April 8, 2010
A while back, we reviewed the new Blue Works lubricating products from the guys who brought us WD-40. We casually used them around the shop and thought they were great. As it turns out Liquid Wrench has also just released a new set of lubes and they shipped a six-pack our way so that we could get a look. We treated them the same as the Blue Works...plopped them on a shelf and used them as needed.
The new products are; lubricating oil, penetrating oil, silicone spray. dry lubricant, chain lube, and white lithium grease. Pretty much anything that a guy could ask for.
Like we said in our review of the Blue Works products, we're not Tools of the Trade, so we don't have the time or resources to set up some elaborate test where we identically rust two sets of nuts and bolts and then saturate them in two different penetrants, and then have some way of measuring the torque needed to loosen each one. No, we try to base our reviews on what 'the guy in his garage' is looking for. And in this case, the question he wants answered is, 'do they work?" We found that after cleaning up the gears of our table saw, fixing a squeaky shed door hinge, and unsticking a bad drawer slide, the answer is yes. "Did we like them?" Yes. "If we saw them in a store, would we buy them?" Yes. And honestly, the same could be said for the Blue Works products. We have no idea what the chemical difference between these two brands is, and we really don't care. And we don't think that you really do either. If you're like us, you're going to be in a store looking for a few things and you're going to think to yourself, "oh yeah, I need some spray silicone for that window that keeps sticking." You just want something that works. And the Liquid Wrench products work.
Actually, one interesting thing about the Liquid Wrench products is the marketing. Where Blue Works takes a technical attitude and have loaded their website with stats and numbers, Liquid Wrench approaches things in a more user friendly way and concentrates on educating you about the practical uses of each lube. Their website is great and after a few minutes on it, we wanted to lube up everything we own. There's a nice page that lists about 100 around the house tasks and the lube that's best suited. There are also some seasonal uses here. This doesn't reflect on the actual performance of the lubes, but it's a smart approach for the company to take.
These lubes will be about $5 a can and should be at your local Ace and Lowes, but for a full retailer list, check out the Liquid Wrench website.
March 22, 2010
We've always said that Angle Grinders are not only one of our favorite tools, but that they're vastly under used and under appreciated.
So it's nice to see this contraption in this year's Grizzly catalog. While it looks somewhat unstable and potentially dangerous, it does utilize the angle grinder so it's fine in our book. It seems that all you have to make a mini metal chop saw is attach your angle grinder (using the threaded hole for the side handle) to this base and away you go. We checked out the reviews over at Amazon and they both said that the tool is pretty good but the clamp to hold the workpiece is completely useless.
It's a cool idea though.
The stand costs $25 and is available at Grizzly and Amazon.com.
February 5, 2010
For most of us, a can of WD-40 is all we need. It acts as a lubricant, a penetrant, a cleaner, and, for some, a deodorant. It's sort of a 'one can fits all' product. But for those who are really into their lubes, sprays, and foams, or for those rare occasions when the WD just won't cut it, WD-40 (the company, not the product) has just released a line of eight specialized items geared toward the heavy-duty and the hardcore, and, thankfully for us, they sent us a few cans to check out.
The new products are:
- Industrial Grade Silicone
- Industrial Grade High-Performance PTFE Lubricant
- Industrial Grade Dry Lube PTFE Formula
- Industrial Grade Multi-Purpose Lubricant
- Industrial Grade White Lithium Grease
- Industrial Grade Contact Cleaner
- Industrial Grade Penetrant
- Industrial Grade Degreaser
Reviewing things like this isn't easy. It takes too long and is too tedious to rust a couple bolt/nut combos together just to test out the Blue Works Penetrant against the leading brand. So we just put the cans on the shelf and used them as needed. Of the products, we tested out the Penetrant, the De-Greaser, the White Lithium Grease, and the Silicone.
The one we ended up using the most was the silicone, which had no issues assisting us with a gummed up slider and a couple sticky windows, as well as a few stuck wrenches. The White Lithium Grease, we put right in the truck (our old boss once said, "every old truck needs a can of white lithium grease under the driver's seat), and the penetrant did actually help loosen a rusty nut.
We liked the products and the cans have a cool look about them. The Blue Works website has a boatload of information on each one, including the MSDS sheets and scientific-sounding test results that firmly establish their dominance against other brands. We take a lot of those types of manufacturer's tests with a grain of salt, but WD-40 has a great reputation, so even if their products aren't 50 times better than the competition, they're at least 5 times better.
So now when WD-40 isn't doing the job or you're looking for something a little more specialized, you now have a place to go.
There's a boatload more information (including the MSDS sheets) over at blueworksbrand.com
December 9, 2009
If you get all starry-eyed over those guys who head off to the woods of Alaska to build a house in the middle of nowhere all by themselves, the Granberg Mini Mill should, at least temporarily, puff your chest up and make you feel just as rugged. While the Grizzly men aren't using chainsaws to mill up their floor boards and sheathing, they are fully engaged in the entire process of tree to finished product, and it's this vibe that the Granberg Mini Mill will help you attain.
The Granberg Mini Mill is a jig set up for a chainsaw that allows you to make straight cuts, and thus gives you the ability to mill up your own stock. There's a carriage that the saw sits in with the appropriate dust deflectors and handles, as well as a rail that attaches to a 'you-supplied' 2x6. Screw the 2x to the log, lock the carriage in the rail and off you go.
The Mini Mill costs $84, which, to us, doesn't seem that bad. If you're the type who has always wanted to chop down a tree and make a table out of it, the cost of the tools are pretty insignificant when compared to the satisfaction of the completed project.
The Mini Mill looks like a nice set-up; small enough, and inexpensive enough for the ambitious diyer or woodworker.
November 20, 2009
Ridgid is now selling a magnetic square, good for metal working, welding, things like that. It looks like you can switch it on and off and that three sides are magnetic with a breakaway force of 155 lbs. If we had one, we'd probably fall on it pretending we were Alec Guinness from Bridge on River Kwai.
"What have I done?"
Possibly at At Home Depot but we're not 100% sure.
November 4, 2009
We've got this great Toro electric leaf blower and before we bought it we did all the right research and truly agonized over the purchase. We finally decided on the make and model we wanted and went to the local HD to pick it up. At our last house, it was a charm. With the yard hugging the house so closely we could get most everything with a 50' extension cord and when necessary, break out the dreaded 100' (*shudder*). Now, at the new place, everything is different. Our front yard is practically an orchard and threading between the trees with the cord (attached to the lone exterior outlet on the wrong side of the house), while do-able, is impractical and tedious. Thankfully, the folks at Craftsman were nice enough to let us test out their blower attachments for the string trimmer. Could this little guy deliver adequate power to get the job done?
So how is it? Honestly, it's pretty nice. It blows at a peak speed of about 150 mph so it's not the full-throated blowing madness of our electric blower which operates at around 230 mph, but it does work and it's certainly better than raking (which occurs at about 2 mph). The length of the attachment places the blower unit at just the right height, making it easy to get the air under the leaves and the convenience of not having an entirely separate tool for the task is a real space saver in the garage. We should also note that there are gas and electric blowers that operate in the 150-200mph range, so don't think that the Craftsman is a step down from the other methods.
Removing the trimmer head and attaching the blower is a really easy process, just turn the tightening knob and press a little button and the trimmer is off. Installing the blower is as easy as sliding it on the shaft and clicking the button into place.
For speed's sake, the leaves we can reach with the electric, we'll probably still do that way, but the ones way out at the horizon line can be easily done with the trimmer attachment. So all said and done, we see this little guy benefiting both our situation as well as someone who has a pretty small yard with maybe only a couple trees and limited storage space. It's likely that you already have a string trimmer, but do you also have the space for a full-sized leaf blower?
The attachment fits any high quality trimmer. If you've never noticed before, string trimmers are essentially a hand-held PTO with the trimmer being just one of the attachments. In fact, Craftsman also has an Edger that we're reviewing as well. The blower attachment costs about $70 so it's definitely less than a regular blower, it also takes up a fraction of the space.
August 20, 2009
We knew that Milwaukee recently released a set of bits specifically designed for impact drivers, but we had no idea that DeWalt already had their own version in stores. DeWalt's new line of accessories is called Impact Ready and, like Milwaukee's Shockwave, they're built to withstand the relentless beating that impact drivers administer.
The breakdown on the accessories is here (as well as a full list of what's available) and the press release is after the jump.
A selection of the accessories is at Amazon.com and likely at your local Home Depot.
Continue reading: "DeWalt Impact Ready Accessories"
August 3, 2009
It looks like Ryobi has a new 4-volt battery on the market and a number of interesting tools to go with it. Rather than looking at the 4-volt battery system as a smaller version of the 18 and 12-volts, they're looking from the bottom up, treating it as more of a pumped up AA battery. This thinking results in some unique tools that have uses beyond home improvement.
A handful of these new tools are measuring devices, an area that both Bosch and Milwaukee have recently moved into as well. With their new system, Ryobi has an infrared thermometer, a distance measure, and a multimeter. They also have a plumb/cross laser lever, a LED flashlight, and a portable power source, which is similar to the Milwaukee 12-volt Power Port that we're big fans of.
In the 'things we've never seen before' category, Ryobi is offering a 4-volt camera, noise suppression headphones, a motion sensor with an alarm, and a digitally keyed lock.
It's all very interesting and with Ryobi's placement at the giant orange store, this is likely to be a winner of a line. Hopefully, Ryobi's ability to serve up a quality tool at a great price will avoid these items from becoming VPX'd.
More information on Tek4 at Ryobi
TEK4 Tools at Home Depot
July 24, 2009
Bosch is known primarily for their tools, but lately they've really been making a name for themselves in the accessories market. Anyone who has used tools for a while knows that blades and bits are just as important as the tool that they're seated in. Tools are sort of a 'weakest link' scenario; a great drill with a dull bit is only going to be as good as the dull bit. We've been testing out the Bosch DareDevil Spade Bits and can now say that if you put one of these in a great drill, what you have is a relentless wood eradication system.
The primary difference between the DareDevil Spade bits and your standard spades bits is this little threaded nub up at the centering point. Once these threads catch (which they can't not do), the bit is actually pulled into the wood. This happens with so much aggressiveness that we practically felt in danger of dislocating our shoulder while drilling holes. The body of the spade is also contoured so that the shaved wood doesn't clog up the hole and bog down the bit. The pointed spurs are additionally designed to minimize blow-out (which is better than most spade bits, but still considerable). There's a lot going on with these little bits.
The bottom line is that the Bosch DareDevils absolutely devastate lumber and if you're looking for some real fireworks, put one in an impact driver. After a couple of minutes it'll look like there's a pileated woodpecker living in your workshop. We spent about 30 seconds on a pressure-treated 2x6 drilling maybe a half dozen random holes and, as you can see from the image, the results are serious.
The only issue that we could find with these bits is that you can't just pull the drill out of a half-drilled hole, you actually have to put the drill in reverse. Once the centering threads catch and the connection to the wood is made, it's over. This is hardly a drawback, but just something we had to get used to.
If you're an electrician, carpenter, whatever really, we suggest checking out these bits. If you're a deck builder, just stop what you're doing and find some as fast as you can, and make sure to get the extension so putting holes in 4x6s won't be a problem.
Note that the DareDevil's are so badass they have their own website: http://boschdaredevil.com
July 23, 2009
This isn't exactly something that you're going to bring to the job site or workshop (although you could), but we thought it was interesting enough to mention. It's a Surge Protector that has an internal timer that you can set so that it kills the outlets completely during certain hours.
In their press release, APC gives a good example of the uses this could have,
For example, users can program a charging station to power on upon arrival home from work to recharge an mp3 player and cell phone and then program to power off the next morning once the user departs for work. The LCD timer's flexibility allows multiple users to set a variety of on/off times for all of their energy needs.
We also think it could work for temp lighting and heat at a job site. Or also to keep the lights on for a few hours at night to scare away the seedier elements of society.
There are two models available; a 4-outlet (all on timers), wall-mounted unit, and a six outlet (five on timers) strip unit with a 3' cord. According to APC, the annual power savings to be $40 and $60 respectively. The protectors cost $17 and $20.