Paslode is in the process of upping their cordless framing gun with the new CF325XP Framing Nailer. Honestly, I really like their original CF325 and didn't even think it needed updating, but that's probably why I'm not in R&D for a leading tool company. But in looking at what they've done to the new version, it does make sense.
While a surface planer isn't an essential tool, having one really starts to open up the doors to some interesting projects. This is especially true if you're an unrepentant wood scavenger like I am. Anything that looks interesting, regardless of its condition, I will take. I have a pile of chestnut that looks like it has sat out in the woods for the last hundred years (probably because it has). It's mushy, rotted and completely filled with nails, but I know (I just know) that there is some good material in there, enough for a bedside table. But anyway, a surface planer is a tool that allows you to clean up rough-sawn lumber and to customize the thickness of your material. Ridgid sent one of their R4331 13-inch planers for me to test out and I've been giving it a good work over. Here's what I think...
Have you ever washed your house? It's crazy the difference it can make, especially on a white house. What it does is remove a "dumpiness" that you didn't even know was there. You look at your house every day, so you get used to how it looks and you never notice the slow degradation over time (sort of like your waistline). But, yeah, it builds up and when you clean it off, it's a total facelift. You can wash a house with a bucket, a scrub brush, and an extension ladder (fun level: 5%), or you can use a pressure washer (fun level: 95%). The last time I did it, I used the Karcher K3 Follow Me Pressure Washer, which they nicely provided for me to test.
Is anyone else sitting around thinking that the era of the corded power tool is coming to a close? It certainly looks that way, doesn't it? These days finding an outlet and unraveling an extension cord just feels so....2013. The latest pieces of evidence in this ongoing evolution are the two new Hyperdrive brushless nailers from Ridgid; the 18-gauge brad and the 16-gauge finish. I've been testing them out for the past couple weeks and here's what I think...
Ryobi's new Dockit storage system is a clever idea and probably one that is headed to a garage workshop near you. It's a simple, common sense solution to the age old question, "where the hell did I put my drill bits?" The customizable system centers around a wall mounted carriage and relatively small, specifically organized bit and driver boxes that sit in said carriage. They sent on a sample for me to check out and the plain truth is that I really like it.
The innovative company Arbortech has once again found a new way to harness the awesome power of the angle grinder. The TURBOShaft is a strange little carving/shaping accessory that offers a high degree of subtlety, which is notable mostly because grinders are generally low on subtly. The TURBOShaft is a small shaft, about the size of a finger, that screws on to the spindle. At the working end of it are two carbide teeth proud of the shaft. When the grinder is activated, the two teeth, now spinning, become a precision carving tool. They sent us one to check out.
A while back Seek sent us one of their little iPhone thermal imaging units to check out. It's a small camera that's barely bigger than a piece of Hubba Bubba that clicks into the charging port of an iphone (versions are also available for Androids). Through the phone and an app, the unit displays the heat image of whatever it is you point it at, whether that be a window, a wall, or your cat. It costs about $250 and comes with a nice little case.
If you mention "prepping" to most people, my hunch is that they'll immediately conjure up an image of a family in a concrete bunker surrounded by shelves and shelves of canned goods (and, for a laugh, no can opener). Or maybe they'll think of Ted Nugent eating a deer head. Either way, people seem to see prepping as something that strange, reclusive "what's he building in there" kind of people do. Honestly, I think this is unfortunate. Maybe it's because I grew up at the end of a long dirt road in Vermont, and it wasn't uncommon for us to be snowed in with no power for three or four days at a stretch, but I think that having non-perishible food on hand, a load of batteries, flashlights, and first aid supplies (just to name a few things), and a plan (even if it's a pretty vague one) makes for a whole lot of common sense.
Sooo...here we are again, time for the annual Pro Tool Innovation Awards put together by our pals over at ProToolReviews. The awards cover all kinds of tools from test and measurement to pneumatics to cordless.
So go, go, and go check it out and sound off in their comments if you think they're way off base or right on target.
The Ryobi 18 volt cordless platform is really pretty wild. Once you have a couple batteries and a charger, you can go bonkers on the bare tool purchases, like their new Drain Auger, set to be released later this month. While it may seem strange at first glance, after some further thought, this piece of gear makes a whole lot of sense. The specifics of the item are that it has a 25-foot cable, a power feed mechanism and can be effectively used on drains of up to 2-inches. It costs about $70 (bare tool).
That cost may sound steep but most plumbers I know (around the Boston area) have an hourly that is at least that and in most cases a decent amount more. If you have to deal with a drain clog, this tool will pay for itself fairly quickly.
I've got an old manual snake and it's a mess to deal with. It's the kind with the off-set Z handle, so wrapping it up and storing it is a chore. It sits in a milk crate somewhere in the back of the shop. I try not to think about it, even on the rare days that I come across it. But something like this Ryobi is a lot more user friendly. The electric ones in the style of the Ryobi (self feeding) are cheaper (which is nice), but they don't offer the quick plug and play of the cordless, like if you're trying to deal with an exterior line.
If you ever have a yearning to feel like Paul Bunyon, you should invest in a Peavey. It's a tool for maneuvering massive logs and because of the old-fashioned mechanical advantage it's about the most satisfying tool to use. They're technically called timberjacks, but Peavy is the "Kleenex" version (the company that everyone knows the tool by). But the nomenclature doesn't matter. Even if you call them "wood-handled, metal hooky thingies" you should still get one. If you're unfamiliar with the tool, you won't believe what you can do with them.
For this installment of Chainsaw Week (TM), we're taking a look at a little slice of history: Poppa ToolSnob's McCulloch Pro Mac 10-10 Chainsaw.
To me, this tool is what always first comes to mind when someone mentions the word "chainsaw." It's the first one I ever saw and it's imprinted on me like a momma chicken is imprinted on a baby chicken. FOTS (Father of Tool Snob) has had it as long as I can remember, which probably ages it somewhere around at least the 35 year mark.
The first thing I noticed is that it's an 18-inch model, which is rare for a cordless chainsaw. Most of the manufacturers seem to opt for the smaller 12 or 14-inch bars. But this one is backed by a mondo 80-volt battery, so it can supposedly crank out enough power to chug the longer bar through wood.
We're kicking off our first (and possibly last) Chainsaw week.
What's happened is that I've got a massive pile of logs that I need to turn into firewood and with the renovation over, I'm finally getting time to deal with it. This newfound freedom has also coincided with me trying to get a couple chainsaw reviews wrapped up. Add the two together and... *poof* ...Chainsaw Week.
So to get everyone in the mood, let's strap on the kevlar chaps and look back at some of our old chiansaw coverage...
Rob: Nail guns with gas cartridges have always seemed to work read more toolsnob: yes, yes, yes. Thanks, I'd blame it on autocorrect, but read more SteveR: Nice article. I think you meant "subtlety", however. read more Grant: Check out our Centerfire Blade that won. I believe it read more MeWo: I work with thermal cameras everyday. We have used every read more