November 13, 2008

Chicago Electric 120-Volt Multi-Function Power Tool (Oscillating Tool)

chicago_oscillating.gifReader Kent B. emailed to tell us he saw that Harbor Freight is now selling Chicago Electric's "120 Volt Multi-Function Power Tool," which is their way of saying "oscillating tool." The price on this is an extremely inexpensive $50, and it will be available on Black Friday for an even lower $40.

We've never touched this tool so we can't really comment on the quality, but with the freakishly low price, we feel confident drawing the conclusion that it's probably not the most durable tool in the world and that it'll likely have some kind of smoke pouring out of it before too long. We've had enough experiences with $20 angle grinders and $15 rotary tools to know what this kind of pricing indicates. You never know though, we could be wrong...

The kit comes with a scraper, sander, plunge cut blade, and circular blade.

At Harbor Freight

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (58) | social bookmarking

November 12, 2008

DeWalt TrackSaw

dewalt_tracksaw.gifSometime this month, DeWalt is releasing their new TrackSaw. If you've never seen one before, it's a circular saw hybrid that runs on a track, making it perfect for long straight cuts and ripping down sheet goods, like plywood. Festool has had one out for a while and even though we've never used it, we've got friends who swear by it.

DeWalt's system looks pretty identical to the Festool; there's the track and the plunge cutting saw. The saw has a 13 amp motor and an anti-kickback mechanism and the track will be available in two sizes, one for 4' cuts and one for 8' cuts. DeWalt is also going to be releasing a number of accessories, such as an adapter so a router can be used on the track. There will also be a 28-volt cordless version available.

The TrackSaw will be available in three different kits; one with a 59" track, one with a 102" track, and one with both tracks. It's looking like the prices will be $500, $550, and $600 respectively for the corded and $900, $950, and $1000 for the cordless.

There's more information on the saw here and we also found a video of someone from Fine Woodworking taking a look at the saw.

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

November 6, 2008

Ryobi P232 Impact Driver

ryobi_impact.JPGWe stumbled across this at the local Home Depot the other day. Since Ryobi is notoriously lax at updating their website (they haven't even added their 4-Volt Screwdriver yet), there's very little information available about the tool.

What we do know is that the tool is part of the 18-volt line and it has an LED and a magnetic bit holder.

We swiped the image from ebay where a guy is selling the tool claiming that it is "Rare." Um. Since we spotted it on the shelves of Home Depot, we're not so sure.

We've been pretty surprised at how slowly Ryobi has been building their lithium-ion line. After all the hub-bub and hoo-haa last year with the unveiling of the 4-piece set, there's been little activity. It's strange considering the popularity of the line and the placement at Home Depot.

Eventually, it'll be on the Home Depot website, but for now, it's on ebay.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

November 4, 2008

DeWalt Introduces New Line of Corded Tools

dewalt-logo.gifWhile everyone else is scrambling to make the smallest 12-volt tool possible, DeWalt has been concentrating on larger, more powerful items. It's a smart move because when the dust settles on lithium-ion mania, we're all going to realize that we still need to install ledger boards and drill holes through LVLs.

The first tools in the line consist of two 1/2" drills, a portable band saw, and a stud and joist drill. They all come equipped with big 10-11 amp motors and improved grip design. The drills contain something called a, "proprietary electronic control module," which automatically adjusts speed and torque to the task at hand.

These tools will be in stores in December.

More information at DeWalt.

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

October 20, 2008

Rockwell SoniCrafter Oscillating Tool

rockwekk_sonicrafter.jpgUPDATE: Our full review of the Rockwell SoniCrafter is here.

Well, the floodgates are officially open. With Fein's patent all worn out, Bosch, Dremel, and now Rockwell, all have oscillating tools headed for the marketplace. Rockwell's version is called the SoniCrafter and, judging from price alone, it appears to be most similar to the Dremel.

The SoniCrafter has 2.3 amps and a no-load speed of 11,000 to 20,000 opm. Beyond that, there's not a whole lot of information available on the tool, so things like accessory compatibility with other oscillating tools remain a mystery. Amazon, who lists the tool in their inventory, doesn't say that it hasn't been released yet, like they do with some items, but they do indicate that it is not currently available, leading us to believe that the official release date hasn't yet come to pass.

The SoniCrafter is/will be available in three kits; a 20-piece, a 37-piece, and a massive 72-piece. Respectively, they will cost $120, $140, and $180. If the accessories are anything other than total junk, the 72-piece kit looks like a winner to us.

If we find out any more info on this tool, we'll let you know.

20-Piece Kit at Amazon.com and Rockwell
37-Piece Kit at Amazon.com and Rockwell
72-Piece Kit at Amazon.com and Rockwell

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (20) | social bookmarking

October 16, 2008

Orbital Sander Face-Off

festool_orbital.jpgThe good folks over at Popular Mechanics recently tested three orbital sanders head to head. They judged on power & speed, quality of finish, and ergonomics. The three sanders are the Festool, the Bosch, and the Craftsman Vibrafree.

You're probably thinking, "Why should I even click on the link to read the results? The Festool crushed the competition, but the Bosch was a solid second, with both of them leaving the Craftsman in the dust, right?" Not exactly. What they discovered is likely to surprise you.

The test results, with video, are here.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

October 13, 2008

Dremel Multi-Max Oscillating Tool, Bosch PS50 Oscillating Tool - Review

oscillating_line_up1.jpgoscillating_line_up.jpg
Update: Because there is so much interest in these tools, we're going to keep updating this article as we use the tools more and as you write us and let us know any questions or comments that you have. In a sense, this will be a 'living document.' Sounds very intellectual for a review of a couple of power tools.

Update II: We've spent more time with these tools and have updated our review with further thoughts. We also have review up of the Rockwell SoniCrafter Oscillating Tool and the Fein MultiMaster.

*****

We're going to review these tools together because it seems that there are two questions to be answered here: 1) should I get an oscillating tool? and 2) which one should I get? The answer to the first question is a simple, yes. Of course you should get an oscillating tool. The Fein Multi-Master, which has essentially been the only one on the market for years (aside from the mini-model making Proxxon) is without question one of our favorite tools. Its durability and versatility make it the go-to in a wide range of circumstances. Oscillating tools can cut, plunge cut, sand, grind, and polish. To this point, they've been indispensable to the carpenter, and because of the price, unreasonable for the homeowner.

But now that Fein's patent has worn out, both Dremel and Bosch are offering their own versions at lower prices. A while back Proxxon struck some sort of licensing deal which allowed them to make their oscillating tool, but due to the fact that it was so much smaller than the Fein, it wasn't a competitor (our full review of the Proxxon is here).

This review is going to be broken down into the following categories; ergonomics and ease of use, power, accessories, the case, and price. We're going to comment on both the Dremel and the Bosch for each one and add in comments on the Fein and Proxxon where we see fit. Our goal isn't to pick a winner, but rather, since we've already decided that you need an oscillating tool, to lay it out which one's best for your needs.

So onward with the Bosch v. Dremel v. Fein v. Proxxon smackdown...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (37) | social bookmarking

October 7, 2008

Bosch RS35 15 Amp Reciprocating Saw

bosch_15_amp_recip.jpgIt looks like Bosch has entered, like Makita and Milwaukee before them, the realm of heavy-duty, house-destroying, 15-amp reciprocating saws. Their model is called the RS35 and from the picture it looks like quite a bruiser.

According to Bosch, the saw is equipped with "Constant Response circuitry, which maintains consistent, controlled power, combined with adjustable aggressive orbital action provides superior cutting performance over a broad range of materials." It also has an anti-vibration system, much like the Makita and the Milwaukee. The blade change can be done with one hand, which makes us believe that the chuck is similar to the spring loaded Makita, which ejects the blade when you unlock it (we're pretty sure the Milwaukee has this too). This is a great feature to have because recip blades can really heat up.

Another thing worth noting is that, thankfully, on this model, they've attached the cord to the tool, abandoning the 'plug directly into the body of the tool' concept that really irritated us in earlier models.

The Bosch is going to retail for around $200, (Makita $175, Milwaukee $200) and, like the Makita, it has a one-year warranty (the Milwaukee has a five-year). We usually don't mention warranties, but for something that you're going to abuse as much as a good recip saw, it might be worth considering.

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

October 6, 2008

Clarke Power Products Crocodile Saw - Review

Croc_saw_front.jpgClarke Power Products has recently released something called the Crocodile Saw, which, at first glance, looks like a hybrid between a grinder and those great little trim saws that Makita and Porter-Cable make. The hook on the Croc is that it has the ability to handle wood, tile, stone, and metal. It has a 4 amp motor and a number of interesting safety features to help it along this task. We've had one in the shop for about two months now and have come to our conclusions. Is it too good to be true; to have one saw to deal with all of these materials? Read on to find out.

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

September 19, 2008

Milwaukee M12 Copper Tubing Cutter

milwaukee_cutter.jpg

Milwaukee is in the process of releasing two very innovative products in their M12 lineup; the Hackzall, which we talked about in an earlier post and the Copper Tubing Cutter, which we're going to go on about now.

The Copper Tubing Cutter is a great little item that cuts through 3/8" to 1" copper tubing. It's simple to use, just put the mouth of the tool over the pipe and pull the trigger. There is no size adjustment, because the tool does that for you. The cutter is nice and small, so it only needs about 1-1/2" of clearance around the pipes. There is also a built-in LED light, so you'll avoid the hassle of trying to hold a flashlight when you're working behind the water heater.

According to Milwaukee, the Cutter can make around 200 cuts on a single battery. This, combined with the longevity of Li-Ion batteries, makes for a tool that needs very little upkeep. Even plumbers aren't making 200 cuts in a single day.

The Cutter is not the first of it's kind. Superior Tools has had something similar, The UltraCut, out for a while (theirs only cuts up to 3/4" tube and does adjust size automatically), but the battery compatibility with the rest of the M12 line and the Milwaukee name will definitely make this a popular tool among tradesmen.

It appears that the cost is going to be about $200 for the tool, a case, 2 batteries, and a charger. It's a lot for the DIYer, who likely won't use it all that much, but for the plumber or HVAC guy, it's a steal

At Amazon.com and Ohio Power Tools

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

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