Porter-Cable 371K Compact Belt Sander - Review

371k_1.jpgWe were pretty intrigued when we first heard about Porter-Cable's 371K Compact Belt Sander. Could it be true that we could have the power of a belt sander but with the size of an orbital? Does this mean no more aching arms after stints of operating our large, way-too-powerful belt sander? Well, that's the intent behind the 371K, but the question is, did Porter-Cable succeed?

The 371K is certainly compact, weighing in at around the 5 lb mark. Considering that Porter-Cable's two larger belt sanders weigh 10 lbs and 14 lbs, the 371K is a huge advancement in this area. Because of its small dimensions, the 371K does not have any traditional handle to speak of, only a removable front pommel and a padded area that wraps around the sides and top for gripping. This style of handle (non-handle, really) makes it very easy to switch around your grip on the tool, and, because of the likelihood that it's going to be used in some tight spaces, this becomes an innovative and essential feature.

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

May 11, 2007

Ryobi 229 Piece Rotary Tool Arrives For Review

ryobi_rotary2.jpgThe Ryobi 229 Piece Rotary Tool Kit showed up on the doorstep last night and it looks pretty sweet. If nothing else, it’s a very complete kit with just about everything you would need for getting started playing around with a rotary tool, including a 36” flexible shaft and a telescoping tool hanger. We’re looking forward to giving it a workout over the next few days and we’ll have a full review up soon. Stay tuned.

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

May 8, 2007

Arbortech AS160 Brick and Mortar Saw

arbortech_allsaw.jpgArbortech, an Australian company, has come out with the most innovative tool we've seen in a long while: the Arbortech AS160 brick and mortar saw. It's a really cool looking item and it's got a lot going for it. It cuts brick, wood, stone, fiber cement, and plastic, and it is capable of a plunge cut that your grinder can only dream of making.

The backbone of the AS160 technology is the manner in which it cuts. The tool uses two blades, situated right next to one another, that cut and hammer in an orbital, forward-facing pattern. This not only gives great versatility as far as cutting and plunge-cutting go, but according to Arbortech, this configuration also creates much less dust than a traditional grinder and allows the cut to be done dry.

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

May 5, 2007

Bosch PS10-2 10.8V I-Driver

Bosch_lion_driver.jpgBosch has recently released the PS10-2 10.8V I-Driver, a little battery-powered screw driver, and it looks like a pretty interesting tool. Unlike most of the other battery screwdrivers this one is hinged right up at the driver end, as opposed to the center of the tool. This, as well as the fact that the hinge is capable of a 90 degree swing, allows the driver to fit in places that the others wouldn't have a chance of fitting. The entire head length is a short 3-1/2".

According to the Bosch website, the 10.8V I-Driver is capable of driving 100 3-inch screws on a single battery charge. Not bad for something the size of a flashlight. The 10.8V Driver is powered by a Lithium-Ion battery, which means longer life, lighter weight and no more of the long slow battery fade.

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

May 3, 2007

Porter-Cable 371K Compact Belt Sander Arrives For Review

porter_cable_compact_sander.jpgWith the 371K, Porter-Cable has created the Mini-Me of the belt sanding world and just taking it out of the box, we were startled by how small it is. It's got flush sanding capabilities on both sides and a grip that can be held in all sorts of ways. And it looks like that's the kind of versatile use this little tool will get seeing as it only weighs about 5 lbs. We're going to sand everything we can and let you know how it goes.

At Tool King and Amazon.com

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

April 18, 2007

Worx Blockbuster Hammer Drill/Driver

worx_blockbuster.jpgWorx has recently released a very interesting looking hammer drill/driver in their Revolver line of tools. The Revolver tools are all based on an intriguing ergonomic design that, according to the Worx website,

“…is a tribute to the fundamental principal of ergonomics. It is the first and only line of power tools that adapts themselves to fit people and their jobs, rather than the other way around.”

The primary feature of the Revolver tools is a rotating handle that adjusts to your needs depending on your angle of approach. If you’re working down low and are above the tool, you have the ability to shift the handle to the top of the tool, relieving stress on both your wrist and back. The same goes for if you are working overhead. The handle has an astounding 65 degrees of rotation to accommodate the user.

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

April 16, 2007

Porter-Cable 371K Compact Belt Sander

porter_cable_compact_sander.jpgWe would probably use our belt sander more often if it wasn't the size, shape, and weight of a cinder block. Using it on a vertical surface is pretty much out of the question and even when it's flat on a board it's like controlling an untrained St. Bernard. But still, it's a great tool, if only it was smaller...

Enter Porter-Cable and their 371K Compact Belt Sander. This little guy looks to create an entirely new class of tool by merging the usefulness of a belt sander with the size and maneuverability of an orbital. It weighs only five pounds, which puts it at less than half of the weight of Porter-Cable's heavy-duty belt sander. Because the tool is so versatile and will likely be used places that a regular belt sander can't, the handle is designed to accommodate any number of grip positions.

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

April 13, 2007

Microplane Stainless Steel Sanding Discs - Review

microplane_fine.jpgMicroplane has recently come out with an interesting and innovative idea; stainless steel sanding discs for an orbital sander. According to Microplane, the discs, which are available in coarse (40 grit), medium (80 grit) and fine (120 grit), remove wood five times faster and last seven times longer than regular sandpaper. It supposedly takes 35 regular sanding discs to measure up to one stainless steel disc.

The discs are just what you would assume they would be; Borg versions of the standard orbital discs. The back of each disc has eight little Velcro pads that are placed so as not to interfere with any of the dust collection holes (the discs are compatible with both five and eight hole orbitals). The sanding side of the discs have a number of little blade protrusions on them. The coarse grit disc resembles a bullet-riddled piece of metal, while the finer two grits take on the appearance of a flattened version of Microplane's great kitchen graters. The discs attach to the sander just like regular ones do.

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

April 10, 2007

Ryobi 229 Piece Rotary Tool Kit

ryobi_rotary.jpgIt looks to us like the rotary tool has finally caught on. We always thought that it was really only a matter of time before this tool got beyond wood carvers, engravers and other specialists. We use ours on almost a daily basis, for everything from drilling to sanding to cutting. It's so lightweight and compact that it can fit just about anywhere and because there are so many different bit options its versatility is off the charts.

Ryobi has recently gotten into the fray with what looks to be a very impressive set. Their 229 Piece Rotary Tool Kit has so many accessories and extra bits that it appears to be the pinnacle of one-stop shopping. It even comes with a telescoping stand and a 36" flex shaft. At 1.2 amps, it's up so some pretty heavy-duty work, and the case alone looks like a feat of organizational engineering.

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

April 4, 2007

Ridgid Fuego 6-1/2" Framing Saw - Review

Fuego.jpg
We were pretty thrilled when Ridgid sent the Fuego along for us to test out. It’s a unique idea, and the first of its kind: the 6-1/2” framing saw. It’s lightweight, powerful, durable, and loaded with more features than James Bond’s Aston Martin.

We’ve been punishing this saw for about a week now. We’ve cut every piece every piece of wood that crossed our path. We measured the accuracy of the bevel gauge, the depth setting, and the kerf lines, and, yes, we dropped the thing. Not a casual, accidental, elbow knocks it off the workbench onto a pile of tarps drop. Nope. Ridgid said that the Fuego’s composite plate can withstand a fall of one story, so we heaved it up to a healthy height and gave it a full-on, nose to the earth, 9.8 meters per second squared, watch it go, drop.

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

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