Winter 2010 Table of Contents

Featured
Tool Test: 5-inch Random-Orbit Sanders Tool Test: 5-inch Random-Orbit Sanders

The workhorse sander for most tradesmen is the 5-inch-diameter random-orbit sander. Thanks to its ability to hog off stock with a coarse grit disk and leave a smooth, finished surface with a fine grit, this single tool has replaced the old progression of belt sander to half-sheet finish sander for many. It doesn't replace all sanders for all applications – but truth be told, it has replaced a lot of them over the past few decades. Read more

Site Lines: The Truck Issue Site Lines: The Truck Issue

Anyone with the wherewithal to shop for a truck last year found himself in the driver's seat when it came down to the bottom line in striking a deal. Between dealer desperation and the cash-for-clunkers program, it was a rare chance for consumers to actually come away ahead Read more

Ideas That Work: Burt Weinstein Ideas That Work: Burt Weinstein

Tradesmen are problem-solvers. We all have 'Aha!' moments – those instants of clarity and understanding when you see the solution to your problem, right in front of you. Burt Weinstein has made a career of such moments. The big difference between him and the rest of us is that he patents his solutions and turns them into innovative products that help solve everyone else's problems. 'Inventing is simply identifying a need and then fixing it,' he explains. 'The trick is to identify the need.' Read more

2010 Site Commander: On the Road to Recovery 2010 Site Commander: On the Road to Recovery

If there's one thing we learned over the past year of touring with the Site Commander, as we visited 600 cities across the country, it's how hard contractors will work to keep their companies afloat. Survival in this business is difficult enough without facing historic economic conditions and the challenges they've presented to our industry over the past two years. And yet, for the tens of thousands of contractors who came to see the Site Commander in person or who visited the Web site, and for all those who entered the sweepstakes last year, the Site Commander represented a bright spot and created a place to share new ideas and common ground. Everyone we met on the road this year faced challenges they never had to face before – some worse than others. Many were re-evaluating their markets and business plans and assessing strengths and weaknesses. All were preparing do whatever it would take to hold on until things turned around. Read more

Product Watch: Truck Accessories Product Watch: Truck Accessories

Below-Deck Storage / Tough, Quiet Tires Read more

First Test: Budget Circ Saw First Test: Budget Circ Saw

The latest pro circ saw from Skil (model HD5687) is not one of the company's signature wormdrive tools but a new blade-right sidewinder model. We found it interesting enough to test because of its price (under $100) and the fact that it's Skil's only 7-1/4-inch sidewinder warranted for professional use – like the company's flagship #77 line and a few others. We put this new tool to work in custom residential construction to see whether or not a bargain saw could indeed live up to professional use. Read more

First Test: Shower-Drain Cutter First Test: Shower-Drain Cutter

Plumbers typically cut chamfered drain holes in subflooring by eye, using a recip saw held at a shallow angle. The resulting inconsistencies in the roundness of the hole and the chamfered angles can keep the drain from sitting totally flat and centered in the opening, and a generous application of construction adhesive is often required to support the drain fitting properly. Another problem is that such 'subfloor surgery' can take even a skilled worker 15 minutes to do well. The Stall Saw was designed to get this job done quickly and efficiently. The cutting tool mounts onto a 5-1/2-inch hole saw. Its three outside blades function as a giant countersink cutter, chamfering the straight sides of the hole left by the hole saw. Read more

Truckin' Around Truckin' Around

New Heavy-Duty Dodge Rams / What's That Beater Worth? Read more

Cutting Edge: Mega Toolmakers Plan Merger

Two of the world's oldest, largest, and most respected makers of hand and power tools surprised just about everyone in November by announcing that they intend to combine their many assets to form an $8.4 billion global tool company, to be called Stanley Black & Decker. As of this writing, the merger is awaiting shareholder and U.S. antitrust approval. Read more

Truck Report 2010 Truck Report 2010

To say 2009 was a tough year for auto-makers would be something of an understatement. But you could also say it was a very good year for truck buyers who managed to stay in the market. When the construction industry went into a skid, prices for pickups and other work vehicles plummeted, and nearly all vehicle sales came to a dead stop at the deepest point of the recession. Pickup buyers could just about name their price as dealers desperate to move inventory advertised sales up to half off. Read more

Hot Finds: Fein Power Tools T-Series Angle Grinders Hot Finds: Fein Power Tools T-Series Angle Grinders

Fein Power Tools has introduced a new line of low-vibration compact angle grinders (model WS-14) that lock out accidental start-ups. Read more

Hot Finds: Senco Fusion Cordless Nailers Hot Finds: Senco Fusion Cordless Nailers

Rather than rely on fuel cells, Senco's all-new Fusion cordless nailers operate on the same principle as pneumatic tools: compressed air. Read more

Product Watch: BAKflip CS Contractor Series Tonneau Product Watch: BAKflip CS Contractor Series Tonneau

The BAKflip CS Contractor Series tonneau combines a weathertight load-bearing folding pickup bed cover with an integrated sliding rack system. Read more

Product Watch: Firestone Industrial Products Ride-Rite LS Load Levelers Product Watch: Firestone Industrial Products Ride-Rite LS Load Levelers

Ride-Rite LS load levelers from Firestone Industrial Products are designed for heavy-duty (2500 series and up) Ford, Chevy/GMC, and Dodge pickups. Read more

Product Watch: Knaack WeatherGuard E-Line Saddle Box Product Watch: Knaack WeatherGuard E-Line Saddle Box

The WeatherGuard E-Line Saddle Box (model 143) is the first in a new line of pickup toolboxes introduced by security tool-chest manufacturer Knaack. Read more

Product Watch: A.R.E. Deluxe Commercial Unit Truck Caps Product Watch: A.R.E. Deluxe Commercial Unit Truck Caps

Deluxe Commercial Unit truck caps and covers from A.R.E. are available for most 2010 pickups. Read more

Product Watch: ARB 50QT Fridge Freezer Product Watch: ARB 50QT Fridge Freezer

The 50QT Fridge Freezer from Australian four-wheel vehicle-parts manufacturer ARB was designed to improve on all other portable vehicle units now available, says the manufacturer. Read more

Product Watch: Step n Tow Tow-Hitch Step Product Watch: Step n Tow Tow-Hitch Step

Step n Tow is a Class III 2-inch receiver-mounted tow hitch. Read more

Product Watch: Tuffy Security Products Full-Pull Utility Drawers Product Watch: Tuffy Security Products Full-Pull Utility Drawers

Full-Pull Utility Drawers from Tuffy Security Products provide lockable storage for pickups with 4-, 6-, or 8-foot beds. Read more

Product Watch: Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor Pro-Grade Tires Product Watch: Goodyear Wrangler Silent Armor Pro-Grade Tires

The hard, knobby treads on construction-vehicle tires are good for navigating building site terrain and debris, but they can be loud and slick on paved roads and they offer poor fuel economy. Read more

Tool Tests

Milwaukee Cordless Sawzall With OneKey

A group of framers put Milwaukee's latest Sawzall to the test, exploring its power...

Festool 36-Volt Track Saw

Contributing editor Bruce Greenlaw gauges the power, battery runtime, dust...

Metabo ASR35ACP (HEPA)

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

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