September 17, 2009

James Krenov RIP

krenov.jpg

James Krenov died a week ago yesterday. His Cabinetmaker's Notebook, sort of a Zen and the Art of Cabinet Making, was a book that really hit home with us when we first read it, and still to this day, it provides inspiration and clarity.

Around originality there is no doubt a law of diminishing returns; nowadays there has to be. Though maybe we are drowning not so much in the original as in the imitation, in just things. For many of us originality is a pressure; we are being pushed around by people wanting something new, different. Then there's the other pressure of doing the new without borrowing too much from the old, or at least without getting caught at it. Students are forever running to libraries to get various books - on peasant art, Scandinavian modern, Shaker, Colonial, Indian - one this and one that. They fill their heads with all these images, and then frantically try to come up with something of their own. As though you put these ingredients in a kettle, add water, stir, and cook for two hours. What do you get? Pottage. Pea soup.

There's a nice rundown of his life over at Fine Woodworking (here).

Cabinetmaker's Notebook at Amazon.com

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

August 25, 2009

Toolmonger's 7000th Post

tm_7000thpost.jpgToolmonger, the older brother of the tool blogs just last week posted up their 7000th entry. They've been around the longest, but still, this is an insane mile marker. To put things in perspective, we put up, on average, one post every Monday through Friday. At our current rate, we would need almost 27 years to make it to our 7000th post. 27 freakin' years! To say that there is a lot of activity over there is an understatement.

We've met Chuck and Sean and have to say that they're really great guys and we give them a big round of applause for all of their efforts over at Toolmonger. So go and check out the 'Toolmonger 7000th Post Retrospective" at their always impressive site.

Toolmonger 7000th post here.

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

July 20, 2009

Tool Snob Interviews Tools.com

tools_com.jpgThere's a new tool website in the mix. Tools.com recently launched a beta version and are aiming to become a one-stop online resource for the tool consumer. We sent a few questions over to Jim and Alex, the founders of the site and they were nice enough to take the time to answer them.

First, can you give us a brief description of Tools.com?
Tools.com aims to be the largest comparison engine dedicated solely to tools and hardware. We like to think of Tools.com as a great place to research a tool, buy a tool, or just browse and drool over tools.

What caused you to want to start the site?
We were approached by our partners to develop a customer-focused handyman's website to manage the enormous inventory of tools that are sold online.

Where do you see the site in five years?
We'd like not only to provide users with a powerful price comparison engine for tools but also evolve into a one-stop location for information, instructions, and content. For example, if you're building a deck, we'd like you to get all the tools, the plans, questions answered, and even the cold beer at the end of the day from Tools.com.

How on earth did you manage to score that URL?
There are two stories. One is that we won it on a riverboat poker game from Mr. Tools in the late 1890s. The second one is that our partners owned the domain name and approached us with it.

How do you see Tools.com as being different from other sites like ToolCritic and Tool-Rank (or even the comments section at Amazon) that are also in the process of generating review driven tool databases?
We see ourselves as larger and broader than Tool Critic and Tool-Rank, but more focused than Amazon. We think you'll see more differentiating factors as we build out the site.

We saw on the site that you guys are DIYers. Can you expand on that? What sort of projects do you guys tackle? Any horror stories?
I'm always tinkering around the house and drop what I'm doing to fix something when I think of it. I just put up two walls in my new apartment and completely neglected everything else in my life until the project was finished. As far as horror stories, ask Alex why he's not allowed to use an impact wrench.

What are some of your personal favorite tools?
Every time I use a Dremel, I think, this is all I would need on a desert island, but Josh always keeps a Leatherman in his pocket so you can decide.

If Tools.com was an animal, which one would it be and why?
A goat. Because their needs are so simple but they give so much - just like Tools.com. You know?

Check it out for yourself over at Tools.com. At this point they're interested in feedback, so if you have thoughts, they welcome your emails. Or if you want, you can tell us what you think of their site in the comments section of this post and at the end of the week, we'll pick a random comment and if it's yours, we'll send you one of the tools we've got kicking around the shop. So yeah, let us know what you think of tools.com and you might win a little something from Tool Snob.

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

July 14, 2009

Tool Snob Wins Coveted 'Tool Talkie' Award

we_win.jpgThe guys over at CopTool have just put together their first Tool Talkie awards, where they give props to a number of us other Tool Bloggers out there. Tool Snob is honored that we walked away with the 'Most Trusted Reviews' Award. We spend a lot of time trying to present relevant reviews that are helpful to you, the tool consumers, and the acknowledgment from CopTool makes us feel like the weed-smokin', endorsement-losin' guy in the photo.

The winners of the Tool Talkies are all on a megafeed available over at the article.

Check out the Tool Talkies here. Thanks CopTool.

(shameless Quid Pro Quo alert!) If you're buying tools online, always think about Ohio Power Tools as a place to purchase.

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

July 3, 2009

Craftsman Wants Your Ideas

thomas_edison.jpgCorrection 2: This is the first Innovation Showcase. Previously, Craftsman had invited inventors to submit ideas, but this is the first time that they're offerring the opportunity to come out to the Sears HQ and actually present them in person (which is much cooler). Sorry for representin' and then misrepresentin'.

Correction: This ain't the first Innovation Showcase. Thanks to ToolDork for the smackdown.

This year Craftsman is going to hold their first Innovation Showcase in which you, the average wood butcher will be able to present your tool ideas to them for possible marketing and inclusion into the Craftsman line. It's a great opportunity for all you inventors out there. The press release is as follows....

For more than 80 years, Craftsman has supplied customers with the most innovative tools on the market. For the first time, Craftsman is hosting a showcase where innovators can present their most unique product ideas for possible Craftsman merchandising.

Craftsman is looking for tool innovations in the hand tool, power tool, lawn & garden and tool storage categories. If you have an idea that you think will make the cut, send a brief description (100 words or less per product) that indicates which category your idea(s) falls into and the market need it fulfills, to the below email by July 13, 2009. Products do not need to be in finished form and you can submit as many as you like. All correspondence will be completely confidential.

If determined a good fit for Craftsman, you could be invited to register for the Showcase, where you will have 30 minutes to an hour to privately present the product(s) at Sears' headquarters in Hoffman Estates, IL to a panel of judges from the brand management, product development, and product management teams. Your product could be chosen to be put in development by Craftsman.

All participants are responsible for their own travel accommodations, shipping and/or transportation costs.

Submit product description to Louise Chang, Craftsman Innovation Showcase Coordinator, at lchang1@searshc.com

More information on Craftsman Tools at Craftsman.com.

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

June 15, 2009

New Tools From Milwaukee

MIlwaukee_tools.jpg

Last week we were lucky enough to go out to the Milwaukee Tools HQ to get a glimpse at some of the new releases they've got all geared up for this year. As one of our favorite tool companies, they didn't disappoint with the sheer variety and usefulness of their new tools and accessories.

A few of the highlights of what we saw were...

Milwaukee_cordless_bandsaw.jpg18-Volt Cordless Bandsaw - They're still putting the finishing touches on this one, but were nice enough to let us try it out and, honestly, it's the kind of tool that makes us wish we had taken up plumbing instead of carpentry. It's got a whole lot of power but it's light enough to easily work with both above your head and in tight spaces. Having an awareness of how people will be using it, Milwaukee has made the shoe retractable, so the tool is able to cut a pipe that's already attached to a wall. It's one of those tools that makes your chest swell a bit when you hold it. There will also be a corded version available and both will be hitting the market probably in October.

Milwaukee_shockwave.jpgShockwave Driver Bits - This is one of those ideas that, once you hear it, you wonder why it took so long for someone to think it up. Driver bits built specifically for impact drivers. Anyone who spends time on a job site these days (like we do), knows that impact drivers are taking over. That said, they really do a number on driver bits so Milwaukee has tailored this new line to withstand the abuse. In addition to other features, the new bits have a slight degree of flexibility in order to handle the added intensity of the impact driver.

Milwaukee_PVC_Cutter.jpgCordless Tubing Cutter - Much like their copper pipe cutter from last year, this one is a real niche tool. We tried it out and it had no problem slicing up pex and pvc. It has a great feel and possibly the power to do a little topiary sculpting as well.

Testing and Measurement Tools - This is a new area for Milwaukee, but judging from what we saw, they're going to quickly establish themselves in the market. Of the tools, the most interesting is the Sub-Scanner which is sort of like an amped up, battle-crazed stud finder. It can be used to find studs and pipes in walls and ceilings, as well as rebar in concrete. The cool thing about it is that it lets you know the exact depth of what it is you're finding, so if you only have one option for placing that pipe hanger, you'll know that only a 2" screw will work because of the rebar that's hidden in the wall.

Those are just some of the highlights and by no means a complete overview of what we saw. Milwaukee is also rolling out some nice 12-volt LED flashlights, a 12-volt power port, a very cool looking mini-radio, oh and about a thousand new grinders.

Follow the action over at Milwaukee Tools.

Milwaukee tools at Amazon.com

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

May 12, 2009

Popular Mechanics Editor's Choice Awards from the Hardware Show

ch_hanson_ball_level.jpg

If there ever was a beauty pageant for the tool lover, it's the National Hardware Show (in Vegas no less). All of the latest and greatest tools are exhibited and the Judge Judys of the tool world (i.e. magazine editors, freelance writers, and obnoxious bloggers like us, etc) are on hand to snoop, sniff, and generally suss out the successes from the failures. Popular Mechanics was on hand for the event and they've released their thoughts on the best tools to emerge from this year's crop.

Looking at their list makes us wish we had made the trip out to the show. They've collected some tools we're familiar with, like the Goldblatt Blade Runner and the amazing Nail Jack (our review here), but they've also found a few things that we've yet to see or even hear about, such as the Little Giant Six-Foot Step Ladder, the Deck Wrecker, and an amazing looking level from C.H. Hanson.

We're hoping to get a closer look at some of these tools in the upcoming days, but in the meantime, do yourself a favor and check out the list at Popular Mechanics.

Best of 2009 Hardware Show at Popular Mechanics

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

May 5, 2009

VPX RIP

B_d_vpx.jpgWe were just researching the new Milwaukee 12-Volt Power Port when we remembered that Black & Decker had released something similar way back in October 2007 as part of their VPX line. We did a quick check over at the VPX micro-site and discovered that at some point the line was taken behind the woodshed and dispatched with. The site now contains little more than a shadowy picture of the VPX battery and a notice that the line has been discontinued.

We wrote about the VPX line when they were released, but really never heard much else about them. We saw them once in a Home Depot and thought that they felt pretty cheap and we had a few conversations with our readers who all thought the same. Still, we liked the idea that Black & Decker was going to make a battery system that would go beyond standard power tools and get into things like air inflators, hand vacs, power sources, etc.. But apparently no one really bought into the idea. Our guess is that this is old news considering the VPX sale we stumbled across over a year ago.

It looks like the tools are still available at Amazon for some pretty low prices if you're interested.

At Amazon.com

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

April 28, 2009

Tools.com?

tools_com.jpgWe've seen references in a few places about the launch of a new site called tools.com. Currently the site is nothing more than a placeholder with some extensive legal disclaimers and a place to leave your email address so you can be notified when the site officially launches. The tag line, "the right tool at the right price," makes us to think it's some sort of retail/price comparison site, maybe with a reader ranking system like over at Tool-Rank and ToolCritic or possibly some kind of auction site. Judging from the detailed legal disclaimers, it's either backed by a little coin or someone has a kickass legalzoom.com account. We're also pretty intrigued by the line, "Our site is not directed towards children 13 years of age or younger..." Sweet.

No matter what it is, 'the best thing to happen to tools since electricity' is quite a claim, particularly after watching an episode of Hot for Tools. So head on over to tools.com and log in to get alerted when the site launches. Or if you don't want to, we've done it and we'll probably post something here when it all goes down.

Tools.com

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

April 23, 2009

Nail Jack Purchase of Irwin Factory Falls Through

Thumbnail image for nailjack.jpgWe just got wind of the bad news that Nail Jack's attempt to purchase the Nebraskan tool factory that Iriwn left behind upon moving manufacturing to China is not going to happen. It looks like it came down to a money issue. According to a story in the Omaha World Herald, Michael Foley, co-founder of Nail Jack finally reached the breaking point on how much money to put into the purchase, forfeiting the $70,000 he already put down. Ouch.

The story is here and we have to warn you that it's not very cheerful. But if you're looking for something positive to read, you should check out our review of the Nail Jack (here).

As always, we'd like to thank Tool Crib for keeping us up on this story and for introducing us to the Nail Jack. Their latest post on the factory purchase is here.

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

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