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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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

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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March 30, 2007

Microplane Stainless Steel Sanding Discs Arrive For Review

microplane_fine.jpgJust yesterday, we were working on some closet shelving and, once again, became frustrated at how fast we tear through sanding pads for our orbital sander. It felt like every ten minutes we were pulling off a gummed up, slightly shredded pad with virtually no grit left and giving it the Frisbee throw across the workshop.

Well, if what we hear about Microplane's Stainless Steel Sanding Discs is true, those days may be coming to an end. They claim that one of their pads has the life of 35 regular pads and that it removes wood five times as fast. Late yesterday, we received the sample pack that they were nice enough to send us and we're going to test them out and have a full review up soon.

At Microplane and Amazon.com

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

March 27, 2007

Skil Octo Multi-Finishing Sander - Review

Sanding is a very zen experience. It's the woodworker's moment of contemplation; the cutting, gluing, and fitting are all done and the piece is almost finished. The only thing left is to apply some stain and your hand-crafted piece of art is complete. It's a time to run your hands over the wood, to consider the process that got you here, to experience a communion with the piece, and to gently work out any small imperfections in the hope of achieving something that is without fault. A peaceful last breath before it is all over.


Pure garbage. And anyone who has ever done a woodworking project knows it. Sanding is a tedious, and at times, frustrating process. Orbital sanders take some of the pain out of the procedure, but there are always areas, little rabbets, nooks, and cut-outs, that you simply can't get to, not even with a piece of sandpaper wrapped around a pencil or taped to a stick (we know you've done it, we have too). If you're like us, you look forward to, and actively seek out, anything that makes sanding easier.

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March 26, 2007

Ridgid Fuego 6-1/2” Framing Saw Arrives for Review

ridgid_fuego.jpgWe’ve been pretty excited since we heard that the great people at Ridgid were nice enough to send us one of their Fuego 6-1/2” Framing Saws for a full review. We’ve read just about everything that we could find on the tool and still weren’t ready for it when we took it out of the box. It was like when you pick up an empty gallon milk jug thinking it’s full and you almost pitch the thing through the ceiling. What we’re saying is that the Fuego is light. Really light. And after a quick look at a few of the other features, we got a little wobbly and had to put the saw down and go drink a few adult beverages just to feel right again. This one looks like it could be a real winner and we plan on doing a full stress test sometime this week and getting a full review up very soon. We still haven’t decided how far we’re going to go when we test out Ridgid’s boast that the composite shoe can withstand a 1-story drop.

At Home Depot

The review is here.

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

March 22, 2007

Bosch Fine Cut Power Handsaw - Review

bosch_finecut.jpgBosch has proven to be one of the most innovative tool companies out there. Just look at the miter saw they released a couple years ago. They not only put all of the bevel controls up front, but they added a great micro-adjust feature. The innovations are so conceptually simple that it’s surprising that it’s taken someone until now to come up with them. Along those same lines comes their Finecut Power Handsaw. You’re telling us that no one’s ever done this before? Why wasn’t there a major market release of this tool, like ten years ago?

It’s a moot point because it’s here now and judging from what we experienced, it’s going to be around for a while. In fact we’d be shocked if a few of the other big companies didn’t follow suit with similar tools in the next few years.

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March 21, 2007

Paint Shaver Pro

paintshaver.jpgIn our travels, we recently came across this interesting tool. It’s made by American International Tool Industries, Inc. and it’s called the Paint Shaver. According to their website, the tool removes paint (leaded or regular) at a rate of 1 square foot per 20 seconds. It essentially looks like an angle grinder with a freaked-out blade and a dust extraction system. The blade guard is designed in such a way that the tool has the abilities of stripping the face of the siding as well as the underside of the next course up simultaneously. It also appears that the blades can be set to a depth, in order to take off as much or as little paint as you want.

Blades are available carbide-tipped as well as diamond-tipped, if you ever have to deal with concrete or fiberglass.

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