The average product blog is loaded with fast flowing information that heads in the front door and out the back without even stopping for a high five. Because of this overload, relevant and important posts are buried just as quickly as the lame ones. The format also makes it difficult to do thorough side by side comparisons or full-on category reviews because they take so much time and that just doesn't work with a (nearly) daily schedule.
So anyway, the solution is TheSweetHome. In a way, it's the anti-product-blog. The articles over there are absolutely epic in scope and consist of what have to be the deepest product dives on the internet. The pieces are long, thorough, and very engaging (particularly considering how long and thorough they are). The site just launched a couple weeks ago and I've been part of the team of writers involved with the project. At this point, I've written two pieces (and a third is in the docket). Combined they've taken me about 100 hours of research and writing time. It's safe to say that it's a little different from blog posts that can be done in less than 30 minutes.
So far I've looked at cordless drills and home tool kits. Keep in mind that the audience is the average person and not the un-average gear-head like most of you reading this. While you're at the site, make sure to browse around a bit, there's some pretty fascinating pieces over there.
Our good friend Marc who runs the great site HomeFixated, has just launched two more websites making him, in technical terms, an internet mogul. He sent us info on his new projects and they're definitely going to appeal to anyone who reads our little tool blog on a regular basis.
Features clever tips and tricks that will help you: be a better chef, make things spotless with ingenious cleaning tricks, turn you into the life of the party with clever tricks, repurpose household items, and enhance your sex life (no guarantees on the last one). You can also expect more construction/tool/woodworking hacks to appear there in the coming months.
The tagline for the site is "Where DIY meets WTF" (oh yes I did!), but really this site is showcasing the world's worst craftsmanship and the worst judgment when it comes to construction and home "improvement". If you don't laugh (hysterically) at some of these pics and videos, you are a made of stone!
Personally, our tastes run closer to HomeFail than HomeHacks, but that's just us. Our entire house is a HomeFail, so maybe that has something to do with it. But go and check out the sites, they're cool.
Everyone should have at least one of these things. I'm lucky enough to have three. These saws have seen it all and as long as I can keep replacing the cords, which seem to get severed a lot, they'll be getting handed down to Tool Snob Jr. in about 20 years. They are long since past the days of being used as a normal jobsite saw and are now well into their second careers as 'special forces.' The footplates are a little bent up and the bevel on one of them is immovable. I keep one outfitted with a masonry blade, and two with wood blades, but it's hardly wood that they're cutting, more like multi-layer asphalt roofs and concrete-coated form work. I don't care what happens to them and they don't seem to care what I do to them. It's a relationship that works.
I don't use them all the time, but when I need them, they're golden. It wasn't too long ago that I had to trench my basement slab out for some plumbing and the Makita was there to do the work. Who wants to use their nice woodworking saw for that kind of abuse? But that's the life that these saws live. They fill in the cracks and because they're the ones that take the hits on the dirty work, they keep my other saws nice, clean, and sharp.
The big one on the right, that's the roof cutter. If that saw was a person, it would be Leonard Smalls from Raising Arizona. I have no idea on the quality of current day Makitas, but these older ones are real monsters.
Our pals over at Tool Nut, a great online tool retailer, also operate Festool Products. We've gotten to know them over the years and they've become our go-to source for Festool gear and whenever we post about a Festool item, we happily link over to them (even though they're Jets fans).
They're doing a little community outreach and have offered to supply a few cool items for us to give away to you guys. Two Festool T-Shirts and Two Festool Hats. Pretty sweet.
So there are two ways to get your name in the running:
1. Answer this question in the comment section: If you could get any Festool product which one would it be and why? Kapex, Track Saw, 18-Volt Drill? Check them all out at festoolproducts.com.
2. In the comments, let us know if you can think of a funnier sports moment than when Mark Sanchez sacked himself and fumbled off the ass end of his own offensive lineman. If you don't believe us, check it out here:
Oh man, was that hilarious.
So after maybe a week, we'll choose some names out of a hat and be in touch with the winners.
OK, this is a little odd. The other day, I drenched my Ansell ActivArmr Heavy Laborer Gloves (reviewed here), so I plopped them right next to the woodstove to dry them out. Well, apparently, one of them somehow found its way to the woodbox and seemed to have hitched a ride on a log right into the stove. I spent better part of the morning looking for the lost glove and when I opened the stove to start a fire, I saw its devastated remains among the ashes.
But what remains is what's interesting. I've long heard that many high quality work gloves are woven with some heavy duty additives, but I've never actually seen what it looks like. Well guess what? When you burn the rest of the glove off, you're left with something that looks like a very delicate chain mail hand. It's pretty cool looking. Ansell says that their glove is woven with Kevlar and stainless steel. Since Kevlar does burn and melt, I have to assume that what's left is 100% stainless.
Very cool stuff. Volvo has some concept drawings and video up of some theoretical construction machines. There is a vague release date of the 2020s on the site. Check out the video below the fold. Looks like they should be mining for Spice on Arrakis
Because of all the tool writing I do, I've ended up on just about every single email distribution list that is even vaguely associated with the idea of a home. I've gotten pretty good at hitting the delete button, but this one made me stop and read...
Apparently there is something called the Furniture Society (not to be confused with the great band from the early 90s, The Information Society) and they have an award called The Award of Distinction. This year's winner is someone named Rosanne Somerson, who is the Interim Provost of Rhode Island School of Design.
We're fully aware that BBQ grills don't fall under the typical umbrella that this site covers, but the Stok Quattro has a significant connection to the tool world: it's made by Ridgid.
Yeah, that Ridgid. Sorta funny, isn't it. They've chosen Stok as the name they're going to make their grills under and at first glance, we thought it was some Nordic company founded by vikings (the 'o' in Stok has an accent line over it, giving it the pronunciation 'Stoke').
Familial heritage aside, this looks like a pretty cool grill. The distinguishing feature of it is the removable inserts that are actually built into the grill surface. The way it works is that the grilling surface has two circular areas that can pulled up and swapped out with either a vegetable tray, a pizza stone, or a griddle. All of the parts fit in nicely and add quite a bit of functionality to the grill. It's sort of like the JobMax of the grilling world.
If we're not making any sense, here's a video:
The Quattro works on propane and goes for $250 and is available only at Home Depot. There are also charcoal versions available
This is what's left of The White Cottage, my childhood ice cream stand. It was whacked on the forehead by Irene this past Sunday. When I was little I'd go there with my family and after devouring a vanilla soft serve cone, I'd run down the hillside so I could throw rocks in the lazy river that gurgled along behind it. That lazy river seems to have gotten the last laugh.
Marlowe the SuperCat did his magic and we're now left with the names of our various Father's Day contest winners. We had three drawings going on this time around; the Paslode Framing Gun, the Channellock Tool Roll, and the B&D Trimmer/Sweeper set. All of them cool prizes and we own a big high five to all three companies for supplying the prizes.
The winners are as follows....
The Paslode Framing Gun...Dave A, the guy going to Joplin to help rebuild houses that were destroyed in the tornado. We're uber cynical here and are constantly on the look-out for scammers who spend all day entering online contests to try to get free stuff, but this guy sounds legit and judging from the photos we've seen of the mess down there, they can use all the help they can get.
Our homies at Channellock have set aside a roll of hand tools for us to give away to you, one of our readers for Father's Day. The tool set commemorates Channellocks 125th year in existence and will be engraved with "1886 - 2011 -- 125 Years Strong." The tool roll includes five tools:
430 Tongue and Groove Plier
420 Tongue and Groove Plier
337 Cutting Plier
3017 Long Nose Plier
526 Slip Joint Plier
Sorry about the bizarre red-tinted fire and brimstone plier image. The tools are much cooler looking in real life.
So yeah, it pretty much covers all of the basic pliers that a guy could want. We've been testing out the set and we really can't find anything wrong with them. They're made in the USA too, if that's important to you (and to a lot of you, we know it is). As far as we can tell, the tools are indestructible. The roll itself is cool too and very handy if you don't already have some kind of tool storage system going. We think our favorite are the needle nose. We end up using those for everything from holding a brad for nailing to fishing things that have fallen into ductwork.
So to enter to win, let us know your what your big summer projects are, either at work if you're a tradesman or at home if you do the DIY thing. Are you looking forward to the tasks, or are you dreading them? Feel free to make us laugh.
The non-anniversary version of the tool roll is priced at about $80. We'll pick a winner in about a week. If there are a lot of good entries, Marlowe the SuperCat will do the picking for us. Good luck.
Actually, we just noticed that Channellock has their own sweepstakes going as well, so you can get more information on that here.
Assorted Channellock items are available at Amazon
Paslode has been nice enough to donate one of their slick new Cordless Framing Nailers to one of you lucky readers. They've also supplied some runner-up prizes in the form of their nail/fuel packages. We reviewed this gun a while back (here) and found it to be really nice. Since the review, we've kept using it and our opinion has remained the same and possibly improved. If you're a tradesman, you already know the benefits of the cordless nailer and if you're a DIYer, it means that you can have a nice framing gun without having to buy hoses or a compressor.
So to enter to win, leave a comment at this post telling us the first thing you would do with the gun...what would you build? Since this is a Father's Day giveaway (that's when we'll announce the winner) you also have the option of telling us the first thing you would browbeat your husband into making for you.
Easy enough. And like we said, we've also got 5 fuel/nail packs to give away, so also include in your comment if you want to be in the running for those. Paslode is now selling them with little adapter pieces, making the fuel tanks compatible with their older model guns.
So have at it.
Or if you think that contests are for the lazy and insane, you can get the gun at Amazon.com for $350
RainDog: I do a lot of stained glass work and go read more DaveP: Mostly use my soldering iron for melting ptex to repair read more Dave: I think this is a good iron for larger stuff, read more Steve Cecil: I have a very old soldering iron, that I use read more Philippe Jegues: I do the usual with soldering irons, soldering electrical connections. read more