April 21, 2009

Cool Tools is Looking for an Editor

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Cool Tools
(the website, not the TV show) is currently looking for an editor to take over for at least a few months while Kevin Kelly finishes up his book. This is a good opportunity for anyone out there who reads sites like Tool Snob and thinks that they could do a far better job of it because running a daily website is totally easy.

If you're a writer with an interest in all of the odd little items that make life easier, you should consider applying. Not only would it be a good experience, but Cool Tools would be an great site to be associated with. Don't fool yourself though, there's a decent workload associated with the position. Posting every day takes a lot of time, especially at first.

There are details on what they're looking for, how much you'll be paid, and how to apply here.

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

April 20, 2009

Bosch Full Force Pneumatic Nail Guns

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If the tool industry was an above ground pool, last week Bosch was the 300 pound man cannonballing into the center of it. While the company is doing a lot that is impressive, the waves and splashes mostly emanate from the release of their new line of pneumatic tools.

This is a wonderfully aggressive move for a couple of reasons. First, until now, Bosch hasn't shown any interest at all in the pneumatic category, seemingly content to leave that arena to Hitachi, Paslode, Bostitich, Senco and all of the other companies known for their quality air tools. Secondly, because they're bosch, they're not going to simply release a line of tools that is equal to or even slightly above the competition, they felt the need to throw the long ball and redesign the category from the ground up.

The chief advancement of the new Bosch nailers has to do with something as seemingly boring as resetting the nailing piston. If you take a look at the framing gun you have out in the garage, the first thing you'll notice is how bulbous the body is. This is because when you pull the trigger the firing piston not only shoots the nail, but it also directs some of the air into something called a 'return chamber,' which then becomes pressurized and causes the piston to reset. Bosch and their engineering mentats saw a way to remove this return chamber completely by having the release of the trigger set off a second, smaller blast of air that does the job of resetting the piston. The two chief benefits of this development are 1) air is no longer wasted in the return chamber resulting in a stronger gun (10%, according to Bosch) and 2) without the added bulk of the return chamber, the guns can be slimmed down considerably (20% smaller, according to Bosch).

We were lucky enough to get our hands on these new nail guns and we have to admit that they are very impressive. The majority of the size reduction seemed to have taken place in the width of the tools, giving the line a very sleek and streamlined feel. And from what little we got to test them out, we really liked what we saw in the power department.

Bosch is leading off the line with the release of two framers, one full head and one clipped head. May will see the release of two wheelbarrow compressors, and the rest of the current lineup will hit in July; an angled finish nailer, a straight finish nailer, a coil roofing nailer, a narrow crown stapler, a brad nailer, and three hand-carry compressors. Our guess is that it won't be long before we see a 23-gauge pinner as well.

Now how about price? The Full Force guns are hitting the market as top of the line items and therefore aren't exactly being given away. As a reference point, Amazon looks like it will be selling Bosch's 15-gauge angle finish nailer for about $225. The Senco and Porter-Cable, both quite high end are going for just a hair less than $200. Most other models average out to a price of about $150-$170. So the Bosch are definitely more expensive, but it all comes down to that crucial cost/save analysis. From what we saw (and felt) of these tools, $25, $35, $65 isn't a whole lot of additional investment for what you're getting in return.

Like we said earlier, it's a bold move by Bosch and one we suspect will pay off in the long run.

Bosch Full Force Pneumatics at Amazon.com

Here's a video we found that does a nice job of describing how Bosch removed the air chamber...

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

April 17, 2009

Bosch Did What?

Here's something to chew on over the weekend. More to come soon...

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bosch_finish_nailer.jpg

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

March 9, 2009

Husky Tools: The Assimilation is Complete

borg.jpgWe just tried checking the Husky website (http://www.huskytools.com) to see if they had anything new to offer and it appears that the site doesn't even exist anymore. Our bookmark redirected us right to Home Depot's front page. We did a search of 'Husky" there and got 222 product results, but because of the way the Home Depot website is set up, there's no way to see if they have any new or interesting products out. There's not even a Husky sub-site or anything. They've just been completely dissolved into the larger entity.

While we're not anti-Home Depot by any stretch, we think it's too bad that a tool maker like Husky no longer has their own identity, even if it has been apparent for some time that they've become specifically a Home Depot brand.

In a way, this really isn't all that surprising. Since we started writing Tool Snob, over two years ago, the Husky website has been updated maybe once.

In related news, the other day we noticed that the Husky Stubby set is back in stores. Our review of those tools is here.

Husky Tools at Home Depot

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

February 24, 2009

Craftsman Videos at Popular Mechanics

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Craftsman has a bunch of videos over at Popular Mechanics featuring some of their new tools. We're usually a bit suspect of these sorts of promotions, but this one features our pal Mark Clement. Since we know Mark and are convinced that he would never tell a lie, we're on board for what he has to say about the tools.

There are a lot of videos here on everything from the new Vibra-Free Sander to some hand wrenches to this cool vehicle diagnostic unit that we've never even seen before. The videos are clear and concise and offer nice introductions of the tools as well as Mark's impressions of them.

It's worth mentioning that Mark has a lot more luck with the Auto Hammer than we did. In the video, he was able to drive galvanized nails into pressure-treated wood without any of the problems that we had here and here.

Check out the videos here.

Craftsman tools at Sears

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

February 20, 2009

Tool Snob: A Two Year Retrospective

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Yesterday, Tool Snob turned a whopping two years old. After some routine celebration (pictured), it occurred to us that we should honor this prophecy-breaking, logic-defying event with a sort of Tool Snob Retrospective. So we went and collected together the articles that come to mind when we think back over the past two years. In most cases, they're not the most popular or the ones that got linked to by anyone important, but just some of the ones that, for one reason or another, stick out in our memory...

(cue music)

DeWalt Offers Saw Blade Sharpening Service - This was our first official post (there is actually one before it, on a snow blower, that was a test post done by someone else). It's an ok post, but pretty lame for the big opener. Wouldn't you think we'd have done something on a Festool track saw or maybe a new Bosch release? Nope, we thought we would underwhelm you with DeWalt's new sharpening service. By setting the bar so low, there was really no where to go but up.

Ridgid Fuego - This was one of our first real reviews. We have fond memories of climbing up the ladder and dropping the saw, just to make sure that the footplate would, as the product literature states, survive such a tumble (it did). It's also worth noting the ridiculous length of the review. It's like Herman Melville without the talent.

Pole Wrap - This is an interesting little product that dresses up a lally column. The post had the line, "[Pole-Wrap] wrap[s] around the Lally column, making it look not so much like a stripper's pole and more like a piece of intentional architecture." Simple enough right? We thought so, until we started getting all sorts of traffic from people searching for, "how to build stripper's pole," and "install stripper's pole in basement." It was our first real lesson on search terms.

Ryobi 4-Volt Li-Ion Screwdriver - It's funny, but sometimes we get all excited about a post and it turns out that no one really cares. With all the insanity over Ryobi's four-piece li-ion kit, we were sure that our post on the 4-volt would be popular. In reality though, not so much. Maybe ten of you read it.

Arbortech AS160 Brick and Mortar Saw- Then there are times when the opposite happens. We saw the Arbortech AS160 at a trade show and thought it was a cool item, so we wrote up a piece on it. We had never heard of the company and we thought the saw was a real niche tool and that the article would quickly disappear into the shadowy depths of the Tool Snob archives. But the word got out and people were searching for it, so over time it became one of the most popular things we've ever put up on the site. Go figure.

Cadex CPB23.50 23 Gauge Pinner - Of all the tools we've reviewed over the past two years, this one might be the finest. It's not necessarily our favorite (although it might be), but it's a complete stand-out in the arena of quality. We get a little buzz each time we hold the thing.

Keith Walendowski: American Hero - We love Keith and all that he represents.

...And there it is. Thanks to everyone for reading.

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

November 27, 2008

Q & A with Cool Tools' Chris Grundy

grundy.jpgWe had the opportunity to email Chris Grundy (the host of DIY Network's Cool Tools) some questions and he was good enough to give us some answers....

1. What do you think of the cordless 36-volt tool systems (Bosch, DeWalt)? Isn't 18-volts enough, or do you think that there are enough occasions where the extra power is needed to warrant 36-volts?

The additional run time for the more power hungry tools like saws definitely make it worth it for pros on the jobsite or serious DIYers that don't want to get tangled in extensions or working with an umbilical cord of power just is not an option.

2. Do you have a favorite out of the new crop of oscillating tools? Rockwell, Dremel, Bosch, others?

I haven't tried the Rockwell yet. As for the others - gotta love that the Bosch is cordless but Dremel's pricing on the tool and accessories brings this handy tool to everyone, including the folks that didn't even know that they could work without it. We can't forget the Fein Multimaster either. It was the original oscillating tool and is still a great choice - it's well engineered tool though often a little pricier than the competition.

3. Festool Kapex...worth it?

Worth it?...Please, is my Ferrari worth it? I could still be driving my Pacer but it just doesn't handle the same. The Festool systems are important when you want the ultimate accuracy and that comes with an ultimate price tag. I know, I know "It's not the tools it's the craftsman", riiiight... ask Tiger Woods to play with a hockey stick. It never hurts to have the best possible club in your bag. And I also find it exciting in the way they are inspiring the rest of the industry to kick it up a notch.

We've actually never seen Cool Tools because we scrapped our cable service in a fit of disgust over a year ago, but we've seen clips and it looks pretty cool if you can handle Grundy's heavily-caffeinated personality. They will be airing a special "Holiday Blitz" of Cool Tools episodes for the Thanksgiving weekend (starting 11/27 through 11/30), and the new season of Cool Tools will air immediately after the Holiday Blitz on Thursdays at 9pm. So check that out and let us know how it is.

More information about the show is here. It looks like they've also got a contest with a $15,000 cash prize.

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

November 21, 2008

Nail Jack to Purchase Vise-Grip Factory?

nailhunter.jpgThe guys over at Tool Crib have broken an interesting story about the fate of a Nebraskan tool factory. It appears that Irwin, makers of Vise-Grip tools has decided to pull up stakes and relocate their manufacturing to China, which leaves a bit of a vacuum for all of the workers at this factory. But it seems that Nail Jack, an innovative new company, has entered in negotiations to buy up the location. According to Tool Crib, many of the employees of Irwin would be able to continue working at the same factory, just with a different employer.

From what we can tell, Nail Jack makes two nail pulling devices; the Nail Jack and the Nail Hammer, both of which are sort of a pliers/pry bar hybrid. They look like smart tools and potentially very popular.

There's more to this story, including the history of the Vise-Grip factory, but there's no point in us repeating everything you can read first hand over at Tool Crib. They've done their research and it shows. There's even some impressive video of the Nail Jack in action.

Read the article at Tool Crib here.
Check out Nail Jack (the company) here and Nail Jack (the tool) here.

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

November 11, 2008

Popular Science: Best of What's New 2008

bown_header.gifEach year, Popular Science culls through the latest innovations and inventions to create their comprehensive Best of What's New Issue. It's a huge undertaking and the results are worth at least a 1/2 hour of your internet browsing time.

They just went live with their website for this year's issue and you should go there and check out all the winners. Obviously, we're most interested in the 'Home Tech' category, but, like we said, it's a site built for browsing, and all of the selections are, at the very least, interesting.

And while you're over at their site, check out the article on DeWalt's new corded technology. We covered the basics the other day, but they actually get a look inside the motor and explain why the new tools are so powerful. Read the article here.

Check out Popular Science's Best of What's New list here.

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

July 3, 2008

Layoffs at Hyde Tools

hyde_6_in_1.jpgIt was announced last week that Hyde Tools made the decision to layoff 14 workers (approx. 7% of its workforce). An article on the subject, appearing in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette News, states,

Hyde Tools president Richard M. Clemence cited a downturn in housing starts, falling home prices and a drop in revenues for such home improvement retailers as Lowe's, Home Depot and Ace Hardware.

"This is tough for all of us," Mr. Clemence said in a statement. "We have no choice but to flex to meet the industry decline. We simply have to buckle down."

We hope this trend doesn't continue both for the employees sakes and our own. One of our all time favorite tools is their 6 in 1 (if you don't have one of these, you're really missing out).

Read the article here.

Hyde 6 in 1 at Amazon.com
Other Hyde Tools at Amazon.com

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

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