July 21, 2008

Dremel Multi-Max Oscillating Tool System

dremel_multi_max.jpg
We just got word the other day that Dremel, one of our favorite tool companies, is on the verge of releasing a new oscillating tool. This is some unexpected news for us. We've been carefully watching the potential release of Bosch's PMF 180 E Multi oscillating tool and here comes Dremel out of nowhere with their own model. If you've never played around with an oscillating tool, you've got something coming. Not only are they precise, but they can be used an a staggering number of situations; everything from sanding to flush cutting to grinding to polishing. ArrowContinue reading: "Dremel Multi-Max Oscillating Tool System"

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

June 30, 2008

Ryobi 4V Lithium Ion Screwdriver

ryobi_4v_li_ion.jpgIt was just a matter of time before Ryobi got into the mini Li-Ion driver market and with their exposure at Home Depot, we're sure that this tool will be a hit.

Unlike a lot of the other low voltage screwdrivers, this one not only has a little LED light, but also a 12 position clutch. It also has a quick change chuck and comes with a carrying bag and a 6-piece bit set. These features elevate the tool from a simple around the house "picture hanging" tool to something that has some functionality on a job site as well, particularly during the punch list phase of the game. It's not as compact as the Dremel Screwdriver (which is twice as powerful), but it sure looks more "construction."

According to Ryobi the screwdriver can hold a charge for up to two years, so, not only can it help out on the job site, but it can also sit in the entryway closet until it's needed around the house.

All this is being sold for just a hair under $30, a very competitive price. We saw this tool at the local Home Depot last week and it's got some high visibility there and we expect them to be pushing it pretty hard in the coming months. But the bottom line is that it's a great price for what we'd bet is a solid tool.

At Home Depot

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.

ArrowContinue reading: "Kawasaki Heat Gun - Review"

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

June 16, 2008

Skil Power Cutter - Review

skil_cutter_side.jpgSkil has definitely shown themselves to be interested in innovation. We loved last year's Power Wrench and we're looking forward to the benchtop tools they're releasing this September. In the meantime, they've slipped out the Power Cutter. It's a light-duty cutter powered by an 3.6 volt internal lithium-ion battery.

The Skil Cutter isn't the most aggressive tool you'll ever hold in your hand and it's not supposed to be. It's meant for small tasks. The packaging says that it can cut selected materials up to 1/4" thick. The list includes leather, wallpaper, cardboard, and carpet.

ArrowContinue reading: "Skil Power Cutter - Review"

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

June 10, 2008

Ridgid Drill Owners, Full of Euphoria

ridgid_compact_drill.jpgAccording to a new study by J.D. Powers and Associates, of all the major brands, Ridgid ranks highest in customer satisfaction in the drill/driver category. The article says that,

"The inaugural study measures customer satisfaction with cordless drills/drivers by examining six key factors (listed in order of importance): drill performance (including drilling and driving power, performance under heavy use and maneuverability in tight spaces); ease of use (including balance, weight and grip size and feel); battery performance; price; versatility of the battery platform in supporting other power tools; and warranty."

A while back, we reviewed Ridgid's compact Li-Ion Drill and we can understand why they excelled in all of these categories. We were big fans of the drill when we reviewed it and we still use it all the time.

Read the article here.
Read our review of Ridgid's drill here.

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

June 5, 2008

Skil 3375-01 Belt Disc Sander

Skil_Benchtop_sander_1.jpgA few weeks back we told you about Skil's new line of benchtop tools coming out later this year. Now, we're going to take a closer look at one of those tools, the belt disc sander.

Skil's sander comes with a number of nice features. There is a beveling table top capable of a 45 degree angle, a 2-1/2" dust port, and a pre-drilled cast iron base, for attaching to your workbench. The belt sander can also flip up to a 90 degree position. There is also a safey switch and the whole thing is powered by a 4-amp motor.

The Skil will be available in September, exclusively at Lowe's. There are a number of similar items on the market (the Hitachi and Grizzly, for instance), but not having used either of them, we can't say how the Skil rates. Our guess is that they're all fairly similar and that it comes down to a matter of brand preference.

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

May 19, 2008

Festool MFK 700 Modular Router Arrives for Review

Thumbnail image for festool_mfk700_2.jpgRecently Festool launched a number of new tools and among them is a new trim router called the MFK 700. We've used the Bosch Colt quite a bit and we're interested to see how the Festool compares. We're willing to bet that the Festool is one seriously precise machine. The basic kit (with just the vertical base) goes for over $500 while a fully-equipped Colt (with 4 bases) isn't even $175. We're pretty interested to see where that extra $325 is going. We're going to start playing around with it this week and we'll post up a review as soon as we can.

At Rockler

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

May 7, 2008

Milwaukee Digital Inspection Camera

milwaukee_digital_inspectio.jpgBased on the great success of last year's Ridgid SeeSnake Micro (our review here), we've been wondering how long it would be before someone else followed suit with a similar tool. Well it turns out that it's Milwaukee and they've added a number of nice features, making their Digital Inspection Camera an across the boards improvement on the SeeSnake.

The basics of the tool are the same; there's a three foot long flexible hose with a camera lens on one end and a hand-held screen on the other. The lens end has a light and, like the Ridgid, hose extensions are available if 3' isn't enough length.

ArrowContinue reading: "Milwaukee Digital Inspection Camera"

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

May 6, 2008

Evolution Rage

evolution_rage.jpgIf you've always wanted a circular saw that could not only cut through wood, but your neighbor's car as well, the Evolution Rage might be perfect for you.

At first glance, the saw looks like normal circular saw (although slightly more influenced by Tron). It shares a lot of the same basic characteristics with it's brethren; 7-1/4" blade, 45 degree bevel, and a dust port, but unlike other circular saws, this one can apparently cut through wood, steel, aluminum, and plastics. Essentially, it can do the duty of a reciprocating saw, but it can do it with a nice straight line. Also, Evolution claims that when the Rage cuts metal, it makes no sparks, leaves no burrs, and somehow does not heat up the metal as it cuts. There is no coolant used in the tool, so our guess is that this has something to do with the blade design as well as the steroid-addled gearbox and motor.

ArrowContinue reading: "Evolution Rage"

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

May 5, 2008

Skil Benchtop Tools

Skil_Benchtop_band_saw.jpgLately Skil has been showing a good eye for innovation. They jumped right into the li-ion market with tools like last year's Power Wrench and the new Power Cutter, and now they're on the verge of releasing a whole new line of benchtop tools created specifically for the casual and first-time user.

Late last week, we had the opportunity to check out these new tools, and we have to say that we were very impressed. There are ten tools in all; two table saws, two miter saws, a miter saw stand, a scroll saw, a band saw, a drill press, a bench grinder, and a belt disc sander. Like all Skil tools, they're durable (but not indestructible), and priced at a very reasonable level. Because they are all designed for the beginner there is an added emphasis on safety as well as ease-of use. Although they did have more features, they are similar to Delta's Shopmaster Series.

The bad news is that you're going to have to wait until September to see them in stores. They will be available exclusively at Lowes and, with a few exceptions, they're going to cost about $100 (one of the table saws and one of the miter saws will be in the $150-160 range and the bench grinder is somewhere around $40).

In the days and weeks ahead we'll be looking at each tool individually, but for now, we'll just say that for the price, these are going to be tough to beat.

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

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