Lee Unlimited Power Bench

We love inventions that come right from the jobsite. Clint Birkeland is a South Dakota carpenter who wanted a mobile saw stand portable enough to get to his jobsites and tough enough to stay there. So, he designed his own.

Birkeland's Power Bench workstation unfolds in 1 minute from a 2-foot-square package into a 9-foot-long, 18-inch-wide miter saw stand. The adjustable deck height accommodates almost any make of miter saw or metal cutting saw. The legs also adjust for use on uneven terrain or to set at different work heights. The bench's main legs are made from 11-gauge, 1-inch-square tube; the rest is made from 15- and 16-gauge square tube and 1/2-inch, schedule-40 pipe.

The unit has 8-inch, rubber-coated wheels and is available with accessories like table extensions for longer materials and stop rails for repetitive cuts. The Power Bench costs $499. For more information contact Lee Unlimited Power Bench, 605-365-5430; www.powerbench.com.


Although we often focus on power, speed, and performance in new tools, safety and health concerns are always top priorities for us. Hilti's new wet Diamond Drilling System (DD EC-1) wins on all accounts, but especially for its dust-free operation now that silica dust has been identified as a serious health hazard.

The system pumps water from a portable recycling unit tank to the drill and into the hole, where it picks up the dust. A vacuum pump sucks the water back into the tank for filtering. The constant flow of water not only contains the dust, but also aids the diamond drill bits, leaving clean holes suitable for anchors.

The 8,000-rpm drill operates so smoothly it's also ideal for drilling into granite countertops or tile surfaces, according to the company. And it's quiet enough for work in confined or otherwise restricted spaces. The system costs $4,450. For more information, contact Hilti, 800-879-8000; www.us.hilti.com.

Cordless Nailer Evolution

If pneumatic nailer companies follow the trend set by cordless electric toolmakers, we're in for quite a horse race. And we'll ultimately be the winners. Cordless nailers offer freedom, flexibility, and speed. Some day they'll probably be used as commonly as cordless drills are used today. Here are two models that take the category further towards that goal.

ITW Paslode
Paslode has been the horse to beat since it invented this category in 1986. The company's new TrimMaster IM250A angled finish nailer takes the category to a new level. This well-designed, compact, and powerful tool would be a great addition to any trimmer's pneumatic tools. For some, it might even replace them.

The TrimMaster is light (4.9 pounds), holds 100 nails, and fires fast enough to keep pace on almost any job. It'll shoot nails from 1-1/4- to 2-1/2-inches long, and gets into all the tight corners that standard angled nailers reach. It's got an easy-to-use, tool-less drive-depth adjustment, and a handy, built-in belt clip. The propulsion system is the same as that on Paslode's other hoseless tools; a combination of gas cylinder and battery power-powered firing. You'll get about 4,000 shots on a single battery charge and 1,200 from a canister of gas. The TrimMaster sells for $429. For more information, contact ITW Paslode, 800-334-4811; www.paslode.com.

Senco Products
We salute Senco for taking another big step toward leaving the compressor at home with its new AirFree nailing system. The system combines a 12-volt battery with a patented belt-driven piston system for a new way to drive nails. Senco introduced an 18-gauge brad nailer (the AirFree 25) and a 15-gauge angled finish nailer (the AirFree 41) at the International Builders' Show in February. A 16-gauge finish nailer (the AirFree 32) is expected this summer.

The AirFree's battery-powered piston drives a nail with a single blow, then quickly recoils while you position the tool for the next nail. It fires fast and consistently, driving up to 1,000 nails on a single charge, and has the power to sink nails into hardwoods and engineered materials. It may not be as fast as a pneumatic nailer, but it seems fast enough to keep you nailing instead of waiting to nail.

The tool bodies are made from high-impact ABS plastic. The brad nailer weighs about 6 pounds and will sell for around $300; the finish nailer weighs about 7.5 pounds and retails for about $350. Both tools come with depth-of-drive adjustments, belt clips, and no-mar tips. Look for Senco to build on this technology for years to come. For more information, contact Senco Products, 800-543-4596; www.senco.com.