May 20, 2010

Kreg KMA2600 Square-Cut

kreg_square_cut.jpgYesterday, we were all 'hoo-haa!" over Kreg's new Multi-Mark all purpose measuring tool, and to show that we're even handed, today we're going to dump on their other new product, something called the Square-Cut.

The Square-Cut plays the role of the rafter square when it's in saw guide mode. It has a lip which sits against the long end of a board, creating an edge to run the foot plate of your saw against, allowing for a perfect 90 degree cut. The one drawback to doing this with a rafter square is that the off-set from cutting line to edge of footplate needs to be known and figured into the equation, leading to some tedious measurements. Kreg solves this problem by having a little adjustable piece of plastic extend from the Square-Cut out the appropriate distance to the line. Now, all you have to do is align the little plastic thing to the cut line and the saw guide is automatically in the correct place.

Which sounds good in theory, but we wonder about practice. How can this little plastic arm survive a few passes with a saw. They're bound to make some contact and when that happens, see you later little plastic arm. There's also the issue of south-paw carpenters...sorry guys, there's nothing for you here. The Square-Cut is righties only.

We suggest just using a rafter square and visually lining up the blade and the cut line. Is that so hard? If you have halfway decent vision and passable hand-eye coordination, this should work (and work fast). It's always been fine for us and we even used this method last year to make some pretty fancy-pants shelves that turned out great. Another option is to make your own saw guides.

The Square-Cut costs about $16.

At Amazon.com

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

Kreg KMA2900 Multi-Mark Multi-Purpose Marking and Measuring Tool

kreg_multi_mark.jpgIt seems like the new thing for tool companies is to crush as much functionality as possible in as small a package as possible. If this is the new standard for what a good tool is, Kreg has a struck gold with the Multi-Mark Measuring and marking tool.

It's a bevel gauge...no it's a try square...no wait...it's a combo square...or maybe a torpedo level...or possibly a carpenter's ruler? Actually, it's a bit of all these things and it actually looks incredibly handy. It's also only $20, which seems like a steal.

When you boil it down to the basics, the Multi-Mark is a bevel gauge with a ruler for a blade. The try square ability comes when the blade sets into a groove which positions it 90 degrees to the handle.The long edges of the body also have a 3/16" rabbet, making it perfect for positioning door and window reveals.

All of this makes the Multi-Mark a one stop casing tool. Never having actually seen one or used one, we can't be 100% sure, but from afar, this one looks like a real winner.

And like we said $20 seems like a deal for this interesting little item.

At Amazon.com

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

May 13, 2010

Win a Channellock Gift Set from Tool Snob

VJ-1.gifSo yes, with the wonderful assistance of Channellock Tools, we're giving away a 2-plier gift set for Father's Day. The set includes a 9-1/2" V-Jawed Tongue and Groove Plier and a 6-1/2" V-Jawed Tongue and Groove Plier. We tested out the 6-1/2" model here. The gift set would be a nice gift for any dad.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post telling us why your dad, above all other dads, deserves these tools. Is it because he's restoring an old car? Is it because he lost his old ones? is it because you're getting to the age where you're starting to realize what a lousy kid you were and you feel compelled to give him things to make up for it?

We're going to pick the winner in a random drawing on Friday the 21st. Also, don't forget to enter to win a DeWalt ToughCase here.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (11) | social bookmarking

May 12, 2010

Bostitich Hand Tools

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Bostitich, makers of pneumatics and only pneumatics have recently developed a new line of hand tools...or have they? Maybe 'developed' is the wrong word.

When we went and checked out their website to get more information on this, we were a bit surprised at exactly how many hand tools they're releasing. Since there's no way they engineered this entire line for a single roll-out (17 new hammers, 4 new utility knives, 7 new pry bars, etc.), we headed over to their parent company's website. Sure enough, the Stanley FatMax line is virtually identical to the new Bostitich line. It seems like there are some aesthetic differences here and there, but they're minor at best. It's safe to say that the "Bostitich Hand Tools: Development and Testing" office is little more than a place to keep the foosball table.

But this isn't to say that these are lame tools. It's the opposite really. The FatMax line is great and their 25' tape is our standard. But you've got to admit that this is sort of funny.

Browse the selection of tools here. Play "find the comprable Stanley hand tool" here.

Bostitich hand tools at Amazon.com

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

May 4, 2010

Melco Direct My T Driver

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If you read our recent review of Milwaukee's 11-in-1 Screwdriver and thought, "more, more MORE! I NEED MORE MULTI-SCREWDRIVER ACTION!" Then, calm down, the My T Driver is here. According to Melco, the My T Driver does the work of 24 screwdrivers and delivers 5 times the torque of a standard screwdriver. The extra mojo comes from the stems that flip out of the handle and allow you to use the tool sort of like a basin wrench. We think it's a nice idea and hopefully, the screwdriver can hold up to the additional strain.

The My T Driver costs $19 and comes with a small case and a little flashlight. Oh, it also has a ratcheting setting.

At Melco Direct

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

April 29, 2010

Milwaukee 11-in-1 Multi-Tip Screwdriver - Review

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With the release of the 11-in-1 screwdriver, Milwaukee has put itself in direct competition with the fantastic Klein 10-in-1. We know what you're thinking, "the Milwaukee has to be better...it's one louder." Well, not exactly. As it turns out, the new tool is so specified towards electricians and HVAC guys that its eleven functions don't really apply to everyone.

milwaukee_screwdriver_2.jpgStarting with driver tips, the Milwaukee has a #1 Philips; a #2 Philips; a 1/4" slotted; a 3/16" slotted; a 1/4", 5/16", and 3/8" nut driver; a #1 ECX bit, and finally a #2 ECX bit. If you don't know what an ECX bit is (we didn't), it's a combination of a Philips and a slotted that comes off looking like a Robertson bit with a slotted bit stuck through it. It's a new design that Milwaukee has come up with that works in those strange 'Philips or slotted" screws that are commonly seen on electrical devices (outlets, breaker panels, etc).

Aside from the screwdriver tips, the Milwaukee has two other tricks, both centered around the electrical trade or specifically, wiring. First, there is a little wire stripper in the handle. It's really just a little groove with a blade tucked down in it. At first, we snorted at this, thinking that Milwaukee was trying a little too hard to get to the magic number of 11, but then we rolled a piece of 12 gauge wire in the groove and the sheath just came right off.


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The second non-tip feature of the screwdriver is a little hole in the stem that you can use to bend a wire. Now, these two features might not be too practical if you're wiring an entire house, but in a pinch, this screwdriver is certainly capable of replacing your pliers.

About three weeks ago, we started carrying this tool around and we really haven't let it out of our sight since. At first we thought the handle was too smooth and we missed the more knobbly Klein, but a few days later we were used to it and thought of it no more. Because we're carpenters, we have yet to use the ECX bits and really miss the torx bits that are on the Klein, which actually can double as Allen wrenches when working with little set screws (perfect for door hardware). If we were electricians though, we'd be fully enamored with the Milwaukee and probably a little bit misty-eyed that they finally made a screwdriver tailored so specifically to our needs that all the dumb carpenters in the world can't even use a bunch of its features.

$12 at ToolBarn

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

April 2, 2010

Peavey Shingle Froe

peavey_froe.jpgThis one is for the real mountain men out there. Not the, "look at me, I just unclogged my sink drain" DIYers, but the hardcore, "I built my house with no power tools" crowd. The shingle froe is an old colonial tool used for, among other things, making shingles. The sharp edge of the blade (the long side that faces away from the handle) gets pounded into a log, and then the handle gets leveraged down to pop off a sheet of wood. The tool can also be used in some woodworking situations, but we prefer to think of it as a Grizzly Adams item.

This particular one has got the Peavey name (American made) so it's got to be high quality. If you've ever used a Peavey log roller, you know what we're talking about.

Here's a video of a guy making shingles.


$50 at Amazon.com and Highland Woodworking

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

March 24, 2010

Kreg Deck Jig

kreg_deck_jpgWe've used a number of hidden deck fasteners and have gotten some mixed results. We've had some good experiences (Eb-Ty) and some not-so-good experiences (Tiger Claw). Even the successful Eb-Tys were labor intensive with us having to biscuit out for each and every fastener. The results were great, but the process was tedious.

So Kreg, masters of all that is jiggy, are entering the ring with their new Deck Jig and at a glance it looks like a fast, efficient way of doing things (on the one condition that you have 2 drills). Like every other product that Kreg sells, the Deck Jig boils down to a method of drilling and setting a screw at a specific angle. In this case, it assists with toe-screwing a deck board to a joist.

The jig is set up like other Kreg jigs with the special drill bit and the adjustable depth collar. There are three drilling holes, one for screwing straight on and the other two for angled screwing, like when two boards meet on a joist. The kit also comes with little board spacers, to ensure your deck boards are nice and parallel.

The one thing that worries us about this whole thing is that the jig uses a specialized drill bit (replacements are about $14). So if you're making your deck out of ipe (which is becoming more and more popular), there could be an added expense of additional drill bits. Spending a day drilling through a species of wood that has the same fire rating as steel doesn't bode well for the longevity of the bit. But then again, cutting biscuit slots in it is no treat either.

The jig costs about $100.


Available May 15th at Amazon.com

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

March 5, 2010

Milwaukee Announces New Line of Hand Tools

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So where do you go after you completely dominate the 12-volt market? Hand tools, apparently. Milwaukee has just announced the first four tools in a new line of non-powered, non-voltage tools. And, as always with Milwaukee, they are geared for tradesman.

The first tools announced are two utility knives, a drywall keyhole saw, and a 11-in-1 screwdriver. Of these, the one that interests us the most is the 11-in-1. It seems that in the past few weeks there has been an explosion of the Klein 10-in-1 at the jobsite. All of a sudden, everyone's getting one (and telling everyone else to get one). So at least in our area, Milwaukee seems to be hitting the market at the right time.

For more information on these tools, check out Milwaukee's hand tool page here.

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

February 26, 2010

Columbia River Knife and Tool - Li'l Guppie Multitool

guppie.jpgWell, you can either get the Leatherman Skeletool or the, um, Li'l Guppie. While it doesn't exactly have the most badass name, it does look pretty useful. Its got a knife, screwdrivers, an LED, and an adjustable wrench. Oh, and of course it has a bottle opener. There's also a carabiner which makes it ideal for clicking it onto a backpack or a belt loop.

So if you're looking for something other than the traditional looking multi-tool, the Guppie might fit the bill. Just make sure to tell everyone it's called the Piranha or maybe the Japanese Fighting Fish.

$20 at Amazon.com

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

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