February 3, 2009

Spout Popper - Review

spout_pop1.jpgIt'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....

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

December 30, 2008

Twist N Seal Caulk Saver Plug

caulksaverplug.jpgIt'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.

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

December 23, 2008

Gator Sanding Sponge Holder - Review

sponge_holder_hero.jpgWe 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.

sponge_holder_grips.jpgWe 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

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

October 10, 2008

How to Make Your Own Milk Paint

milk_paint.jpgCharles & 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

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

September 9, 2008

DAP Kwik Seal 3.0 - Review

dap_quickseal.jpgDAP 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.

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

August 18, 2008

Ze-VO EndCuts - Review

zevo_endcuts.jpgMaking 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?

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

August 11, 2008

Red Devil Create-A-Color Caulk

red_devil_caulk_mixer.jpgWe 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

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

July 3, 2008

Layoffs at Hyde Tools

hyde_6_in_1.jpgIt 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

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

June 26, 2008

GE Caulk Singles

caulk_singles.jpgUPDATE: 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.

At Lowe's

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

June 23, 2008

Kawasaki Heat Gun - Review

kawasaki_hg.jpgWe'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.

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

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