Spring 2011 Table of Contents

Featured
Tool Test: Combination Lasers Tool Test: Combination Lasers

My first encounter with construction lasers was 20-plus years ago on a commercial job site, where a subcontractor was using a rotary laser to level the track for a suspended ceiling. The tool obviously saved a lot of time, and even though it could only shoot level, I was jealous that my company couldn't afford the $3,000 it cost to buy one. Since that time, lasers have fallen greatly in price and become much more versatile. I now own several and can't imagine trying to compete without them. Read more

Product Watch: 23-Gauge Pinner Product Watch: 23-Gauge Pinner

A 23-gauge pinner is perfect for fastening small returns and delicate pieces that would be destroyed by a brad nailer. Cadex, known for well-made and feature-laden guns, has just released the CP23.30, a low-price alternative to some of its fancier tools. Read more

Product Watch: Liftable Box Product Watch: Liftable Box

Hauling a gang box full of tools from site to site is backbreaking work. Just hoisting the thing up onto the truck can take up to four people. Rescue 42's General Purpose Box makes this labor-intensive process a simple one-man job. Read more

Product Watch: Remote Air Regulators Product Watch: Remote Air Regulators

The H4X Remote Air Hub solves several problems associated with pneumatics on job sites. Instead of running multiple hoses back to the compressor, you put the Air Hub close to the action and plug tool hoses into it. Read more

Product Watch: Mixing Paddle Product Watch: Mixing Paddle

The task of mixing usually rolls down to the least experienced person on site, but it still has to be done correctly. While most mixing paddles only work with a single specified material, the uniquely flexible StirWhip – which looks like it's modeled after some rare sea creature – can be used with everything from paint to masonry cement. Read more

Product Watch: Faster Fastening Product Watch: Faster Fastening

Installing metal roof panels on a hot day is like hanging out in a convection oven, so any tool that speeds up the process is worth considering. The Strong-Tie BGP300 auto-feed screwdriving system drives the hex-head screws with washers used to fasten metal roofing and siding. Read more

Product Watch: Rebar-Resistant Masonry Bit Product Watch: Rebar-Resistant Masonry Bit

Nothing destroys masonry bits like rebar. One solution may be the new SpeedHammer bits, which – according to Irwin – are designed to be twice as durable as standard masonry bits. Read more

Product Watch: Easy Door Painting Product Watch: Easy Door Painting

Door Deckers are designed to assist with both the painting and the drying of doors and shelves. Read more

Product Watch: Tight-Bend Air Hose

Air hoses can be difficult to stow and are a real tripping hazard. Because of the unique design of its inner and outer walls, the new GilaFlex hose has no shape memory; it coils easily. Read more

Product Watch: Creepy Lighting Product Watch: Creepy Lighting

To a thief, a construction site can be a treasure trove of expensive tools and possibly an easy way to get into someone's house. Nightwatcher Security Lighting should thoroughly freak out even the most adept burglars and vandals. Read more

Product Watch: Feature-Rich Finish Gun Product Watch: Feature-Rich Finish Gun

Bostitch recently upgraded its 15-gauge finish nailer with an eye toward making life easier for the trim carpenter. The gun has a small, thumb-operated blowgun for clearing away dust and debris and a small battery-powered LED on the nose. Read more

Product Watch: Flush-Cut Recip Blade Product Watch: Flush-Cut Recip Blade

Cutting door and window openings through sheathing with a recip saw usually leaves a rough and crooked edge. Milwaukee's new flush-cut blade was created for these applications. Read more

Product Watch: Innovative Demo Bar Product Watch: Innovative Demo Bar

As the latest entry in the ongoing competition for the perfect deck demo tool, the Duck Prybar is distinguished by its unique adjustable head. Read more

Product Watch: Reliable Hammer Tacker Product Watch: Reliable Hammer Tacker

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. Read more

Product Watch: 3-in-1 Sander Product Watch: 3-in-1 Sander

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. Read more

Product Watch: Fast Rebar Tying Product Watch: Fast Rebar Tying

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. Read more

Product Watch: Thor's Hammer Product Watch: Thor's Hammer

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. Read more

Product Watch: Outdoor ToolBelt Product Watch: Outdoor ToolBelt

Protecting tools from the weather is an ongoing struggle for anyone who works outdoors. Read more

Product Watch: Dual-Blade Saw Product Watch: Dual-Blade Saw

Because they have a pair of close-set blades spinning in opposing directions, dual-blade saws virtually eliminate kickback and are great for plunge-cutting. Read more

Product Watch: Inspection Camera

Digital inspection cameras are useful for seeing into walls, down conduits, and anywhere else only a mouse can fit. As part of Bosch's 12-volt platform, the new PS90> has a 2-11/16-inch screen with a maximum resolution of 324x240. Read more

Product Watch: Comfy Dust Mask Product Watch: Comfy Dust Mask

Dust masks can be restricting, particularly when you're trying to talk to someone. With its pleated sides, the 3M Vflex respirator solves this and other annoyances. Read more

Product Watch: Space-Saving Ladder Product Watch: Space-Saving Ladder

Even though they fold, stepladders are bulky and difficult to transport. The Little Giant Select Step combines two common sizes – a 6-footer and an 8-footer – in one model, so you've got one less ladder to haul around. Read more

Product Watch: Twin-Trigger Flooring Stapler

With the Hitachi N2503AF you can install thin wood flooring without having to contort yourself into awkward positions to hold the nose at the proper angle. Read more

Tool Test: Inline Circular Saws Tool Test: Inline Circular Saws

Fifteen years ago, when I started out as a framer, Skil was the only real choice for carpenters looking for an inline saw. Since then, a lot more companies have started making these tools and now there are quite a few to choose from. Read more

A Full Day's Work in One Hour A Full Day's Work in One Hour

Ray Robinson, Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 winner Read more

Tools Up Close: Bosch Glide Miter Saw Tools Up Close: Bosch Glide Miter Saw

For as long as I can remember, miter saws have ridden on rails. This design works very well except for one shortcoming: You need to set up away from the wall because the rails protrude from the back of the machine. Bosch recently introduced a 12-inch dual compound sliding model (GCM12SD) designed to solve that problem & and several others, too. It's called the Glide miter saw because instead of sliding on rails, the motor 'glides' forward and back on articulated arms (which don't protrude from the back of the machine). To test this tool, I've been using it in my finish carpentry business since October. Here's what I found out. Read more

Tools Up Close: Job-Site Radios Tools Up Close: Job-Site Radios

Like many carpenters, I enjoy listening to music at work. When I was starting out, there were only a couple of options: Leave the truck radio on with the door open (and risk having to jump the battery later on) or listen to a bad-sounding boombox that was held together with duct tape and had a wire hanger for an antenna. That changed about 10 years ago, when manufacturers began to produce radios designed to stand up to the rigors of the job site. Read more

Tools Up Close: Hilti Electric Concrete Saw Tools Up Close: Hilti Electric Concrete Saw

The DCH 300 is electric, so it's reliable and produces no fumes, and it has a hose port that can be connected to a dust-collecting vacuum. Though designed to cut concrete and masonry, the saw can be used to cut metal if it's equipped with a fiber-reinforced abrasive blade. Lots of companies make electric cut-off saws; what's unusual about this one is the cutting capacity, which at 4-3/4 inches deep is comparable to that of a 12-inch gas model or an electric tool with a 14-inch blade. Read more

Tool Tests

Milwaukee Cordless Sawzall With OneKey

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

Gargoyles Safety Glasses

After months of testing, a framer from the Northwest shares his views on the...

Festool 36-Volt Track Saw

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

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