June 27, 2007

C.H. Hanson Pivot Square - Review

closed.jpgC.H. Hanson, a company known for their high-quality layout and marking tools, has begun rolling out a new line of innovative tools they call the Signature Series. Kicking off this collection is their new Pivot Square, an all-in-one roof and stair layout tool.

At first glance, the Pivot Square looks like a traditional measuring square with a few level vials built-in. But upon closer inspection there are plenty of differences. First, it's larger, with the sides measuring 8" as opposed to 7". Secondly, and more significantly, there is a portion of the square that pivots out and can be locked in position, much like a bevel gauge. But, unlike a $4.99 bevel gauge, the pivot square tells you the degree as well as the roof pitch of the captured angle. Also, the hypotenuse has a ruler on it, as opposed to a degree finder.

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

June 11, 2007

C.H. Hanson Pivot Square Arrives for Review

Pivot_Square.jpgOur friends at C.H. Hanson, makers of fine marking and layout tools, have been nice enough to send us one of their new Pivot Squares for a test run. The Pivot Square is the first tool in their Signature Series, a new line of innovative and high-quality tools. Well, at first glance, we can say that the Pivot Square meets these criteria. It resembles a standard measuring square, but it has three leveling vials and it the ability to open up and capture angles like a bevel gauge. It looks like an all-in-one framing tool, particularly useful for rafter layout.

The Pivot Square comes with a nice carrying case, a carpenter's pencil, and The Expert Guide to Roof Construction and Framing, a little book that fits nicely into the case. The Pivot Square retails for $83.92 and is available at Hanson Direct.

We'll be testing it out this week and we'll have a review up soon.

The review is here.

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

May 31, 2007

Husky 45-Piece Stubby Set - Review

stubby_set.jpgHusky has recently come out with a 45-piece set of little truncated tools, lovingly named the Stubby Set. They were nice enough to send us one and it didn’t take long before we realized that, although it‘s small and has a humiliating name, it’s a really great collection of useful tools.

The contents of the Stubby Set include a ratcheting screwdriver, a dual-drive ratchet (able to accept 1/4” sockets on one side and 3/8” sockets on the other) and an adjustable wrench. For accessories and bits, the Stubby Set comes with:

  • 10 driver bits
  • 13 SAE sockets (5/32” to 3/4”)
  • 14 metric sockets (4mm to 17)
  • Adapter for using the 3/8” ratchet with 1/4" sockets
  • Extension bar
  • Adapter for using the 1/4" sockets with the screwdriver
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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (7) | social bookmarking

May 22, 2007

The Quick Angle – Review

quick_angle_2.jpgIt’s hard to summarize the Quick Angle in just a couple of words. We’ve thought about it and the best we can do is to describe it as the Swiss Army Knife of the measuring world. We first saw the tool at last year’s JLC show and then again at this year’s show and both times we were impressed with, not only its versatility, but also the amount of thought that must have gone into its design. It's part bevel gauge, part measuring square, part compass, and part Stephen Hawking.

The tool is a little larger than your standard bevel gauge and folds out with a third, central arm, which is where all the mathematical magic takes place. Each side of the arm is loaded with numbers and lines that may or may not come into play depending on which of the million and one functions you’re currently using the tool for. The arm also has a little mechanism that allows you lock the angle in place, so there are no worries of things shifting while you’re getting down off that ladder.

The Quick Angle can (are you ready for this?):

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

May 17, 2007

Stanley Hi-Vis Tape Measure

stanley_hi_vis.jpgStanley has a new line of tape measures to add to the thousand varieties that already exist. These new ones are called Hi-Vis and, we assume, it's because they're the color of a fever dream. We're not sure if the tape actually glows in the dark, but it looks like that's a possibility (good news for those of you who like to use power tools at night). We expect that the tapes are built to the same high standards that all Stanley tape measures are, so if you like saying, "yeah, the insane greenish one, that's mine," then this might be the perfect tape for you.

Stanley's Hi-Vis are available in 12', 16', and 25' lengths. The 25' one retails for under $15.

At Amazon.com

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

April 25, 2007

Denali 115-Piece Home Repair Tool Kit

denali_tool_kit.jpgDenali has released this fairly comprehensive tool kit geared for what looks like light-duty home use. The kit contains a good assortment of tools and just about anything you would need for basic tasks around the house. A big bonus with this kit is that it comes with a nylon bag, allowing room for new tools as you purchase them, as opposed to those terrible plastic form-fitting cases that only accept the tools it was made for.

This kit is also dirt cheap. All of these tools for under $40? We were suspicious of this (as well as the fact we can’t find any other info on Denali Tools – are they an Amazon imprint?), but we read all of the Amazon customer reviews and it looks like the tools are a good purchase. Of the 14 reviews, only one was really negative and the rest basically said, “nice kit, nice tools, nice price.”

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

April 9, 2007

Quick Angle Arrives for Review

quick_angle.jpg
We’ve been curious about the Quick Angle ever since we first saw it at the JLC Show in 2006. It’s a measuring tool, barely bigger than a bevel gauge, that is capable of a wide variety of tasks. According to the packaging, the Quick Angle can be used as a compass, a scribe, a drill press jig, and a saw guide. It can find angles, locate the center of a circle, and figure roof pitch. From the looks of it, it has the potential of replacing at least three tools in your tool bag (or at least, greatly reducing their usage). We’ll be testing it this week and will have a full review up soon.

Available at Quick Angle

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

April 6, 2007

Handi-Shims - Review

hs_side.jpgOne of the more interesting products we saw at this year’s JLC Live, was the Handi-Shim. We talked to the guys at the booth and they were pretty excited about their little multi-colored, reusable shims. In fact, they were nice enough to let us take a bag to test out. Well for about two weeks now, we’ve been using them for just about everything and we have to say that we’re very impressed. They are a quick, easy, and durable alternative to traditional shim shingles and because they are reusable, they make for an economic purchase as well.

The shims come in three sizes; 1/16” (red), 1/8” (white), and 1/4” (blue), and are 1-3/4” by 1-3/4” (we've also been notified that a fourth shim; green and measuring 1/32" is in the works). With such convenient sizes, just about any measurement can be achieved with a combination of these three. In addition, they are made so that you can easily snap each one into four smaller shims. This gave our bag of 30 the potential of being a bag of 120.

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

April 3, 2007

Veto Pro Pac

veto_pro_pac.jpgThere are only a few options when it comes to finding a way to store your hand tools and have them easily transportable at the same time, and none of them are very good. We've had minimal success with the smaller sized doctor’s bag, but it was so tiny that it ended up overflowing and tools were always falling out when we picked it up. As an added bonus, our tools stayed in a jumbled pile and reaching for a wrench often took a few minutes of frustrating searching and untangling. So, recently, we switched over to the larger sized doctor’s bag, but even that has some critical problems. Now, we’ve got the room for our tools, but the bag divider doesn’t work. Essentially, we have the same problems we had with the smaller bag, except that now we’re not worried about leaving a Hansel and Gretel trail of hammers and screwdrivers everywhere we go.

We’ve also seen carpenters show up to the jobsite with their tools in ornate hand-made tool boxes. But not everyone wants to spent five weeks crafting a beautiful oak heirloom just so Mike, the summer help, can drop a Sawzall on it. Then, finally, there’s the dreaded five-gallon bucket with the bag insert. How pathetic is it when you see a woodworker carrying his beloved tools around in a plastic bucket? They’re tools, not Legos.

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

March 15, 2007

Johnson Magnetic Post Level

johnson_post_level.jpg
Johnson Level and Tool offers this great little Magnetic Post Level for anyone who is planning on building a deck this summer. We think this tool is a worthy investment and, once you use it, you'll realize how much time you've been wasting getting those posts to sit plumb. No more days of getting one side perfect and...wait...wait....hold it...hold it...(slowly move the level to the other side)...wait...stop shaking.....wait.... Now, you can just strap this level to the post (with the elastic band that comes attached) and have both hands free for positioning and stabilizing. It's really a simple tool that takes a lot of the hassle out of the process, and at under $7, it's not going to break the bank.

The Magnetic Post level is made of durable plastic and has three easy to read vials.

At Amazon.com

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

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