April 14, 2009

Gator Micro Zip Sander - Review

Minizip.jpgAli Industries is at it again with their little bath toy sanders. We've already reviewed the Zip Sander and the Sponge Holder and how it's the Micro Zip Sander's turn.

The Micro Zip is exactly what it sounds like: the Zip Sander's 'mini-me.' Where the Zip Sander sat in the palm, the Micro Zip is sort of a three-fingered operation. As with the other sanders, this one is made of foam and sits very comfortably in the hands.

The Micro Zip is a helpful little item when it comes to the fussy little inside corners, odd edges, or areas where there is very little clearance, such as the floor underneath our baseboard heaters. In this last case, the Micro Zip boldly went where no oscillating tool could go and successfully assisted with our current flooring project. There's no question that the Micro Zip was easier on our hands that the old-fashioned method of the block wrapped with sandpaper, but because of the way that the hand sits on the sander, it was also easier to apply pressure. We wouldn't say that the Micro Zip Sander is an absolutely necessary tool, but it is one that makes sanding a little easier.

minizip_in_hand.jpgminizip_tight_space.jpg

There's really not a whole lot more we can say. It works well, it's sort of silly looking, and it doesn't cost all that much. There you go.

The Micro Zip project pack which comes with 30 sheets of color coded sandpaper costs about $10.

At Amazon.com

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

April 13, 2009

Nail Jack & Nail Hunter - Review

nailjack.jpgWe consider nail pulling to be one of the deepest hells of construction, and that's why we're pretty interested when a new tool comes along that might make the process a little easier. Enter the Nail Jack and the Nail Hunter, both from Nail Jack Tools. Can these funky looking pliers give a little relief in the nail removal department? We tested them pretty extensively in order to find out.

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

April 7, 2009

Dead On Annihilator Wrecking Bar - Review

dead_on_annihilator_1.jpg

"9 out of 10 gutless thieves prefer stealing the Annihilator over other leading wrecking bars"

So how cool is this tool? Well it's so cool that it only spent three days on the job site before some spineless, worthless, piece of doggie doo-doo stole it. Because it was sitting right next to two traditional crowbars, the theft is actually a testament to the Annihilator's curb appeal. Why grab a simple wrecking bar when you can get something that looks like it kills ghosts?

dead_on_annihilator_head.jpgThe good news is that in those three days, we gave the tool a workout and were really starting to grow fond of it. As you can see from the photo, the Annihilator has a lot going on. There's the hammer end, the nail puller, a wrench, a chisel, an axe, a stud straightener, and the always important bottle opener. It's really a one-stop destruction machine and in the fast-paced world of demo, it was nice not to have to keep switching off tools. The only way we could see improving on the Annihilator is if it was equipped with a LoJack or better yet, some kind of remote detonation device.

dead_on_annihilator_beer.jpgThe Annihilator comes in two sizes; 18" and 14". The 18" is obviously the larger of the two and offers more leverage and swinging force. We unfortunately couldn't photograph this size because the one that we had is now residing in the hands of a slimy, dishonest, lazy scrap of human debris. We could photograph the 14" though and while it is definitely smaller, it can still do some serious damage. They both fit the hand nicely and unless you're a full time carpenter or a serious DIYer, the 14" will probably do you fine. It's worth noting that the jaw of the 14" model is wide enough to grab a 2x4.

As for price, the Annihilator isn't cheap, but it isn't all that expensive either (this is assuming that you're buying it and not stealing it). The 18" retails for around $40-$50 and the 14" is a bit less expensive than that. It might sound like a lot, but when compared to the $75 Fubar it's really not that bad for a high quality demo tool.

The bottom line is that if we were pilfering losers who still lived with mom, we'd probably lift this tool too. And if the asshead who now possesses the Annihilator is reading this, we honestly hope that you do something stupid and break your nose with it.

18" Annihilator at Amazon.com and Dead On
14" Annihilator at Dead On

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

March 27, 2009

Striker Folding Multi-Blade - Review

striker_knife_open.jpgStriker, the company who makes the little magnetic LED that saved our rears during the power outage, has recently released a little folding utility knife that has a number of nice features to it. And even though Jude over at Toologics did a very nice review of the Striker Folding Multi-Knife, we thought we'd add our own two cents.

striker_knife_closed.jpgTo us, the utility knife is one of the most essential tools in our repertoire; we keep one on us at all times and during the course of the day we're constantly using it, whether it's sharpening a pencil or cutting out a line of caulk or slicing open the plastic wrap around a new window. So for our testing of the Striker knife, we simply put the thing in our pocket and kept it there for a few weeks. Here's what we found.

We quickly discovered, as Jude did, that the handle of the knife is nice and big. Not too big for a pocket, but big enough to get a good grip on it and to feel in control when using the knife. The body of the Striker also has a belt clip which might be good for some people, but since we carry our knife in our pocket it just caught on things and got in the way. The folding action of the knife is nice and after three or four tries we got so we could both open and close it quickly and easily with one hand.

Striker has also added a nice little file up by the blade that can easily shave off that last 1/8" of drywall when necessary. This is a nice touch and using the rasp is much easier and cleaner than trying to shave the edge with the blade. The underside of the rasp can also be used as a saw for cleaning up things like the corners of an outlet box cut-out. There is also a reinforced piece of metal at the base of the knife that can be used for tapping in a nail or punching out a cut piece of drywall.

striker_knife_storage.jpgAnother nice thing about the Striker is the fact that it is a folding knife with blade storage. For around the house use, this doesn't really mean much, but on a construction site, it means everything in the world. We use our knife all day long and go through blades like tissue paper, so it's always advantageous to have an extra one on hand instead of having to stop what we're doing and spend 20 minutes digging through the JoBox looking for the extra blades.

The bottom line here is that this is a very useful knife with a number of 'drywall-oriented' features, but unlike the Husky 5-in-1 drywall knife that we reviewed way back when, the additional features don't interfere with it being a great day-to-day knife as well.

The Striker Folding Multi-Blade costs about $13, which is on the high side of the more expensive utility knives. We think the Striker is a solid enough tool to warrant the price.

At Amazon.com

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

March 13, 2009

Dead On Annihilator Wrecking Bar

dead_on_annihilator.jpgWe saw this at the local Home Depot the other day and boy does it look baaaad assss. Seriously. We're fans of the Artillery Bar and we've always liked the Fu-Bar, but this is the first demo tool that we've seen that could also be used to fend off a goblin raiding party.

This thing has it all; a jaw for straightening 2x stock, a hammer head, a nail puller, an axe edge, and a mean looking chisel point at the base of the handle. We read somewhere that the hole at the tip can be used as a bottle opener, as if it wasn't impressive enough already.

The Annihilator costs about $40-$50 which is a good price for a high quality demo bar.

At Dead-On and Amazon.com

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

March 11, 2009

Irwin Announces Grand Prize Winner of Vise-Grip Contest

Thumbnail image for irwin_chopper.JPGA week or two ago, we told you about the three finalists in Irwin's Vise-Grip contest. There was the guy who had his exhaust system clamped to his manifold for 28 years with a pair of Vise-Grips; the Navy surgeon who removed some pins from a soldier's spine with a pair of Vise-Grips; and lastly, the fellow who crimped his brake line with a pair of Vise-Grips during the Baja 500.

As their big winner, Irwin chose the Navy surgeon and although we really like the guy who drove around for 28 years with a pair of pliers holding his truck together, we can't really dispute the winner. Saving a life is far more deserving of praise than being too cheap to repair your truck. The grand prize winner received a $25,000 custom chopper built by East Coast Custom Cycles.

From the press release:

A member of the U.S. Navy for more than 25 years, Dr. Fox found a unique use for his VISE-GRIP as a spine surgeon on the battlefield in the Middle East. In the heat of battle, Dr. Fox needed to perform emergency spinal surgery on a soldier who had a combination of screws and rods that had been implanted into his infected spine. Complicating the medical challenges at hand, Dr. Fox did not have access to the specialized tools necessary to deal with the soldier's different spine implants. Dr. Fox did, however, have access to a pair of VISE-GRIP locking pliers. He sterilized his VISE-GRIP tools and used them to remove the rods and screws from the soldier's infected spine, effectively saving his life.

Irwin tools at Amazon.com

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

March 9, 2009

Husky Tools: The Assimilation is Complete

borg.jpgWe just tried checking the Husky website (http://www.huskytools.com) to see if they had anything new to offer and it appears that the site doesn't even exist anymore. Our bookmark redirected us right to Home Depot's front page. We did a search of 'Husky" there and got 222 product results, but because of the way the Home Depot website is set up, there's no way to see if they have any new or interesting products out. There's not even a Husky sub-site or anything. They've just been completely dissolved into the larger entity.

While we're not anti-Home Depot by any stretch, we think it's too bad that a tool maker like Husky no longer has their own identity, even if it has been apparent for some time that they've become specifically a Home Depot brand.

In a way, this really isn't all that surprising. Since we started writing Tool Snob, over two years ago, the Husky website has been updated maybe once.

In related news, the other day we noticed that the Husky Stubby set is back in stores. Our review of those tools is here.

Husky Tools at Home Depot

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

March 5, 2009

Nail Extractor Extracting Pliers

nailextractor.jpg

If you're the salvaging type like we are, you've got a pile of lumber out in the workshop that most people would have tossed in the dumpster by now. They're good looking boards with a lot of character, but they're peppered with nails, staples, and brads. If only there was some quick way of getting the nails out...

The Nail Extractor looks like just the thing for removing protruding nails. They're sort of like a set of pliers but with the heel of a pair of end-cutting pliers (our standard nail removing tool). The parallel jaws and the innovative way that they hinge creates a grip that will only yield when the user releases pressure on the heel of the tool. Because the tool essentially locks itself on the nail, you're left devoting your energy to the leverage part and not the gripping part. And the long handles assist with the leverage.

It's worth nothing though that the Nail Exractor is only going to be effective on fasteners that are already protruding from the surface, so if you're taking apart some framing that you just put together, you'll still need the cat's paw to get the nails started.

The Nail Extractor sells for just under $30 which seems to us to be a good price for a tool that appears to be very well made and quite useful.

At NailExtractor.com

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

February 16, 2009

Expedition Tools HK1 Hydrokinetic Wrench - Review

hk1.jpg

The HK1 Hydrokinetic Wrench is one of the more innovative items we've come across in quite a while. It's one of those tools where it seems like the manufacturer rethought the whole concept from the ground up. In it's most simple terms, the HK1 is an adjustable box-end wrench. But when you think through the idea a bit deeper, this little guy is capable of replacing a good chunk of your metric wrench set (7 to 19mm) as well as your SAE set (1/4 to 3/4").

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

January 12, 2009

C.H. Hanson Stud 4 Sure Magnetic Stud Finder

hanson_stud_finder.jpgUpdate: Looks like we were wrong on this being a new item. As you can read in the comments, Reader Randy has owned one for three years now. What we thought was new is actually a redesign of their original Stud Finder, with an added level.

C.H. Hanson, one of our favorite tool manufacturers has recently hit the market with an interesting new stud finder called the Stud 4 Sure. Instead of using electronic magic like all of the other stud finders, this one simply has magnets that locate the nails and screws in the studs. This way there is no battery and no need for calibration. It's also much smaller than a standard stud finder and probably a lot more tool bag friendly.

Our guess is that there will be times when this might not work such as on a wall that has metal lath or anytime stainless nails, which are non-magnetic, are used. Other than those pretty rare circumstances, we think this is probably a great and reliable way to locate studs.

The Stud 4 Sure costs about $11 which is about half the price of the basic Zircon stud finder that everyone owns.

At Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

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