Summer 2011 Table of Contents

Featured
A Shovel for Every Purpose A Shovel for Every Purpose

Stonehill College may be the only school where the graduating seniors adopt a class shovel. The tradition came about because the Easton, Mass., institution is home to what's commonly called 'the shovel museum,' a collection of more than 750 shovels – some dating back to the 18th century – made by the Ames Shovel Works in Easton. Read more

Tools Up Close: Graco ProShot Paint Sprayer Tools Up Close: Graco ProShot Paint Sprayer

Last summer, my painting company added a new sprayer to its arsenal: the Graco ProShot. For those who missed the hoopla surrounding the introduction of this tool, it's a hoseless 2,000-psi piston pump sprayer that takes pro-style tips and is powered by an 18-volt battery. The ProShot is sold exclusively through Sherwin-Williams and should not be confused with Graco's TrueCoat sprayers, which are aimed at the DIY market. Read more

Tools Up Close: Makita Compact Drill/Driver Tools Up Close: Makita Compact Drill/Driver

The Makita drill/driver is short & a mere 7-9/16 inches from chuck to tail. With the battery attached, it weighs 3.3 pounds, which is lighter than the vast majority of 18-volt drill/drivers. Its small size and weight make for easy handling overhead and in tight spaces like cabinets and narrow joist bays. To create a more comfortable and ergonomic handle than the ones on previous models, the manufacturer tapered the bottom of the grip and added vertical ribbing. Read more

Buying a Portable Generator Buying a Portable Generator

In a perfect world there would be temporary power where and when you needed it, but in reality, many contractors must rely on portable generators some or all of the time. As a framing contractor, I've had to use them myself, so I understand how important it is to get a dependable machine that can provide the required power. In this article I will explain how to size a portable generator and what to look for in terms of features. Read more

Tool Test: Subcompact Drill/Drivers and Impact Drivers Tool Test: Subcompact Drill/Drivers and Impact Drivers

Subcompact tools are the fastest growing segment of the cordless market. The number of available models has grown from a mere handful four years ago to more than 100 today. The tools in this category are defined by their small size, light weight, and 10.8-volt lithium-ion battery packs (which for marketing purposes are referred to as 12-volt packs). As with any voltage platform, the first tool a new user usually buys is a drill/driver, followed by an impact driver, so for this article I tested both. Read more

Tool Tests

Review: A Soft-Toe Wedge Boot From Keen Utility

Wedge boots might be most popular with ironworkers, but they are a good fit for...

Field Tested: Festool CT SYS HEPA Vac

Unlike your typical R2D2- or BB-8-like roll-around dust extractor, the CT SYS is...

The Makita Cordless Impact Wrench

Custom homebuilder and mechanic Robert Courtney calls the Makita XWTO8Z a "beast"...

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