Bits and Blades
January 2, 2013
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?
Turns out, maybe not so much.
Continue reading: "Skil iXO Vivo Power Corkscrew - Review and Giveaway"
December 18, 2012
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...
Continue reading: "Arbortech TURBOPlane - Review"
October 29, 2012
So during our renovation, we had to drill 30 3/4" holes through this 8-1/2" beam. It wasn't easy and it wasn't fun. It also would have been impossible if it wasn't for the Bosch DareDevil Spade bits.
Continue reading: "Bosch DareDevil Spade Bits - Part Two"
January 11, 2011
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.
Continue reading: "Boar Blades"
September 15, 2010
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...
Continue reading: "Milwaukee's New Sawzall Blade"
July 26, 2010
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 with a solid group of our tool-writer pals, 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...
Continue reading: "Milwaukee 2010 Product Symposium"
March 24, 2010
We've used a number of hidden deck fasteners and have gotten some mixed results. We've had some good experiences (Eb-Ty) and some not-so-good experiences (Tiger Claw). Even the successful Eb-Tys were labor intensive with us having to biscuit out for each and every fastener. The results were great, but the process was tedious.
So Kreg, masters of all that is jiggy, are entering the ring with their new Deck Jig and at a glance it looks like a fast, efficient way of doing things (on the one condition that you have 2 drills). Like every other product that Kreg sells, the Deck Jig boils down to a method of drilling and setting a screw at a specific angle. In this case, it assists with toe-screwing a deck board to a joist.
The jig is set up like other Kreg jigs with the special drill bit and the adjustable depth collar. There are three drilling holes, one for screwing straight on and the other two for angled screwing, like when two boards meet on a joist. The kit also comes with little board spacers, to ensure your deck boards are nice and parallel.
The one thing that worries us about this whole thing is that the jig uses a specialized drill bit (replacements are about $14). So if you're making your deck out of ipe (which is becoming more and more popular), there could be an added expense of additional drill bits. Spending a day drilling through a species of wood that has the same fire rating as steel doesn't bode well for the longevity of the bit. But then again, cutting biscuit slots in it is no treat either.
The jig costs about $100.
Available May 15th at Amazon.com
March 11, 2010
Showing absolutely no sensitivity towards the nail community, Bosch has dubbed their latest auger bits, "Nailkillers." Frightening stuff if you're a nail. But if you're a carpenter or electrician who is sick of chewing through $15-$30 auger bits every time one hits a screw, it's really not so bad.
According to Bosch, these bits last 9 times longer than the average non-killing, peacenik, flower-child auger bit. In their press release, Bosch states that, "Independent testing of the Nailkiller bits revealed that a 1" Nailkiller bit was capable of driving through up to 301 hidden nails, versus only 33 for the current market leader, when used with a right-angle drill."
That's a serious difference (and a lot of mourning nail families).
The bits are just now becoming available and vary in length from 7-1/2" to 24" and diameters from 1/4" to 1-1/2".
According to Bosch, the bit will be available online at Tyler Tool, but it looks like the website hasn't yet been updated accordingly.
The press release is after the jump. It's worth browsing because there is quite a bit more to these bits. Or if you don't know how to read, Bosch has set up a nailkiller microsite here.
Continue reading: "Bosch Nailkiller Auger Bits"
March 9, 2010
Now that most of the big players have their oscillating tools on the shelves, the first phase of the oscillating extravaganza of '09 is coming to an end. At the moment, it looks like we've just entered phase two: accessories. This era will likely be marked by companies releasing all manner of accessory, each more creative (and strange) than the last. We recently checked out Fein's orbital sander attachment and we were very impressed. Today, we just finished up our testing of Rockwell's new SoniShear. The function of this attachment is to turn your SoniCrafter into a pair of shears. When Rockwell said they'd send us one, we really didn't know what to expect.
When we first saw it on youtube, we thought that attaching it to the SoniCrafter was going to be a hassle, like we had to take apart the head of the tool or something. As it turns out, that's not the case at all; it fits on just like any other attachment.
Once it was on, we started a cuttin'. We began with the terrible blister pack that it came in and the SoniShear zipped right through it at an impressive speed. Then we went to corrugated cardboard and had the same results. After that was a thin strip of poplar. Here, not so much. The SoniShear couldn't handle the 1/8" bulky wood. It wasn't from lack of trying either, we actually loosened the whole attachment while we were jamming the thing into the wood (note: no where does Rockwell say that the SoniShear is able to cut wood, we just wanted to push the accessory). So you can't cut wood, but how about aluminum flashing? The SoniShear had no problem here, but the bulk of the tool made things a little awkward, so we'd probably stick with tin snips in the future. We didn't get around to cutting carpet, but from what we saw, the SoniShear would have no difficulty with that material.
There's no question that it's easier on the hands then regular snips or shears. It's also no problem cutting curves. But with the accessory offset from the tool body, there are going to be times when the tool isn't going to fit where you want it. It's a minimal concern and shouldn't stop anyone from taking a closer look at the SoniShear.
It's inexpensive enough at $25 that it sort of falls into the, "eh, why not?" category. Unless you're lined up to remove a carpet, there's probably no reason to go running out to get one, but if you see one at the store and you've got some cash in your pocket, why not have it on hand in your arsenal? It'll definitely come in handy at some point.
And because the SoniShear wraps around the body of the tool, it is incompatible with the other brands of oscillating tools.
We also just noticed that Rockwell has cleaned up their website a bit, check it out here.
It'll be available at Amazon.com and Rockwell Tools
February 23, 2010
A couple years ago, we reviewed something called the Final Cut Saw Blade. It's really nothing more than a piece of sandpaper stuck to a saw blade. At first, it sounds pretty goofy, but it actually works pretty well, not only with making a nice, smooth cuts, but also with preventing kick-back and blade binding.
After releasing 10" and 12" blades, Final Cut has moved on to the next inevitable step, the 7-1/4" blade. Now, you can have that same sanding/cutting action with your standard old circ saw.
Read our review of the larger size blades here.
The blades cost $20 and will be available at finalcutblade.com
The press release is after the jump.
Continue reading: "Final Cut 7-1/4" Blade"
January 5, 2010
A while back, we reviewed some oscillating tool blades that were sold under the name of Yaeger Blades. Soon after the review, the company went dark, which caused us to get a lot of emails that went along the lines of, "WTF? Why can't I access their website?" As it turned out the fellows at Yaeger were in the process of redesigning their blades so as not to infringe on any patent issues with Fein.
We just got the email the other day that Yaeger Blades 2.0 is up and running. The new company is called Liberate Blades and you can access the website here. According to Liberate Blades,
The redesign allows for incremental angling of the saw blades just as the OEM blades do, which is not seen in any of the other aftermarket oscillating saw blades. Even though the connector opening is round the unique design allows the blades to lock into place no mater which machine they are being used with. Additional changes have been made to attach the blade to the connector which provide amazing consistency in the manufacturing process, which equates to a better product for customers.
The new blades are compatible with the Fein, Bosch, and Dremel tools. The cost is $10-12 per blade, which is a good savings when compared to the $15 or so that the Fein blades are sold for (assuming the quality is exactly the same). Liberate blades are also available in a 10 blade variety pack for $105.
At Liberate Blades
December 15, 2009
Now that the market is swamped with oscillating tools, there is a lot of talk about what brand's accessories are interchangeable with what brand's tools. Over the weekend, we went out to the shop and spent about an hour trying different accessories with different models and we came up with this chart (click to see it enlarged):
A few things about our notation:
1. Y: Yes, the accessory fits in the locking system of the tool.
2. N: No, the accessory does not fit on the tool in any functional way.
3. NL: The accessory fits on the tool, but it does not lock into that particular tool's locking system. On some brands (Dremel, Bosch), this locking system is a pattern of 'nubs' that the accessory fits around, and on others (Fein, Craftsman) the tool has a shape that the accessory conforms to. Because of the oscillating motion of these tools, we really don't recommend using any of the accessories that don't lock into the tool. Not only can they come loose easier, but it's likely you're placing a great deal of pressure against the face of the nubs or other locking system giving them additional wear.
4. WA: With adapter. The Bosch tool comes with an adapter that sits over the nubs and creates a bumpy surface for the accessory to rest against. Even with the adapter, the other accessories are still not locked into the tool, so the situation is functional, but not ideal.
5. The Proxxon, because it is built for such light duty, has no locking system and thus all but the Craftsman and Rockwell accessories, with their large holes, were deemed acceptable.
6. The Fein is the only one with a quick change chuck system and should NOT be used with any accessories other than those made by Fein, Rockwell, or Craftsman. The other accessories may fit on the spindle, but if they sit on the face of the locking system and can cause damage to the quick change system.
7. If anyone has any information on the Harbor Freight oscillating tool or any of the other brands not included, drop a comment and at some point, we'll update the chart accordingly.
Of the tools, the ones that cross-pollinated easiest were the Fein and the Craftsman who, for all intents and purposes, share a locking system. The Rockwell accessories also fit the pattern successfully.
We've reviewed all of the tools mentioned and you can check out our thoughts at the following pages:
Craftsman Nextec Oscillating Tool
Proxxon Delta Sander
December 14, 2009
Fein had told us they were sending out a new accessory that they had just released, but when we saw that it was an orbital sander attachment we began to wonder about the move. Was this one of those times when a company just releases something just to release it? Was Fein in the process of jumping the shark? Multi-tools are a bit problematic; there's a certain tipping point where the disparity between the job that the multi-function tool does vs. the job that the traditionally purposed tool does gets so great that it renders the multi-tool somewhat pathetic. To put it in the terms of the situation at hand, if the Fein orbital attachment isn't anywhere near as good as an orbital sander, then what the hell good is it at all? Orbitals are basic tools and they really haven't changed much over the years because they're great at what they do. Now here comes Fein with a matching accessory? the train wreck potential here was huge. These were the thoughts we had when we packed up the attachment and brought it to work where we had just been tasked with a large sanding project.
Once we got the Fein up and running with the attachment, it really didn't take long for those thoughts to disappear. Using it head to head against our new Ridgid orbital, we could hardly tell any difference. We spent all day switching between the two tools struggling to discover some problem with the Fein, but we really couldn't. The orbital attachment is fully compatible with the tool's dust collection system, so it even matched the orbital on that front.
We then brought it back to the shop and did a more scientific test to compare the two tools. We found a board with a 2-3/4" stripe painted on it and marked out 2 12" lengths of it. We outfitted both tools with 80 grit paper (the Fein with the included paper and the Ridgid with a piece of Norton paper) and then timed how long it took each tool to sand off the paint. The Fein got through to bare wood in 21 seconds and the Ridgid did the same in 15 seconds; faster, but not by all that much. After the test, we put a piece of 180 on the Fein to see how smooth we could get the board, thinking that regardless of the grit, the oscillating motion would always leave marks on the wood. The Fein had to have an Achilles heel, right? Nope, after a few moments with the 180 grit, the piece of wood was smooth as Tool Snob Jr's rear end.
So where does this leave us? Are those six seconds from the timed test crucial? Depends what you're doing. If you're setting up for a full eight hours of sanding, it probably is. But if you're taking on a small or even medium-sized project, it's pretty insignificant. The end result here is that your Fein can now double as an orbital sander. If you're a carpenter, it means one less tool that you have to lug around and if you're a DIYer, it's one less tool you have to own. Fein's multi-purpose tool just gained another purpose.
The only real drawback to this attachment is that it doesn't easily fit into the MultiMaster case. It's hardly worth mentioning, and we're really only saying it because we don't think we've ever said anything negative about the Fein MultiMaster or any of their accessories so we thought we'd give it a shot. So that's us sticking it to Fein: "we have to take the accessory off the tool in order to fit it in the case." Pretty sad on our part.
The orbital sanding attachment costs about $32 and comes with six sheets of sandpaper (2 each of 60, 80, 180 grit). It should be available where other Fein accessories are sold. We can't find it anywhere online, so it might be too new.
October 26, 2009
We're carpenters, not fine woodworkers, so we want our saw blades to simply work. From time to time, we need something special, like a thin kerf or a dado, but for the most part, we're ripping down plywood, trimming a quarter inch off a poplar 1x6 or putting an angle on a 2x4 for an oddly framed corner. Our needs aren't great, but we do want something that's going to give us a good cut and that's going to endure the drubbing that gets administered to the job site table saw. Delta was nice enough to send us a few of their new premium blades to test out for reviewing purposes. Of the three, one of them was immediately put on the abused communal saw and the other two we compared head to head.
Before we get to the actual blades we want to mention that the catalog that Delta sent along with the blades is stuffed full of statistics and information on more available blade variations than you can possibly imagine, with differences between them being, at best, slight. Imagine a massive wine list but instead of Chardonnays and Merlots it's finish blades and cross-cut blades. For example the 35-7653 is identical to the 35-7657 except that the former has a hook angle of 10 degrees and the latter has a hook angle of 20 degrees. We've been working intimately with table saws for almost a decade now and we have no idea what a hook angle is, let alone how it alters our cut. But if you get excited about the difference between 'alternating top bevel' and 'high alternate top bevel' (and don't forget 'alternate top bevel with raker tooth') then the Delta website, with its blade selector, is a place where you want to spend some alone time. It's pure blade nerdery and although it's not really our bag, we can appreciate the nuances.
Along with the blade catalog, Delta provided us with some info describing how the blades are made. There's a lot to it, so instead of us rambling incoherently about something we know little about, we're going to direct you to this video, made by Delta, that explains the process. It's pretty interesting and if even if you're not into this sort of thing, you should watch it anyway and entertain yourself by pretending that they're making a Terminator instead of a saw blade.
The blades we tested out were the 35-1080HN5, the 35-1080T, and the 35-1050R. According to Delta the 35-1050R is best for rips so that's the one we plopped that in the table saw. The other two are better at cross cutting, so they each took turns in the miter saw making specific cuts.
The 35-1050R (in the table saw) preformed great. Nice clean cuts with no problem going right through mahogany. So far it's spent about three weeks in the saw and there's no sign of it slowing down or doing anything other than what it's supposed to do. As for the other two blades, we took a photo to try to show the variation in the blades themselves (the image is mildly successful). The two blades, while they look quite different, each has 80 teeth and similar capabilities, so we sent each through a pine 1x and examined the cut. Situated right next to one another, the cuts were different, but had we seen each cut at random points during the same day, we probably wouldn't have thought too much about the difference. But again, we're just cutting pine 1x's not a laminated surface or some other specialty item. Both cuts were nice and clean, but one (35-1080HN5) was much smoother than the other.
It strikes us that the bottom line here is that they're high quality blades and it's up to you how far you want to jump in the blade minutiae rabbit hole. Most people and even most carpenters will have no problem putting a general purpose blade in and abusing it until it dies or until some bozo comes to the job site and decides he's going to rip down a 1/4" piece of steel angle (we've seen it happen). But if you're a serious woodworker, or if your job puts you in constant contact with a specific material (a counter top installer, for example), then you have the option of getting the blade that is specific to your needs and it will make a difference too.
It looks like there is a wide variety of pricing for the wide variety of blades. The general purpose blades are at the lower end of the scale ($25-$40). Most of the other blades are somewhere in the $50-$80 range and the fine crosscuts are going to tiptoe up into the $100+ arena. There's also a great looking stacked dado set for about $150.
A good selection (but not all) of the blades is at Amazon.com. It looks like you should be able to find them at your local Lowe's as well.