May 14, 2013
If you've ever been to this site before, you know my thoughts on the act of painting. I truly loathe it. Of all the different things I've done in the construction world, it's by far the worst. I'd rather put on a roof in the middle of August than paint a single ceiling. The only way I can really deal with painting is if I paint angry. I put on Funhouse and Raw Power and turn the volume way up. If I didn't do that to get all fired up, I'd pass out from the drudgery and boredom of it all.
So months and months ago, Wagner contacted us and asked if we wanted to check out their Smart Roller System. Since my recently gutted house hardly had any paint on the walls and with the addition was coming along nicely, I said "yes, I have the perfect testing ground." So they sent it. But then I ended up changing my work schedule all around and the roller system sat in a box by my desk for a seriously long time (sorry Wagner and thanks for the patience). But things finally progressed to the point of painting, so last weekend, I spent about 15 hours with the Roller Max in my hand and, oh boy, it's a doozie.
Continue reading: "Wagner Smart Power Roller System - Review"
December 6, 2012
The paint brush. A timeless tool that has remained unchanged since the days of cave painting when some thick-headed caveman first wrapped the hairs from an ox tail around the end of a stick*. What is there to improve upon with a tool this basic? There's the part you hold and then there's the part that paints. On the simplicity/genius scale, it's right there along with the wheel.
So we were a little shocked when we got a glimpse of The Right Brush. What is this? A paint brush with a pistol grip? Oh, the scandal! But, faced with painting our entire house (every single room.....four walls and the ceiling....entire trim package), we happily agreed to test out the item. If The Right Brush could take even a sliver of pain away from the mind-numbing, spirit-crushing, hand-cramping, neck-aching, arm-hurting, paint-drip-frustrating, soul-destroying act of painting, then we would love the tool until the end of days.
So they sent us one. How did it do, you ask?
Continue reading: "The Right Brush - Review"
April 30, 2012
This is one of those odd little tools that has been floating around the shop for some time now. Prazi sent us one a looong time ago (probably close to a year, yikes), and we've used it off and on since then. We've always liked it, but it wasn't until our recent tile-a-palooza that we really got into the StirWhip way of life. Over the course of about two weeks, we tiled two bathroom floors and a tub surround. That was a month ago and now we're starting another bathroom and we realized it's well past time we spread the word on this valuable little item.
Continue reading: "StirWhip - Review"
April 4, 2012
So a while back (over six months....) we were contacted by the peeps at Goo Gone. They said, "yo, we're gonna send you something smeared with some nasty goo and along with it, we'll include a bottle of Goo Gone so you can clean up the mess and keep whatever is is we're sending you." (note: heavy paraphrasing going in). We said, "yo, honestly, don't bother, we've been meaning to write about your great product for years, we'll just write about our previous experiences with it." Then they said, "yo, this is already in the works, you got some of our product coming your way." At which point we said, "yo, thanks!"
Continue reading: "Goo Gone Pro Power - Review"
August 22, 2011
Our go-to on painting gloves are those latex ones that you can get in a box of 100. They're great as far as keeping your hands clean, but it's pretty wasteful to be constantly throwing them away (once they come off the hands, they ain't going back on). Recently, we were staring down the barrel of a complex staining/dyeing/shellacking/poly-ing process and we wanted to use a glove that would be a little more durable in the long run. Then we remembered that a couple months ago 3M sent us a pair of their TEKK painter gloves. So we gave them a shot. Here's what we thought....
Continue reading: "3M TEKK Painter's Gloves - Review"
July 7, 2011
Small paint sprayers definitely have their place (particularly picket fences and railing systems), but they do have technological drawbacks; one of the biggest being the inability to point one up or down.
Looks like Wagner has thought this problem through and the result in their EZ Tilt sprayer. Basically the straw that sits in the paint (and moves it through the sprayer) is flexible enough to follow gravity as the sprayer is moved around, meaning you can now spray up and down and not worry about the spray putterring out.
There are three models available, each with more features. The smallest of the these is going to cost about $100 and is at Home Depot.
We reviewed some other small Wagner sprayers here if you're interested.
More information at wagnereztilt.com
April 15, 2011
Festool has just released the RO 90 DX Rotex Sander, a tool capable of sanding, grinding, polishing, and dealing with inside corners. It's a crazy tool and we were just entering the sanding phase of a large shelving project when Festool sent one our way to test out.
Continue reading: "Festool Rotex RO 90 DX - Review"
January 26, 2011
A heat gun is one of those tools that you're probably not going to carry around with you in your truck, but when you need one, man o man are they ever handy. Recently, Porter-Cable sent us their new model to test out and review. We only used it a few times in the fall, but now that it's winter we're finding all kinds of things to do with it. We also did a few head to head lab tests against our old Kawasaki heat gun (reviewed here). Read on to see what we thought...
Continue reading: "Porter-Cable PC1500HG Heat Gun - Review"
November 18, 2010
Redesigning the paint brush is an ambitious project. It's sort of like coming up with a new design for the steering wheel. When the original look is so ingrained in the way we do things, how do you present a new idea and not come off looking like a crazy person screaming at the sun? Green Toad's advantage is that holding a paintbrush for more than an hour usually involves muscle cramping and an unnatural-looking frozen hook hand.
The system is based around a pistol grip handle. Add to that a variety of different brush sizes or roller heads that fit the handle with a rotating stem piece and you've got the gist of the whole thing.
What do we think? Well, we're not sure. It actually looks to us like it would be pretty awkward to use, or it would at the very least take some serious 'gettin' used to.' Availability could be an issue as well. Even though we try our best to preserve our paintbrushes, sometimes it gets so late and we get so lazy that we end up just throwing them out. Our guess is that we wouldn't be able to hop out to the local hardware store to pick up another Green Toad brush.
Getting going with the Green Toad System is going to cost anywhere from $5 to $40 depending on how many brush/roller heads you want.
At Green Toad
October 1, 2010
ScotchBlue has teamed up with DIY Network's Sweat Equity on a new promotion. Much like the Sears Ugliest Room contest, they are asking for photos and videos of a room in your house that needs a facelift.
We were stunned and outraged with the winners of the Sears contest and we truly hope that ScotchBlue is a better judge of what really constitutes an ugly room than the judges at Sears (follow our indignation here and then here). Our guess is that the rigged voting of the Sears contest (we're conspiracy theorists) won't happen here because this contest is in a whole different league. Not only will the winner get an appearance on Sweat Equity with Amy Matthews (pictured), but they'll also get a $15,000 room makeover. That's a lot of money for one room. We're not talking a few coats of paint here, we're talking demo and rebuild.
To enter or for more information, go to ScotchBlueandyou.com
Continue reading: "Win a $15,000 Room Makeover from ScotchBlue"
Press release with more information is after the jump.
September 14, 2010
A while back, DAP sent us a tube of their new EnergySaver Air Leak & Gap Sealant. It's been sitting on the desk for a while because, well, who cares about sealing their house in the middle of July? Not us, we've got mowing to do. But the seasons do change and here we are. So last week we cut open the tube, prepped a few window casings, and checked out the label to see if there are any specific instructions that go along with the product. Which is exactly where problems started...
Continue reading: "DAP EnergySaver High Performance Air Leak & Gap Sealant - Review"
August 13, 2010
We agree with our pal Mark Clement that the 5-in-1 (or 6-in-1) is one of the most useful tools that a guy can own. When we're on a site, ours spends a lot of time in our back pocket and does duty as a scraper, a pry bar, a chisel, a blade, a little hammer, and whatever else we need done. We also like that it looks like a Klingon weapon.
So we just stumbled across the Hyde 10-in-1, which has apparently been out for a couple years, and adds some functionality to the fantastic little tool. The big trick of the new 10-in-1 is that it comes with four screwdriver bits that can click into the rear of the handle. You're probably reading this thinking, 'who cares, I'll just use my regular screwdriver." But to a painter doing prep, this could be a real time saver, especially for removing switch plates and outlet covers.
It looks like there is some kind of on-board bit storage that flips out of the handle. Otherwise it's the same old 5-in-1.
The 10-in-1 costs $6, which is strange because Hyde's 6-in-1 goes for $8-$10. Huh?
June 14, 2010
Because there are now so many tool blogs out there, we've decided to shift focus away from tools and towards things like soaps and facial scrubs. The first foray into this territory is SallyeAnder's Hogwash! Soap.
Actually the truth is that we were contacted by SallyeAnder, who thought that their multi-purpose soap would be a good match for all of you, our readers. Being the tool-using types, you're also probably the greasy, grimy, muddy pants types. If you've ever heard, "don't even think that shirt is going in the laundry with my blouse' then we can relate. You probably have a bar of Lava sitting on your basement slop sink.
And that's sort of where Hogwash! fits in. It's basically an all-natural Lava. It's made with an olive oil and soy base and doesn't have any artificial dyes. It has some cornmeal in it which gives it that pumice vibe, good for scrubbing glue off your fingers. It comes in a 6 oz. bar which is basically a 1-1/2" by 2-1/2" by 3" cube.
So on to the whole, 'does it work?' part of the review. Since our samples arrived from SallyeAnder over a month ago, we've been using Hogwash! on a daily basis and its size has hardly diminished at all. In fact the only wear is that the crisp edges of the brick are a little rounded over. This bar of soap is going to be around for a long, long time whether we like it or not.
And thankfully, we like it. We might even name it. It works great on everyday filth and SallyeAnder also claims that it works on grass stains and blood stains. We ended up testing both of these conditions (you'll have to wait until tomorrow's post to find out where the blood came from), and the soap does indeed work. Our stained rag was nice and clean in no time.
If you're concerned with the 'naturalness' of the products that you buy, it appears that all of the soaps that SallyeAnder makes are edible. We cut a small chunk off of our Hogwash! and gave it a go. It tasted terrible and it took about two hours before our mouth returned to normal, but if you're stranded on an island, at least it's something.
We also wanted to mention that SallyeAnder also sells a soap (and lotion) called No-Bite-Me which is a bug repellent in addition to a soap. We tried out a sample of this and it works great. There are also shave soaps and other similar things available. They're neat products with some really great packaging and we're happy that they took the initiative to introduce themselves to us. It's nice knowing that funky little companies like this are out there.
August 24, 2009
Wagner SprayTech has recently released a number of hand held paint sprayers and they were nice enough to send two of them our way for review purposes. That was months ago. Since that time, we've used every available excuse to not get around to reviewing the items...but they're going to be really messy....it's going to take a long time to figure out how to use them....there's going to be paint everywhere....it'll take three hours just to clean everything...and so on. About a week ago, we'd had enough procrastinating and carved out an afternoon to investigate the Power Painter Plus and the Project Sprayer. And at this point, we now feel we owe Wagner a huge apology for thinking that their little sprayers were going to be a hassle. They weren't. In fact they're pretty easy to deal with.
Both of the items have the same look and feel. Sort of like a screw gun with a big plastic udder hanging off it. The basics of operating them includes filling up the canister and, after plugging the sprayer in, pulling the trigger. That's really all there is to it. You can toggle between a vertical spray or a horizontal one by moving the nozzle to the appropriate position.
Using the sprayers takes a little getting used to, but not as much as we had thought. We're not used to sprayers, so if you're in the same boat, we suggest getting a sheet of 1/4" ply wood and painting it until you feel confident with the sprayer. After about 20 minutes of this, we got good at laying down a nice, even spray.
Of the two models, the Power Painter Plus is the more feature-laden and thus has more versatility. In addition to the plastic canister, the Power Painter Plus also comes with a hose, which allows you to siphon paint right out of a can. This is good for a few reasons. One, you don't have to worry about continually refilling the canister during larger jobs and two, you're now free to tilt the sprayer up at something. While using the canister, from time to time, we would tilt the gun to paint the underside of something which would cause the paint level to go below the siphon and thus leave the gun literally spitting out paint, which was not good for the paint job. To ensure that this doesn't happen using the hose method, Wagner has supplied a little clip that holds the hose in the paint can, so it stays in place. There is also a backpack assembly, sold separately, so ladder work is possible with a larger volume of paint.
It's worth noting that the Power Painter Plus also comes with a carrying case.
Setting up and using the guns is easy enough, but how about clean-up, the bane of any painting project? It's actually not too bad. The process involves pretty much taking the tool apart and making sure that every little piece gets 100% cleaned. The Power Painter Plus comes with a special canister cover that allows you to place all the small pieces in the canister and then connect a hose up to it in order to cycle water through. We tried it out, but discovered that two 5-gallon buckets were just as good for us. We tested the sprayers out with a latex paint, so clean-up was all done with soap and water. Oil paint, on the other hand, involves thinner which would likely complicate matters to the point where we would probably end up throwing everything away at the end of day one.
So, in the end, are they worth it? Well, it depends on what you're painting and how much patience you have to handle things like the spraying learning curve and the clean-up process. If you're going to be doing some interior walls, you're insane to consider using a sprayer (check out Wagner's TurboRoll instead - our review here). But if you need to deal with things like shutters, lawn furniture, or a picket fence, then definitely consider one of these sprayers.
The Project Sprayer runs for $60 while the Power Painter plus will set you back $85.
Project Sprayer at Amazon.com
Power Painter Plus at Amazon.com