When I rank all of the prybars that I've ever used, the number one spot goes to the Crescent DB18X Indexing Flat Bar (I reviewed it for Tools of the Trade here). With the articulating head, you can use it to delicately pry off crown moulding or bust up a foundation (both of which I've spent a lot of time doing). Because of the success of the Indexing bar, my ears always prick up a little when I hear that Crescent is releasing a new demo/pry tool. And that's exactly what they've just done with the Bull Bar ($95).
I have to admit that the name "Vampliers" was a little off-putting at first. It sort of sends the vibe of, "yeah, the tool doesn't have much going for it, so we gave it an interesting name." Turns out, that's not the case at all. The Vampliers are, in fact, a unique, useful and interesting variation of a set of linesman pliers. The fact that they're very well made only adds to the goodness.
Can you imagine stopping at a gas station in the middle of nowhere and a semi pulls up next to you and out pops some dude with this thing in his hand. Oh, just scraping a little ice, no big deal. Nothing to see here.
Ever dug into a wall and cut a wire? How about a pipe? We've all done it and it's not a good scene, especially that first moment of "awwww....come on!" General Tools has come up with a downright futuristic way to avoid the problem and it's all contained within the two-part tool they're calling the CL10.
Wilton has released a sledgehammer that (they claim) has an unbreakable handle. It's got the quaint name of B.A.S.H., which stands for "Bad Ass Sledge Hammer." Why do they think the handle is unbreakable? Probably because it's filled with six steel rods. That'll do it.
If you're feeling cheeky, you can buy one of these tough guys and try to break the handle. If you do, Wilton will cut you a check for $1000 (no joke).
Earlier in the year we got all in a tizzy over the Hardcore Hammer. It's a framing hammer with a two part face that solves some of the issues associated with the general wear and tear on a framing hammer. We really liked the thing, but it does get up into that "nearing $100 range for a hammer," which, no doubt, is pretty extreme. Our review is here. So Hardcore Hammer has recently come out with another model that has a little less bling and comes with a price tag that's much easier to swallow. That new item has the appealing name of "Blunt Force." How can you go wrong with a name like that? They sent us one so we could find out for ourselves.
We were thinking of leaving this review at a simple two word, "Hulk SMASH!" But we thought that might be a little corny. But still, if you took the Jackson Pulverizer and melted it down to its essence, that's pretty much what you'd be left with; a massive green dude in purple shorts destroying everything in his path.
A while back we told you about an interesting new framing hammer going by the slightly ominous name of Hardcore Hammer. Made with a unique, dual-surfaced striking face, the tool is intended to last longer than the average hammer and, on a daily basis, operate in a superior fashion. We got to talking to the manufacturer and they were nice enough to ship us one to review. As soon as it arrived, we took it out of the box and began using it for the task that we use all of our framing hammers for: aggressive demolition...
An inevitable byproduct of tinkering around on your house is something known in English as 'trash.' Scraps of sheet rock, cut-offs, demo'd materials, etc. For the big jobs, you go and get a dumpster, for the small ones, you cut everything up into small pieces and use contractor bags. But what about those mid-sized projects like a big set of built-ins or relocating a wall? The answer used to be: "find a friend with a pickup truck who lives in a town with a lax dump policy," but now, the answer may very well be, 'get a Bagster." Waste Management, who runs the Bagster program, was nice enough to let us fill one up for a review and here's what we found...
Yes! Exactly what the world needs more of: inventive pry bars for decking! We tend to stay away from this category of tools because we don't really know what to say other than, "Um...yeah...it looks like it can pry up a board." But since we like ducks, we thought we'd give a holler about the Duck Prybar.
One end of the Duck Prybar is hooked like a crowbar and the other has one of those forked ends which allows you to leverage off of a joist and easily pop up a deck board. The forked end is hinged, so unlike other pry bars, you can set the angle depending on where you're standing in relation to the boards you're pulling up. You can even get it so you're standing on the deck as you pull up boards, which is nice. Other than that, um.. it sure looks like it can pry up a board.
What do you guys think about all of these specialty demo bars (Gutster, Duckbill Deck Wrecker, Duck Prybar)? We've done a whole lot of ripping stuff up in our days and so far have never been dissatisfied with a simple crowbar, a hammer, and a wonder bar (all of which fit in a normal tool bag). Maybe if you're on a demo crew something like this could come in handy, but otherwise, we don't see any reason to stray from the old classics that have done us so well in the past. Not to mention, this thing will set you back $125, which seems like a lot.
There are things that are 'pretty cool,' like the new DeWalt Worm Drive saw. Then there are things like the Ridgid JobMax that are, 'really cool.' And finally, there are just few items in the world that make it to the realm of 'McQueen cool.' The Husqvarna DXR 310 not only falls into this last category but we'll be damned if it doesn't live at its highest end.
The DXR 310 is a remote control demolition robot. Let's say that again: it's a remote control demolition robot. One more time: it's a remote control demolition robot. Think about that. You could be operating this thing from your bedroom while it's out in the parking lot demolishing your landlord's car.
There's no point in us getting into any specs on the tool because a) no one who reads this site will ever be lucky enough to own one of these things and b) who cares? The only spec that you need to know is that it's a remote control demolition robot.
Husqvarna has a pretty lame video up at their site. It's mostly lame because it doesn't show the DXR 310 fighting the Predator.
Well 12-volt mania is in full swing and if a 12-volt rotary hammer doesn't convince you of that fact, we don't know what will. There are tools that are no-brainers for the whole 12-volt thing, (flashlights, multi-meters, mini drill/drivers) and then there are tools that strike us as, well, totally incompatible with the little batteries. A rotary hammer...that one falls into the second category. We did quite a double take when we first heard that Rockwell was releasing just that tool and we were happy when they sent one our way so that we could take a look.
Actually, it first needs to be clarified that, regardless of what name they want to use, Rockwell's new H3 is not a hammer drill. It's a rotary hammer. There's a big difference and it's a little strange that Rockwell went with the misnomer. Inside the H3, the impact is created through the compression of a cylinder of air, not the metal on metal mechanism of a hammer drill. Hammer drills have a better name recognition, which must be what Rockwell is thinking, although we're of the opinion that they'd be better off calling it a rotary hammer and broadcasting the fact that they managed to down-size the rotary hammer to such an extent that the tools weighs about three pounds.
But there's more to the tool than just the rotary hammer. The H3, by virtue of two different chucks, (both of which click into the SDS chuck of the tool), can also function as a drill and a driver. The tool's chuck acts just like any other SDS with the pull-back sleeve, so changing between functions is very easy. When drilling or driving, a switch on the side of the tool, toggles the motor out of rotary hammer mode and leaves you with a standard 12-volt drill.
We did some extensive testing of the H3 (a good portion of it recounted in our Popular Mechanics article on the tool) and we were surprised at how powerful the tool was. Testing it against a standard 18-volt hammer drill (again, over at the PM article), the tool was very comfortable to use and showed that it could keep up with the larger 18-volt tool in the area of power. The one drawback of the tool is how quickly the battery gets drained when it's in rotary hammer mode. On one battery, we were able to drill 9 1/2" holes on concrete, and on another battery, we drove 11 1-3/4" tapcons. These are impressive numbers for such a small tool, but when compared to the larger tool (with the larger battery), they're lacking.
As a 12-volt driver, the H3 is pretty standard and doesn't have anywhere near the power of the uber-strong Bosch PS21. It's not weak, but it just sits among the pack and not in the lead. It's also a lot heavier and bulkier than the other drivers on the market, obviously because of the added mojo for the rotary hammer. The weight is mostly up in the front of the tool, making it a bit awkward when compared to the other 12-volt drills, but that's the price you pay for having the ability to blast a hole in concrete.
The H3 costs about $180, which is a fair price for all the action that you can get out of it. We're not sure when the H3 is being released, but it should be available soon. There's no info at the Rockwell website just yet.
And if you don't care to read the article, it's worth going to Popular Mechanics just to check out the new redesign. Things are looking pretty slick and it's a big improvement over what they used to have going on.
Watch for a more in-depth review of the H3 in the coming days.