November 4, 2009

Craftsman Blower Attachment for the String Trimmer - Review

craftsman_blower.jpgWe've got this great Toro electric leaf blower and before we bought it we did all the right research and truly agonized over the purchase. We finally decided on the make and model we wanted and went to the local HD to pick it up. At our last house, it was a charm. With the yard hugging the house so closely we could get most everything with a 50' extension cord and when necessary, break out the dreaded 100' (*shudder*). Now, at the new place, everything is different. Our front yard is practically an orchard and threading between the trees with the cord (attached to the lone exterior outlet on the wrong side of the house), while do-able, is impractical and tedious. Thankfully, the folks at Craftsman were nice enough to let us test out their blower attachments for the string trimmer. Could this little guy deliver adequate power to get the job done?

craftsman_blower_4.jpgSo how is it? Honestly, it's pretty nice. It blows at a peak speed of about 150 mph so it's not the full-throated blowing madness of our electric blower which operates at around 230 mph, but it does work and it's certainly better than raking (which occurs at about 2 mph). The length of the attachment places the blower unit at just the right height, making it easy to get the air under the leaves and the convenience of not having an entirely separate tool for the task is a real space saver in the garage. We should also note that there are gas and electric blowers that operate in the 150-200mph range, so don't think that the Craftsman is a step down from the other methods.

Removing the trimmer head and attaching the blower is a really easy process, just turn the tightening knob and press a little button and the trimmer is off. Installing the blower is as easy as sliding it on the shaft and clicking the button into place.

For speed's sake, the leaves we can reach with the electric, we'll probably still do that way, but the ones way out at the horizon line can be easily done with the trimmer attachment. So all said and done, we see this little guy benefiting both our situation as well as someone who has a pretty small yard with maybe only a couple trees and limited storage space. It's likely that you already have a string trimmer, but do you also have the space for a full-sized leaf blower?

The attachment fits any high quality trimmer. If you've never noticed before, string trimmers are essentially a hand-held PTO with the trimmer being just one of the attachments. In fact, Craftsman also has an Edger that we're reviewing as well. The blower attachment costs about $70 so it's definitely less than a regular blower, it also takes up a fraction of the space.

At Sears

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

October 19, 2009

String Trimmers Reviewed at Popular Mechanics

string-trimmers-pm.jpgWe recently reviewed three new string trimmers over at Popular Mechanics; the Worx cordless, the Craftsman Propane Trimmer (powered by Lehr), and a brand new Troy-Bilt 2-stroke. We compared the tools in a number of categories including noise level, ergonomics, and power.

Read the review here. We also took a closer look at the Craftsman Trimmer here.

We also helped out Timothy Dahl (of Charles and Hudson) with an article for Shelter Pop. That article is about buying tools and can be found here. We definitely recommend putting Charles and Hudson on your blog rotation and Shelter Pop looks like it has some cool stuff too.

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

August 31, 2009

Lehr Propane-Powered Eco Trimmer

lehr_eco_trimmer.jpgA little bit ago, we reviewed the Craftsman Propane Trimmer and really liked it. The Craftsman tool states that it is 'Powered by Lehr," and a little research uncovered the fact that Lehr is a company that has found a way to power a 4-stroke engine with propane. Seeing the benefits of this, they put their technology in a string trimmer called the Eco Trimmer and they also licensed the know-how to Craftsman who released their own model (which, again, we reviewed here). From what we understand, the two trimmers are nearly identical, so if you're interested in getting an EcoTrimmer, check out our review of the Craftsman.

Like the Craftsman, the Lehr is available in both curved and straight shaft. Both cost about $200 which is a lot for a trimmer, but when you think about it the benefits may outweigh the initial down payment.

Learn more about Lehr at www.golehr.com

Curved Shaft Trimmer at Amazon.com
Straight Shaft Trimmer at Amazon.com

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

August 17, 2009

Craftsman 25cc Propane Trimmer Powered by Lehr - Review

craftsman_trimmer2.jpgLooking at things mathematically, our lawn might be one of the hardest in the world to mow. There are curved flower beds everywhere, terraced lawns, railroad tie retaining walls, granite retaining walls, and moss beds a plenty. There are also some horseshoe pits and some homemade benches that we made with a chainsaw a while back. Pretty much every possible obstacle to the easy-to-mow grid is out there somewhere. Since nothing is on a straight line and there's stuff everywhere, once we put the mower away, we're only half way done. It's now string trimmer time, or as we like to call it, "fight with the 2-stroke engine" time.

Craftsman is looking to put an end to some of this agony with their 25CC Propane Trimmer (powered by Lehr). It's exactly what it sounds like, a string trimmer that runs on propane as opposed to gas.

ArrowContinue reading: "Craftsman 25cc Propane Trimmer Powered by Lehr - Review"

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (10) | social bookmarking

August 5, 2009

Xtend & Climb Telescoping Ladder

xtend_climb.jpgWhile we were flipping through the latest Extreme How-To (a magazine that we love and would recommend to anyone), we noticed an ad for the Xtend & Climb Telescoping ladder. Having lived in some very cramped apartments, we're particularly sensitive to those of you with zero storage and thought that this product was worth a mention.

The Xtend & Climb is a compact ladder that is capable of extending, step by step, into a much larger ladder. Sort of like an extension ladder that starts at about 3' and can make it, depending on the model, up to 15-1/2'.

There are a number of different models that have different safety ratings and extend to varying heights. They do have job site ready models with a ANSI rating of 1A, which means that they can handle up to 300 lbs of your twinkie-eating ass.

This kind of ladder would be good for anyone from the apartment dweller to the homeowner to the traveling handy-man. With the kind of durability and storage capabilities that the Xtend & Climb has, it could be useful to actually anyone who is in the market for a ladder.

As far as price goes, it looks like a wash. The Xtend & Climb 780P, which is comparable to a standard 16' extension ladder sells at Amazon for $249.99. The Werner 16' Extension Ladder with the same safety rating goes $249.25, so unless you're really into penny pinching, it's the exact the same price.

Xtend & Climb Ladders at Amazon.com

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

April 21, 2009

Toro Dingo 300 Series

toro_dingo.jpgIf you've got about $14,000 sitting around, we suggest looking into getting a Toro Dingo. We recently saw one in action and have decided that from now on all of our bottle recycling money will be routed into the "Dingo Fund." The Dingo is an all in one personal hydraulic machine that, given which of the 35 attachments is on it, it can tackle a huge variety of tasks. Whether it's trenching, drilling a hole, tilling, or just moving a pile of dirt, the Dingo is going to be way better at it than you, your bad back, and your pathetic shovel.

Here's a video of the Dingo in action (skip to about 1:10)

More info at Toro

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

March 18, 2009

John Deere Mobile Maintenance Service

john_deere_rtm.jpgWith Spring starting to show it's muddy face, you're probably beginning to dread your first encounter with your mower. Will it run alright? Will it stall out? Will it even start? We just found out about this great service offered by John Deere that might make things a little easier for you. It's a mobile maintenance service called Ready To Mow that covers not only John Deere products, but other brands as well.

From the press release:

"The Ready To Mow mobile service provides standard maintenance and diagnosis of problems in a "service center on wheels' for any type of lawn, commercial, or hand-held power equipment whether it's a John Deere brand or not. A factory-trained service technician arrives at the owner's home or business with one of the 800 Ready To Mow vehicles currently on the road to perform a 14-point maintenance and inspection service, in one hour or less."

Too bad Keith Walendowski hadn't heard of the service.

To learn more or to schedule a visit, go to www.ReadyToMow.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | 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

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

November 18, 2008

iRobot Looj: Hands-On Experience

looj.jpgOver a year ago, we wrote about the iRobot Looj gutter cleaning robot. At the time, we thought it looked pretty cool, but it turns out that looks aren't even half the story. A fellow who runs a blog called der5er had some hands on experience with the tool and the results are somewhat less than spectacular.

...Add to this the fact that if a pine cone happens to be directly under a gutter support bracket, the Looj gets stuck. About halfway down the gutter I ran into this problem. I tried backing it up and ramming it forward a couple times, but I eventually had to climb up on the roof (or move my ladder) and manually remove the pine cone.

Read the entire experience here.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (2) | 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

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