February 10, 2014

The Renovation

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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.

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Read More in: Our House

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February 3, 2014

Craftsman Snow Blower Finder

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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

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January 22, 2014

Bosch CSW41 Worm Drive

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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:

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Read More in: Power Tools

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January 16, 2014

Bostitch BTC400LB 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Drill/Driver

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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.

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).

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Read More in: All Reviews | Cordless | Lithium-Ion

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January 14, 2014

Klein Compact Ratcheting Modular Crimper - Review

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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.

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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

Doug Mahoney Permalink | Comments (0) social bookmarking

January 7, 2014

Bosch CM8S 8-1/2" Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw

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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.

At Amazon

Ye olde press release is after the jump:

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December 16, 2013

3M Patch Plus Primer - Review

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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...

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Read More in: All Reviews | Painting

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December 2, 2013

Rockwell 4-1/2 Inch Circular Saw - Review

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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...

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Read More in: All Reviews | Power Tools

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November 22, 2013

John Deere X700 Signature Series

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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.

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Read More in: Lawn/Garden

Doug Mahoney Permalink | Comments (0) social bookmarking

November 21, 2013

Klein Multi-Bit Power Driver - Review

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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.

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Read More in: All Reviews | Power Tool Accessories

Doug Mahoney Permalink | Comments (1) social bookmarking

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