Michael's Latest Articles

  • Power options include a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack and an adapter pack containing four AAA batteries.

    Coast A25R Flashlight

    This flashlight is rechargeable and packs a blindingly bright 466-lumen LED.

     
  • Milwaukee Tape Measures

    This summer Milwaukee announced a new line of tape measures and I asked them to send one for testing.

     
  • Coast A25R Rechargeable Flashlight

    I’m currently using one of the coolest flashlights I've ever seen, the Coast A25R Rechargeable.

     
  • Combination Jab Saw/Utility Knife

    I've been testing tools for years and am on a lot of mailing lists, so new tools frequently arrive on my doorstep unannounced. Most of these tools end up gathering dust in my shop but a recent arrival from the Swanson Tool Company has earned a coveted spot in my tool belt...

     
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    Buying a Portable Generator

    In a perfect world there would be temporary power where and when you needed it, but in reality, many contractors must rely on portable generators some or all of the time. As a framing contractor, I've had to use them myself, so I understand how important it is to get a dependable machine that can...

     
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    First Test: DeWalt's New Framing Saw

    Wormdrive saws are known for being plenty strong – and plenty heavy too. And as it turned out, where power is concerned, the DWS535 ranks right up there with the best of them.

     
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    First Test: High-Pressure Pneumatics

    Makita is bringing its high-pressure nailer line to the U.S., and we were the first framing crew in the country to get our hands on its framing and siding coil nailers and brand-new 400-psi compressor. High-pressure nailers are more common in Japan, where the affinity for efficiency and compactness...

     
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    First Test: Bosch's First-Ever Nailer

    Out West where I build, the Big Three of framing nailers are Hitachi, Paslode, and Senco; if you've shot a 12d nail here, chances are it's been through one of these. There is no shortage of companies making framers, as I found out in our test of 19 full round-head nailers last year, but an...

     
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    Framing Nailers

    About 30 years ago, when I made the decision to start using framing nailers and their expensive collated nails, there wasn't much to choose from; there were only two big players.

     
  • Tool Test: Framing Nailers

    About 30 years ago, when I made the decision to start using framing nailers and their expensive collated nails, there wasn't much to choose from; there were only two big players. The tools themselves were basic, so I made the buying decision mainly on the price of nails and who could provide the...

     
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    Modern Marvels

    I never gave much thought to work gloves. They were just another part of my work gear. And I'm a tightwad, so most of the gloves I've purchased over the years fall into the 'disposable' category. So when Tools of the Trade gave me the opportunity to review the latest and greatest gloves on the...

     
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    Metal Connector Nailers

    Years ago I'd routinely build houses that didn't have any metal connectors in them at all. Everything was blocked or ledgered and a few 16d nails were considered adequate for almost any connection. Once in a while I'd use the odd joist hanger, so I kept a coffee can full of 1-1/2-inch hanger nails...

     
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    AutoFeed Screwguns

    As a production framer building large-scale projects, I could probably measure the amount of plywood subflooring and decking we install in terms of acres. And while most framers still use pneumatic nailers to fasten their subflooring, the argument for screwing and gluing plywood to joists, based on...