December 23, 2008
We thought that Gator's Zip Sander (which we reviewed here) was a great little sanding accessory. Once we got over the fact that it looked like a bath toy, we found it to be a great solution to the age-old problem of holding a piece of sandpaper. The company that produces the Zip Sander has just come out with the Sanding Sponge Holder, another sanding helper. This time it's not sandpaper that they're helping us hold, it's the common sanding sponge.
We did some joint compound work with the tool and, like the Zip Sander, we loved it. It's got a good grip to it, it's comfortable, it fits all standard 3x5 sanding pads, and you don't have to worry about the wear on the hands that can come from working a sanding sponge all day. It's really a wonderful little accessory. We use the Zip Sander all the time and our best guess is that as time goes on, the same will hold true for this item. And why not, it's not like it takes anything away from the process. In fact, with the price where it is, there are absolutely no drawbacks to owning this little tool. It just, plain and simple, makes sanding easier.
The Sponge Holder costs about $6.50 (with one pad) or $10 (with four pads), so it falls in that, "even if it sucks, I've only spent less than $10 on it" category. That said, we're sure that you'll like it and use it. To us, it proves that inventive products don't need to cost a ton of money.
Sponge Holder with one sponge at Amazon.com
Sponge Holder with four sponges at Amazon.com
October 10, 2008
Charles & Hudson, a wonderful clearinghouse of interesting and offbeat DIY articles, just posted a great entry on how to make your own milk paint. Even if you're not familiar with milk paint, it's likely that you've seen it before. The look of it is earthly and rustic and it's a great way to get that distressed look that is so prevalent at places like Ballard Designs. According to Charles and Hudson, the traditional paint...
...is enjoying something of a revival. Because it is solvent/fume-free, it is considered an eco-friendly, no-VOC alternative to oil and latex paint.
If you get it in a store, milk paint is available in a gallon, like any other paint, or you can get it in powder form.
Read the article at Charles & Hudson here.
Buy milk paint and books about milk paint at Amazon.com
September 9, 2008
DAP has recently released their Kwik Seal 3.0, a sort of super caulk that apparently excels in virtually every category when placed head to head with traditional silicone. It's supposed to dry faster, be tougher, and fend off mold. We got our hands on a tube and gave the kitchen sink a much overdue caulking and here's what we thought.
Probably the coolest thing about Kwik Seal is its drying time, or rather its skin-over time. All it takes is three hours and the caulk can withstand water. To us, this meant applying the Kwik Seal in the early afternoon and still being able to use the kitchen sink for dinner. Under normal circumstances, with a normal silicone, the sink would have been off limits until the next day and we would have had an excuse not to do the dishes.
Continue reading: "DAP Kwik Seal 3.0 - Review"
August 18, 2008
Making sure that cut ends are primed is an essential part of quality building, but it's also a royal pain in the ass. It's a whole separate set-up. You need to break out the primer (or head to the store to get some), make sure you've got some brushes handy, and then as you work all day, you get to watch your fingers get increasingly covered with primer, starting with a spot here and there, then on to the fingertips, and then, somehow, all over your hands and on to your shirt.
We saw Ze-VO's new EndCuts at the hardware store a few weeks ago and figured we'd give it a shot. It's a little tube of acrylic primer with a little foam applicator tip (think shoe polish). The intention is that you can quickly and easily prime the cut end of whatever it is you're working on. At the time, we were putting up clapboards and since we're manic about having our ends primed, why not see if it works?
Continue reading: "Ze-VO EndCuts - Review"
August 11, 2008
We saw this in the latest issue of This Old House and thought we'd give it a mention. Up until now, you could purchase colored caulk, but if you wanted anything other than the most basic colors, you either had a big search in front of you or you were simply out of luck. Now, with Red Devil's Create-A-Color Caulk, you can tint your caulk with any color paint that you want.
The Create-A-Color system comes with a mixer, a syringe, and a tube of the tintable caulk. Apparently, all you have to do is take an amount of whatever paint you're going to use, add it to the tube of caulk and mix. It sounds easy, but once we got a look at the mixer, we started to wonder exactly how easy mixing the color into the caulk really is. The mixer sits on the end of the tube of caulk and has a plunger that supposedly mixes the color into the paint. We're not sure if the tintable caulk is looser than normal caulk, but we can't imagine the effort involved in mixing a little bit of paint into a tube of caulk and creating an even color.
But still, we're never tried it and are willing to give Red Devil the benefit of the doubt here. Check out their site for yourself here.
The Create-A-Color Caulk System is available in a few different ways. There is a professional grade mixer for about $100 and a standard mixer for about $30. It looks like the major difference is that the pro one is metal and the other is plastic. Tubes of the tintable caulk are around $5 each.
Pro-Grade Mixer at Amazon.com
Standard Mixer at Amazon.com
Tintable Caulk at Amazon.com
July 3, 2008
It was announced last week that Hyde Tools made the decision to layoff 14 workers (approx. 7% of its workforce). An article on the subject, appearing in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette News, states,
Hyde Tools president Richard M. Clemence cited a downturn in housing starts, falling home prices and a drop in revenues for such home improvement retailers as Lowe's, Home Depot and Ace Hardware.
"This is tough for all of us," Mr. Clemence said in a statement. "We have no choice but to flex to meet the industry decline. We simply have to buckle down."
We hope this trend doesn't continue both for the employees sakes and our own. One of our all time favorite tools is their 6 in 1 (if you don't have one of these, you're really missing out).
Read the article here.
Hyde 6 in 1 at Amazon.com
Other Hyde Tools at Amazon.com
June 26, 2008
UPDATE: Get a sample Caulk Single by filling out this quick form. The Caulk Single website is here.
Until now, there was no such thing as "using just a little caulk." What would happen is you would cut the tube open, use what you need, and then maybe shove a drywall screw in the opening or if you were really with it, you'd wrap the end with kitchen wrap. It really didn't matter, because either way the tube would end up in the basement for the next 12 months until it got hard as a stone and you needed it again and you're off to the store to get a new one.
But those days might be over, thanks to GE. Their new Caulk Singles are single serve, disposable caulk tubes that don't even need a caulking gun. GE says that they can be applied with one hand.
The singles are currently available in three varieties; clear silicone, white silicone, and paintable acrylic. According to their website, one pouch is enough for a sink, two are needed for a window, and three are needed for a door. If you need more than that, just go and buy a caulking gun.
This is a nice product for someone who wants to touch up the caulking around the sink or otherwise do a little amount of caulking without any hassle (or caulking guns). It looks like they cost around $2.50 for a 1.25oz pack. When you consider that a 10oz tube of caulk costs about five or six dollars, it becomes clear that convenience isn't cheap.
June 23, 2008
We're in the process of restoring a few old five-panel doors. The doors themselves are in pretty good shape, but they're covered with about eight thick layers of paint (each color worse than the last). The flat faces of the doors, we just scraped with a standard carbide-tipped scraper, no problem. But the molding on the panels proved to be trickier. With just a scraper, we kept damaging the wood fibers, meaning there would be a lengthy sanding step later on.
So we got in the market for a heat gun. First we figured that we'd get the Bosch. It's $100, but it's a Bosch, so it's worth it, right? We've actually even used it before and liked it quite a bit. But after thinking about it, we figured that there is probably a cheaper one out there that would be fine for our purposes and needs (which were neither extreme nor strenuous). So we looked around and settled on the Kawasaki 10-Piece Kit. What made us choose this model was the fact that it came with, not only a nice carrying case, but that it also included a few nozzles and a scraper. It was a fully-functional paint-scraping kit, all in one box. The cost was under $30, which was also good.
Continue reading: "Kawasaki Heat Gun - Review"
February 19, 2008
We've been on the lookout for a molding scraper since we recently started a door restoration project. Now that most of the paint is scraped, it's time to bite the bullet and go out and get one. After doing some research, we're pretty sure we're going to go with this nice little set. It comes with a handle, a wrench for blade changing, and three different blades, each capable of handling different profiles.
There might be better ones out there but this one is very similar to one that we used to have and that one worked great. It's also only $17, so that's good too. If anyone out there knows of a better one, drop a line and let us know.
December 12, 2007
Paint Sprayers exist in that terrifying realm of contractors only. But now, Wagner, makers of the great PaintEater, have produced the Paint Crew Plus for the DIYer who wants to take advantage of the wonders of paint spraying.
The Paint Crew Plus (PCP) has the general look and feel of a pressure washer. It has the same two-wheel dolly set-up, complete with a telescoping handle. The machine is easy to roll around, and when it comes time to carry it up a flight of stairs, it's relatively light. It has a removable hopper, 25' of hose, and a roller head that attaches to the sprayer. After some minor assembly (putting the wheels and handle on), we were ready for action.
Continue reading: "Wagner Paint Crew Plus - Review"