November 4, 2010

Three Ways to Stack Firewood


For the past six weeks, I've done little other than stack firewood. I woke up early and stacked wood. I stacked wood at lunch. I stacked wood in the dark. I dreamed about stacking wood. There were times when I would be stacking for hours and it would feel like the pile got larger, not smaller. There were also times when I wanted to build a massive and unsteady pile of wood, lay on the ground and let it topple on top of me.

But I finally prevailed. Man beats trees like rock beats scissors. In addition to a many-beer celebration accomplishing the task, I also wrote about the stacking process for Popular Mechanics. In the article, I compared three different methods of wood stacking, judging each for stability, speed, ease of stack, that sort of thing.

If you're interested, check out the article here.

If you're not, check out the Tool Snob retrospective that I wrote a couple years ago here (it's worth it for the photo).

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

October 22, 2010

Grinderpalooza 2010


My latest article is up over at Popular Mechanics. This one is a comparison of four new grinders, each with a different ergonomic take on the useful tool. Of the four, I've already given specific attention to the Fein here at Tool Snob (full review here) and I may do larger reviews of the other three.

Check out the Popular Mechanics article here.

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June 10, 2010

Multi-Function Power Tools

rigid_jobmax_popsci.jpgHere's an article we wrote a bit ago for Popular Science. I was in the June print edition and we just stumbled across it online. It's about three new multi-function power tools. If you're up on your Tool Snobbing, you'll already be familiar with them; the Ridgid JobMax, the Rockwell H3, and the new Skil Flooring Saw.

Read the article here.

Subscribe to Popular Science here or here.

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May 5, 2010

Ridgid JobMax Vs. the World


Yesterday, we noticed that our latest Popular Mechanics article has been posted up. In this one we put the Ridgid JobMax head to head to head to head to head to head against the all of the tools that it can transform into. We were pretty surprised with the results.

Check out the article here. Also check out the Tool Snob review of the JobMax here.

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

April 16, 2010

Consumer Reports Home and Garden Issue

The latest issue of Consumer Reports delves into some home and garden items that you all might be interested in now that spring is almost here. Among other things, the magazine has rankings of the latest string trimmers and mowers and tractors.

The relevant articles are posted up online but without a password you can get the intro, but not the actual product ratings. Still, if you're in the market for one of these items, even the intros are quite helpful

Unfortunately, the tractor article doesn't rank the 1947 8N Ford Tractor, like the one we're currently tinkering around with out in the shed (pictured). Because it's an essential character in the tractor pantheon, and far outdistances any tractor made since, we'll rank it for you:

Noise: Unbelievable. Deafening.
Exhaust: Smokes like a forest fire.
Power: Can do anything.
Badass quotient: Think Al Pacino in Scarface.

Check out the overview of the Consumer Reports Home and Garden issue here.

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

March 23, 2010

The Garage Slab - Review

garage_slab.jpgA few months ago, Jay from CopTool sent us an issue of The Garage Slab, a magazine about...well....garages. Or more specifically, a magazine about and for the type of person who likes to chill out in their garage with the door open and a six-pack of beer. It's not a DiY magazine or one about cars, and it's not about workshops, and it's not about tools. It's about all of these things, but only as seen through the prism of the American garage.

It's a strange magazine and it took us a few passes through to really start getting the vibe of it. The articles seem pretty random at first, but it all makes sense once you stop trying to figure it out and just start enjoying it. The issue we read (Fall 09) had a couple recipes, an article on garage design, one on beer brewing, one on extension cords, and there's even a pin-up and an advice column.

It's a cool magazine too (if you're into garages) and it's one that screams for a cult following (if it doesn't already have one). Unfortunately there's not much of an online presence, so if you're interested, you'll just have to take the leap from the lion's head and drop the $13 for 4 issues (one year).

The website is here.

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

September 2, 2009

Midi-Lathe Reviews at Woodworker's Journal

Delta_46_460.gifIt seems like every six months or so we get all hepped up with the idea that we're going to buy a mini lathe. The image of sitting in the shop and turning out chess pieces takes us to this euphoric fantasy land full of woodworking know-how and competence. During these giddy little daydreams we forget the fact that we know absolutely nothing about these tools or how to use them. We know even less about what makes one good. We've done some research in the past and have always come back to the Jet. It seems to get good reviews....right? Well, thankfully this month's Woodworker's Journal has a run down on four top models (the Jet included).

Author Chris Marshall does a fantastic job explaining the features on each model and what to look for when investing in one of these interesting tools. Chris is pretty much a fan of all of the tools, but he calls out the Delta 46-460 for special praise due to its strong motor, reverse setting for sanding, and the 10" tool rest.

It's an interesting article and if, like us, you dream of owning one of these things at some point, it's worth hunting down and reading. It not online yet, but it might be at some point in the future.

Also, check out our thoughts on WWJ's article How to Build a Fly Rod here.

Subscribe to Woodworker's Journal at Woodworker's Journal or
Check out the Delta 46-460

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July 8, 2009

Woodworker's Journal: How to Build a Bamboo Fly Rod


To us, a lot of woodworking magazines kind of blur together. In a way, they're sort of like cooking magazines; you get one or two for a year or so and you've got enough to carry you through for quite a while.

This is why we applaud Woodworker's Journal for the cover story in their latest issue (which just showed up on the doorstop). How to Build a Fly that's an interesting project. It's refreshing to see a woodworking magazine take on something that's not, well, a cabinet or a workbench. Sure, we're generalizing here, but come on, a fly rod!

It's a cool project, and by the way, far too complicated for us, but if you've got the time and the interest, it looks like a hell of a way to spend about 4,000 hours of your time.

The article is available online here.

Woodworker's Journal also features articles by Chris Marshall, who we've met a number of times and can vouch for the fact that he's a really great guy. We can also say that he's a madman behind the wheel of a super-charged go-cart (as is Jude from Toologics), but that's another story...

Subscribe to Woodworker's Journal at Woodworker's Journal or

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

February 18, 2009

Fine Woodworking - April 2009

fine_woodworking_april09.jpgWay back when we started the site, we used to review all of the woodworking/construction magazines we got. It was sort of a tedious affair and after we solicited your opinion on the matter, we discovered that you enjoyed reading them about as much as we enjoyed writing them. But still, when we get something we're impressed with, we like to let you know about it. And this month's Fine Woodworking is just such an issue.

A lot of the content of Fine Woodworking lands way above our heads. We don't have the time to spend a day tuning up a block plane or the patience to make a massive table saw jig for just one cut (for a piece of furniture that we don't have the skill to make). But this latest issue, while filled with a lot of expert-level ideas and procedures, also has a number of great articles for anyone interested in tinkering around in the garage or basement shop.

The issue includes...

ArrowContinue reading: "Fine Woodworking - April 2009"

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January 18, 2008

This Old House: What's in Your Toolbox

The guys over at This Old House are gearing up for their big reader-generated issue, due out in June of this year. One of the cool things that they're doing for it is a section called, "What's in Your Toolbox." Here, they are inviting readers (you) to go to their website and submit a picture and a little paragraph of your favorite tool. It can be your most used one, the one you just like the best, or even that freaky one that your grandfather made and then passed down to you. If you're looking for inspiration, you should check out some recent postings at The Hardware Aisle, like this one and this one.

We're not sure what we would choose. Probably our old Panasonic drill that we finally put in the trash about a week ago (what a way to treat an old friend). Both batteries were dead and something inside was rattling, but while it was alive, that drill couldn't have been any more dependable.

Tell them about your tools here.

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January 4, 2008

Grizzly Industrial '08

grizzly_catalog.jpgThis is our favorite time of year, not because of the non-stop holiday booze-fests, but because it's when the new year's Grizzly catalog arrives. And while we were recently out of town at one of said booze-fests, this momentus yearly event occurred.

To us, the Grizzly catalog is a one stop reference for tools for the entire year, and they've got everything. The catalog is the size of a small city's phone book and is crammed with power tools, shop tools, hand tools, bits, jigs, project plans and plenty more. Also, anyone interested in building their own guitar should start with this catalog, because they feature an extensive section on just that topic.

That said, we obviously think that everyone of you should have one of these kicking around the shop, by the nightstand, in the bathroom, or where ever it is that you have the time to flip through the Cadillac of tool catalogs.

Get your free catalog at Grizzly.

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

This Old House - Jan/Feb 2008

toh_jan_feb08.jpgWe gave up reviewing magazines a while back because you guys just weren't all that into it. But we still held out that we'd review the occasional issue if there was something worth writing about. Well this month's This Old House is worth writing about. It's actually the best issue of theirs that we've picked up in a long, long time.

Lately it seems that their content has been getting pretty fluffy with too many of those awful articles on "how you and your spouse can survive a renovation." We say leave those to the pages of Glamour and give us info on tools, building materials, and workable ideas for our own renovations. This issue has all that and more. There's an article on crown molding, there's one on converting a guest bedroom into a large bath, also ones on steam showers, replacement windows, and a great router primer (written by or pal Harry Sawyers from The Hardware Aisle). And the list goes on and on.

We're not exactly sure why this issue is such a home run, but it is. Every single article is worth reading. Here's to hoping they'll be writing issues like this one all year long. Check out the table of contents here.

Subscribe to This Old House at

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October 15, 2007

JLC Turns 25!

jlc.jpgWe just got the latest issue of the Journal of Light Construction in the mail and it looks like they're celebrating their 25th anniversary. For the special issue, they've decided to "recap some of the recurring issues [they]'ve covered in the last quarter century." There's a great forum on energy and moisture issues as well as the only article on roof venting that you'll ever need. There's also a funny cartoon series about what it's going to be like being a carpenter in the future.

If you're unfamiliar with JLC, you should rectify that immediately. Even though the magazine is geared for the small contractor, and each issue has a number of articles on legal issues, the building articles are the best out there and would be helpful to even the most basic DIYer.

Their website is here

Subscribe to JLC here

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

July 23, 2007

Woodsmith Vol 29 / No. 172 - Review

woodsmith29_172.jpgThis month, Woodsmith provides another out of the park home run with an issue crammed full of good articles, tips, and advice. Of all the woodworking magazines that we read, Woodsmith is the only one that consistently exceeds our high expectations.

This time around, the main project is a nice hall bench complete with tall coat hooks and a backboard. There's some tricky joinery and plenty of detail work, but if you're not up to the whole thing, the project can be scaled back to just the chest piece making things quite a bit easier.

Other solid articles include one on built-up crown molding, a great one on finishing supplies, and a primer on table saw joinery. Oh, and there's a terrific article on oak.

Continue reading to see what tools are covered in this issue.

ArrowContinue reading: "Woodsmith Vol 29 / No. 172 - Review"

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

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