Noel Marshall was a carpenter in County Cork, Ireland, who got stuck building a brick wall. Like we said, he was a carpenter. As he buttered bricks and slopped mortar all over the place, he got frustrated setting and re-setting bricks. The wall came together, but so did an idea for an easier way to work.
Marshall's tool, the Bricky, is the masonry equivalent of a woodworking ig; it speeds application of the mortar bed. After laying the first course normally, the Bricky then rides on top of each new course, enabling you to apply a perfect bed of mortar–horizontally and vertically–with no slop. It also eliminates the need for using a line, level, and mason's hammer. Marshall says this super-efficient mortar application can double your bricklaying speed and increase the quality of your work. And there's no need for secondary pointing.
The tool is fitted with two bubble vials so it sets up perfectly and leaves properly spaced bricks every time. It's suitable for single and cavity wall construction and works on block walls, too. You can also use it to set corners on your walls. The Bricky sells for $70. For more information, contact Marshall Tools Ltd., 631-289-8863; www.brickytool.com.
When you see Sutherland Tool's Bevel Boss, you'll probably be upset that you didn't think of it yourself. At least that's what we thought.
The Bevel Boss translates angles from your sliding bevel square into a real-number angle so you can set your saw angle to match. Mac Sutherland designed it for boat builders, but it's a big help to finish carpenters and anybody on site that needs to find an angle. It also has a 3-inch end rule that's great for setting bit depth on a router or blade height on your table saw. The miter scale is precise down to the 1/4-degree. The black-line tool etchings are crisp and easy to read, and you can mark your own angles onto the face with a pencil.
The 12-inch-long device is made of .040-inch thick #420 surgical-grade stainless steel, and is marked on the backside in 1/16-inch increments. We like this tool because it's a simple, precise, and useful solution to everyday needs. The Bevel Boss costs $30. For more information, contact Sutherland Tool, 877-472-7717; www.sutherlandtool.com.
Milwaukee Electric Tool
We like it when engineers respond to the way we actually use tools in the field. And we're happy to say that the engineers who designed Milwaukee's new Max BodyGrip 5615-21 router really "got it" when they came up with this new tool.
The BodyGrip's contoured palm grip lets you grasp the body comfortably with one hand, which gives you a better "feel" for the tool, and provides more control, as you move through your work. An adjustable Velcro strap gives you a secure grip. There is a standard left-side knob for two-handed operation, and a D-handle accessory is available.
The router's new depth-adjustment system is user-friendly and accurate, and the height-adjustment lock looks pretty reliable. Milwaukee's BodyGrip has a 6-inch base and comes with 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch self-releasing collets. The 11-amp motor spins at 24,000 rpm. It costs about $200. For more information, contact Milwaukee Electric Tool, 877-729-3878; www.heavydutytool.com.
Spec out Routers on ebuild, the Professional's Guide to Building Products (TM).