I've spent my fair share of afternoons trying to clean old gunked up bolts. I've used wire brushes and I've used small files (between the threads). One thing I haven't used is the Thread Wizard, mostly because I didn't know it existed until just a few days ago.
It's a simple little design and (judging from the video, at least) it looks pretty successful. It's basically a die with a wire brush set behind it. There are two models available (metric and SAE) and each is built to handle eight sizes of bolt. The design also allows for the tool to be held in the hand or clamped in a vise.
They cost $25 a piece, so if you want the set, it'll set you back $50. At first, I thought, "well, now THAT's expensive." But now that I'm thinking about it, the immediate ability to quickly clean up 16 different sized bolts is fairly significant. For the right person, I could see these things paying for themselves fairly quickly.
So we've been getting a lot of kickstarter emails lately. People have come up with ideas and they're trying to get the word out. That's fine. For the most part, we're somewhere between "meh" and "zzzzzzz" on most of the products. A drill with one new feature isn't going to get us too charged up. But the other week, a package arrived from a start-up called Outlaw Fasteners and their UniGrip drive system is a doozie.
It's a complete fastening system based around a single tiered drill bit. For a boring old Philips bit you need three bits to drive all three sizes of screws. Outlaw changes all of that. The bit looks like a Devo helmet (which automatically makes it awesome) but it's squared off like an Allen wrench. For the #2 size screw, two of the tiers fit into the screwhead, for the larger #3, three tiers fit in. With so many faces and edges making contact, there's hardly any way for one of these to strip out.
The fastener solves a lot of problems. First off, because all of the fastener sizes work off a single bit, it means no more ridiculous Altoid container loaded with P#1, P#2, P#3, R#1, R#2, and on and on. You just need to keep one bit loaded in the screw gun to deal with the entire range of screws.
Also, the fastener head is attractive, so it would be no problem being exposed on decking.
It's simply a great idea and in a perfect world it would eliminate Philips and the simply terrible and dreaded Robertson drives.
The Kickstarter campaign is live and it looks like they're already half way to their goal. We wish them luck.
If only I'd known about these six months ago when we were framing the addition. They look waaaaay easier than traditional anchor bolts. The press release is after the jump with all kinds of information (the kind of technical stuff that we're not even going to bother summarize here). There is also an explanation of "Advanced Threadform Technology," if you're into that wild kind of nomenclature.
So while we were floating around the web researching an upcoming post, we stumbled across this interesting little item. It's a joining system by Lamello called the Invis. Lamello is known for two things; 1) inventing the biscuit joining system and 2) manufacturing the most badass biscuit joiners on the planet. It's a Sweedish company and they have their niche (high end joining) and they're sticking to it.
Some cool news out of Paslode HQ, especially if you own one of the older model cordless framers...
Now Fuel + Nail Combo Packs Work With
ALL Paslode® Cordless Framing Nailers
Fuel Cell Adapters Allow All Nailers To Use Combo Packs
VERNON HILLS, IL - Paslode® is introducing a new Fuel + Nail Combo Pack with twist-on adapters, allowing users of all Paslode cordless framing nailers to take advantage of the convenient combo pack concept.
Now all Paslode cordless framing nailers can achieve optimized performance with the PowerBoost™ Black Tip Coated Nails (3" and 3-1/4"), which are only available in the Fuel + Nail Combo Packs. The PowerBoost™ Black Tip Coating is a proprietary coating that allows Paslode cordless framing nailers to drive the nail flush into the hardest engineered lumber, such as LVL, something many pneumatic nailers cannot do.
A number of years ago, we were in a pinch and bought the DeWalt biscuit cutter (we've always called them biscuit cutters and everyone we know calls them biscuit cutters). It's always been reliable and we've never had any real complaints with it. But earlier in the year, we were using the fantastic Porter-Cable Pocket Jig System and it occurred to us that the Porter-Cable biscuit cutter is also highly regarded. We put two and two together and decided we wanted to explore more of this tradition of joining tools that the brand seems to have developed. We were also looking at a massive shelving project that would require hundreds and hundreds of biscuits (over 300 and counting), so we talked to the people at Porter-Cable and they were happy to send us one of their 557 Plate Joiners (aka biscuit cutter) to test out and review.
So for the past month or so, we've been using the tool constantly (and we mean constantly). There's a lot to it so we'll try not to ramble like we usually do....
We've been a little surprised at Kreg's domination of the pocket hole marketplace. There are a few other models out there, but none from any of the big names and none which have gained a whole lot of traction with a wide audience (like the Kreg). We always assumed that there was some kind of patent thing going on, a la Fein. But here comes Porter-Cable with a really interesting looking system that looks like it should give the reigning champ a few good rounds in the ring.
In a nutshell (help, help, I'm in a nutshell!), pocket hole jigs create low angled, pre-drilled holes which allow for accurate and consistent 'toe-screwing.' That's really it. They're great for shelves, cabinet boxes, face-frames, etc. We've got the Kreg Master Kit and it really makes for a nice, tight (glue-free!) assembly. So on to the Porter-Cable...
One thing for certain is that, compared to the Kreg, this one looks com-pli-cated. It sort of looks like a cross between a microscope and a Pixar robot. But as it turns out, this added intensity is intended to make things easier. Unlike the Kreg, the Porter-Cable automatically sets the drilling angle based on the thickness of the wood. It's a clever idea and takes away the fussiness of having to deal with the knurled set screw of the Kreg. From the looks of it, the Porter-Cable is going to be quite a bit heavier (it's all metal...a good thing), but they were smart and made the foot plate 1-1/2" thick, so you can use a 2x4 to support your workpiece.
The QUIKJIG is going to be available later this year (September) and will have a retail of around $230. The price is definitely more than the Kreg (K3 Master Kit $140 at Amazon.com), but the 'auto-angle' aspect of the Porter-Cable might be enough to justify the added cost.
We've used a number of hidden deck fasteners and have gotten some mixed results. We've had some good experiences (Eb-Ty) and some not-so-good experiences (Tiger Claw). Even the successful Eb-Tys were labor intensive with us having to biscuit out for each and every fastener. The results were great, but the process was tedious.
So Kreg, masters of all that is jiggy, are entering the ring with their new Deck Jig and at a glance it looks like a fast, efficient way of doing things (on the one condition that you have 2 drills). Like every other product that Kreg sells, the Deck Jig boils down to a method of drilling and setting a screw at a specific angle. In this case, it assists with toe-screwing a deck board to a joist.
The jig is set up like other Kreg jigs with the special drill bit and the adjustable depth collar. There are three drilling holes, one for screwing straight on and the other two for angled screwing, like when two boards meet on a joist. The kit also comes with little board spacers, to ensure your deck boards are nice and parallel.
The one thing that worries us about this whole thing is that the jig uses a specialized drill bit (replacements are about $14). So if you're making your deck out of ipe (which is becoming more and more popular), there could be an added expense of additional drill bits. Spending a day drilling through a species of wood that has the same fire rating as steel doesn't bode well for the longevity of the bit. But then again, cutting biscuit slots in it is no treat either.
Hidden fastener systems can make a big difference with the look of your finished deck, but there's no question that they're a lot more time consuming to install. Tiger Claw, one of the leading systems on the market, is in the process of releasing a gun built specifically for their fasteners. By the looks of it, it could speed up installation to the point where it's much faster than the traditional method of pre-drilling and screwing into the face of the board. How about that? Faster and better looking...
According to Tiger Claw...
The fastener installation gun drives a UFO Ballistic NailScrew® in like a nail, but can be removed like a screw. Simply slip the hidden deck fastener into the nose of the gun and position it in the groove of the board. The gun automatically enables perfect positioning of fastener and screw installation with the pull of a trigger. Builders now have a one-step installation process for hidden deck fasteners
Tiger Claw's inventors say, when compared to manually inserting the hidden deck fastener into the groove with your fingers, the gun decreases installation time by about 75%.
We like that the system incorporates the UFO NailScrews. This way, you'll probably be able to back off a screw and shim the board if you've got a badly warped joist.
There is no pricing information on the gun, but it looks like it's going to be available in early spring, just in time for that deck project you've got planned.
There's more information about the Deck Fastener Gun here and
we wrote about UFO's NailScrew here.
Well this is interesting. Universal Fastener Outsourcing (UFO) has released a new fastener that is a combo of a pneumatic nail and a deck screw. The creatively named NailScrews combine the ease-of-use of a gun nail with the holding power of a screw.
There are two styles available; one with a yellow-zinc coating, and one with a corrosion-resistant coating for use with PT and other treated lumber. Sizes vary from 1-3/4" up to 3" and they come in 20 degree plastic-strip, 15 degree wire-coil, and 15 degree plastic-strip format. A summary of sizes and styles available is here.
Read past the fold to watch a video of the NailScrew in action.
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