Michael's Latest Articles

  • Image

    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.

     
  • Image

    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.

     
  • Image

    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...

     
  • Image

    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.

     
  • Image

    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.

     
  • Image

    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...

     
  • Image

    First Test: Work Lights from Husky, DeWalt

    Anyone who works indoors in the construction industry knows the importance of auxiliary illumination, especially in new construction. Until the electrical is finished, jobsites rarely have enough light to work by. For years, I've used halogen work lights for large spaces and single incandescent...

     
  • Image

    First Test: Cordless Brad Nailer, New LI Battery

    If you do much work that requires nailing, you know the importance of pneumatic technology. I cannot imagine going back to the days of nailing up crown or other running trim with a hammer. Changing with the times and tools can increase your productivity and the quality of your work, so it is wise...

     
  • Festool First Look

    Tools of the Trade recently got a sneak peek at what's next from German tool manufacturer Festool at its new U.S. headquarters in Indiana, and we're allowed to share three tools with our readers.

     
  • Image

    Rock Star

    Josh Wiener carves a living out of stone–literally. As a second-generation sculptor, he works mainly in marble but also is well-versed in granite and limestone, and even does artistic concrete creations. After developing his talent close to home, Wiener went on to apprenticeships in Japan and...

     
  • Image

    First Test: Roberts Roll-O Knife

    With its aluminum wheel hanging beneath, the Roberts Roll-O Universal Knife looks like some hapless engineer tried to make a unicycle from a standard utility knife. But there's a method to this madness, and unlike some innovations that fall flat when they get out to the field, the Roll-O indeed...

     
  • Image

    First Test: T-Drill T-35 Tee-Forming Tool

    A T-Drill is a unique, incredible plumber's tool that I've relied on to give me a competitive edge for nearly a decade, yet most people–including many plumbers–have never heard of it. So when I was asked to review the new T-35, I was eager to see what kind of improvements they made to this amazing...

     
  • Image

    100,000 and Counting

    As a young counter hand in a Sheffield, England, tool shop just after World War II, Ken Hawley probably never dreamed that he would someday possess one of the largest and most historically significant tool collections in Great Britain. But when I met him nearly 60 years later, he was busy...

     
  • Image

    Festool Joining System

    Festool's Domino isn't just a brand new type of joining tool; it's a whole new joining system. Based on mortise-and-tenon joinery, the Domino combines the qualities of biscuits and dowels with a stronger, self-aligning joint. A loose tenon of solid beech called a Domino fits into a slot cut by the...

     
  • Image

    Lithium-Ion Hands On

    It would be hard to find any tool category in the history of this industry since the advent of the electric motor that has grown as fast as cordless lithium-ion (LI) tools. Since Milwaukee's official launch of the category two years ago, we've seen every major brand quickly enter the market with...

     
  • Image

    New Tools, Hands On

    In my snowboard manufacturing shop, we use a circular saw primarily for cross-cutting hardwood lumber to rough lengths prior to laminating it into blocks. This operation is all about speed. With thousands of feet of lumber in 16-foot lengths delivered at once, we really need to move through the...

     
  • Image

    Electric Chainsaws

    When you think of chainsaws in construction work, your mind usually goes to builders of log homes, pole barns, docks, fences, and perhaps timber framers. But I dug a little deeper and found them used in demolition, vintage wood salvage and reuse, panel home building, sculptural stair and railing...

     
  • Kneepads

     
  • Image

    Journeyman's Journey

    In the South of France near the city of Nîmes, a mythical structure has existed since the Romans erected it during the first century A.D. The Pont du Gard, or 'bridge over the Gardon River,' was built solely to transport water from a distant spring over the Gardon through a channel atop the span as...

     
 
 
 
 
Tools of the Trade Video Gallery

New Tools Video Gallery

Check out Tool Videos from our Editors and Contributors