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.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 and

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

June 20, 2008

Pocket Chainsaw

pocket_chainsaw.jpgSupreme Products is selling something called the Pocket Chainsaw and it looks like the perfect item for some around the yard pruning, camping trips, and any other time when a full-sized chainsaw isn't practical.

The Pocket Chainsaw is light, weighing only 5 oz. It comes with a little storage can that can fit in your pocket. The can is circular, so if you carry the tool around a lot you might be able to get one of those cool Skoal circles in your jeans.

The website shows a movie of the Pocket Chainsaw cutting through a 4" limb in under 10 seconds.


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

June 12, 2008

Clean-Up Leaves, Terrify Children

helping_hand_yard.jpgIf you find picking up leaves difficult, why not strap on some giant, yellow Muppet claws to make things easier? That seems to be the idea behind Helping Hands For Yard Clean-Up. These bright yellow hand extensions (14" wide, 12" tall) are apparently capable of picking up two to three times as many leaves as your pathetic, flesh-colored out-of-the-box hands.

We use the "one hand, one rake" method of scooping leaves and even though we have little doubt that the Big Bird claws are better, if anyone ever saw us wandering around the yard wearing those things...

At Improvements

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

May 14, 2008

Black & Decker Cultivator

b&d_cultivator.jpgWe just heard about this little garden tool and thought it was worth a mention. It's called the Cultivator and it looks like a nice item for someone with a small garden and no interest in hand-tilling.

The 18-Volt tool is setup like a string trimmer, but instead of a cutter at the end, it has two oscillating tines that are capable of turning soil and rooting up weeds. The tines can be removed if you find yourself in a cramped space where only one can fit. The Cultivator can turn soil up to four inches in depth and is capable of cutting a path seven inches wide. It also has a telescoping handle.

The reviews over at Amazon are all very positive. People seem to agree that the tool is lightweight, powerful, and has a long lasting battery.

The Cultivator comes with a battery and a charger and sells for just a hair under $100.


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

April 23, 2008

Scotts 20-Inch Push Reel Mower #2000-20

scotts_push_mower.jpgOther than having an excuse to take our shirt off and display our E.T. physique to the neighbors, we really don't like mowing the lawn. Not only is it straight up drudgery but we always have trouble starting the damn thing.

So if you're like us, you might want to check out Scotts Push Reel Mower. At 20", it has a wider cutting path than most push mowers. It also has 10-inch wheels, five blades, and nine cutting heights between one and three inches.

The best thing about this mower is that there is no engine. We find lawn mower engines to be second to none when it comes to frustration. Just think, no pull cord to start it up, and no pretending that you know what you're doing by taking apart the carburetor.

The Scotts push mower sells for about $120. Any worthwhile gas mower is going to cost at least twice that amount and probably more. Also with the price of gas the way it is, even the little amount that goes into your mower could be a savings.


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

April 17, 2008

Ryobi One+ 18 Volt Cordless Chainsaw

ryobi_cordless_chainsaw.jpgEarlier in the week, we told you about Ryobi's new electric start String Trimmer and now we're going to say something about their new cordless chainsaw.

The saw has a 10" bar and a push button oiler. It is compatible with Ni-Cd or Li-Ion batteries. It's also light for a chainsaw, weighing just over 5.5 lbs.

When you think about it, 10" isn't a whole lot of bar for a chainsaw. We doubt that anyone is going to be felling any mighty oaks with this tool, but it would probably be a nice item for someone who wants to do some serious pruning or a little bit of brush clearing.

Chainsaws are unbelievably dangerous tools and the fact that the gas ones need so much maintenance has probably kept some people away from them. But now that they are as easy to use as a cordless drill, we worry that they might fall into the hands of someone who isn't aware of the incredible danger of the tool. We just hope that anyone buying this chainsaw has a complete understanding of just how dangerous it is and how it only takes a split second of inattention and you're a goner.

The Ryobi cordless chainsaw is available at Home Depot and costs anywhere from $60 to $80, which sounds to us like a good price for the tool.

At Home Depot

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

April 14, 2008

Ryobi Touch Start Gas Trimmer

ryobi_string_trimmer.jpgIt looks like Ryobi has some pretty nice looking lawn and garden tools coming out this spring. To us, the most interesting is their new Touch Start Gas Trimmer. Apparently, it's the first electric start trimmer on the market. We found that hard to believe, but then we did some research we couldn't find any other trimmers with the feature, so it looks like it's true. We're not sure what's taken so long for the innovation, but it sure is a nice option to have, especially for that first start-up of the season. If you're looking to throw out your shoulder, the Ryobi also has the traditional pull-start system as well.

In addition to the electric start, the Ryobi has a two-string head, a telescoping shaft, and a low-emission engine. It comes with a shoulder strap and a two-year warranty.

The Ryobi Touch Start Gas Trimmer will be available next month (May '08) and will cost in the area of $170. That price puts it right in the middle of the very high-end trimmers and the very low-end trimmers, which is pretty much standard for Ryobi. Our guess is that this is a nice trimmer and that it's going to be quite popular this summer.

Available exclusively at Home Depot.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (5) | social bookmarking

April 9, 2008

Toro Ultra 12 Amp Electric Blower/Vacuum

toro_leaf_blower.jpgWith Spring just about here, we've been in the market for a nice electric leaf blower. Our research has led us to this Toro; it has some cool features and for what you get, the price is right.

Like a lot of electric blowers, the Toro does double duty as a vacuum as well. But this one also has a shredder function that turns leaves and debris into mulch. According to Toro, the shredder can convert 16 bags of leaves into a single bag of minced organic material.

The variable-speed Toro comes with a bag, a shoulder strap, and two nozzles.

It also looks like this product has a large number of satisfied customers. Over at Amazon, there are 176 customer reviews with an average of 4.5 stars. The consensus is that it's light and powerful. The Toro sells for about $70, which puts it right in the middle of the other 12 amp electric blowers out on the market.


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

April 1, 2008

Gardening Products for the Insane

Toro-Leaf-Lock.jpgWe can't imagine that anyone would ever look at a blowing leaf pile and think, "I bet if I encased that pile in a crunchy corn syrup-like product, it wouldn't be able to blow away." We also can't imagine that enough people would approve of the idea in order for it to make it to market. But it's out there and it's called Toro's Leaf Lock.

This Old House has info on Leaf Lock and almost 20 other bizarre gardening products over at their site. Check it out here.

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

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