March 9, 2010

Rockwell SoniShear - Review

sonishear.jpgNow 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.

sonishear_mess.jpgThere'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 and Rockwell Tools

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

February 23, 2010

Final Cut 7-1/4" Blade

FinalCutCircSaw.jpgA 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

The press release is after the jump.

ArrowContinue reading: "Final Cut 7-1/4" Blade"

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

January 5, 2010

Liberate Blades for the Fein, Bosch, and Dremel Oscillating Tools

liberate_blades.gifA 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

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

December 15, 2009

Oscillating Tool Accessories: What Fits What?

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.

oscillating_accessories2.jpgOf 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:

Fein MultiMaster
Rockwell SoniCrafter
Bosch PS50
Dremel Multi-Max
Craftsman Nextec Oscillating Tool
Proxxon Delta Sander

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

December 14, 2009

Fein Orbital Sanding Attachment for the MultiMaster - Review

Fein_sanding.jpgFein 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.

Fein_sanding_w_r.jpgSo 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.

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

October 26, 2009

Delta Premuim Saw Blades - Review

delta_blades.jpgWe'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.

delta_blades_saw.jpgBefore 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.

delta_blades_edge.jpgThe 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.

delta_blades_cut.jpgIt 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 It looks like you should be able to find them at your local Lowe's as well.

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

August 20, 2009

DeWalt Impact Ready Accessories


We knew that Milwaukee recently released a set of bits specifically designed for impact drivers, but we had no idea that DeWalt already had their own version in stores. DeWalt's new line of accessories is called Impact Ready and, like Milwaukee's Shockwave, they're built to withstand the relentless beating that impact drivers administer.

The breakdown on the accessories is here (as well as a full list of what's available) and the press release is after the jump.

A selection of the accessories is at and likely at your local Home Depot.

ArrowContinue reading: "DeWalt Impact Ready Accessories"

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

July 24, 2009

Bosch DareDevil Spade Bits - Review

bosch_daredevil_kit.jpgBosch is known primarily for their tools, but lately they've really been making a name for themselves in the accessories market. Anyone who has used tools for a while knows that blades and bits are just as important as the tool that they're seated in. Tools are sort of a 'weakest link' scenario; a great drill with a dull bit is only going to be as good as the dull bit. We've been testing out the Bosch DareDevil Spade Bits and can now say that if you put one of these in a great drill, what you have is a relentless wood eradication system.

The primary difference between the DareDevil Spade bits and your standard spades bits is this little threaded nub up at the centering point. Once these threads catch (which they can't not do), the bit is actually pulled into the wood. This happens with so much aggressiveness that we practically felt in danger of dislocating our shoulder while drilling holes. The body of the spade is also contoured so that the shaved wood doesn't clog up the hole and bog down the bit. The pointed spurs are additionally designed to minimize blow-out (which is better than most spade bits, but still considerable). There's a lot going on with these little bits.

The bottom line is that the Bosch DareDevils absolutely devastate lumber and if you're looking for some real fireworks, put one in an impact driver. After a couple of minutes it'll look like there's a pileated woodpecker living in your workshop. We spent about 30 seconds on a pressure-treated 2x6 drilling maybe a half dozen random holes and, as you can see from the image, the results are serious.


The only issue that we could find with these bits is that you can't just pull the drill out of a half-drilled hole, you actually have to put the drill in reverse. Once the centering threads catch and the connection to the wood is made, it's over. This is hardly a drawback, but just something we had to get used to.

If you're an electrician, carpenter, whatever really, we suggest checking out these bits. If you're a deck builder, just stop what you're doing and find some as fast as you can, and make sure to get the extension so putting holes in 4x6s won't be a problem.

Note that the DareDevil's are so badass they have their own website:


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

July 9, 2009

Bosch R2-P2 Driver Bit - Review

Driver_Bits.jpgIn order to exist on our jobsite in any functional manner, we need to have on us, at all times, eight different driver bits. It's a total nightmare, but that's just the way it is. We have all sorts of screws for all sorts of different applications and during the course of a day, we're involved with just about every aspect of the site. We need a P2, P3, 5/16" nut drive, 3/8" nut drive, 1/4" nut drive, R1, R2, and the Timberlok Spider Bit. We used to carry them around in an Altoid tin, but now we just have them in a pocket. It's a complete pain in the ass to have to constantly switch out bits.

So anything that takes even one of these bits out of the equation is something we're going to love. Enter, the Bosch R2-P2 Driver bit. Very simply, it's a bit that can drive both P2 screws and R2 screws. If you're unfamiliar with the terminology, Ps are Philips bits and Rs are Robertson bits (aka: square drive).

We got our hands on one of these dual bits and used it quite a bit. We ended up losing it somewhere along the way, but in the time we had it, it held up great and it took some of the bit-searching agony out of our day. We lost it before we got a chance to work it to death with the impact driver, so we can't comment too much on the strength of the bit, but because Bosch makes it with something called S2M steel, it likely would have lasted longer than normal.

There's not a whole lot more to say about the driver bit other than that it worked and that for a brief shining moment, we had one bit where we now once again need two.


We can't find these for purchase online, but they'll likely show up at and Ohio Power Tool.

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

June 15, 2009

New Tools From Milwaukee


Last week we were lucky enough to go out to the Milwaukee Tools HQ to get a glimpse at some of the new releases they've got all geared up for this year. As one of our favorite tool companies, they didn't disappoint with the sheer variety and usefulness of their new tools and accessories.

A few of the highlights of what we saw were...

Milwaukee_cordless_bandsaw.jpg18-Volt Cordless Bandsaw - They're still putting the finishing touches on this one, but were nice enough to let us try it out and, honestly, it's the kind of tool that makes us wish we had taken up plumbing instead of carpentry. It's got a whole lot of power but it's light enough to easily work with both above your head and in tight spaces. Having an awareness of how people will be using it, Milwaukee has made the shoe retractable, so the tool is able to cut a pipe that's already attached to a wall. It's one of those tools that makes your chest swell a bit when you hold it. There will also be a corded version available and both will be hitting the market probably in October.

Milwaukee_shockwave.jpgShockwave Driver Bits - This is one of those ideas that, once you hear it, you wonder why it took so long for someone to think it up. Driver bits built specifically for impact drivers. Anyone who spends time on a job site these days (like we do), knows that impact drivers are taking over. That said, they really do a number on driver bits so Milwaukee has tailored this new line to withstand the abuse. In addition to other features, the new bits have a slight degree of flexibility in order to handle the added intensity of the impact driver.

Milwaukee_PVC_Cutter.jpgCordless Tubing Cutter - Much like their copper pipe cutter from last year, this one is a real niche tool. We tried it out and it had no problem slicing up pex and pvc. It has a great feel and possibly the power to do a little topiary sculpting as well.

Testing and Measurement Tools - This is a new area for Milwaukee, but judging from what we saw, they're going to quickly establish themselves in the market. Of the tools, the most interesting is the Sub-Scanner which is sort of like an amped up, battle-crazed stud finder. It can be used to find studs and pipes in walls and ceilings, as well as rebar in concrete. The cool thing about it is that it lets you know the exact depth of what it is you're finding, so if you only have one option for placing that pipe hanger, you'll know that only a 2" screw will work because of the rebar that's hidden in the wall.

Those are just some of the highlights and by no means a complete overview of what we saw. Milwaukee is also rolling out some nice 12-volt LED flashlights, a 12-volt power port, a very cool looking mini-radio, oh and about a thousand new grinders.

Follow the action over at Milwaukee Tools.

Milwaukee tools at

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

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