Michael's Latest Articles

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    Cutting Edge: New Tool Report

    Our mission at Tools of the Trade is to feed your endless appetite for new tools, which includes telling you about product introductions as soon as we learn about them.

     
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    First Test: Craftsman Twin Cutter

    Readers have been asking us about dual-blade circular saws, so we decided to put the Craftsman 25574 Twin Cutter Saw to the test. Craftsman came out with its first version of a dual-blade saw early in the last decade, so the technology has been around for a while, but the 25574 model is the latest...

     
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    First Test: Budget Circ Saw

    The latest pro circ saw from Skil (model HD5687) is not one of the company's signature wormdrive tools but a new blade-right sidewinder model. We found it interesting enough to test because of its price (under $100) and the fact that it's Skil's only 7-1/4-inch sidewinder warranted for professional...

     
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    First Test: Shower-Drain Cutter

    Plumbers typically cut chamfered drain holes in subflooring by eye, using a recip saw held at a shallow angle. The resulting inconsistencies in the roundness of the hole and the chamfered angles can keep the drain from sitting totally flat and centered in the opening, and a generous application of...

     
  • TOOLS of the TRADEshow-STAFDA 2009 Edition

    Last week I attended the 33rd annual STAFDA convention and trade show in Atlanta, Georgia. Membership includes distributors, retailers, and manufacturers of light construction tools and related products. This show is always interesting for Tools of the Trade because it is where we find the latest...

     
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    Cutting Edge: New Tool Update

    Since our last new tool report in fall 2008, companies have been busier than ever cranking out the latest and greatest. Why all the focus on new products now, with the building economy at a near standstill and the pool of buyers arguably diminished? Some of the projects coming to fruition started...

     
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    New Milwaukee Tools–The Very Latest

    I visited the Milwaukee Electric Tools headquarters in Brookfield, Wisconsin last week for a preview of upcoming products set to debut later this year. Milwaukee has 48 new products launching throughout 2009, and I think I saw and tried out most of them during my time with the product teams. With...

     
  • New Tool Report - May 2009

     
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    First Test: Nail Kicker Pneumatic Nail Remover

    For such an ingenious tool, the Nail Kicker is based on a very simple concept. What if you could use a nail gun instead of a hammer to pound a nail back through a board? All you would need is a nailer without a magazine, right? That's the idea behind the Nail Kicker.

     
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    First Test: NailOut Pneumatic Nail Lifter

    The NailOut is an air-powered cat's-paw designed to work just like a manual cat's-paw but without the hammer swing. Essentially, this tool is an adaptation of a pneumatic tool called a scaler that's used in the metal fabrication industry. A scaler's simple reciprocating action–or stroke–is similar...

     
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    First Test: Diablo Hand-Held Mixers

    Tile contractors spend a lot of time standing over a 5-gallon bucket mixing various setting materials, and most just use a 1/2-inch drill for the job. That's not an ideal approach, because the tool isn't purpose-built for the application. Always on the lookout for something better, we found the...

     
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    FirstTest: Lee Valley Plane Irons

    As with any edge tool, a hand plane's blade, or iron, is the key to its performance. Yet many people try to make due with their irons poorly tuned and sharpened. The irons on common planes usually need a significant amount of work before they will cut suitably, and then even more to cut really well.

     
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    Deconstructing Houses, Building Your Business

    This tough economic climate has builders thinking creatively and moving laterally when it comes to their businesses. They are becoming remodelers, renovators, even repairmen to keep work lined up for themselves and their crews.

     
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    The Crop Report: A Preview of New Tools

    Even though the building economy is in a slump, new tool launches don't seem to be slowing down a bit. Rapid in-house prototyping lets companies move designs to market quicker than ever, and fiercely competitive overseas production keeps many prices as low as they've ever been.

     
  • New Tools Preview

    Two weeks ago, we told you about some upcoming Fall tool releases from some of the biggest brands that will be profiled in the September/October issue of Tools of the Trade. Since then, we've found a few more launches that we can reveal.

     
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    First Test: Stiletto Airgrip

    Stiletto Tools has come up with an ultra-grippy rubber tool handle cover with cold-shrink technology. Unlike heat-shrink tubing that can melt or cause you to char your tool handles, the Airgrip material simply shrinks into place at room temperature.

     
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    Roy Underhill, Williamsburg, Va.

    Roy Underhill is the one and only Woodwright, a term he coined to help sell his show idea to public television in the late 1970s. Now in its 28th season of filming, the original how-to show, 'The Woodwright's Shop,' is still going strong. In fact, Underhill is one of the longest-running program...

     
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    First Test: Big Foot Tools Headcutter

    Big Foot Tools' Headcutter is a one-of-a-kind saw base that turns any chain saw into a precision cutting tool.

     
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    First Test: Knaack's New Monster Piano Box

    Knaack's new 48 cubic foot Monster Box model 1000 piano box is 66 inches wide, 54-1/2 inches tall, 30 inches deep, and one tough box. I know–I had a chance to test it out, getting one of the first to roll off the production line.

     
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    Super Cooper

    Walk into Norm Pederson's cooper shop, and you'll feel like you've stepped back into the 1850s. Lit by daylight and heated by a woodstove, this mid-19th century building is part of Historic Richmond Town on New York's Staten Island. When not working as one of the island's ferrymen, it is here that...

     
 
 
 
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