drinking tool. The Skil power corkscrew has been available in Europe for a couple years now (see our original coverage here) and it's now available in the states. Bosch owns Skil and in Europe, green Bosch is their DIY brand (read: Skil), so in all likelihood, the two items are exactly the same. Skil sent us one to check out and we were pretty interested in it. If it has to do with wine drinking and it flew in Europe, it has to be good, right?
We were impressed with Arbortech way, way back when we first saw their AS160 AllSaw at a tradeshow in May of 07. Then we got a chance to test some of their woodworking tools out and loved those too. The Mini Grinder and Power Chisel, still now, are tools that we feel we've only scratched the surface of their potential. Recently we were contacted by the company again, this time to take a look at their new TURBOPlane. What is the TURBOPlane you ask? Read on...
Milwaukee recently released their new fancy pants recip saw blade with all the extra teeth and the lone fang, good for plunge cutting and hacking through nail-embedded wood. We saw them in action and there's no question that they're great, but we also just stumbled across another interesting recip saw blade that we think is worth a mention as well.
UPDATE: We just saw that Jay from CopTool got his e-hands on some videos of the blades, so we shamelessly stole them and added them to our post. Make sure to also check out what Jay has to say about the blades here.
Of all the things we saw on our last trip to Milwaukee (the heated jacket, the new line of hand tools, the new battery, etc.), the one thing that made a real lasting impression was the new Sawzall blade design that they have in the works. We've spent way too much time working with recip saws and seeing the functionality of the new blades was almost too much to take. But, as with the battery, there was an embargo on the information while they ironed out the final few details, so we had to stay mum about it all until now. But we got word late yesterday that we can now blab, blab, blab. So, if you're a contractor, listen up, because you're going to like this...
The reason we were so light on posts last week is that we were lucky enough to be at Milwaukee's annual Product Symposium. While there, we ate some great food, hung out withasolidgroupofourtool-writerpals, enjoyed a lot of great conversations with the Milwaukee crowd, and most importantly had the opportunity to get a look at this year's line of new tools.
The nitty-gritty of the event has been covered by a few of our fellow compatriots here and here, so we're going to stick to just a few thoughts on some of the new items that we saw...
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