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

October 3, 2008

Husky Tough Tape - Review

Husky_tape.jpgImpressing us with a tape measure is a tall order. We're all but legally married to the Stanley Fat Max 25 footer. To us, it's the pinnacle of tape measures. All other tapes bow before it like serfs before King Conan. But every once in a while one of those serfs gets uppity and decides to challenge the king in hand to hand combat, and that's just what Husky has done with their new Tough Tape. So we grudgingly set down the Fax Max and picked up the Tough Tape for a few weeks and here's what we found.

ArrowContinue reading: "Husky Tough Tape - Review"

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

September 30, 2008

CreteSheet

cretesheet.jpg"It's such a fine line between stupid and clever."

Although these words weren't spoken about the CreteSheet, they might as well have been. The CreteSheet is a new instrument for mixing concrete on the go. It requires no tools and is advertised as being able to mix an 80 lb bag of concrete in about 90 seconds, much faster than the traditional mixing bucket and a shovel method.

The CreteSheet is nothing more than a single sheet of durable plastic with four handles (seriously). To use it, just pour the dry mix in the center, add the appropriate amount of water, grab the handles and alternately lift them up and down, mixing the concrete. Then, when it's to the consistency, simply pour it where you want to. This process can be done with one or two people.

In theory this is great, and, according to the testimonials on the website, it works in practice too. It actually reminds us of GE's new Caulk Singles in that it's a quick, tool-free way to complete an oftentimes tedious process. But this still doesn't stop us from thinking that the whole thing is incredibly silly. It's likely that it works, but we're not sure we want to be seen doing some sort of jiggle dance out in the yard or on the job site.

The CreteSheet costs about $20.

At Amazon.com and CreteSheet.com


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

September 8, 2008

ThumbSaver Magnetic Nail Setter

thumbsaver.jpgThis is sort of silly, but probably useful from time to time. It's a handle with a little magnetic shaft on it, meant for assisting with the first stage of hammering, also known as the stage where you're most likely to obliterate your thumb.

We see this tool being useful in cramped spaces, where you can't get your hand to hold the nail. We've all got some trick for this situation, ours is our needle nosed pliers. We've managed to get along fine without the ThumbSaver for this long, so we're not sure there's any justification for cluttering up the tool bag with yet another little hand tool. But you can make your own choice. Also keep in mind that it's magnetic, so stainless steel won't hold.

Bonus pack, including standard and mini sized ($12.99) At Amazon.com

Standard Size ($7.99) at Amazon.com

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

August 26, 2008

Cepco BoWrench

cepco_bowrench.jpgAs the summer comes to an end, and your deck project drags on and on, you should possibly think about picking up a BoWrench. It's a decking tool that helps create a consistent layout, particularly being useful with warped boards (specifically yours which have been getting rained on for the past month). The idea behind it is simple; the wrench binds up on a joist and the handle allows you to press the deck board into place.

Although we've never used a BoWrench, we've used plenty of other methods for getting deck boards straight; from beater blocks to ground down, sharpened screwdrivers driven into the joist and levered back. Pretty much at some point during every deck project we do, we think, "we should get one of those BoWrench thingys."

Here's a 40 second video of the BoWrench with some killer salsa music accompanying.

At Amazon.com (around $35)

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

August 6, 2008

LockJaw Self-Adjusting Locking Pliers

lockjaw.jpgThe LockJaw has taken the traditional Vise-Grip design and made it better (on paper at least, we haven't tried them yet). What LockJaw has done is made pliers that self-adjust to the thickness of the material that you're grabbing and in doing this, they've removed the dial a the end of the handle. As if this isn't cool enough, they've added a dial between the handles that controls the grabbing pressure.

We love our Vise-Grips, but the thought of not having to fuss with that dial every time we grab something different is a good one. We see this tool as a serious time saver in the right hands.

There are a number of different sized pliers available. The pricing is about the same as a standard pair of Vise-Grips.

10" at Amazon.com ($14)
6" at Amazon.com ($14)
Needle Nose at Amazon.com ($15)
Set with 6", 10" and 9" Needle Nose at Amazon.com ($39)

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

July 24, 2008

The Push Broom: Public Enemy #1

push_broom.jpgSome safety nuts in England have recommended that carpenters and woodworkers no longer use brooms to sweep up dust and wood shavings for fear of asthma attacks and increased chances of nose cancer.

Instead they are advising carpentry firms to buy state-of-the-art vacuum cleaners and air purification systems which can cost thousands of pounds.

When brooms are outlawed, only outlaws will have brooms.

Read the article here.

Fight the power and buy a few push brooms at Amazon.com.

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

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