September 10, 2007

Top Ten Technologies of 2007

Rundown_Shack.jpgFine Homebuilding has an interesting article on the top ten technologies that you can use right now to improve your house. The items on the list range from mold-resistant drywall to single-unit washer/dryers. Check out the article here.

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July 27, 2007

The Ways of Solid Wood

kirby_solidwood_1.gifWe were looking through DeWalt's collection of woodworking articles and thought this one was worth passing on. It's called The Ways of Solid Wood (by Ian Kirby) and it is about how and why wood distorts. We've read books on the properties of wood and can say that this article is a nice, quick summation of a topic that can easily get bogged down with too much information and quite a bit of technical jargon.

Still to be considered is the most important characteristic of all: after wood has been dried and converted into usable parts from the tree, it changes size according to the amount of moisture in the air.

In other words, wood is a dimensionally unstable material. No other factor plays such an important role in the way we design furniture made of solid wood. The parts of a cabinet must hold together and at the same time be allowed to shrink and expand. The most outstanding example of a dimensionally stable unit composed of pieces that are dimensionally unstable is the frame and panel.

Read the entire article here.

The article is actually a chapter in a book called Woodworking Down to a Line. Available here (we were having trouble with this link).

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June 8, 2007

Father’s Day Gift Ideas from Tool Snob – Part 5 ($150+)

Now, in our final installment we’re dealing with some pretty severe gifts. The kind that not only say, “Dad, you’re a great guy,” but they also say, “Dad, let’s never again talk about how I wrecked your car.”

bosch_router_sm.jpgBosch 2-1/4 HP Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router – This is a great (almost) all in one router kit. It’s got the power for any task and has a very nice depth set/adjust. We picked one up a while back and so far we’re really impressed with it. $199.99 at

DeWalt 10” Compact Table Saw – Not as big as their portable benchtop model, but it’s got a lot of the same qualities that make it a great saw. It’s got a rack and pinion fence, a 15 amp motor and it comes with a miter gauge, a carbide blade, and a push stick (that you should immediately replace with a homemade one). $367.49 at

Porter-Cable 3 Nailer and Compressor Combo Kit – With a brad nailer, a staple gun, and a finish nailer, there is nothing a man cannot do. Porter-Cable has this great, economical set for the advanced DIYer. $299.00 at

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June 7, 2007

Father’s Day Gift Ideas from Tool Snob – Part 4 ($100-$150)

Now we’re getting into either the real dad-love or a really guilty conscience. The previous installments (one, two, and three), handled gifts in the $1-$100 range. For today, we’re upping the ante to the $100-$150 bracket.

Ridgid Fuego 6-1/2” Framing Saw
– This little tool is a real monster. We reviewed it a while back and thought it was the coolest thing since refridgeration. Now it’s our go-to circular saw. It’s powerful, lightweight, got all the right features, and at $139.00 it’s a total steal. At Home Depot

milwaukee_sawzall_sm.jpgMilwaukee Sawzall – The first step to building something is destroying what’s already there. In that department, there is no bigger help than a reciprocating saw. They're pure demolition machines and anyone who wants to wreck something needs one. And why not get the original sawzall? No silly rotating head, no frills, just the power of destruction. $109.99 at

Bosch Colt 1HP Variable Speed Palm Router
– Another gem in our daily rotation; small, compact, and yet powerful enough to handle some pretty big jobs. It’s got a great depth adjustment/locking system and when you hold it in your hand, well, it just feels right.
$112.85 At

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June 6, 2007

Father’s Day Gift Ideas from Tool Snob – Part 3 ($50-$100)

Our first two installments, which covered the price range of $1 to $50 are essentially for those who have forgotten all those little things that dad's done over the years. Think of all the times he drove down to the police station at 4am to bail you out. That kind of parental dedication deserves more than a $10 gift, doesn’t it?

b%26d_grasshog_sm.jpgBlack & Decker Grasshog – This is a great little battery powered string trimmer. It’s not gas, so you don’t have to deal with starting it and it’s not electric so you don’t have to maneuver a 100’ extension cord with you all day. So far, it’s been getting really good reviews. $99.00 at

Wagner Paint Eater – If pops has plans of painting the house this summer, you’d do well to get him the PaintEater. He’ll like it so much he might not even notice the fact that you’re not helping him. $74.99 at

hitachi_cordless_screwdriver_sm.jpgHitachi 3.6 Volt Li-Ion Cordless Screwdriver – This is great for both around the house use and more heavy-duty stuff in the workshop. As an added bonus, it looks sort of like a power tool version of Spiderman. Maybe dad likes comic books too? $79.97 at

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June 5, 2007

Father’s Day Gift Ideas from Tool Snob – Part 2 ($20-$50)

Part one's price bracket ($1-$20) kept us primarily with hand tools. And even though hand tools are essential and needed, nothing says, “Dad, I love you,” like a power tool. Today, we’re going to start getting into the good stuff.

skil_octo_sm.jpgSkil Octo Detail Sander
– We reviewed this a while back and really liked it. Well, we still like it and think your dad might too. It’s a very cool tool at a great price. $44.97 at

Estwing 16oz Leather STL Hammer – You owe it to the old guy to make sure he’s got a good hammer. This is one of the nicest we’ve used. Some purists balk at the metal body, but unless dad is going to be framing all day, everyday, he won’t have a problem. He’ll have this hammer for the rest of his life and, if you needed another reason to get it, he’ll probably pass it on to you some day. Our review of it is here. $23.99 at

Irwin 29-Piece Industrial Drill Bit Set – It’s worth getting good drill bits. If you’re dad’s got a coffee can filled with old, abused bits, do him a favor and drop the $30 for this great set. $34.99 at

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June 4, 2007

Father's Day Gift Ideas from Tool Snob - Part 1 ($1-$20)

It's time, once again, to quantify your father's love into a dollar amount. So we're kicking off a multi-part series offering some ideas that we think your dad might like if he's the handy sort (and even if he isn't but wants to be). Our first installment deals with tools in the $1 to $20 range.

The Husky Stubby Set
- We reviewed this last week and think it would be a great addition to anyone's workbench, glove box, or kitchen junk drawer. It's a nice set of tools at a really great value. $15 at Home Depot

fat_max_sm.jpgStanley Fat Max 25' Tape Measure - A good tape measure is essential and this is one of the best. It's got an 11' tape standout, which makes it perfect for working alone. We abuse ours every singe day and as soon as it dies, we're going to get another one just like it. $19.90 at

dewalt_bit_sm.jpgDeWalt Tough Case Screwdriving Set - If Dad has a screw gun, he's going to want this 21 piece set. Great durable case. $9.95 at

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May 21, 2007

The Ultimate Backyard Guide

checkerboard.jpgHome Depot has 24 projects for your backyard ranging from the commonplace (storage bench) to the truly bizarre (10’ square lawn checkerboard). The projects are separated into three categories; play, entertain, and retreat and are mostly one weekend affairs, with the notable exception of the putting green. We’re pretty impressed that Home Depot chose such a strange selection of projects and really hope that somewhere out there someone is in the first stages of building an outdoor puppet theater.

Read on to see a list of all the projects

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May 7, 2007

What Are “Factory Reconditioned Tools?”

If you shop for tools as much as we do, it’s likely that you’ve run across the term, “factory reconditioned,” usually attached to a tool that is being sold for quite a bit below the regular retail price. For those of you that don’t know what exactly “factory reconditioned” means, we’ve done the research and are here to tell you.

Essentially, a factory reconditioned tool is one that has, for one reason or another, been purchased, returned, revamped, and is now in the process of being resold. The important part to keep in mind is that once the tool is returned to the manufacturer; they inspect it and, if needed, repair it, bringing it back up to ‘new’ standards. Because some tools are returned due to user preference (too heavy, hate the color, dad already has one), not all reconditioned tools need repairs or have ever had any defects. It’s just that once the original packaging has been removed, they can no longer be sold as new. At the very worst, the tool may show very slight signs of usage. Maybe someone drove a few screws with that screw gun and decided it wasn’t powerful enough, that sort of thing.

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May 2, 2007

Lawn Care Websites

lawn.jpgAs spring progresses, a lot of you are turning your attention to the bare patch of dirt that you refer to as the “back yard.” You have dreams of turning it into something as lush as a rainforest, but you just don’t know exactly how to do it. Since we’re in the same boat, we did some research and found these two helpful sites on the subject of lawn care; and All About Lawns.

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