August 7, 2009
Over the years, we've learned that there are a few secrets to making nice drywall joints. The first is to not be shy with the joint compound; for a while we would try to use as little as possible which would leave us with a little ridge along the tape line which would easily telegraph through our usually rushed paint job. Since you want to blend in the joint with the wall, the more width on the compound joint, the better (duh). It also helps if you use a large knife when applying putty so your patch will be as even as possible. Along these lines is the second trick, which is to use a large sanding block. This way, the sanding is also even and smooth (again, duh).
Gator has just released a new Drywall Sanding Head that's great for this application. In addition to being a solid 4" by 10", the Gator sanding head is smaller than the paper that's made for it which softens the edge for sanding, which is nice and leads to a very smooth finish. The sanding head is also available with an adapter for a broom handle so you can hit the ceiling with no problem.
Gator has also released a new sanding block that uses adhered sandpaper as opposed to putting the grit directly into the sponge. This leads to a longer lasting grit and less 'gumming up.' We were skeptical about rinsing out the new sponge, but we did it a number of times and it appeared to have no negative effect on the grit. It's also compatible with the Gator Sponge Holder (our review here
). This is all good, but we found one major oversight in the design and that is the lack of a gritty surface on the sides of the sponge. We tend to use sponges to sand all kinds of uneven shapes and usually this includes utilizing the corners, faces, and sides, but here with only the two large sides of the item usable, this is quite a bit more difficult.
The sanding head is available on its own or as a part of a nice looking drywall sanding kit which is at Amazon.com
More information on both items at ZipSander.com
August 3, 2009
One of the first articles on Tool Snob was about the Caulk Buddy, a little caulking tool that comes with one of the Newborn caulking guns. We liked it because it was something, other than our finger, that could make a nice caulk bead. With this in mind, we were particularly interested in testing out the DAP PRO Caulk Tool Kit (As seen on TV!). What it is is a series of little tools that have different radiuses, ranging from standard to 90 degree to a variety of mm sizes (5 to 16). There's even a little nub on one tool that is meant for grouting tile joints.
To test out these items, we banged together two pieces of 3/4" ply at a 90 degree angle and dropped a ragged bead of caulk along the joint. First, we took the standard corner and ran it down the bead. The results were nice and about what we're used to using the finger and rag method. Although this time, our finger stayed clean and there was no rag needed. We were also once again reminded of how much caulk can be wasted by seeing the amount left on the tool. Then, satisfied that the PRO Caulk tools could at least measure up to the old way of doing things, we pumped out a huge line of caulk in order to test out the larger size beads. This time, the results were something that we wouldn't be able to do with a finger and a rag. We started with the 10mm size and got a perfectly even bead with one quick pass of the tool. We then tested the smaller sizes by running them over the same bead, making it smaller and smaller. All of the other sizes we tested had an equal amount of success. As always, click on the image for a larger pic.
And that's the real glory of these little tools. You can make very consistent beads of 'non-finger' sized caulk joints. Sure, you can make a nice standard bead and it's less messy than using a finger and a rag, but you can also play around with different sizes depending on your aesthetic tastes as well as the functional needs at hand. We think these tools are really successful at what they do.
The kit also comes with a caulk removal tool that has all sorts of edges and angles to get in and under crusty old caulk beads. It would be a good item to have if you're redoing the seal on your kitchen sink or something. There is also a mini-tool with all of the smaller sizes. All of the tools are plastic and thus easy to clean off and DAP guarantees them for five years.
These are good tools to have and perfect for that milk crate in your garage marked, "painting and caulking." As a carpenter, we're going to toss ours in the box of finish tools that we carry around. Not only are they a quick and easy way to make your caulk beads look good but they also give a much wider repertoire of making consistently sized caulk beads. The tools are available with a small tube of caulking and run about $18, which we think is a little on the high side (we were hoping for the $10-$12 range), but they are quite useful.
The kit of tools is available with a small tube of caulking at Amazon.com
July 7, 2009
Gator, a company intent on advancing every single aspect of the sanding world, has released yet another grit-tastic innovation (our reviews of the Zip Sander, Micro Zip Sander, and Sanding Sponge Holder). Their new Sand-Block seems to take the best characteristics of sandpaper and sanding sponges and combine them into one single mighty sanding warhorse. Sounds good to us, but from the picture it looks like the edges don't have any grit on them, which is too bad seeing as we use sponge edges to sand little molding profiles and things like that. But still the longevity of sandpaper compared to sanding sponges makes us likely to go out and pick up a few of these.
Click through to read ye old presse release:
Continue reading: "Gator Zip Sand-BLOCK"
June 17, 2009
The Wagner TurboRoll isn't the first self-feed paint roller, but it's the first (we've seen, at least) that uses the same vacuum system found in a syringe to both store and release paint. It's an interesting idea and one we looked forward to testing out. Is it effective? It is more trouble than it's worth? Is it a gimmick? We gave it a good run it out in order to answer these questions.
The TurboRoll consists of a roller, a little fill port, a long tube which is the stem of the tool, the handle, and the plunger. The handle has a forward and reverse on it which feeds the plunger through the tube forcing paint to the roller. The TurboRoll also has a manual override, so if the automation is for any reason not practical, you can toggle back to 'old school.'
Continue reading: "Wagner TurboRoll - Review"
June 2, 2009
Newborn, makers of many fine caulking guns (we have a nice old one that we use all the time) have recently released a new gun with an interesting design, one which makes it look as if half of the gun missing. This illusion is due to the fact that Newborn has managed to remove the forward portion of the gun; the half circle which supports the front of the caulk tube as well as the arms that support it. But what holds the tube in now, you say? Well, at the base of the tube, the plunger end, there is a circular ring of plastic 'fish scales' which angle back towards the handle and grip the inside flange of the tube. The design is such that the more pressure is applied to the plunger, the stronger the hold becomes. It's a pretty smart idea.
The main benefit of the redesign is that it lessens the real estate the the gun consumes, but not by all that much. In the storage position with the plunger in, the gun is barely smaller than a standard gun. Other perks include a quick snap-in/pop out loading process of the caulking tube, the ability to easily twist the tube around to get the beveled cut end into corners, as well as a non-dripping tube when the gun is at rest.
According to Newborn, the gun has a force ratio of 10:1 which is the same as any homeowner-level caulking gun, but much less than the really nice ones that carpenters and the other pros are going to be using. The fact that this isn't a job site gun is backed up by the plastic construction of the U-Lite. If this thing gets stepped on, it's all over. So the bottom line is that the U-Lite is going to have no problem with light-duty around the house tasks, but it's going to run into some difficulty with a half frozen tube of PL Premium on a job site. We're not saying that it's a bad gun at all, just that it has limitations.
So with all this in mind, we have to give props for the concept. Like we said, it's an innovative change and one that works well under light-duty circumstances. And it only costs about $10.
April 14, 2009
Ali Industries is at it again with their little bath toy sanders. We've already reviewed the Zip Sander and the Sponge Holder and how it's the Micro Zip Sander's turn.
The Micro Zip is exactly what it sounds like: the Zip Sander's 'mini-me.' Where the Zip Sander sat in the palm, the Micro Zip is sort of a three-fingered operation. As with the other sanders, this one is made of foam and sits very comfortably in the hands.
The Micro Zip is a helpful little item when it comes to the fussy little inside corners, odd edges, or areas where there is very little clearance, such as the floor underneath our baseboard heaters. In this last case, the Micro Zip boldly went where no oscillating tool could go and successfully assisted with our current flooring project. There's no question that the Micro Zip was easier on our hands that the old-fashioned method of the block wrapped with sandpaper, but because of the way that the hand sits on the sander, it was also easier to apply pressure. We wouldn't say that the Micro Zip Sander is an absolutely necessary tool, but it is one that makes sanding a little easier.
There's really not a whole lot more we can say. It works well, it's sort of silly looking, and it doesn't cost all that much. There you go.
The Micro Zip project pack which comes with 30 sheets of color coded sandpaper costs about $10.
March 31, 2009
UPDATE: Our full review of the TurboRoll is posted here.
Wagner Spray Tech, the people who brought us the PaintEater and the Paint Crew Plus have recently come out with the TurboRoll, a battery operated paint roller that looks like a cross between a traditional paint roller and the largest hypodermic needle you've ever seen. The principal behind the tool is simple; fill the stem with paint, adjust the telescoping handle to the desired length (up to 8') and roll your paint, hitting a little thumb control to flow more paint to the roller head when needed.
According to Wagner, the TurboRoll can hold enough paint to handle a 70 square feet and that it can go for about 15 gallons before you have to change the 4 AA batteries. There is also a manual override, if you want to switch to the more traditional way of doing things.
If the TurboRoll works as advertised, we could see it taking a lot of time off of paint rolling which could easily make it worth the $40 asking price.
March 10, 2009
DAP is releasing a number of new sealants that are all distinguished by a very quick drying time. The line of sealants is called the DAP 3.0 and once applied, it takes just three hours before they can be exposed to water without being affected.
According to the press release,
"DAP® 3.0™ Advanced Sealants are formulated with Kwik Dry® Technology that allows users to caulk and expose the bead to water after just three hours without washing out; other caulks and sealants may require a 24-36 hour waiting period before exposing to water. This minimal dry time greatly reduces the risk of wash-out from premature water exposure, so both DIYers and professionals alike can save time and money by finishing the job faster and reducing the chance for errors. For outdoor applications, this also means not having to wait for ideal weather conditions to begin or complete a project. DAP® 3.0™ Advanced Sealants can be applied in extreme weather and temperature ranges (-35°F to 140°F)."
A while ago, we reviewed DAP's Kwick Seal, which we're pretty sure is one of the five 3.0 sealants. Our review is here.
The five sealants in this line are (also from the press release):
Continue reading: "DAP 3.0 Advanced Sealants"
February 3, 2009
It's our policy to review everything that gets sent our way; big, small, new, old, normal, or strange, it doesn't matter. Once we get an item, we test it out and try to have something posted up about it within a couple weeks depending on the complexity of the item. We're pretty consistent on this, but every once in a while something slips through the cracks and, thus far, the most egregious of these 'slippings' has been the Spout Popper. We got the Spout Popper over a year ago and since then, we've tested it out plenty, but for some reason, we never gave it an official review (although we did a posting on it before it arrived, here). Well we're happy to say to all you caulking tube fanatics out there, that we've finally gotten around to it and here, with no more delay, is a review of the famed Spout Popper....
Continue reading: "Spout Popper - Review"
December 30, 2008
It's happened to everyone; you get a new tube of caulk or PL, you use just a little bit of it, then a week later when you try to use it again, the tube is soft but the nozzle is rock hard. We've tried all the same lame solutions that you have, the nail down the end, the blue tape wrapped around the end, and all of the other half-assed attempts at preserving the tube.
A company with the odd name of Ultra Mold Technologies has a new product that is a one size fits all version of the caulk tube cap. The way it works is that instead of capping the nozzle from the outside, it's a threaded, tapered plug that can fit inside any tube opening between 1/8" to 7/16". This not only works for caulk tubes but for other things like cans of spray foam.
A package of five costs about $3, but if you buy more than one, the price drops.
Available online at CaulkSaverPlug and a number of traditional stores listed here.