Here's an article we wrote a bit ago for Popular Science. I was in the June print edition and we just stumbled across it online. It's about three new multi-function power tools. If you're up on your Tool Snobbing, you'll already be familiar with them; the Ridgid JobMax, the Rockwell H3, and the new Skil Flooring Saw.
The big hoo-haa of Bosch's press party last week is, without question, their new take on the miter saw. As an answer to Festool's oddly expensive Kapex, which modified the rail system so the motor travels on a stationary rail, Bosch has altogether eliminated the rail system and replaced it with two articulating arms that look like they fell out of a Bionicle box. The result is a miter saw that you can back right up to a wall. A very nice characteristic if you're a remodeler and you're constantly struggling with open space at your job sites.
According to Bosch, the glide mechanism has 12 sealed ball-bearings making for a smooth and stable movement. Additionally, the tool has a glide damper so you can alter the resistance to suit your own psychotic personality. Also, Bosch is saying that the stability of the blade alignment is much better than in a traditional miter saw.
And as with other Bosch saws, the bevel controls are all up front. Our primary miter saw is a 10" Bosch and this feature alone puts them over the top. Now that they've got this new freaky-deaky arm, things are looking even better.
The street price on this one will be around $700 which is about the price of their current high-end 12" miter saw. It's looking like they're going to be in stores sometime around October.
As we speak (or type and read, rather), Bosch is in the midst of their annual press event. It's when they gather all the toolish writerly types in a room and unveil all the new and innovative tools they're set to release this year. Well, thanks to Twitter (honestly never thought we'd say those words) you can follow along as well.
To get in on the action and see some photos of the new, and completely insane looking, Axial Glide Miter Saw, go follow #GLT10. It's a two day event, so there's sure to be some good stuff tomorrow as well. But man oh man, that saw is going to be tough to beat....
No one is ever going to mistake us for lumberjacks, but we're also not going to pass for city-dwellers either. Because of the wood stove and all the trees on the property, we need a half-way decent chainsaw. We happen to have gotten this Poulan a few years back as a gift from our old boss and we've been using it ever since despite the fact that it's purple and green and has the words 'Wild Thing' printed on the bar (which, thank the heavens, has finally rubbed off).
But aesthetics aside, it starts when we want it to and it cuts when we need it to. We neglect it most of the year and don't pay too much attention to properly winterizing it. From time to time, we have to fiddle with the idle, but that's not a bother. The only thing that's functionally wrong with it is that the pull cord got all tangled up once and in the process of fixing it, we lost a few revolutions of tension, so it hangs a bit loose. No big deal. It still starts.
We don't think a whole lot about the saw (like we said, we sort of neglect it), but what spurred this review was last weekend's project of making a patio/planting bed border out of railroad ties (have you ever tried picking up a railroad tie? Oh man, are they heavy). The front of the patio has a curve in it to follow the driveway, so we had to make a number of relatively precise cuts with the saw. Like all the other times, the saw started right up and acted just like a chainsaw should. It handled the railroad ties without a problem and other than a fine creosote dust on everything and a chain the needs sharpening, all is good in the world.
Seriously, the only problem we have with the saw is the whole "Wild Thing" thing. Had this not been a gift, we would have never purchased it ourselves based on that alone. We think it's just kinda lame. Sort of like the tool equivalent to having neon lights on the under-carriage of your car.
The Wild Thing costs about $150 and as long as you can handle the look of the thing, it's a great choice for someone looking for a reliable homeowner saw without a big price tag.
The manic depth that Milwaukee has achieved with their 12-volt platform is pretty well documented by this point. In addition to the standard tools like drills and saws, they seem more than happy to delve deep into the trades, coming up with things like electrical metering tools and PEX expansion tools. We've gotten our hands on a fair number of their M12 line and have hardly had any complaints at all. It's all very stellar.
Now, or rather, late last year, they added a right angle drill to the mix. They sent us one for something else we were working on (which is here, by the way), and we liked the tool so much, we though we'd mention it on this site as well.
Because it's only constrained by the little 12-volt battery, Milwaukee was able to make the drill very small and the 3-3/4" head is capable of getting into some very tight spots (sorry about the blurry photo). It has a nice paddle switch, so it's easy to use no matter what contorted position you find yourself in, which is good because where right angle drills are concerned, contorted seems to be the norm.
There is also an LED, a 12-position clutch, and a fuel gauge. It's got great power and, if need be, can sink a 3" drywall screw.
The drill comes with a charger and a single battery, which is fine because, face it, if you're getting this, you've either bought into the Milwaukee 12-volt system and you're lousy with batteries, or you're getting it for those times when you absolutely need a right angle drill. If you're looking for your one and only drill, there are better options out there.
The kit costs about $120, which isn't much at all when you start doing the, "what's my time worth?" equation.
There was a bit there when we'd hear of a new oscillating tool release and our eyes would sort of gloss over. After the first big rush of releases, we got a little sick of the tools. But we just noticed this new one and it's price alone makes it worth a mention.
The Genesis GMT15A Oscillating Tool is a paltry $35 at Amazon. It actually has a pretty sharp look about it as well. Who knows what you're going to get at the price, but it might be worth skipping a night out with the fellas in order to find out.
It looks like it comes with the standard assortment of blades and that the chuck can accept Bosch accessories.
We did a little research and can't find any other mention of Genesis tools (other than the non-related rescue tool company - which, by the way, is totally badass and worth checking out here). So who knows what the deal is? We still recommend the Fein to anyone who is looking to really get into oscillating tools, but if you just want something to play around with and the spending purse isn't as heavy as it used to be, maybe give the Genesis a shot. Who knows, there's at least one comment at Amazon that seems at least somewhat satisfied?
Yesterday, we noticed that our latest Popular Mechanics article has been posted up. In this one we put the Ridgid JobMax head to head to head to head to head to head against the all of the tools that it can transform into. We were pretty surprised with the results.
Check out the article here. Also check out the Tool Snob review of the JobMax here.
And if you don't care to read the article, it's worth going to Popular Mechanics just to check out the new redesign. Things are looking pretty slick and it's a big improvement over what they used to have going on.
Watch for a more in-depth review of the H3 in the coming days.
The Makita died this past weekend. Friday, it worked. Sunday, nada. It was a good drill but since we got it on the eve of the big lithium-ion explosion, it always seemed a little heavy and clunky to us. It was durable though...3-1/2 years in our hands is no treat for any tool (and in it's latter days, we were particularly rough with it). There's no doubt that while we had it, it earned its keep.
But now, we're not sure as to where to go from here. Where do you guys stand? What are some of your favorite drills? Drop a comment and let us know.
This last weekend we were wrapping up a visit with the Bro-In-Law and he said, "oh, wait, I've got to show you the Shopsmith!" We were then ushered into the garage and it was there that we saw the magnificent vision that is the Shopsmith. Advertised on their website as 'the five most needed tools - all in the space of a bicycle' the Shopsmith is a phenomenal item for the home woodshop.
The Shopsmith is a revelation of multi-unit engineering (if there even is such a thing). With more shifting parts than Optimus Prime, the tool can quickly assume the form of whichever tool you need next. It's: a table saw, a lathe, a disc sander, a horizontal drill, and a drill press. It's also cool as hell. The one we saw was an older model (it had a band saw too) and it had that great look of an industrial farm tool from the 1950s.
The unit turns on with a nice old-fashioned toggle switch and there's a dial that allows you to change the power to the motor. The dial is marked with the names of the tools, so you know where to set it depending on the use.
To buy the basic package off the shelves it's about $3000, but this is the kind of thing that you can probably scavenge for about half that.
bryon: hay tool snob just a follow up to your review read more Al: girlfriend bought me the saw, thank god i looked up read more R: I've been using the Dewalt version of this tool in read more Kyle: "..simply terrible and dreaded Robertson drives..." ??? I have a read more Kevin: I have the same Irwin set, I agree the mortise read more