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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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

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December 11, 2008

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Nails, But Were Afraid to Ask

nail.gif
Seriously, everything.

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

December 9, 2008

Load Handler Universal Bed Liner Rake

load_handler.jpgBack when we used to have a truck, a constant frustration was keeping the bed liner clean. No matter what we did, the grooves would always be filled with rocks, grime, screws, and all other kinds of debris. Once or twice a year we would take the hose to it and blast the thing clean.

It appears that Load Handler has a product designed just for the kind of daily cleaning that we were looking for. The Universal Bed Liner Rake has three sides, each designed to fit within the grooves of a standard bed liner. Now you don't have to stress out when you fill the bed with a yard of crushed stone.

Our guess is that it works fine and that if you're the fastidious type, it might be a worthy way to spend the $10 that the tool costs.

At Load Handler

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December 2, 2008

Black & Decker Bullseye - Review

black_decker_bullseye.jpgThe Black & Decker Bullseye Auto-Leveling Laser with Stud Sensor is a small laser level with the single purpose of hanging things on walls, or more specifically, lining up two or more items on a wall. There's really not a whole lot else you can do with it, but since it does its assigned task so well, the limits of the tool aren't really a problem.

The unit looks like a plus-sized stud sensor with switches on both sides and laser lights coming out of the sides of the rounded top. The switch on the right activates the stud sensor and the switch on the left turns on the self-leveling laser. We tested the laser against one that is about seven times more expensive and we have to say that the Black & Decker was spot on level.

The beam is nice and bright even in a well-lit room and if the unit gets tilted too far to either side, the laser gets blocked and can't be seen. After a few simple tests, we came t o the conclusion that the stud sensor works fine too.

The Bullseye comes with two attachments that allow it to be held on a wall so you can work without having to hold it, freeing up your hands for picture hanging.

The Bullseye costs about $40 which sounds like a lot, but anyone who has ever hung pictures with a loved one realizes that it's a process prone to making one generally unloving. That said, maybe $40 is a small price to pay for a tool that will make picture hanging a little less difficult.

The Bullseye comes with a nice nylon case that can hold the unit and both attachments.

At Amazon.com

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

November 21, 2008

Nail Jack to Purchase Vise-Grip Factory?

nailhunter.jpgThe guys over at Tool Crib have broken an interesting story about the fate of a Nebraskan tool factory. It appears that Irwin, makers of Vise-Grip tools has decided to pull up stakes and relocate their manufacturing to China, which leaves a bit of a vacuum for all of the workers at this factory. But it seems that Nail Jack, an innovative new company, has entered in negotiations to buy up the location. According to Tool Crib, many of the employees of Irwin would be able to continue working at the same factory, just with a different employer.

From what we can tell, Nail Jack makes two nail pulling devices; the Nail Jack and the Nail Hammer, both of which are sort of a pliers/pry bar hybrid. They look like smart tools and potentially very popular.

There's more to this story, including the history of the Vise-Grip factory, but there's no point in us repeating everything you can read first hand over at Tool Crib. They've done their research and it shows. There's even some impressive video of the Nail Jack in action.

Read the article at Tool Crib here.
Check out Nail Jack (the company) here and Nail Jack (the tool) here.

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

October 28, 2008

Using a Water Level

water_level.jpgSometimes all the finest and most current technology can't out-do the tried and true method of a few thousand years. All the fancypants level companies have yet to create one that can project from one room, down a hallway, around a corner, and into another room. So put away your Stabilas, Fat Max's, and your PLSs and try out a water level.

We used a water level a few years back on a waterproofing basement job. The floor, if you could call it that, was wildly uneven, and the basement twisted and turned like the Minotaur's labryinth on the Isle of Crete. Using a standard laser level would have taken time and would have required moving it around and making benchmarks. Instead, we filled a tube with water and had all of our points marked by coffee break.

Fine Homebuilding's Using a Water Level

factsfacts Making and Using a Water Level

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

October 14, 2008

Leatherman Serac S1, S2, and S3 Flashlights

leatherman_serac.jpgNow that they have attained total dominance of the multi-tool world, Leatherman has set its sights on the house of Maglite with the release of their three new LED flashlights; the Serac S1, the Serac S2, and the Serac S3.

Each light has an aluminum body, with the larger two having stainless steel bezels. The lights range from "fun-size Twix"-sized (S1) to "roll of quarters"-sized (S3). Because of the Leatherman name our guess is that they can take a beating. They look to us like they'd be good in the glove box, the kitchen drawer, the backpack, or the toolbox.

If you want to compare the three lights for yourself, Leatherman has set up this page where you can see all the stats side by side.

But for something this small, they sure aren't cheap. The S1 goes for $25, the S2 $50, and the S3 $70. Pretty expensive for something that weighs 2.6 oz.

Oh, and FYI, according to Dictionary.com a Serac is, "a large irregularity of glacial ice, as a pinnacle found in glacial crevasses and formed by melting or movement of the ice." So if that doesn't make you feel rugged while you're using the light to find your car keys, we don't know what will.

Leatherman Serac S1 at Amazon.com
Leatherman Serac S2 at Amazon.com
Leatherman Serac S3 at Amazon.com

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

October 9, 2008

Gerber Artifact Pocket Keychain Tool

gerber_artifact.jpgWith the overwhelming success of the Leatherman Skeletool, it's not surprising that some other companies are going to follow suit with their own lightweight, minimalist multi-tools. The first one we've seen is from renowned knife maker Gerber and is called The Artifact.

This stripped down little item contains a replaceable hobby blade, small and medium flat drivers, wire strippers, pry bar/paint can opener, a lanyard/keychain attachment hole, and, most importantly, a bottle opener. Not bad for something that is only 3.5 inches in length (4.8 with blade open).

Now, this is no Skeletool, it doesn't have half the functionality, but, unlike the Skeletool, it only costs $10. With the amount that we use our Leatherman, we'd bet that this small tool would be handy in any pocket out there. You really don't have any idea how often you'll use a multi-tool until you have one on you and for $10, this looks like a great place to start if you're not sure you want to give up that precious pocket real estate.

At Amazon.com

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

October 8, 2008

Artillery Tools to Release New Attachments

artillery_blade.gifWe are all in favor of the Artillery Bar. We gave it a positive review a while back and since then have only grown to like it more and more. We trash a ceiling, a decks, and a subfloor with it and it is currently in the hands of a friend who is taking a dormer off. Now, to make the tool even more functional, Artillery Tools is taking pre-orders for a number of new attachments set to be released very soon.

The new attachments are:

  • 25" Fiberglass Handle
  • Ball Grip and Cap
  • Deck Blade
  • Staple and Finish Nail Blade
  • 8" Blade (pictured)
  • Deck Fulcrum
  • Rebar Bender Head
  • Buried Nail Blade

Of these, the Rebar Bender and the Buried Nail Blade look to be the most interesting. The attachments range in price from $20 (Ball Grip) to $55 (Rebar Bender).

At the moment, the new attachments aren't on the website (except for the 8" blade), but if you're interested in more information, go to the contact page and drop Joe a line. He's a great guy and he'd be happy to hear from you.

At Artillery Tools

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

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