April 17, 2013
Everyone should have at least one of these things. I'm lucky enough to have three. These saws have seen it all and as long as I can keep replacing the cords, which seem to get severed a lot, they'll be getting handed down to Tool Snob Jr. in about 20 years. They are long since past the days of being used as a normal jobsite saw and are now well into their second careers as 'special forces.' The footplates are a little bent up and the bevel on one of them is immovable. I keep one outfitted with a masonry blade, and two with wood blades, but it's hardly wood that they're cutting, more like multi-layer asphalt roofs and concrete-coated form work. I don't care what happens to them and they don't seem to care what I do to them. It's a relationship that works.
I don't use them all the time, but when I need them, they're golden. It wasn't too long ago that I had to trench my basement slab out for some plumbing and the Makita was there to do the work. Who wants to use their nice woodworking saw for that kind of abuse? But that's the life that these saws live. They fill in the cracks and because they're the ones that take the hits on the dirty work, they keep my other saws nice, clean, and sharp.
The big one on the right, that's the roof cutter. If that saw was a person, it would be Leonard Smalls from Raising Arizona. I have no idea on the quality of current day Makitas, but these older ones are real monsters.
Makita Circ Saws at Amazon
March 10, 2013
Who knew we'd ever refer to an extension cord as intelligent? But oddly enough, that's the best way to describe the RoboReel. Even calling it an extension cord is a gross over simplification, it's more of a one-stop power system for your shop. Great Stuff, the makers of the Reel sent us one to check out a while back and we've had it in the mix for the renovation as well as general shop use. It's easily the most feature-riddled power cord we've ever put eyes on.
Continue reading: "RoboReel - Review"
January 21, 2013
We've hit rock bottom on our own selfishness. And the thing is that we almost feel bad about it. Almost.
One of the things about reviewing tools is that you get to keep a lot of them. But trust us, the bloom falls off the rose pretty quickly there. What sounds like heaven gets cumbersome mighty fast. One new recip saw is great, but does anyone need five or six of them? A long, long time ago Festool said they would send us one of their Domino XLs to test out, but that we'd have to send it back when we were done. They gave no time limit and said that we should keep it as long as we saw fit. No problems there. A very cool attitude on their part. So we kept it...and kept it...and kept it. Every time we sat down to write the review, we'd think, "oh wait, this means that we'll have to return the tool...maybe it would be best if we ran the review next week....or maybe the week after that." So here we are months and months later (getting close on a year), slightly ashamed and feeling like we took advantage of Festool's kindness, but we're still crouching over the tool, coveting it like some hell mutant from Dante's Inferno.
Continue reading: "Festool DF700 Domino XL - Review"
October 31, 2012
A long time ago, probably over a year, Bosch sent us one of their JS470EB Jigsaws to check out. We used it, we used it again, and we used it some more after that. It has basically been our primary jigsaw since it showed up. But we never wrote a review of it. We kept meaning to, but whenever we were in front of the computer, we would think about the tool and say, "eh" and move on to the next thing. It was a nice tool, but there was nothing about it that made us think, "yeah, yeah, yeah, now this is a jigsaw!" It was just sort of there. We're generally fans of Bosch jigsaws, so when the company recently released a new series, we thought we'd take one of those for a spin to see if we'd have a different reaction. They sent us the new JS572EB. Oh and did we ever have a different reaction.
Continue reading: "Bosch JS572EB Barrel-Grip Jig Saw - Review"
August 15, 2012
A few months ago, we wrote up a touching and tearful obituary about our old and dear friend, the Makita orbital. We'd had that little fella almost since the start of our carpentry career and it had always delivered and never complained. Heaving it into the dumpster was one of those moments when you realize that time flows like an unstoppable river. It was like watching the kids pack up and head off to college, except that it wasn't kids and a college, it was a tool and a dumpster. Sort of the same thing really.
Continue reading: "Makita BO5041K 5" Random Orbit Sander - Review"
April 11, 2012
We've been meaning to write about this tool for a long time now, a few years actually. Back in 2009, we had two of them on a site and they were worked so hard and treated so abusively that everyone was stunned they somehow survived. Pictured is one of those two tools as it looks today; a little ragged and worn, but still a complete warhorse.
Continue reading: "Makita 15 Amp Reciprocating Saw - Review"
February 9, 2012
We felt we had to emerge from our renovation coma to spread the word on this one. Festool's new (new to the US, at least) drywall sander. Even though it kinda looks like it was designed by H.R. Giger, we have the feeling that it might be pound for pound the most time/agony saving tool ever invented. We've never even touched the thing, but we've sanded enough joint compound in our time to know what a tedious, dusty, pain in the arse it is. Combine that horror-show with Festool's core belief in the eradication of jobsite dust and their freakishly high quality standards and you're talking Planex.
There's a lot to say about this tool. But first off, one of the accessories is a body harness. How wild is that?
Continue reading: "Festool Planex LHS 225 Long Reach Drywall Sander"
September 21, 2011
Judging by how much we use our Milwaukee 12 volt right angle drill, we'd assume that if we had one one of these new Bosch tools, we'd give it a pretty good workout on a weekly basis. We're not plumbers or electricians, so we don't need a high-powered tight angle drill for chewing 2" holes through 2x4s. We're carpenters, so we need them for hinge tightening, small awkward duct adjustments, and working up on top of door casings and other strange places.
The Bosch takes the right angle concept but, like one of their older 12V tools, adds an articulating head to the mix. The head has five locking positions, which should be enough for whatever it is you want to do. We're down with the whole articulating head idea seeing as there have been a few times when the straight-up right angle drill has been a tad limiting in a constrained space.
This fella is sold with two batteries and is going to set you back about $150-$160.
July 18, 2011
Dremel has just announced a cool little tool called the Saw-Max. But after seeing a picture of the tool, we think that "Saw-Min" might be a better name. We're not trying to disparage the tool, just point out that it's really, really tiny.
The Saw-Max is a little circ saw, perfect (According to Dremel) for making cuts in laminate flooring and materials of that nature. It has a cut depth of 3/4" and a flush cut ability, both of which should make it pretty handy around the jobsite too.
It does bear a resemblance to the RotoZip saw that hit the scene last year, which may or may not have something to do with the fact that the two companies are owned by Bosch.
It will be available in October and will set you back about $130.
The press release for this little Bad Larry is after the jump (look for the bonus press release that comes with it!)....
Continue reading: "Dremel Saw-Max"
July 11, 2011
CNC Machines live in that mysterious world of the professional metal shop. You've got to be a pretty intense dude to have one of these things in your garage. What they are is automatic cutting systems that work through a computer program. Draw something in a CAD program, load it over to the CNC machine and it carves or cuts out the shape. These things are usually massive and some of them are even encased in a large chamber with a constant oil spray to lube up the cut.
So anyway, Torchmate, a well-respected name in the CNC world has recently released a smaller version of their popular machine. This new one, the 2x2 has a much smaller bed and is intended to be a user-friendly version of their larger machines, one that will hopefully appeal to the average Joe hobbyist. They were nice enough to send us one to play around with for a while and we happily agreed.
Continue reading: "Torchmate 2x2 CNC Prototyping Machine - Review"
June 17, 2011
Our recent shelving project turned out to be a lot more involved than we originally anticipated. To do the work, we ended up setting up an entire shop in the room we were doing the work in. We moved in the miter saw (getting extra room because the saw was the Bosch Axial Glide!), set up a work table, built temp shelves for our tools and made hooks for extension cords. Pretty much everything we needed was in the room. Except for the table saw. It's a good sized room, but table saws are like pool tables...they may look like they're a manageable size, but in order to actually use one, you need an area that is about five times its size.
So the table saw was out in the driveway, rain or shine, and we would have to go through a door, down a hallway, through another door onto the porch, and then yet another door to the outside, walk down the path and then to the saw every time we wanted to make a cut. There has to be an easier way, we thought.
Continue reading: "DeWalt DWS520K 6-1/2-Inch TrackSaw Kit - Review"
June 16, 2011
Of all the bulky and awkward jobsite table saws, none is more bulky or more awkward than the full-sized Bosch model that comes attached to one of the most infuriating saw stands known to man. It's a fine item if you're just wheeling the saw around a driveway, but any relocation beyond that is pure agony due to the fact that the saw can't be detached from the large, wheeled stand. But since we feel a rant coming on (that saw is one of our true bete noires of the tool world), we'll divert to the matter at hand, which is Bosch's new compact table saw, a tool that is the apparent opposite of the sprawling, gargantuan full-sized model. A while ago, Bosch sent us one to check out and here's what we thought...
Continue reading: "Bosch 10" GTS1031 Compact Table Saw - Review"
June 8, 2011
The release of the Bosch Colt a few years back seemed to be the official kick-off of the 1+ horsepower laminate trimmer/router. We don't know if it was the first or not, but it was certainly the first that made a real beachhead on the construction site. We got one right when it came out and since then, we've hardly used our full-sized router at all. Now, most brands have these little workhorses and last year, DeWalt upped the game with their own version complete with a plunge base. Porter-Cable has followed suit (not surprisingly, now that they have the same parent company as DeWalt) and released their fixed/plunge base model (that looks eerily similar to the DeWalt, minus the variable speed). They sent us one to check out and we found some good and some, well, not so good...
Continue reading: "Porter-Cable Compact Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit 450PK - Review"
May 26, 2011
A guy we're working with right now busted this tool out the other day. The thing is solid metal and works like a mule. He said that he's never had to get it repaired (but there were a few years where the trigger acted a little funny) and he's consistently used it for as long as he's had it. This is the best part: he bought it new.....in the late 60s. So this thing is over 40 years old and it still churns on. Badass.
Check out Milwaukee's newer tools here or just check out what Amazon has here.