June 14, 2010

SallyeAnder Hogwash! Soap - Review

sallyeander_hogwash2.jpgBecause 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.

sallyeander_hogwash.jpgSo 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.

At SallyeAnder

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

August 24, 2009

Wagner Power Painter Plus and Wagner Project Sprayer - Review

wpp_w_ps_2.jpgWagner 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.

wpp_nozzle.jpgwpp_nozzle2.jpg

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.

wpp_in box.JPGwpp.jpg

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.

wpp_parts.jpgwpp_parts2.jpg

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

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

August 7, 2009

Gator Drywall Sanding Head & Zip Sand Block - Review

gator_dwall.jpggator_dwall2.jpg
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_sponge.jpggator_sponge2.jpg
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

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

August 3, 2009

DAP PRO Caulk 4-Piece Caulking Tool Kit - Review

DAP_caulk_tools.jpgOne 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.

DAP_bead_before.jpgDAP_bead_after.jpg

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.

DAP_Bead2_before.jpgDAP_Bead2_after.jpg

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.

DAP_Bead_aft2.jpgDAP_caulk_tool.jpg

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

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

July 7, 2009

Gator Zip Sand-BLOCK

Gator_zip_block.JPGGator, 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:

ArrowContinue reading: "Gator Zip Sand-BLOCK"

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

June 17, 2009

Wagner TurboRoll - Review

Wagner_turboroll2.jpgThe 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.'

ArrowContinue reading: "Wagner TurboRoll - Review"

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

June 2, 2009

Newborn U-Lite Caulk Gun - Review

Newborn_ulite.jpgNewborn, 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.

newborn_ulite_w_other.jpgNewborn_ulite_grip.jpg

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.

At Amazon.com

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

April 14, 2009

Gator Micro Zip Sander - Review

Minizip.jpgAli 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.

minizip_in_hand.jpgminizip_tight_space.jpg

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.

At Amazon.com

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

March 31, 2009

Wagner TurboRoll

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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.

At Amazon.com

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

March 10, 2009

DAP 3.0 Advanced Sealants

dap_caulk_3.jpgDAP 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):

ArrowContinue reading: "DAP 3.0 Advanced Sealants"

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

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