September 29, 2010

What Makes a Good Contractor?

It's our experience that contractors are just generally strange people. The skills needed for success in that role are varied and impressive. It's a workout for both the left and right side of the brain. You need to...well, lets let Mark Clement say it for us...

We particularly like that he's actually yelling this from a rooftop.

Make sure to check out his website and radio show at

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

September 21, 2010

This Old House Pumpkin Carving Contest

norm_pumpkin.jpgOur favorite annual event (other than watching Tony Romo lose in the playoffs) is the This Old House Pumpkin Carving Contest. This year's deadline is October 20th (with open voting between the 21st and 28th). Details on how to enter are here, but don't even bother unless you've got some serious skills. Your 12-year-old son's one-toothed jack-o-lantern isn't going to cut it here.

TOH has a lot of other nice Halloween articles here.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

August 30, 2010

Vote for the Ugliest Room

ugly_room.jpgA couple weeks ago, we told you about the Sears Ugliest Room Contest. Well, the top ten finalists have been chosen and they're ready for your votes.

We looked them over and the photo you see is the one we voted for. A lot of the others just need a paint job and a little redecorating. No big deal on those. One guy even says that his room is ugly in part because the carpet is gone but the tack strips are still there. Um...hello...take a pry bar and pry them up. It takes about 3 minutes and your laziness immediately excludes you from the $3,500 makeover prize.

But the one we like is just straight-up ugly. And It's the kind of outdated ugly that you need a little money to fix. It's also the kitchen, which makes things ten times worse. An ugly bathroom can be ignored for at least a few years (we should know), but an ugly kitchen makes you feel like a loser. Imagine waking up on a Saturday morning, slightly hung over and you've got to go make coffee in this kitchen. Brutal. This species of ugly can only be ripped out and replaced, Mike Holmes style.

Vote for your favorite, or rather, least favorite here.

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

August 25, 2010

ROBO-UNIT Portable Storage

unit_robot.jpgUNITS (Unique, No-Hassle, Individual, Transportable, Storage), a S.C.-based company similar to PODS, has just introduced the use of UNITS-moving robots. While these robots are no match for Husqvarna's Demolition Robot, they're still pretty cool.

The remote control UNITS movers are ideal for placing the storage boxes on little city streets, in tight driveways, or any other place where a full-sized truck is going to have some problems.

It's wild to watch this thing in action. It's like those little forklifts that come with lumber trucks, minus the fat, grumpy driver.

To get more information on UNITS, including locations, check out their website: The press release on the arrival of our UNITS-moving robot masters is after the jump.

ArrowContinue reading: "ROBO-UNIT Portable Storage"

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

August 24, 2010

Ohio Power Tool Drag Racing...The Aftermath


This past weekend was the 2nd Annual Power Tool Drag Race put on by the Columbus Idea Foundry. It seems that it rained during the event, but that PBR got on board at the last minute as a sponsor, thus nullifying any discomfort created by the weather. Our experience is that PBR = siesta, regardless of the rain, snow, sleet, or slush. The event looks like it was a great time and you can check out photos, video, and a summary over at CopTool.

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

August 2, 2010

WTF is this?


Anyone know what this tool is? We sure don't. We're trying to help out a reader who was asking...

If you know the name of this thing or what it's for, drop it in the comments with some sort of documentation (like a link to a place selling it) and we'll send you a tool. This only goes for the first correct answer.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (12) | social bookmarking

July 30, 2010

Ohio Tool Racing Championships 2010


It's time to start thinking about the second annual Power Tool Drag Races put on by the Columbus Idea Foundry. If you've never seen any Power Tool Races, it's sort of like Mad Max meets the Lilliputians from Gulliver's Travels; it's post apocalyptic and dangerous, but it all happens below knee level. The whole thing is a great pu-pu platter of creativity, deconstruction, reconstruction, adaptation, and teeth-grinding danger.

Here is some great news coverage of last year's event (great, minus the ha-ha, chortle-chortle mindless banter of the newscasters at the end). It gives a good idea of the people and sights you can expect to see.

So if you live in Ohio, or any state that touches Ohio, or any state that contains any of the letters, "o," "h," "i," or "o," you should mark August 31st on your calendar and head to the races.

For more information (including classes on how to make your own racer), visit

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

diggerslist.gifIf you're a scrounger, you know there are a lot of deals on building materials out there. And one more resource to add to your repertoire is Digger's List, which is basically a specialized CraigsList for the home improvement crowd. At the moment, it has pages for 31 cities and will likely be expanding as time goes on.

One thing that separates Digger's List from the rest of the online classified is that they've partnered with Habitat for Humanity ReStores (a seller of donated building materials), so there's likely to be a good rotation with their stock.

The layout an navigation are nice and it didn't take long before we found about ten things that we want to buy (from a ShopSmith to a pile of reclaimed lumber). We also have a garage half-full of things we need to sell which looks like it's pretty easy to set up as well.

The site is still pretty new, so there's not an overwhelming amount of stuff, but what they have it worth a look. We hope that it catches on.

Check out Digger's List

There's a press release after the jump, if you want more details...

ArrowContinue reading: ""

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

July 27, 2010

DieHard Torture Labs

It seems that in the tool world, 'viral marketing' means 'youtube video of someone trying to destroy your products.' This is fine with us. So far, we've seen some low-budget destruction and some high-budget destruction. The DieHard videos fall in the upper middle range; they've got some production values, but they lose all of the artsy hoo-haa of the Craftsman ones (DieHard and Craftsman are part of the same company). And because the DieHard videos feature a bullet going through a battery, a babe in a bikini, and Reggie Watts, we rank them at the top of the heap.




They're all worth checking out. The rest are here.

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

June 30, 2010

Bosch Vs. DeWalt


There are a lot of ways to measure tool companies against one another; length of warranty, availability of parts, number of tools in their cordless lines, etc. But we think one of the more important ways is by the quality of pen that they give out at their annual press events. We recently acquired a DeWalt pen at such an event and put it head to head against our Bosch pen we got at an event in the summer of '09.

The Bosch pen has these three rubberized nubs at the tip, presumably for the thumb and first two fingers. While writing with the pen, our fingers didn't always land comfortably on the nubs making for grip that felt slightly 'off.'. In contrast, DeWalt has encircled the entire lower half of the pen with a rubberized area (save these little yellow hash marks) and has smartly placed a divot on the top side where the first finger lands.
Advantage: DeWalt

bosch_vs_dewalt_bosch.jpg bosch_vs_dewalt_dewalt.jpg

Bosch opted for more of a modern shape, giving their pen tapered ends. The body of the pen is metallic blue with a silver nose and a silver central ring. The pocket clip transitions once again to silver with a graceful angle and curved return back over the pen body. It's a sharp looking pen, one that smells of elegance. The DeWalt pen has less of a rear taper (hardly any at all actually) and the yellow DeWalt color is a tad loud. In addition, the pocket clip sits on the pen in an unremarkable and quite pedestrian fashion.
Advantage: Bosch

To reveal the tip of the Bosch pen, you have to give the body a quarter twist. It's a silent operation and very smooth. The DeWalt is more old-fashioned with the rear click button. It's a loud click, but it's a solid, satisfying sound.
Advantage: Bosch (if you're sneaking up on someone)
DeWalt (if you're trying to alert someone that you're choking)


Ink Quality
We traded off pens while completing pages 1390 to 1456 of our memoir and we discovered that the Bosch is a smoother ride. This is caused by the release of a consistent and very, very slightly excessive amount of ink. The downside of this is that we noticed some 'blobbing.' The DeWalt glide is a bit stiffer, but the ink lines, while a tad lighter, are more even. Both pens are black, which is good because blue ink would have led to immediate disqualification.
Advantage: DeWalt

Bottom Line
These are both fine pens, each with some good points and some not as good points. We are of the opinion that there's room in the world for both pens. The Bosch is the one that we would bring to the client meeting; it's sleek, professional looking, and the amount of ink dispensed lets us write faster and makes it easier to transcribe the wild demands of the client. The DeWalt, on the other hand, goes in the truck. It's what we fill out our construction log book with. It's bright yellow, so we won't lose it, and when we're stressed out because the stone stair treads were just delivered and they don't fit the metal pans, we can just sit and furiously click the pen while we figure out what to do.

Update: We just got word that Milwaukee is currently developing a 12-volt fountain pen for release in August of 2012.

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

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