October 18, 2010

RotoZip UK: Devoured by Bosch

rotozip_logo.gifIt's no secret that RotoZip is owned by Bosch (as are Dremel, CST/berger, and Vermont American), but we just noticed here that...

From July 2010 onwards, the system tool manufacturer RotoZip will cease to produce and introduce new products for the European market. The technology of RotoZip will be integrated into the Bosch Professional product portfolio.

Seeing as RotoZip US is on the verge of launching the ZipSaw, their first expansion beyond their line of spiral saws, it's unlikely that anything like this is going to happen in the states. Maybe, as a brand, the company never took off in Europe. Any Euro-Readers out there have any insight on this one?

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

October 14, 2010

Bosch Announces Partnership with Perceptron

perceptron.jpg

Looks like it won't be long before we start seeing Bosch inspection cameras. Big Blue just yesterday announced a partnership with Perceptron, a company specifically dedicated to optical devices and apparently the makers of the first inspection camera.

As we started digging through the Perceptron website, we began to get all worked up in a tizzy up over this. We can't even understand the purpose of easily 2/3rds of their products, so thinking of ways that all this crazy technology could be distilled down to the contractor world gave us that euphoric nitrous balloon feeling. Could Bosch be completely blowing the doors off the inspection world? And then we stumbled across this...

The first commercial [visual inspection] product, the Ridgid® SeeSnake® micro™ inspection camera, was launched in 2007 through a partnership with Ridge Tool Company. The SeeSnake® micro™ allows users to easily perform visual inspections in hard to reach areas.

and then this,

Perceptron introduced its second major product for Ridge Tool, the Ridgid® microEXPLORER™ Digital Inspection Camera, in July 2008. The microEXPLORER™ takes inspection to the next level with it's ability to capture still images or record videos for diagnosing and solving difficult problems. In October 2008, CBU released the second generation of the SeeSnake® micro™.

There's also information on Perceptron partnering with Snap-On for inspection devices targeting the mechanic. So there is the possibility that the partnership will be similar to Ridgid's and may only be about an inspection camera and little else.

We'll see though. We hope we're wrong. We want to see fireworks.

Press release after the jump...

ArrowContinue reading: "Bosch Announces Partnership with Perceptron"

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

July 30, 2010

Ohio Tool Racing Championships 2010

Power_tool_races_2010.jpg

It's time to start thinking about the second annual Power Tool Drag Races put on by the Columbus Idea Foundry. If you've never seen any Power Tool Races, it's sort of like Mad Max meets the Lilliputians from Gulliver's Travels; it's post apocalyptic and dangerous, but it all happens below knee level. The whole thing is a great pu-pu platter of creativity, deconstruction, reconstruction, adaptation, and teeth-grinding danger.

Here is some great news coverage of last year's event (great, minus the ha-ha, chortle-chortle mindless banter of the newscasters at the end). It gives a good idea of the people and sights you can expect to see.

So if you live in Ohio, or any state that touches Ohio, or any state that contains any of the letters, "o," "h," "i," or "o," you should mark August 31st on your calendar and head to the races.

For more information (including classes on how to make your own racer), visit www.toolraces.com

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

July 26, 2010

Milwaukee 2010 Product Symposium

Milwaukee_wall_o_tools.jpg

The reason we were so light on posts last week is that we were lucky enough to be at Milwaukee's annual Product Symposium. While there, we ate some great food, hung out with a solid group of our tool-writer pals, enjoyed a lot of great conversations with the Milwaukee crowd, and most importantly had the opportunity to get a look at this year's line of new tools.

The nitty-gritty of the event has been covered by a few of our fellow compatriots here and here, so we're going to stick to just a few thoughts on some of the new items that we saw...

ArrowContinue reading: "Milwaukee 2010 Product Symposium"

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

July 12, 2010

Channellock Unveils a New Website

channellock_logo.jpgChannellock, makers many fine pliers and wrenches, have just sent out word that they've completely redesigned their website. We remember the old one and can only say that the new one is a VAST improvement. Not only is it easy to navigate with all the right tool information, but they also have a virtual tour of the Channellock factory which has to be one of the cooler things we've ever seen on a tool company website.

Check out the site here or go straight to the factory tour here.

Channellock tools Amazon.com

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

June 28, 2010

DeWalt Releases 12-Volt Max Tools

dewalt_12v_line.jpg

Last week, we were privileged to be invited to the Baltimore HQ of DeWalt for the launch of their new line of 12-volt tools. While there for the two-day event, we took in a Orioles game (from the Jim Palmer Party Suite...woot!) had a few brews at the hotel bar with some of our fellow tool writers, and the next morning, got to check out the tools.

There are seven tools in the release. They are:

1. DCF610S2 1/4" Screwdriver
2. DCD7102S 3/8" Drill/Driver
3. DCF815S2 Impact Driver
4. DCF813S2 Impact Wrench
5. DCT410S1 Inspection Camera
6. DCT414S1 IR Thermometer
7. DCL510 Work Light

dewalt_12v_flashlight.jpgThe most interesting thing that DeWalt did with these tools was to opt to use the traditional rectangular battery configuration as opposed to the cylindrical style that Bosch and Milwaukee use. This allows for the handle to be thinner (because the battery isn't in it) and for the weight of the tool to be distributed on both sides of the grip, making for a much nicer hold. The Hitachi tools released over a year ago did the same thing, but they left on the battery stem which DeWalt got rid of as well.

We've never had any complaints about the balance on the Milwaukee or the Bosch tools, but when you're holding one of them in one hand and a new DeWalt in the other, the difference is significant. There is no question that the DeWalt feels better and much lighter, due to the smaller handle and weight balance. In fact, we were almost veering towards the opinion that DeWalt might have made the handles too small. We've got some pretty massive paws and our little finger was snugged up right against the battery. With gloves on, the fit would be even tighter.

The tools all have some nice touches to them; the inspection camera has a removable screen; the drivers can handle a 1" bit and have a smart LED configuration that lights up the work area without shadows; and the tools have nice little belt hooks where appropriate. The drills and drivers were powerful when stacked up against the competition and the flashlight has a fantastic design.

dewalt_12v_drill.jpg dewalt_12v_w_milwaukee.jpg

But of the tools, there wasn't much that we hadn't seen before. But that's fine and, in a way, it's DeWalt in a nutshell. They're not a company that's going to throw the long ball and create a tool for every known micro-niche of the HVAC world like Milwaukee is prone to do. No, DeWalt has more of the everyman feel. They're about tough tools for the tradesman, and the tools that they make are the kind that can hop from a plumber to an electrician and then over to a carpenter. There wasn't much flair at the event, but there didn't need to be.

So as it stands now, the tradesman-ready 12-volt world is as such: Makita released a nice driver and a drill/driver and nothing else, which renders them a bit impotent for someone looking for a system to plug into. Hitachi came out of the gate strong with a variety of tools (a mini-recip and a nice right-angle impact driver), but has since been located napping behind the barn. Bosch started strong then seemed to lose their way but now appear to be gearing up again with the release of their incredible PS31-2A drill/driver. DeWalt is now fully into the fray with a solid line of tools and they're no doubt researching (and probably already testing) their next wave. And then there's Milwaukee who is apparently looking into releasing a 12-volt tool for every single action that has ever been taken on a job site. It's interesting to watch all of this develop and we're sure that another chapter in the 12-volt saga will be written in a month when we pack up and head out to Milwaukee for another one of these events.

Oh, and one last thing to all you people who live in Baltimore...get over yourselves and go out and root for your baseball team! Even if they completely blow, you'll still be out and experiencing a game. The one we were at had an attendance so low it didn't even look like there was enough revenue generated to pay the electric bill for the Jumbo-Tron. We live in the vicinity of the over-expensive and always-packed Fenway and don't understand why, if you have the ability to hit up a game, you wouldn't. Also, if you start going now, when they win the Series in fifteen years, you'll be able to say you stuck with them through the worst of it (and boy, oh boy, this sure is the worst of it).

There will be more info on the tools at DeWalt.com/12vmax

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

June 10, 2010

Multi-Function Power Tools

rigid_jobmax_popsci.jpgHere'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.

Read the article here.

Subscribe to Popular Science here or here.

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

November 2, 2009

Stanley Agrees to Acquire Black & Decker

stanley_logo.jpgWell, this is interesting. Stanley Tools has just agreed to acquire (or gobble, if you prefer) Black & Decker, which includes DeWalt and Porter-Cable. The new mega company would have an estimated worth of 8.4 billion dollars. Fax Max is now Massive Max.

We checked out an article at WSJ and it looks like the deal isn't set in stone yet and some feel there might be anti-trust issues to deal with:

The deal does raise issues about limiting competition, said David Balto, former policy director at the Federal Trade Commission under President Bill Clinton. "There are very straightforward antitrust concerns," Balto said. "These are clearly the two major American handtool makers and they compete quite directly on a wide variety of products."

The merger "would hit every handyman in the wallet," said Balto, who isn't connected with the deal.

That last part is awesome!

But we shouldn't jump to any conclusions yet. It'll take some time for the dust to settle on this one, so at this point we can only sit back and watch.

More information at Fine Homebuilding

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

October 4, 2009

We're Moving

beverly_hillbillies.jpgIf you've been wondering why we've been so lame about updating the website, it's because we're in the middle of moving. It's all been very hectic and time-consuming, and unfortunately the website has suffered a bit. At the moment, we've sold our house and are now officially homeless for a week. We close on the new place this Friday. The two real estate transactions have been so bizarre and manic that even Donald Trump would be unsettled. We're going to be updating the site this week, but we might end up taking a day off here and there. Thanks for the patience...

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

September 23, 2009

Krenov Scholarship Fund Drive at Tool Crib

jkrenov.jpgWe mentioned the passing of James Krenov the other day. At the time we didn't get into any details on his life, but one of the things he is known for is that he founded the Fine Woodworking Program at the College of the Redwoods.

So in memory of the self-described 'stubborn old enthusiast,' Tool Crib is donating $5 to the scholarship fund for every comment and newsletter comment that they get (until Oct 15th). They've got a cap of $300, so it would be nice to make sure that they hit that mark, which would mean that some young woodworker might get a chance to go to a great school. For more information on how to activate the donation, click here.

In addition to the scholarship drive, Tool Crib has put together a marvelous compendium of Krenov links. If you've never heard of him and are wondering why we're making such a big hooplah, you can learn more about him there.

We snagged the image from the College of the Redwoods Fine Furniture page (here).

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

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