June 20, 2013
Construction happens fast these days. Communications between client, contractor, designer, subs, and architect go back and forth like a bouncy ball in a shoebox. Part of this is due to the 'cover your ass' mentality that relies on email for the digital paper trail. Another part is that people no longer seem interested in the more efficient method of, well, just picking up a phone. I used to work with a project manager who would literally send hundreds of emails each day. Most of them just asking a single follow-up question to a previous email. Fella, just pick up the phone and it will be all over in about 3 minutes. But anyway, my point is that even crusty construction workers need constant access to a laptop, smartphone, or tablet, and for them, there's the Ridgid 100-Watt Power Inverter. Continue reading: "Ridgid 100-Watt Power Inverter - Review"
Read More in: All Reviews | Cordless | Power Tool Accessories
June 19, 2013
The first time I heard about Kickstarter was when someone told me that multi-bazillionaire Zach Braff was drumming up money to make some unwatchable art film. I think he got 3.1 million dollars or something. I thought the ridiculously high ticket prices were donation enough, but I guess I'm wrong.
But anyway, recently I've found some worthy projects at the site, including my old friend who just raised enough coin to start bottling her own whiskey (now, THAT is worth donating to). And then, this morning, I got an email directing me to another campaign, this one for the Flipout Electric Screwdriver. Continue reading: "Flipout 7.2-Volt Cordless Screwdriver"
Read More in: Cordless | Lithium-Ion
I had a boss once who would refer to his multimeter as "the amazing tool that has a thousand uses, of which we know only two." That sentiment pretty much defines my relationship with the multimeter. I can do a little wiring, but I'm no electrician. I know how to use a multimeter to check voltage and current, but that's about it. Still though, they have that cool tri-corder vibe and if you bust one out in front of a client, it makes you look really intelligent (Oh my, he knows how to use that...he must be good!), so I'm all in favor of them, even if their true capabilities are way, way beyond my simple brain.
Klein has just released two new models and they dropped one of the MM5000 in the mail for us to check out. The MM5000 is certainly impressive looking, even if a large portion of its functionality remains a total mystery. Continue reading: "Klein MM5000 Electrician's TRMS Multimeter - Review"
Read More in: All Reviews | Electrical
June 18, 2013
Good news. Weller is providing one of their new soldering irons for us to give away to one of you. Pretty cool. They've got a couple different models and the one they sent us was the standard duty model. They've all got LEDs at the nose which is always a good feature (wasn't it like five years ago that LEDs didn't come on any tools?) The soldering iron has a very nice ribbed rubber gripping area and above that is a triangular housing where the LEDs live. The thought behind this is that you use the round handle to roll the iron how you want it, then grip the triangular area for working stability. Continue reading: "Weller Soldering Iron Giveaway"
Read More in: Power Tools | Promotions
June 17, 2013
Last week I was lucky enough to get invited to the annual Milwaukee Tools Product Symposium. It's their yearly event where they showcase all of the new things they have coming down the pipeline. And lets just say that this time around, it was a seriously big pipeline. Continue reading: "Milwaukee Tools: Annual Shindig 2013"
Read More in: Cordless | Lithium-Ion | Power Tools | Tool News
June 10, 2013
The average product blog is loaded with fast flowing information that heads in the front door and out the back without even stopping for a high five. Because of this overload, relevant and important posts are buried just as quickly as the lame ones. The format also makes it difficult to do thorough side by side comparisons or full-on category reviews because they take so much time and that just doesn't work with a (nearly) daily schedule.
So anyway, the solution is TheSweetHome. In a way, it's the anti-product-blog. The articles over there are absolutely epic in scope and consist of what have to be the deepest product dives on the internet. The pieces are long, thorough, and very engaging (particularly considering how long and thorough they are). The site just launched a couple weeks ago and I've been part of the team of writers involved with the project. At this point, I've written two pieces (and a third is in the docket). Combined they've taken me about 100 hours of research and writing time. It's safe to say that it's a little different from blog posts that can be done in less than 30 minutes.
So far I've looked at cordless drills and home tool kits. Keep in mind that the audience is the average person and not the un-average gear-head like most of you reading this. While you're at the site, make sure to browse around a bit, there's some pretty fascinating pieces over there.
Read More in: Distractions | Tool News
May 27, 2013
Circular saws generally come in two flavors; sidewinders and worm drives. Sidewinders are what you generally associate with the tool. They're the classic, small-bodied saws with the direct drive motors. Worm drives are quite a bit larger and heavier because they're geared down, exchanging some of that motor speed for more torque.
Over the years I've slowly evolved into a worm drive person. Even though they're heavier than sidewinders, I like them for their never-ending strength and solid handling. Years ago, they were predominantly a west coast thing, but I've been seeing more and more of them here on the east coast. Now with the magical interweb being able to ship whatever where ever, the two saw styles are in the process of fully mingling. Continue reading: "Skil MAG77LT 15-Amp Magnesium Worm Drive - Review"
Read More in: All Reviews | Power Tools
May 21, 2013
ActivArmr, the makers of my current favorite gloves (which I reviewed at Tools of the Trade here) have recently overhauled their website.
The new site is pretty slick and even has a Find-A-Glove feature to help narrow down your search. I've spent time with both the heavy laborer gloves and the carpenter gloves and I can't say enough about them. Unfortunately, the laborer gloves met an interesting demise (see here), but the carpenter gloves are still going strong.
Read More in: Clothing | Safety
May 15, 2013
For the most part my hands look like they belong on someone who is 150 years old. They're usually scratched, cracking, freakishly dry and the cuticles are nothing more than shredded scraps of dead skin. Moisturizing isn't really in my daily program, so my hands tend to stay in disaster format. I'm also in the process of tiling 500 square feet of finished basement, so with all the thinset and water, things have even gotten worse. My hands look almost mummified. A couple weeks ago, Gojo sent us some of their Hand Medic to try out and we tasked it against our nearly destroyed hands. Here's what we thought. Continue reading: "Gojo Hand Medic - Review"
Read More in: All Reviews | Safety
May 14, 2013
If you've ever been to this site before, you know my thoughts on the act of painting. I truly loathe it. Of all the different things I've done in the construction world, it's by far the worst. I'd rather put on a roof in the middle of August than paint a single ceiling. The only way I can really deal with painting is if I paint angry. I put on Funhouse and Raw Power and turn the volume way up. If I didn't do that to get all fired up, I'd pass out from the drudgery and boredom of it all.
So months and months ago, Wagner contacted us and asked if we wanted to check out their Smart Roller System. Since my recently gutted house hardly had any paint on the walls and with the addition was coming along nicely, I said "yes, I have the perfect testing ground." So they sent it. But then I ended up changing my work schedule all around and the roller system sat in a box by my desk for a seriously long time (sorry Wagner and thanks for the patience). But things finally progressed to the point of painting, so last weekend, I spent about 15 hours with the Roller Max in my hand and, oh boy, it's a doozie. Continue reading: "Wagner Smart Power Roller System - Review"
Read More in: All Reviews | Painting
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