March 21, 2014
This actually happened sometime last year and we keep meaning to mention it. Better late than never, I guess. But if you're a hardcore tool type and this is boring, old news to you...well, sorry 'bout that.
But yeah, Ridgid's new website is about a million times better than the old one. It's organized in a much better fashion and really puts a good presentation on the company's tools. We're fans of Ridgid and like the new look.
Check it out here: Ridgid.com
Read More in: Distractions | Tool News
March 19, 2014
Klein has just announced the release of their new All Purpose Pliers, which basically look like long nose pliers with some wire-stripping abilities. According to Klein, the tool...
can strip, cut, and loop 8-16 AWG solid and 10-18 AWG stranded wire, plus it has screw shearing holes. These pliers are built of forged steel with induction-hardened cutting knives for maximum durability and long life. The hot-riveted joint also ensures smooth action and no handle wobble. This tool is spring-loaded for self-opening action and features Klein's dual-material Journeyman™ handles that provide a firm grip and added comfort.
These have a lot of the same vibe as the Milwaukee 6-in-1 Pliers, but there are some differences. The nose of the Milwaukee has serrations on it for reaming out conduit, but it also has a angular nose that has quite a bit less taper to it than standard long nose pliers. The Klein has a more traditional look and is spring loaded, if you're partial to that style.
Either way, the fact that these two companies have invested some resources into this style of combination tool means that it's likely more will follow suit.
Oh, and the Klein comes with the Journeyman handles, which is really good. We've been using their standard Journeyman Long Nose Pliers quite a bit lately and the handles are definitely a high point. Very comfortable and durable.
We didn't get word on pricing, but Amazon has the Klein Journeyman at just over $30 and the Milwaukee's at just under $30, so our guess is that the All-Purpose will settle in somewhere around there.
Read More in: Hand Tools
March 17, 2014
"ssshhhh! I'm mowing the lawn."
Craftsman has just released two mowers with something called "Quiet Technology," which, as you would assume, makes the mowers much quieter than the norm. How quieter, you ask? According to Craftsman, it's 65% quieter than a comparable Toro, which is significant (but still, don't expect to be able to run one of these down the center aisle of the local library). The company has also redesigned the blade so that it also makes less noise. All of this quiet sauce is the result of a partnership with Briggs & Stratton, the reputable engine manufacturer.
So now, disturbing the neighbors will no longer work as an excuse not to mow the lawn. Lucky you.
There are two models available; a front wheel drive and an all wheel drive.
Here are some highlights taken from the press release:
The OHV Briggs & Stratton 725 series engine featuring Quiet Power TechnologyTM works together with the mowing blade to provide superior sound reduction and improved quality of sound.
Features the Craftsman-exclusive Smooth StartTM plus starting system and EZ push button start, making it quick and easy to start the engine.
The Briggs & Stratton 725 Series engine is backed by the Briggs & Stratton Starting PromiseTM - "starts in 2 pulls or we'll fix it for free."
Offers a 22-in. 3-in-1 deck, allowing for simple bagging, mulching and side discharging, with a four-point deck adjustment.
Includes Craftsman-exclusive EZ Bagging AccessTM for single-handed bag removal while disposing your clippings.
EZ Walk Dual Trigger Drive ControlTM and 8-in. rear wheels for added ease and smooth operation.
Craftsman-exclusive EZ Store HandleTM provides a quick and easy handle adjustment for single-handed bagger removal, multiple users and storage.
Front-Drive ($325) at Sears and All-Wheel ($475) at Sears
Read More in: Lawn/Garden
February 13, 2014
Well, this is interesting. While researching for another article, I just ran across this little fella at the Craftsman website. It's a cordless brad nailer and it looks like it carries a lot of the same mojo as the Ryobi AirStrike which was released last year (our review is here).
Both tools can handle 18-gauge brads from 5/8 to 2-inch. They both have LEDs and two firing modes. Belt hooks, you name it...they're pretty similar.
I'm a big fan of the AirStrike and think that it really opens up nail guns to the non-pro crowd. Compressors are a hassle and not everyone wants to deal with them, and the cordless nail guns that are already on the market are priced waaaay too high for the casual user. So here comes Ryobi, and now Craftsman, both well established brands with solid battery platforms offering a relatively inexpensive ($130 for the Ryobi, $140 for the Craftsman) nailing options.
So as far as which one to get, it probably comes down to a couple questions:
1. Do you already have any 18-volt Craftsman or Ryobi tools?
If none, proceed to question #2.
2. Which is closer: Home Depot or Sears?
Speedshot at Sears ($219 with Charger and one battery) and bare tool at Craftsman.com
Read More in: Air Tools | Cordless | Lithium-Ion
February 12, 2014
We split our scribing needs between a set of dividers and whatever block of wood we have on hand. Honestly, unless we need to be precise to the 1/64th, we generally opt for a block of wood. This method may not carry with it the finesse of the dividers, but it provides a stable surface to hold the pencil against and it's very easy to keep the pencil tip in line with the scribed surface. Dividers are definitely more precise but if you accidentally shift the angle of your hand, things can go awry. The needle end can also get hung up on things from time to time and there's the potential for the adjustment to slip, especially if you're keeping them set for multiple scribes. On top of all this, they're delicate, so some caution has to be taken with their storage.
Well some smart dude recently took the wooden block idea and ramped it up to Ferrari status with something called the Simple Scribe. It's a very oddly-shaped tool that completely stabilizes the pencil and lets you choose between seven different scribe distances. About a month ago, they sent us one and while it may not fulfill 100% of our scribing needs, it handles most of them with ease. To the point where it has even secured a coveted spot in the toolbelt. Continue reading: "Simple Scribe - Review"
Read More in: All Reviews | Hand Tools
February 10, 2014
This post could also be called "why Tool Snob doesn't get updated on a regular basis anymore." For the past two years, I've been heavily involved with fully gutting my house and adding a good-sized addition to it. Things are coming to a close...tons of painting left to do, some trim, and one more bathroom to tile. That may sound like a lot, but it's about 0.0000000000000034% of what I've been through already.
I've been planning all kinds of renovation posts...before and after...MVP tools...my general advice if you're thinking about undertaking a massive-scope renovation...but it will take some time to put those together. So instead, here are a bunch of photos I took.
Above is the day the insulation guys showed up. There's plenty more after the jump. Continue reading: "The Renovation"
Read More in: Our House
February 3, 2014
With all of the snow these days, it's likely that you're thinking about setting fire to your snow shovel and investing in a snow blower. Ah, but which one to get? There are a lot of options to choose from and it can be tough to wade through the mumbo-jumbo of all the features.
But Craftsman to the rescue! They've posted up a cool snow blower finder that helps you match up your needs with the tool that's going to help you clear 11-inches of powdered hell from your driveway.
It's obviously 100% geared toward Craftsman snow blowers (which is fine, everything we've heard about them has been positive), but you can also use it as a more universal tool to see where you're at with general needs of the snow blower (dual stage vs. single stage, etc.). It's a good online stop to start getting some guidelines on what to get. It's a big purchase, so you might as well get as many opinions as possible.
Check it out here.
All other Craftsman tools are here at their site.
Read More in: Snow Removal
January 22, 2014
File this under: "things we saw a comin'."
So last year Skil released their MAG77LT worm drive which was some great news (our review here). Our experience with the saw was a really positive one. It's a fantastic tool and very worthy of the Skil worm drive label.
It's no secret that Bosch owns Skil and that in certain areas there is some "technological cross-pollination" between the brands. So based on the success of the MAG77LT, it was really just a matter of time before we saw the same saw (or at least one that is very similar) painted blue.
And here it is! The Bosch CSW41 Worm Drive! It looks prettttty similar. There are probably a few little differences here and there, but it doesn't really matter, if it's even "mostly" like the Skil, it's a great tool.
$219 at Amazon
Full press release after the jump: Continue reading: "Bosch CSW41 Worm Drive"
Read More in: Power Tools
January 16, 2014
Update: Bostitch just informed us that the pricing on the drill should be $150 and not the $80 that Amazon is selling it for. Who knows what's going on over at Amazon, but they just bumped the price down another $10 and added "only one left in stock," so go on and get while the Gettins good. Continue reading: "Bostitch BTC400LB 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Drill/Driver"
Sooo...Bostitch is into power tools now. At the moment, they've got a basic line-up; Standard carpenter gear, nothing too fancy. Jigsaws, recips, circ saws type things. No routers or anything specialized. We were curious about the line-up and the quality level, so Bostitch was nice enough to send us one of the 18-volt drills to check out (the flagship tool of just about every product line).
Read More in: All Reviews | Cordless | Lithium-Ion
January 14, 2014
Klein has really been stepping up their game lately. It seems like every week we're getting a new press release announcing a new tool or accessory. Most of them are geared toward the electrician but some, like their great line of tool bags, go beyond that into general interest.
In the category of "electrician's only," they recently hit the scene with a new Compact Ratcheting Modular Crimper. They sent us one to check out.
In the past, about 8 years ago, I used a crimper, exactly once. So, I really don't have much business writing a review of one. To get a sense of the tool, I spoke to my brother-in-law who is a bit of a wiring fanatic. He's constantly rewiring his house by himself. He recently had some Verizon guys there to install some stuff and he ended up taking over and doing the work himself.
But back to the crimper. Klein describes it as:
- All inclusive tool cuts, strips and crimps data and voice cables.
- Cuts and strips CAT6, CAT5e, CAT3 and flat-satin voice cables.
- Crimps 6 and 8 position modular connectors (RJ11, RJ12, RJ45)
- Compact, ergonomic design for natural, single-hand operation.
- About 40% smaller than other crimpers for easy storage.
- Heavy-duty ratchet ensures complete termination.
- Quick reference connector wiring diagrams provided on the tool and downloadable to your mobile device.
- Direct lateral crimp action provides more even, precise contact termination across all pins.
Here's what the Bro-in-Law had to say...
"I have a separate toolbox for doing the electrical stuff around the house; rewire / replace plugs, switches etc., add new outlets, put in new / replacement lights etc. If I can find a Klein tool to do the job, I'll buy it. They tend to be expensive but worth the cost in the long run due to their durability and reliability. Making data and phone cables can be a painful process with the wrong crimper tool... I have a non-Klein crimp tool made by IDEAL that has a bit of a problem cutting the wire prior to crimping. I like the quick reference connector wiring diagrams that can be downloaded because I just don't do enough cables to remember the wiring off the top of my head (someone doing it every day would probably not need this feature). And the idea of a smaller crimp tool is great because my box is already stuffed. Cool that it does all the CAT types."
So yeah, there you go...now you know at least a little about the tool...and my brother-in-law...
It's a little over $30 at Amazon
Read More in: All Reviews | Electrical
January 7, 2014
Well, this is something worth writing about. Bosch has just announced an 8-1/2" miter saw and it looks pretty slick.
We've always been advocates of 10" miter saws over their HGH-addled 12" siblings. 12" saws are just too big to lug around and the additional size is rarely needed under normal circumstances (we just fully gutted the house and added an addition, and I don't think a 12" saw was ever used at all). Sure there are times when it's handy, but do they really off-set the added hassle of the larger tools? We tend to think not. So we're 10" guys through and through. Our current favorite is the Hitachi because the motor is so smooth and the tool is so light (the onboard laser is total junk, but we don't really care about that).
So in that context, this 8-inch tool is pretty interesting. It's only 37 pounds, which is a big plus, and it appears to have some good long rails on it because it can cross cut up to 12-1/4". So for most day-to day operations, this thing has it covered. Sure, you can't timberframe with it or do some mega crown, but if you're just framing and busting out some normal trim, this could be your guy.
If you're a full time carpenter, this looks like an ideal secondary saw. Just drop it off for the punch list and move your 10 or 12" over to the next job.
Bosch is off-loading these for about $470, which is about right, maybe a shade on the high side. But we've had a lot of experience with Bosch miter saws and overall think they're really nice tools.
Ye olde press release is after the jump: Continue reading: "Bosch CM8S 8-1/2" Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw"
Read More in: Power Tools
December 16, 2013
If you read this site with any regularity, it probably means that you're sick of listening to me complain about painting. I cry and moan about it a lot and now that I'm painting my entire house, I've ratcheted up the ire quite a bit in the last few months. Well, 3M's new Patch Plus Primer is designed to skip a step in painting. They asked if I wanted to try some out and of course I said "oh yeah!" I've been using it for a few weeks and here's what I think... Continue reading: "3M Patch Plus Primer - Review"
Read More in: All Reviews | Painting
December 2, 2013
Rockwell has just hit the scene with a little circular saw. 4-1/2-inch blade, to be exact. This is a good sized step down from the standard 7-1/4 or the increasingly popular 6-1/2 inch blades. These smaller trim saws aren't uncommon, but Rockwell decided to give theirs an "in-line" body style, as opposed to a traditional circular saw body. The result is that it looks like one of those "all-purpose" saws that claims to cut tile, stone, and wood. But given my experiences with those saws, I'm happy to report that this one is nothing like them and thankfully, is only geared towards wood. Rockwell sent us one to check out and here's what we thought... Continue reading: "Rockwell 4-1/2 Inch Circular Saw - Review"
Read More in: All Reviews | Power Tools
November 22, 2013
Because I grew up in Vermont, those super-stiff John Deere mesh baseball hats have a special place in my heart. My childhood is filled with images of ancient farmers with those boxy green and yellow hats perched way up on the tops of their nearly bald heads. What this boils down to is that even though we're heading into winter, I'm going to make note of the new line of mowers that Deere released earlier in the year, the X700 Signature Series.
These tractors have a lot to offer, but it's the Auto-Connect that is the real stand out. It's a great solution to taking the mower on and off the tractor. Here's a video:
The tractor also got awarded a "Best of What's New" from Popular Science, which is no small bag o peas.
The tractor is about 10K, but as we all know, nothing runs like a Deere (full press release with tons more info and all the rest of the features is after the jump).
Also, pick up one of the great old boxy JD hats at Amazon. Or if that's not your style, they have other ones that have a more "this century" feel to them. Like this one. It's a cool hat, I used to have one similar to it that we wore all the time. That hat started a lot of conversations, but not any more because it got stolen by some lowlife a couple years ago. Continue reading: "John Deere X700 Signature Series"
Read More in: Lawn/Garden
November 21, 2013
Klein has a very distinctive style of screwdriver. It has a reversible shaft and at each end fits a reversible bit. Also, the hex ends (which are different sizes) can be used as nut drivers. Its a clever way to have multiple driver tips at quick disposal. We were happy to see that they've also released something called the Multi-Bit Power Driver. It's an accessory that takes that same concept and puts it on the end of your drill or impact driver. They have two sizes available; one holds five different drivers and the other six.
Klein was nice enough to send us a sample of each to check out and we pretty impressed with them. There's not a whole lot to say, really. They're easy to use, convenient, and, according to Klein, rated for impact guns. Continue reading: "Klein Multi-Bit Power Driver - Review"
Read More in: All Reviews | Power Tool Accessories
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