Michael's Latest Articles

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    Landon Innovations LegUp Lifter

    Wrestling a thick sheet of MDF onto a table saw by yourself can be a real feat, but attaching a LegUp pivoting sheet-goods lifter to your saw table or fence rail can help.

     
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    Tiger Claw Semi-Automatic Hidden Deck Fastener Installation Gun

    Using hidden deck-fastening hardware makes for a neater-looking composite deck but takes longer than using face-installed screws.

     
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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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    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...

     
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    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.

     
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    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...

     
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    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...

     
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    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...

     
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    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...

     
 
 
 
 
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