September-October 2008 Table of Contents

Featured
Tool Test: Cordless Recip Saws Tool Test: Cordless Recip Saws

More than 10 years ago, I bought one of the first cordless recip saws, hoping it would perform like my corded model. I had shelved most of my corded drills in favor of their cordless cousins, and I had high hopes for recips–too high, as it turned out, for the first generation. Read more

Born To Build: Don Dunkley, Cool, Calif. Born To Build: Don Dunkley, Cool, Calif.

Don Dunkley's ToolHound-ness was cast in Southern California tract framing in the 1970s. Ace framers made more money than doctors, and were driven by the relentless pursuit of production based on minimum tools–and maximum skill. Not even nails were spared. Read more

Product Watch - Electronics / Tool Storage

DeWalt's three new self-leveling rotary lasers offer increased accuracy, durability, visibility, and ease of use, according to the maker. Models DW074 and DW079 are for interior and exterior use, while the DW078 is for exterior use only. All have lasers that DeWalt says are among the brightest in their respective classes, with rotary beacons in a protective head cage designed for durability with minimized blind spots. ¦ Price: $449 to $1,369. 800-433-9258. www.dewalt.com. Read more

First Test: Porter-Cable's High-Tech Sander First Test: Porter-Cable's High-Tech Sander

Porter-Cable's new 390K 5-inch random orbit sander looks different because it is different. It is built around a new type of DC motor that Porter-Cable calls the EnduraTech. Besides not having brushes to replace, the motor has 71% fewer wear components, which should result in much longer tool life, according to the company. This DC motor also gives the sander more torque and a much shorter profile, much like the look and low-slung balance of pneumatic, random orbit sanders commonly used in manufacturing industries. Read more

First Test: Next Generation MultiMaster First Test: Next Generation MultiMaster

Many multifunction tools don't live up to all they're supposed to do, but the Fein MultiMaster is a rare exception. I've used one for about eight years; I don't use it on every job, but when I need it, I'm glad I have one. I originally purchased it for the exclusive purpose of making accurate plunge cuts, but I soon discovered it performed well on many other functions. Already sold on the utility of the tool, I jumped at the chance to review Fein's new and improved model. Read more

First Test: Milwaukee Cordless Vacuums First Test: Milwaukee Cordless Vacuums

At first glance, the two Milwaukee cordless hand-held vacuum models look like tool boxes: they're about 18 inches long, 11 inches tall, 8 inches wide, and have folding handles on top. They are basically identical units but in 18- and 28-volt versions. Read more

Site Commander Update: Technology Site Commander Update: Technology

Here's a sneak peek at more of the technology we've designed into the 2008 LENOX-sponsored Site Commander, which will hit the road by the end of September. These Dodge 5500s are loaded with custom work-truck innovations, including what we're calling the 'Command Center' on the driver's side of the Reading body. Think firetruck control area. Read more

Truckin' Around: Slime Those Tires Truckin' Around: Slime Those Tires

A flat tire at a jobsite is no fun. Thinner, less robust utility trailer tires are especially vulnerable. Tow vehicles routinely throw objects into the path of trailers, and when trailers veer toward a road's shoulder, they encounter all kinds of puncture-ready debris. Read more

Truckin' Around: Oils Get Environmental

Motor oil, two-cycle oil, even hydraulic oil are going green. Green Earth Technologies, a recent startup company with no ties to the petroleum industry, is selling the first products in a line of naturally organic, biodegradable, high-performance motor oils, including environmentally friendly hydraulic oil for heavy equipment. Read more

September's Hot Finds September's Hot Finds

Crank For Framing / Auto Feed Cap Stapler Read more

Net Play Net Play

With the Olympics and U.S. Open tennis championships just concluded, I am still well within the statute of limitations on using a sports analogy to make a business point–especially a tennis analogy. Read more

The Crop Report: A Preview of New Tools 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. Read more

Hot Finds: National Nail Stinger Auto Feed Cap Stapler Hot Finds: National Nail Stinger Auto Feed Cap Stapler

National Nail's new Stinger CH38A builds on its predecessor with automatic feeding of plastic caps; just smack and go, like the fast action of a hammer tacker. Read more

Hot Finds: Wood Ratchet Framing Tool Hot Finds: Wood Ratchet Framing Tool

Invented by a framer from little more than a truck's chain load binder, this tool has spiked steel plates on each end that you can hammer quickly onto separated wood frame sections. Read more

Tool Tests

Metabo ASR35ACP (HEPA)

This vac from Metabo has some nice features that put it in close second with other...

Best Overall: Grex GC1850 Cordless Brad Nailer

Here's a look at how the Grex gas / battery-powered brad nailer fared when...

Three Work Gloves Reviewed

A framing carpenter takes a look at HexArmor warm and cold-weather work gloves and...

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