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.
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.
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.
OK, so we're going to hold open the GearWrench contest until Friday (info on how to enter here). On Saturday we'll pick our winners, so if you entered, check your email by early next week. What usually happens is that there are a few people who we contact but never hear back from and sorting the whole mess out and choosing alternate winners holds things up for everyone else.
We also want to thank GearWrench for suggesting the contest and supplying the goods. It's very cool and all of you winners won't be disappointed with the quality of the ratchet.
Also, if you don't win (and even if you do), we're going to have another contest next week, so keep an eye out.
My old pal JW (aka producerboy), just sent me an email proudly announcing that he was waiting for his Noden Adjust-A-Bench to arrive in the mail. "What the hell's an Adjust-A-Bench," I thought. A few clicks later, I was staring at a very cool piece of equipment.
The Adjust-A-Bench is a work table with telescoping legs that allow it to be set at a variety of heights. Actually, they're not really legs, but rather two nested frames made of 1/8-inch thick powder-coated steel. To adjust the table top, just grab a side and raise it up, then do the same with the other side. You can also set the sides to different heights if you want. Here's a video with some details and explanation:
Last week we reviewed the Overhead Crate Storage System which we think is pretty cool. It utilizes the space in between the joist bays of your garage or basement and fills them with easy to access storage containers. Now we want to call your attention to a different larger method for stowing stuff up high: the Racor Ceiling Storage Lift.
This one is a lot bigger than the Overhead Crate and takes a much higher ceiling to use. It's basically a platform on a lift system that can be raised and lowered at your convenience. The 4x4 platform can hold 250-pounds. In other words it can hold all of your Christmas decorations, all of your Halloween decorations, your kid's artwork that you refuse to get rid of, and the canoe that you never use.
The lift is operated by a hand crank or it can be operated by a drill. The max on the raise/lower is 8-feet.
The lift is priced at around $150. Seems like a fair price to us.
Our good friend Marc who runs the great site HomeFixated, has just launched two more websites making him, in technical terms, an internet mogul. He sent us info on his new projects and they're definitely going to appeal to anyone who reads our little tool blog on a regular basis.
Features clever tips and tricks that will help you: be a better chef, make things spotless with ingenious cleaning tricks, turn you into the life of the party with clever tricks, repurpose household items, and enhance your sex life (no guarantees on the last one). You can also expect more construction/tool/woodworking hacks to appear there in the coming months.
The tagline for the site is "Where DIY meets WTF" (oh yes I did!), but really this site is showcasing the world's worst craftsmanship and the worst judgment when it comes to construction and home "improvement". If you don't laugh (hysterically) at some of these pics and videos, you are a made of stone!
Personally, our tastes run closer to HomeFail than HomeHacks, but that's just us. Our entire house is a HomeFail, so maybe that has something to do with it. But go and check out the sites, they're cool.
It's pretty sad when you can mine your house for gags as much as I've been able to.
This time it's the siding.
This may be one of the worst siding jobs ever done by human hands. Sure, it's mostly straight and the courses are kinda parallel, but look at the seams between the shingles. Look at how many of them line up with the course above or below them...it's almost like someone wanted to get water into the building envelope. There is one side of the house that I didn't photograph where a single seam runs down eleven consecutive courses.
I had a siding guy over to price out re-doing everything and he looked at the house and actually started laughing.
Oh and what's up with that cap flashing on the lower window in the first picture? And those ugly shutters...as soon as I strip this side of the house, they're going right in the dumpster.
We've been holding on to this review for a while. We've had the new Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hammer Drill/Driver for months and months and we kept thinking we'd find its breaking point, but no such luck. We've tried hard to bust it up, wear it down, and simply burn it out. But we can't, it's a champ. A real heavyweight. Maybe the most powerful 18 volt drill we've used. There is no stopping it.
GearWrench has been nice enough to set aside 10 (ten, diez) of their new 120XP Flex Head Ratchet for us to giveaway here at the site.
They also sent one a couple weeks ago and we're nothing but impressed with the thing. It has an adjustable head with six positions, a 3/8" drive and a nice long handle - 11-1/2" from pivot to tip. The rubberized grip is comfortable and the action on the pivot is nice and firm. The head of the tool has a low profile and the toggle switch is even recessed a little, making this a great tool for tight spaces.
The scene stealer, though, is the ratcheting action. The 120 in the name of the tool comes from the number of 'stops' in one complete revolution. This is done with this double pawl mechanism, so there are actually two locking mechanisms in the head of the tool. If you click it slowly enough, you can hear the difference between clicks. Our pal Stu from ToolGuyd, took one apart and posted up this video of the gears in action:
So yeah, I've got ten of these to giveaway. To get in the mix for the random drawing, just leave a comment at this post explaining:
1. Why you like the looks of this tool.
2. Your most recent DIY disaster. I'm in the middle of a 2 year renovation and need some support group help. There must be others out there like me....
Either question is fine and doesn't affect the outcome. The drawing is completely random.
If you don't like the looks of the 3/8-inch flex head, GearWrench has the following which should be available at fine tool retailers everywhere:
• 1/4" Drive Flex Head Ratchet in full polish or cushion grip
• 3/8" Drive Flex Head Ratchet in full polish, stubby and cushion grip
• 1/2" Drive Flex Head Ratchet in full polish
• Two-piece cushion grip Flex Head Ratchet Set, with a durable foam storage tray
• Four- piece full polish mixed ratchet set, which includes ¼", 3/8", and ½" drive 120XP full polish Flex Head Ratchets and 3/8" drive 120XP full polish stubby Flex Head Ratchet in a durable foam storage tray
So what to do with all of our stuff? It's a constant question here and with the garage being pulled into the big renovation, it's something we've been thinking about a lot. The shop is going to get a major overhaul and storage is the number one concern. We're definitely going to use some of those Racor Snap2It hooks (reviewed here), and there will certainly be shelves for the daily use tools, but what about everything else? If there's something we only use a few times a year, there's no point in it clogging up valuable shelf space. Well, a while back, we were contacted by Overhead Crate and it just so happens that they have the perfect solution.
Everyone should have at least one of these things. I'm lucky enough to have three. These saws have seen it all and as long as I can keep replacing the cords, which seem to get severed a lot, they'll be getting handed down to Tool Snob Jr. in about 20 years. They are long since past the days of being used as a normal jobsite saw and are now well into their second careers as 'special forces.' The footplates are a little bent up and the bevel on one of them is immovable. I keep one outfitted with a masonry blade, and two with wood blades, but it's hardly wood that they're cutting, more like multi-layer asphalt roofs and concrete-coated form work. I don't care what happens to them and they don't seem to care what I do to them. It's a relationship that works.
I don't use them all the time, but when I need them, they're golden. It wasn't too long ago that I had to trench my basement slab out for some plumbing and the Makita was there to do the work. Who wants to use their nice woodworking saw for that kind of abuse? But that's the life that these saws live. They fill in the cracks and because they're the ones that take the hits on the dirty work, they keep my other saws nice, clean, and sharp.
The big one on the right, that's the roof cutter. If that saw was a person, it would be Leonard Smalls from Raising Arizona. I have no idea on the quality of current day Makitas, but these older ones are real monsters.
Who knew we'd ever refer to an extension cord as intelligent? But oddly enough, that's the best way to describe the RoboReel. Even calling it an extension cord is a gross over simplification, it's more of a one-stop power system for your shop. Great Stuff, the makers of the Reel sent us one to check out a while back and we've had it in the mix for the renovation as well as general shop use. It's easily the most feature-riddled power cord we've ever put eyes on.
Our pals over at Tool Nut, a great online tool retailer, also operate Festool Products. We've gotten to know them over the years and they've become our go-to source for Festool gear and whenever we post about a Festool item, we happily link over to them (even though they're Jets fans).
They're doing a little community outreach and have offered to supply a few cool items for us to give away to you guys. Two Festool T-Shirts and Two Festool Hats. Pretty sweet.
So there are two ways to get your name in the running:
1. Answer this question in the comment section: If you could get any Festool product which one would it be and why? Kapex, Track Saw, 18-Volt Drill? Check them all out at festoolproducts.com.
2. In the comments, let us know if you can think of a funnier sports moment than when Mark Sanchez sacked himself and fumbled off the ass end of his own offensive lineman. If you don't believe us, check it out here:
Oh man, was that hilarious.
So after maybe a week, we'll choose some names out of a hat and be in touch with the winners.
Right now my backyard looks like a meteor made entirely out of mud smashed into it. Over the past 2 months, I've had big excavators, little excavators, skid steers, concrete trucks, lumber delivery trucks, and everything else heavy and massive come through. To call it muddy is like saying Siberia is cold...it's a correct statement, but it only hints at the extreme nature of things. It's not cute, little splashy mud puddles, but rather the kind of thick muck that can trap a boot and makes walking nearly impossible because you put your foot down in one spot and by the time it's done slooshing down to solid footing, it's about two inches from where you started. It's a total mess.
So I was practically doing cartwheels when I was contacted by Muck Boots and they offered to send on a pair of their new Chore Cool Boots for me to review. Oh man, that was a good day around here. So that was about a month and a half ago and in that time, I've done all sorts of work back there in Degobah and here are my thoughts on the boots.
Ralph A: This would have come in handy the last time I read more Richard K: Trying to replace the old interior door between my garage read more Kevin: me too. I'm my own worst enemy, as much as read more jeff_williams: I'm totally with you. Loathe painting, especially ceilings. Good to read more Jack Elliott: I have had my master bathrolm apart for the better read more