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 Amazon.com. 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

dewalt_impact_ready.jpg

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 Amazon.com and likely at your local Home Depot.

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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.

bosch_daredevil.jpgbosch_daredevil_aftermath.jpg

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: http://boschdaredevil.com

At Amazon.com

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.

bosch_r2p2.jpg

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

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

June 15, 2009

New Tools From Milwaukee

MIlwaukee_tools.jpg

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 Amazon.com

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

April 24, 2009

Lenox Blades Cut Car in Half

lenox_blades_car.jpg

Apparently as part of Lenox's trade show demonstrations they've been cutting cars in half (more pictures here). From the looks of it, they're just cutting the roof and the stripped out floor of the car, not the doors or any of the exhaust system underneath. So in a functional sense, when you think about the amount of metal being cut, it's impressive, but not too surprising that a high-quality recip blade is up for the task. But from a showmanship perspective it's a different story. You've got to love the amount of effort involved just to make a cut that takes ninety seconds. Watching this makes us wonder if the $500 trade-in on the old Jeep is worth it, or if we should keep the vehicle around for blade testing purposes.

Here's a video...

Lenox blades at Amazon.com

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

February 19, 2009

Yaeger Aftermarket Blades for the Fein MultiMaster - Review

Yaeger_blades.jpgUPDATE: Yaeger Blades is now Liberate Blades. More info here.

The Achilles heel of the Fein MultiMaster (our review here) is, without question, price. The full set-up of the tool, a handful of blades, and the dust collection system is going to run you close to $400. Although the MultiMaster is one of our favorite tools and we think that the cost is worth it, given what the tool is capable of, we're bargain hunters just like anyone else. Which is where the Yaeger Aftermarket Blades come in.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (14) | social bookmarking

February 13, 2009

Bosch Edge Reciprocating Saw Blade - Review

Bosch_edge.jpg

We think of recip saw blades the same way we think about tissues; one, two, if you're lucky three uses and it's in the trash. Or rather, they should be in the trash, but if you're like us, you've got a tool case filled with bent, toothless, stripped-out blades that you're convinced you can get just one more go out of (note: tissues, we throw out; recip saw blades, we tend to keep around).

Bosch has recently released a new blade called the Edge, specifically made for heavy metal cutting. According to the company, the Edge's teeth stay sharper longer, the blade is more resistant to heat, it cuts 20% faster, and it has a thicker body to make straighter cuts. We got a sample of the toughest of the three different Edge blades and were happy to put it to the test against its competitors.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

February 6, 2009

Bosch Releases New Recip Saw Blade, Simultaneously Releases Grip on Sanity

Bosch_Minerva.jpgIn an effort to appeal to sock monkeys worldwide, Bosch has included a 10" tall guitar (complete with strings and a stand) in the press kit for their new reciprocating saw blade, the Edge. Minerva (pictured) is thrilled with this development and has already figured out how to play "Sweet Home Alabama," "Slow Ride," and the intro to "Wish You Were Here." She is currently hard at work learning "Over the Hills and Far Away." Bosch's apparent madness is explained by the fact that they're actually giving away a larger, more functional version of the guitar in a drawing over at the website www.BoschEdge.com.

We're not sure who would want a guitar shaped like a reciprocating saw blade (see video below for a possible candidate), but we're looking forward to checking out the Edge. According to the non-guitar portion of the press kit, the blade has increased heat resistance, a tooth geometry that is patterned for 20% faster cutting, as well as a thicker body for straighter cuts.

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

December 5, 2008

Final Cut II : Saw Blade Bugaloo

final_cut_on_saw1.jpgA while back, we reviewed the Final Cut saw blade, which is essentially a 10" blade with a piece of sandpaper adhered to it. Although we thought it was kind of a hokey idea, it worked as advertised.

After our testing, we noticed that the glue that holds the sandpaper to the blade gave out, causing the paper to get destroyed soon after. We updated our review accordingly. As it turns out, the fellows at Final Cut saw the review, already knew about the problem, and were actually in the process solving it. Soon after that, they sent us an updated version of the Final Cut and since then, we've been testing it out, giving it plenty of time to become un-adhered.

Well, we can now happily say that the problem has been solved and we have updated our review accordingly.

The review of the Final Cut Saw Blade is here.

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

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