Years ago, when I started out as a young plumbing apprentice, the venerable Milwaukee Hole Hawg was the only right-angle drill used throughout the trades. It was big, heavy, and powerful. I went for more than one ride on that drill, and the countless smashed knuckles I endured were a real lesson in reaction torque. Thankfully, as the years have gone on, manufacturers have installed low-gear clutches in their drills, but some of these disengage too easily with large-diameter holes or wet lumber. So I was very interested to see how DeWalt's new Bind-Up Control in its DWD460 right-angle drill might help my poor old plumber's hands. Read more
Cordless drill/drivers have come a long way since the first one I purchased more than 20 years ago. It's interesting, though, that some have come full circle and ended up about the same size as those small, early tools, but with much better performance. Read more
The latest word from the world of pickup truck manufacturing is either very bad or very good, depending on your perspective. On the downside, both General Motors and Ford Motor Co. are teetering on the brink of insolvency. Isuzu has quit the U.S. pickup and car market entirely, and even Toyota has seen its pickup sales nosedive over the past year. On top of that, trucks in general are being portrayed by the media as gas-guzzling monsters, driving away many would-be buyers. Read more
The U.S. Forest Service says 3.8 billion board feet of good timber–felled from storms, construction, disease, or every-day tree removal–is trashed each year. That really bothered Chris Holmgren. The proprietor of Seneca Creek Joinery in Dickerson, Md., about 30 miles north of Washington, D.C., founded the Urban Wood Recovery Project with the help of a Forest Service grant and one mission: Let no trees go to waste. Holmgren now has partnerships with local communities and companies to take fallen wood from storms, trims, removals, whatever and make them into useful things. Get him the wood, he'll give you a product. Read more
Goldblatt's BladeRunner drywall cutter wasn't even on the market when I first heard about it, but it sounded so cool, I knew I wanted to try it out: a tool that scores both sides of a panel at the same time, and makes drywall cuts a very quick snap. I even dreamed about it one night, and woke up hoping I had just invented something in my sleep. Read more
Sometimes a tool is such an integral part of your daily routine, you don't think of it as a tool but as part of your shop or truck. A mechanic's vise is such a tool. Read more
It's been more than nine years since Tools of the Trade began pushing for industry-sponsored, standardized test procedures so tool buyers could reliably compare performance specs across brands. So nobody could be happier than we are with the Power Tool Institute's release of new torque and horsepower testing standards for manufacturers, the result of an unprecedented collaboration by PTI member companies–fierce competitors that put aside their corporate egos for the good of the industry. Read more
The economy has brought truck sales to a near standstill, but there is opportunity amid the damage. If they buy now, contractors can get great deals on pickups brimming with mechanical sophistication (see Truck Report). Read more
Global Electric Motorcars, or GEM vehicles (a Chrysler company), are finding buyers among builders because they offer a low-cost, low-maintenance, electric-powered alternative to conventional pickup trucks. These DC-powered vehicles plug into standard AC outlets, charge in less than eight hours, and have a range of up to 30 miles at maximum speed. Read more
In September, we reported on how after years of disagreement over testing protocols, power tool manufacturers finally agreed on industrywide standards for measuring tool torque and horsepower. These standards will give tool buyers a dependable method to compare and evaluate product specifications. Read more
Times are tight–about as tight as anyone can recall–so it's smart to look for ways to keep costs in line and your business moving ahead. If you're in construction, tools are an expense you can't avoid, but one place to find big savings is to buy reconditioned tools. Read more
DeWalt introduces two portable, European-style circ saws designed with integral straight-edge bases in 59- and 102-inch lengths for cross-cutting and ripping sheet materials. Read more
Welding equipment maker Strong Hand Tools introduces an economically priced, modular welding table under the BuildPro brand. Read more
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