May 13, 2009
Lowes and Skil have teamed up to offer four nice project plans to enhance your summer outdoor activities. They are all relatively basic and are actually part of a contest encouraging families to build the projects together. The plans are for a birdhouse (not the one pictured); two different lawn games; and a nice deck cooler, so when you're done building, you and your 12-year-old can pound some cold Budweisers.
The plans are nice because they don't leave any room for error in the 'materials acquisition' phase. They tell you everything you need right up front so there are no return trips to the store to get the wood glue you forgot. They're also very easy to understand and they cover the basics so well that if you want to get creative and improvise, it'll be pretty easy.
To enter the contest, you need to make one of the four projects with the assistance of your wee one. Grand prize is a trip for four to one of ten theme parks, other prizes include a Skil workshop and other Skil tools, including the amazing Power Wrench (our review here)
Ring Toss plans
Bag Toss Plans
Deck Box Plans
Information on the Lowes/Skil contest is here.
April 6, 2009
We spend a fair amount of time reading about tools, and some of that time is spent on the other tool blogs. We like to see what they're covering, what they think is interesting, and how we can sabotage their sites so that Tool Snob is the last one standing in the brutal Thunderdome of tool blogging.
So here's a list of the sites that we hit up at least once each week to see what else is going on in the world of tools.
Toologics - This is the tool blog for the online retailer Tool King. At first, we were a bit suspicious of the whole 'associated with a retailer' thing, but we quickly learned that Jude and the other writers there are all very fair and honest.
Tool Crib - These guys cover a lot of woodworker-type tools (stationary table saws, etc.), but also things like this cool little game. Their posts don't happen everyday, but when they do, they're worth reading and very thorough. Tool Crib is also a retailer, but that's a fact that doesn't seem to have any impact on what they write or how they cover tools.
ToolMonger - This site has been around the longest and as far as sheer number of posts go, they pummel the competition. Not everything they cover is going to interest you, but they just cover so much that there's bound to be something that you're going to read. It's worth going through the archives for the hands-on reviews. They haven't done many of them lately, but they're great to read.
CopTool - Another retailer blog that has earned its credibility. CopTool is the blog side of Ohio Power Tools (an advertiser on this site). Because Ohio Power Tools deals mostly in the heavy-duty tools (Milwaukee, Bosch, etc.), that's what the blog tends to cover.
Tool-Rank - This one started up not too long ago, but it found its legs real quick. In addition to the articles covering tools, they're promoting their ranking system, where they're trying to get users to rate the tools that they own with the end result being a giant database of user reviews. If you're into that sort of thing, there's also ToolCritic.com.
Professional Power Tools - This site is run by a bunch of contractors out of the Chicago area. Their reviews are very thorough featuring both text as well as video. For the most part, it looks like they stick to the heavy-duty tools you're likely to see on a construction site.
There are also a couple new guys that we think might be worth watching...
ToolGuyd - This one just got going last December and features tool news and other odd bits.
Tool Talker - Another one that is just getting started, Tool Talker is the blog side of Tools Plus, an online retailer. So far there's less than a dozen posts, but what we've seen so far, we like.
So those are the tool blogs that we check out. We didn't include other great sites like Charles & Hudson and The Hardware Aisle, because they primarily cover other aspects of the DIY world.
March 26, 2009
Our friends over at Charles & Hudson have started a series of DIY city guides. With the help of local bloggers they're compiling lists of vendors, tradesmen, and other helpful resources all within city limits. So far they've managed to cover Los Angeles, Chicago, and Portland, Or.
The guides have everything from hardware stores to salvage shops to tub refinishers. These articles are 'living' and if you're familiar with the area, Charles & Hudson is encouraging you to email them with your own favorites to add to the list.
We contacted a friend of ours in the Chicago area and asked what they thought of the guide and they told us that Charles and Hudson hit it right on the head with the selection of stores and vendors on the list.
It's an ambitious project, but one that we think is well worth the effort. We're looking forward to see what other cities get covered.
March 25, 2009
Yesterday, the Northern Tool 2009 Spring/Summer Catalog came in the mail. Other than Grizzly Tools and Victoria's Secret this may very well be our favorite catalog.
The 600+ page book boasts over 10,000 products which range from logging equipment to hand tools to the off-road commode (a.k.a: the bumper dumper). It's a great catalog to have around and one that's perfect to keep next to your non-off-road-commode.
Go to Northern Tool and sign up for the free catalog here.
March 20, 2009
The good folks at Popular Science have just announced that they've started accepting nominations for their 2009 Best of What's New issue, due out in December. The issue looks at all of the most innovative, useful new items in a number of categories such as home technology, automotive, and personal health.
In order to be considered, your product must have a release date of no earlier than October 1, 2008.The entry fee is currently $300, but goes up to $350 after August 15th. The deadline for entries is August 21.
It's a great issue and one we look forward to. If you have time, it's fun to browse the last few years of winners.
Check out the rules and regulations or submit a product here
Previous winners here: 2008, 2007, 2006
January 13, 2009
A bunch of our favorite tool blogs have done year end round ups of their most popular articles. Here's the run down:
Tool Crib's 25 Most Popular Articles
Toologics' 10 Most Read Articles of 2008
Charles & Hudson's Most Popular Posts 2008
CopTool's Top 8 Blog Posts of 2008
And of course, our own list of the Top Five Reviews that appeared on Tool Snob.
December 11, 2008
November 26, 2008
We saw over at CopTool that Ridgid has unveiled their 2009-2010 Calendar. It's not exactly "family-friendly," but if you don't mind your workshop looking like the back room at the auto-parts store, it might be perfect for you.
It costs $15 and is available directly from Ridgid or if you purchase over $100 of Ridgid tools at Ohio Power Tools you can get one for free. Details here.
November 14, 2008
Here's our gift guide for this year. This time we categorized it by price, so once you rank your loved ones you'll easily know what to get them. As an added bonus, last year's list is still relevant and it's here.
Festool Kapex - If you've got buckets of money to burn, why not get your loved one the most talked about, most ridiculously expensive compound miter saw in existence? Could you pick up a nice DeWalt for 1/3rd of the price? Sure, but isn't it worth something to say, "I bought dad a $1300 saw. He'll love you forever.
At Beaver Tools
Cadex CPB23.50 23 Gauge Pin Nailer - This might be the nicest tool that we've ever touched. Holding it in the hands, you get an overwhelming sense of quality. We can't say enough about it really. It's expensive, but we think it's worth every penny. Our review is here.
$290 at Amazon.com
Paslode Angled Finish Nailer- This is a great finish nailer; it's small, lightweight, and backed by the great Paslode name. Our review is here.
$175 at Amazon.com
Milwaukee Hackzall - This is an amazing little tool that is as versatile as it is compact. Ours has been practically glued to our hand since we first picked it up. Good for pruning branches, cutting rigid insulation, trimming plywood, and a whole lot more. Our review is here.
$182 at Amazon.com
Rockwell SoniCrafter - The best of the second generation oscillating tools. Powerful enough for a job site but inexpensive enough to be accessible to DIYers. By far our favorite of the new oscillating tools on the market. Our review is here.
$120 20-Piece Kit at Amazon.com
$140 37-Piece Kit at Amazon.com
$180 72-Piece Kit at Amazon.com
JacPac - Any around the house handyman would love the JacPac. It's a portable pneumatic power source, perfect for all those little tasks where setting up a compressor is a complete hassle. Our review is here.
$80 at Amazon.com
Skil Power Cutter- This nifty little item is just as at home in the kitchen drawer as it is on the job site. The auto-sharpened blade can cut cardboard, Tyvek, carpet, fabric, wall paper, and, as you can see in our review, Pottery Barn catalogs. Our review is here
$53 at Amazon.com
A Cabinet Maker's Notebook, By James Krenov - This book is less of a how-to and more of a philisophical meditation on woodworking and cabinet making. Krenov is one of the world's best and his little book is a must have for any aspiring woodworker.
$15 at Amazon.com
Zip Sander - This little hand sander is a great stocking stuffer for the woodworker in your life. We use ours all the time and as each day passes, we like the thing more and more. Not bad for something that's cheaper than a mixed drink. Our review is here.
$6.50 at Amazon.com
November 5, 2008
Every once in a while, we find ourselves with some free time on our hands and no idea of what to do with it. Over at Triton is a nice little gallery of projects that people have sent in. They range from the small (box making) to the large (bed and desk combo). There's not a whole lot of information provided other than what tools were used, but it's always good to see what other people are building out there, in case you're looking for an idea.
View the gallery here.