February 13, 2015

Hardcore Hammers Ultimate Survivalist Hatchet - Review


A while back I reveled in reviewed the Hardcore Hammers Naturalist Hatchet. I loved it for it's....everything. Late last year, they sent along their newest hatchet, the Ultimate Survivalist for me to try out. And try out I did. Over and over and over. This new version polishes up some of the functionality of the older one and adds a few things. It also has a head that is nearly indestructible and holds an edge for a long time, which is really what you want if you're out in the middle of nowhere relying on your tools.

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February 10, 2015

Loftek Portable Floodlight - Review


There's a special ball of rage deep in my belly that I reserve for halogen work lights. How a tool that is so irritating in all ways has become a job site standard ranks right up there with the Easter Island heads for total depth of mystery. They're bright, yes, but beyond that, pure torture. "Whoa, the housing is like a million degrees...what's that smell, oh, a burning moth...let it cool down for an hour before you change the bulb...make sure to wear gloves so you don't get any oil on the bulb...where's your screwdriver to open up the cage?...Oh those little ceramic bulb ends are pulverized in the sockets?...right, why don't you just pick up a new one the next time you're at the lumber yard."

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January 23, 2015

Where I been....


Since exactly none of you have been wondering why this site has slowly evolved into a ghost ship, I'll raise my hand, call on myself, and give an answer.

Most importantly, I've been wrapping up my renovation (yes, still...). I just looked at the first permit the other day (the renovation has two separate permits) and saw the issue date of November 2011. Yeah, that's a while ago. It's been a slog. I've been in full donkey mode for four years...building cabinets, framing, tiling, window restoration, flooring, painting, oh man, it's been a lot. Yesterday, I had the final electrical inspection and soon it will be time for the big kahuna building inspector to come through. If everything passes OK, I'll likely head to the nearest saloon for 2-4 months or maybe Tijuana. Once the "decompression" phase ends, I'm looking to get back to regular posting here at the site.

But along with the renovation, I have been keeping up with quite a bit of writing. A number of tool-ish reviews that I've done have been posted up at Tools of the Trade. If you're into tools, ToTT should really be one of your first stops. There is a lot of great coverage over there. Recently, I reviewed the new Makita 8-1/2-inch Compound Slider. It's a great little tool and if you want an easily portable slider, this should be one of the first saws you look at. I thought there were a couple small drawbacks, but they pale in comparison to all of the goodness that this tool brings to the table.

I also did a piece on my three favorite work gloves; one for general construction, one for demo and digging, and one for cold weather. When I first started in construction, I thought the fingerless framer gloves were totally silly, but over time I've completely bought into the concept. And now with all the use of touch screens, it's nice to not have to keep taking the gloves on and off all the time. The Kleins are a great representation of the design.

The StoneBreaker Rancher gloves deserve a special call out too. I have a hard time explaining to people how nice these gloves are. Most leather work gloves look like floppy Fozzie Bear hands, but the StoneBreakers are so form-fitting that they really fit like a...well....glove.

The RoboReel Air was another interesting item I reviewed for ToTT. It's a pneumatic hose with and electric recoil. It's all very similar to the RoboReel Electric that I covered here a while back. It's pricey for sure, but really handy to have.

Over at Fine Homebuilding I covered a similar item, the PneuPower Recoiler. It's also a retractable hose system, but this one is manual with a hand crank on the body of the tool.

If I were to choose between the two, it's tough to say which I'd go with. The Recoiler can get tangled up from time to time, but it's also less than half the price of the RoboReel and much easier to lug around. It also has 100' of hose while the RoboReel has 50. But still, the RoboReel winds up with the push of a button.

I've also been doing plenty of work over at TheSweethome.com. If you've never checked it out, I highly recommend doing so. It's a site that really strives to recommend the best gear that fits the needs of most normal people. They've got comprehensive articles on all kinds of homegoods from bath tissue to rice cookers to air conditioners (check the sister site TheWirecutter.com for digital gear like cameras, tvs, and computers). I've written a lot of the tool guides, such as...The Best Hammer, The Best Utility Knife, and The Best Adjustable Pliers and plenty of others. I've also done some yard gear like The Best Lawnmower and The Best Leaf Blower) and a few oddballs that ended up being completely fascinating to research...The Best Picture Hanger, The Best Duct Tape.

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November 10, 2014

...More on the Milwaukee Patent Lawsuits...


Dave over at Tools of the Trade did some more digging and has additional information and thoughts regarding the Milwaukee patent lawsuits. A lot of the information came from readers who seem to be in the know on the whole "law" thing (including our reader Bob who commented on our original post...thanks for dropping some knowledge Bob!).

Check out Dave's piece here.

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November 4, 2014

Milwaukee Tools, Li-Ion, and Some Heavy-Duty-Lookin' Lawsuits


Dave Frane over at Tools of the Trade has done some very interesting sleuthing regarding a few patent lawsuits recently filed by Milwaukee Tools. When I first saw his headline, "Milwaukee Claims Exclusive Right to Make Lithium-Ion Tools," I thought it was one of HomeFixated's April Fool's posts. But no, it appears to be legit.

Definitely head over to ToTT to read the whole thing. Dave did a really nice job with it. The article is here.

I don't really know what to make of it all since my legal expertise is confined to a few traffic tickets. But what strikes me as strange is that the patents seem to date back to 2002. If the fact of anyone else simply making a li-ion tool breached that patent, wouldn't they have done something about it long before now? Also, as Dave points out, the companies that Milwaukee is going after seem to be a very selective list, excluding all of the mega-players (DeWalt/B&D, Bosch, Makita). If anyone has any thoughts or insights, drop a comment.

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Vampliers Pro - Review


I have to admit that the name "Vampliers" was a little off-putting at first. It sort of sends the vibe of, "yeah, the tool doesn't have much going for it, so we gave it an interesting name." Turns out, that's not the case at all. The Vampliers are, in fact, a unique, useful and interesting variation of a set of linesman pliers. The fact that they're very well made only adds to the goodness.

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November 3, 2014

Tool Nut FMM deal (and a bonkers price on some Blaklader gear)


So not only is Tool Nut practically giving away T-shirts, but they're engaged in some serious tool price reductions as well.

First, they're unloading some Fein MultiMasters (the big TOP set) for $200. As anyone reading this site knows, the FMM is the grandaddy and long-time champion of the oscillating multi-tool (OMT). I've written so much about the Fein that you could print out all of the pages, tie them together and use them as a boat anchor. Here's my original review from way back in 2008.

It's just a great tool and $200 is a rock solid price. I think Amazon usually has it at the $240-$250 range.

But, what's really crazy over at Tool Nut is that they're selling some Blacklader gear at half price. Say wha....? If you're not turned on to this stuff yet, this might be a chance to check it out. It's true work gear, fully designed for someone who works all day. I've got a pair of their pants and a fleece jacket and when Armageddon hits, those are the first things I'm going to pull out of the closet. They're reinforced in all the right places, they have pockets everywhere, and I can't imagine what it would take to rip, cut, or tear the fabric. It's also good looking gear too. You can wear it on the weekend and not look like a total goof.

Specifically, Tool Nut has their canvas jacket for under $70. It's usually well over $100.

So yeah, check out those deals. I vouch for Tool Nut too, they're not scam artists (but they are Jets fans, so you have to deal with that). They're good dudes and worth supporting if you can.

And don't forget your nearly free t-shirts while you're there.

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October 23, 2014

Free (almost) T-Shirts at Tool Nut

Thumbnail image for Toolnut_logo.gif

Our pals over at Tool Nut are basically giving away t-shirts. They've got four new designs, each in a bunch of different colors, for the "lock me up I'm crazy" price of $1.99. Who doesn't love (nearly) free t-shirts? Every carpenter I know thrives on them. I can't remember the last time I paid for one. Does it matter that I'm a walking billboard for tool manufacturers, lumber yards, and window companies? No, cause they're free.

So anyway, you're probably thinking, "well, yeah, they might only cost two bucks, but I'm going to get slammed on shipping charges." Well, maybe, but not really. If you just get a t-shirt, you're looking at a flat rate of $8 S&H, but any order over $40 means free shipping. As I'm sure any reader of this site knows, it's painfully easy got get to the $40 mark at a tool retailer (especially a quality one like Tool Nut). So if you're in need of some new recip blades, a chalk line, or an orbital sander, then you might as well pick up five or six shirts while you're at it.

Here are the shirts at Tool Nut

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October 21, 2014

Pro Tool Innovation Awards 2014


And the winners are....

Our pals over at Pro Tool Reviews have whipped up another edition of their Pro Tool Innovation Awards. It's basically a fast and easy guide to all that is new, cool, and interesting in the tool world. There's a lot to like too, some of which we've never even seen before, like the Mag-Lok Long Handle Tool System or the Wolverine Cabor Boots. There are also plenty of tools from companies like Milwaukee, Klein, and Bosch, all places where we've come to expect innovative ideas.

So check out this years winners here.

Read More in: Distractions | Tool News

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October 17, 2014

Powerstrike Framing Hammer - Review


The Powerstrike Framing Hammer is easily the strangest hammer I've ever seen. With it's exposed welds, its nuts and bolts vibe, and the hollow metal handle, there is nothing about it that says "normal operating procedure." They sent me a couple to check out and I've been pounding on them for at least a month now. They're great too, maybe not perfect, but really nice.

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