Protecting tools from the weather is an ongoing struggle for anyone who works outdoors. Ergodyne's new 5506S Installer/Drill Holder Tool Rig is specifically designed to keep its contents nice and dry. The belt is made of tough ballistic polyester and comes with a large tool pouch, ambidextrous drill holder, and padded suspenders. A flap at the top of the pouch keeps items secure and protected, and screened grommets at the bottom allow water to drain out.
¦ Price: $108. 800-225-8238. www.ergodyne.com.
Framing hammers take a lot of abuse, and after a while their striking surfaces can start to break down. To prolong the life of the Hardcore Hammer, its maker recessed the waffle face (made from hardened steel) slightly from the head's smooth outer ring. This protects the edges from chipping and could lessen the damage to your fingers if you're unlucky enough to give yourself a whack. Since the hammer doesn't leave a waffle print, it can be used to drive the occasional finish nail. It has a hickory handle and magnetized nail slots on the top and bottom of the head.
¦ Price: $80. 913-322-1254. www.hardcorehammers.com.
Rebar tying tools seem to come in two flavors: simple hand tools and high-tech cordless machines. Somewhere in the middle are the new Pinza Tying Pliers, which look like a set of end nippers with the spiral shaft of a Yankee screwdriver grafted into them. With this tool, you can twist rebar wire in a few simple moves: Loop a wire around the rebar; clamp the jaws onto the wires; then pull on the longer handle so that the head of the tool spins and twists the wire. When you're done, you open the handles and go on to the next one.
¦ Price: $70. 800-442-0657. www.crescollc.com.
The Festool RO 90 DX Sander has switchable modes that allow it to function as a grinder, orbital sander, and detail sander. In grinding mode, the motor gears down to produce more torque. Orbital mode has less torque and more speed and is used for regular finish sanding. To get into corners, you snap on the triangular finish pad and shift into delta mode. The variable-speed tool has a 31/2-inch sanding pad and – like all Festool products – can be connected to a vacuum for dust collection.
¦ Price: $375. 888-337-8600. www.festool.com.
If it weren't for hammer tackers, the tedious task of applying felt paper and housewrap would be intolerable. As part of Arrow's new RED line, the HT50iRED has a bottom-loading mechanism that the maker says tightly secures the staples and makes jamming less likely than in rear-loading models. The tool's compact size makes it ideal for installing paper-faced insulation and doing other jobs in confined spaces. It can hold two full strips of T-50 staples ranging from 1/4 to 3/8 inch in size.
¦ Price: $37. 800-776-2228. www.arrowfastener.com.