Barbara K, a tool company that designs products specifically for women, offers the Power-Lite Cordless Drill. The 12-volt drill has an ergonomic handle and a keyless chuck, but it's the innovative battery design that grabs our attention. To combat fatigue and greatly lessen the weight of the drill, the battery can be removed and worn in a hip pouch. A coiled cord (think of the telephone you had when you were little) connects the two and now you've got an extremely light drill that can fit just about anywhere.
The drill comes with a charger, one Ni-Cad battery, a carrying case, a few drill bits and a few driver bits.
In the ongoing attempt to make a cordless version of every single tool in the world, Makita has recently released their 18 Volt Lithium Ion Cordless Angle Grinder. The tool takes a 4-1/2 inch grinding wheel and whirls around at 10,000 RPM. This is impressive for a battery tool, considering that the corded Bosch and DeWalt grinders rotate at 11,000 RPM. The Makita weighs 5.6 lbs, which is heavier than the average corded grinder, and has a slide switch. The tool comes with two batteries and a 45 minute charger.
The 18 Volt Makita Cordless Grinder could definitely come in handy in a crawl space or some other spot where trailing a 20' extension cord is impractical, but at it's current price (over $375), it's quite an investment, particularly when most regular grinders can be obtained for a hundred dollars or less.
Hitachi has recently released a 3.6 Volt Cordless Screwdriver and it looks like a pretty versatile tool that could help out both the contractor and the homeowner. Weighing less than a pound and under a foot long, this little cordless fits in situations that would render the regular battery drill useless. The 3.6 Volt Lithium Ion battery should be enough to get most small to medium size tasks completed.
Two speeds, a built-in work light, and a quick 30 minute battery charge round out another nice looking tool from Hitachi.
Rousseau, the maker of many great power tool accessories, has recently come up with a way to combat the dust explosion that occurs every time you use your compound miter saw. This is a welcome innovation, seeing as those little dust collection bags that come with most saws are effectively useless, not even capturing 5% of the total dust created.
The Rousseau Downdrafter is a large plastic hood that cradles the back of the saw and attaches to a vacuum. Just set the hood at the appropriate height, pivot it so you’ve got the right angle, turn the vacuum on, use the saw and watch the dust disappear.
The Downdrafter comes in two models. A pedestal system that is set on a stand with casters and a bench system that attaches to any workbench and is compatible with many Rousseau miter saw stands.
When we use tools, we’re all about safety. We wear ear protection, eye protection, dust masks, and, when necessary, gloves. When we use power tools, we only use them in the manner for which they were intended and we do so with care and intelligence. That said, it’s always interesting to watch people who have absolutely no respect for tools, no concerns for safety, and very little in the brains department. Here is a video of two losers skeet shooting with a coke can and a nail gun.
The display of idiocy is exaggerated by the fact that he only starts shooting off the nail gun after the can has landed on the ground. It’s all pretty anti-climactic.
Metabo has recently released the BHE20 Compact SDS Rotary Hammer, which, if what they say is true, is the first of a new era of small hammer drills. When Metabo says ‘compact,’ they really mean it. The BHE20 extremely light, weighing only 4.7lbs compared to the Bosch Bulldog which is 6.7lbs. In fact the BHE20 is lighter than the regular DeWalt 18 volt cordless drill, which comes in at 5.2 lbs.
Although we can’t get a number on how long the BHE20 is, it appears to be short enough to fit in a standard joist bay as well as other hard to deal with spaces, which give it a huge advantage over other hammer drills, which tend to be either long or bulky.
Recently, Skil has come out with an innovative new tool they call the Octo Multi-Finishing Sander, and just by looking at it, we bet it could be pretty useful in some tight spots. The tool comes with eight attachments, allowing you to sand just about every hard to get area from shutters to inside corners. The flex attachment even contours to irregular surfaces like moldings and balusters, putting an end to a lot of tedious hand sanding.
A built-in work light, a keyless attachment system, and a small dust collection bag round out what looks to be a promising tool.
Yup, Panasonic makes power tools. A lot of people don't know that, and it's really too bad. The tools that they make, and they only make a handful, are of such high quality that they should be as well known as DeWalt, Bosch, and Makita. The 15.6-Volt NiMH Cordless Drill is no exception. In fact, it may be the best drill we've ever used.
While there is a lot of good to say about this drill, it's the look and feel of it that really impresses us. Not only is it perfectly balanced and fits the hand like a glove, but it is nice and light so you can spend days on end using it and never feel any fatigue. It is also relatively short from chuck to tail; allowing it to get in places that the bulkier 18 Volt drills can't fit.
We all know that the table saw is the widow maker of the tool world, ranking just above chainsaws and shapers. Using a table saw is like scratching a rabid Doberman behind the ears; you might be OK this time, but if you let your guard down for just an instant and become too comfortable, you're going to be missing a hand, an arm, or a face. The biggest risk is undoubtedly to the fingers, and when things go bad, they go bad fast. Human reflexes don’t even count when they go up against a table saw. But one company has created a saw that drastically reduces this risk.
The saw is called the Saw Stop, and on top of about a thousand other great features, it has a very unique safety system. The saw constantly reads a slight electrical charge that is carried in the blade, and when the charge is disrupted by, say, a thumb, the saw engages a brake and automatically lowers the blade. There is really no way to describe how fast this happens. The only thing you can do is watch.
The guys at Workbench have a longer movie that gets into greater detail if you're interested. It's really amazing.
We are big fans of Bosch tools. They're durable, they look good, and they're incredibly precise. That said, it comes as little surprise that the Bosch Colt Variable Speed Router is an outstanding tool and is now our go-to router for all small and medium sized jobs.
This little machine has some serious power behind it (one horsepower), and the ergonomic grip is far superior to anything we've ever seen on a router of this size. The adjustments, knobs, and on/off switch are all in the right place, making the operation of the Colt feel natural and easy.
The Colt's other perks include a soft start, a 1/4 inch collet, a nice carrying case, an edge guide, and a variable speed dial. Bosch does sell a version of the Colt that is single speed, but having the option to set the speed is worth the additional cost.