Most Popular Articles

  • Tool Test: 18-Volt Drill/Drivers

    Today's cordless drills are significantly better than the ones I used four or five years ago — they have more power and greater runtime, and take less time to charge. Many of them are lighter, too. The most obvious change has been the move from nicad to lithium-ion batteries, with lithium-ion...

     
  • 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...

     
  • Tool Test: 12-Inch Miter Saws

    Miter saws have come a long way from their humble beginnings. I remember the heyday of the 9-inch blade, direct-drive Rockwell 'Motorized Miter Box,' with a particleboard sub-base and a thumb-pressed brake. It was my introduction to using a miter saw some 30 years ago.

     
  • A Finish Carpenter's Bag of Tricks: Part 1

    These are not the only tools in my bag; they’re just the ones I like or use the most.

     
  • Tool Test: Airless Paint Sprayers

    We gathered nine pumps, ranging from midlevel budget models to a few suited for everyday use on smaller jobs – they just had to be able to handle the pros' requisite .019-inch tip. Our painter of 25 years used them with interior and exterior latex paints to determine their worth from a full-time...

     
  • Tool Test: Framing Nailers

    As a framing contractor, I rely on nail guns more than almost any other tool. When I buy a framing gun I look for a model that is comfortable to handle, able to toenail well, and powerful enough to drive nails flush every time.

     
  • Tool Test: 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Impact Drivers

    For this article my crew and I tested 18 lithium-ion impact-driver kits. Some companies sell the same tool in two kits – each with different batteries – and in such cases we tested both versions. We used all the drivers for several months, trading them around so that everybody had experience with...

     
  • Buyer's Guide to HEPA Vacuums for RRP Work

    With the enactment last spring of the EPA's Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule, contractors are facing a number of new requirements, one of which is to use a HEPA vacuum for cleanup whenever lead-based paint is disturbed. The rule also says that HEPA vacs need to be used with tools that...

     
  • Incredible Tricked Out Tool Cart

    To avoid running back and forth to the truck for missing items, I outfitted a rolling cart to carry everything needed to do the job.

     
  • Full-Size Oscillating Multi-Tools

    Look for a powerful model that offers quick blade changes and is easy to grip in any position

     
  • 18-Volt Brushless Impact Drivers

    High-efficiency brushless motors and increased energy-density batteries push the capacity of these full-size tools further than ever

     
  • Tool Test: Affordable Line Lasers

    For this article, my crew and I tested 11 self-leveling line lasers that can be purchased for $300 or less – an amount any tradesperson should be willing to spend for a tool that can pay for itself. Our pricing came from reputable online dealers; you may pay more or less based on when and where you...

     
  • 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...

     
  • Framing Gable and Shed Dormers

    Whenever adding any type of dormer, it's essential to determine the roof load and design the load path transfer to the existing floor joists or roof rafters. Then you can ensure adequate bearing points, or add framing and install beams to carry the loads through the walls down to the foundation. It...

     
  • Framer's Everyday Carry

    It’s not easy to earn a place in my tool bags. Here are 11 tools that make the cut.

     
  • Modular Tool Organizers

    Modular organizers share the same footprint and can be stacked and latched together for storage and transport.

     
  • Tool Test: Sliding Miter Saws

    Whether it's into wood or your wallet, large sliding miter saws make the biggest cuts, so we tested them to help you invest wisely. The seven 12-inch, dual-compound sliding miter saws in this test are the best of each player in the field, and we couldn't resist throwing in a brand new, 10-1/4-inch...

     
  • Lightweight Framing Nailers

    These sub 8-pound nail guns are comfortable to use and surprisingly powerful.

     
  • Tool Test: Six-Inch Jointers

    Jointers are the go-to tools for straightening and squaring lumber, and standard-length 6-inch-wide capacity models are a great choice for most carpentry and trim uses in the shop and on the job site. These 46-inch bed machines are the entry-level size for stationary jointers and, as the smallest...

     
  • Neal’s Way Cool Home-Made Truck Bed Storage

    The solution I settled on was a set of pullout drawers that deliver reach-and-grab accessibility.

     
 
 
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