25 Cool New Tools from STAFDA

Skil recently created a separate brand, Skilsaw, for its pro-grade tools and announced a pair of new sidewinders (more on them later). The big reveal for the STAFDA show was a new 10 1/4-inch wormdrive capable of cutting 4-by material in a single. The company refers to it as “Sawsquatch”. For a complete description of this tool, including pricing and specs see Skilsaw Sawsquatch Wormdrive.

The Wiha Pop-Up Driver stores bits in a carrier that pops out from the end of the handle. This German-made tool comes in insulated (shown here) and non-insulated models, and is packaged in multiple configurations — with varying selections of bits. For a complete description, including pricing and a list of available bits see Wiha Pop-Up Drivers.

Diablo just introduced its first hole saws, and they’re different than others I’ve seen. They’re deeper, so they can go through thicker material, and use something called the Snap-Lock system to hold saws and pilot bits in place. The Snap-Lock mechanism is attached to the mandrel and allows the operator to install and remove saws and pilot bits by pulling back on a spring-loaded ring. It’s a lot like operating the chuck of an impact driver. For a complete description of the product, including additional photos and pricing, see Diablo Hole Saws.

Stanley’s FatMax Rolling Tool Case is designed for ease of access and portability. It’s the kind of case a repair tech might use, but will work for any tradesman who needs to carry a selection of hand tools and small parts. There is also a non-rolling version. For a complete description of this product, including pricing, see FatMax FMST21065 Rolling Tool Case.

Makita’s new XSF03M brushless 18-volt drywall gun was one of the more interesting tools at the show. When equipped with a 4.0 Ah battery it is said to be able to drive up to 1,800 screws per charge through 1/2-inch drywall into 20-gauge metal studs. If that number is correct then this tool is a viable option for the hanger who’s ready to cut the cord, especially if he gets the cordless cutout tool that was announced at the same time as the gun. The drywall gun’s most unusual feature is the Push Drive setting—which allows the operator to activate the motor merely by pressing the tip against a fastener. It’s akin to locking the switch and running the motor continuously, but consumes less battery power because the motor only runs when you’re pushing against a fastener. In “normal” mode it works like a standard screwgun.

The Shop Pockets vest caught my eye before I even entered the exhibition hall. I saw the inventor wearing it and thought he was a maintenance tech for the convention center (I was close; he’s an HVAC contractor). The vest can be used with a series of removable accessories and although it doesn’t have a belt, it can be used with any tool pouch that will fit on a belt. For a complete description and additional photos, see An Unusual Customizable Tool Vest.

A guy at a hospitality event told me about Lenox Power Arc Recip Blades and I thought maybe he’d had a few too many beers. A curved edge recip blade—what’s that about? I found out the next day, when a product manager at the Lenox booth explained that putting a slight curve in the edge changes the angle of attack and results in faster cutting and greatly increased blade life. For more on these blades, including pricing and availability, see Lenox Power Arc Recip Blades.

This mother of all sheathing nailers (SCN63LDXP) is a specialized tool that was developed by Senco for a manufacturer of structural insulated foam—foam that is attached at the factory to OSB or some other sheet material. How do you fasten something like that? Senco’s solution was to use an extra-long driver that pushes the head of the nail through the foam and seats it against the sheathing. This particular gun works with 1 3/16-inch foam over panels; Senco will likely develop models for other thicknesses.

Wera is a German company that makes premium-grade hand tools. Their tools are expensive and can be hard to find in this country—but worth looking for if you like really good stuff. The 1/4- and 3/8-inch ratchets in this photo are from the Zyklop Steel Plus line. They are available in two configurations; standard and push-through. The standard model uses a surface-mounted switch to change directions. With the push-through model you push the square driver through to the other side of the ratchet—a design that makes for greater durability. A dual ratchet tooth design allows these robust 38-tooth ratchets to perform like 76-tooth models and achieve a return angle of only 4.7 degrees.

This Makita multi-port charger (DC18RD) may not look special, but it is. All such chargers currently available (from any manufacturer) charge sequentially. This one charges both batteries at the same time so instead of waiting through multiple charge cycles you only wait through one. For more on this charger, including pricing and availability, see A Multi-Port Charger with a Difference.

According to DeWalt their new brushless 18-volt drywall gun (DCF620) can drive 750 drywall screws in wood or 1,000 in light-gauge steel per charge with a 2.0 Ah battery, an amount said to be about a half day’s work. If that is correct then you could hang board all day on two 2.0 Ah packs or one 4.0 pack. The tool is light and comfortable in the hand and goes 0-4,000 rpm. For more on the DCF620, including pricing and availability, see DeWalt 20V MAX Brushless Drywall Gun

Decades after switching to carbide-tipped circ blades and router bits, tradesman finally have the opportunity to do the same with recip saw blades. Diablo has been making carbide-tipped recip blades for several years; these Demo Demon blades are their newest nail-embedded wood cutting model. While at the show I attended a media event where these blades were tested against competing bimetal models. For the results of that test and more information about the blades see Next Generation Demo Demon Recip Blades

At last year’s STAFDA show Senco introduced a series of Lithium-Ion auto-feed screwdrivers—all of which had compact 1.5 Ah batteries. This year they announced a 3.0 Ah version of the battery. Currently sold as an accessory (list: $119) it will soon be available in kit versions of some cordless Senco tools.

This 4 1/2-inch brushless Makita grinder (XAG03M) was still under development when we tested 18-volt grinders for a recent article in the magazine. I look forward to trying it out separately. In the meantime, here’s what I can tell you about the new grinder: It has a slide-switch that can be locked on, spins 8,500 rpm, and weighs 5.5 pounds with a full-size battery. The kit version includes two 4.0 Ah batteries, a charger, and various accessories—and will sell for $359. Sold bare it will go for $159. The XAG03M will be available in early 2015.

According to the guy holding this insanely large Prebena stapler (6-inch staples), the tool is used for some rather strange purposes. I believed him when he said it’s used to fasten thick foam insulation to building exteriors. I have my doubts about his claim that it’s also used to hold new sod down on golf courses (I think he was pulling my leg). I do know one thing about installing sod—the green side goes up.

Skilsaw’s new sidewinders were announced a couple of weeks back. STAFDA was the first time I had an opportunity to see them in person—though it wasn’t possible to run them inside the convention center. My initial impression was that they are solid tools that deserve to be mentioned alongside the company’s wormdrives. For more on these saws (there are two models), including pricing, specs, and availability, see Skil Unveils Two New 7 1/4-Inch Sidewinders A New Brand Identity.

Ergodyne’s Topped Tool Pouch is a cleverly device; nuts, bolts, and other items can be dropped in from the top but they won’t come out if the unit is tipped. This accessory is expected to be available in January 2015. For pricing and the details of how it works see Ergodyne Topped Parts Pouch.

This looks like an impact driver, but it’s not. It’s Makita’s new Oil-Impulse Driver (XST01Z), which uses a hydraulic mechanism to drive like an impulse driver without producing anywhere as much noise. For more on this tool and the technology behind it see Makita Oil-Impulse Driver.

I saw these auto-feed attachments at the Muro booth and photographed them because they looked cool. There was a sample board at the back of the booth that showed the incredible variety of fasteners these things will drive. I had no idea there were that many types of collated screws.

DeWalt’s DCR006 is the first Bluetooth wireless speaker designed for use on the jobsite. This may be just the thing for the tradesman who wants to listen to streamed music and MP3s without having to let go of his phone or audio device. For complete details on this gizmo see DeWalt Bluetooth Speaker.

Diablo refers to this as a Pergo Blade because it was developed to cut laminate flooring and prefinished wood flooring, which contain aluminum oxide to prevent wear. Aluminum oxide is one of the materials used for sandpaper grit and it absolutely destroys blades. The Pergo Blade has Polycrystalline Diamond (PCD) teeth that are far more resistant to abrasion than carbide. According to Diablo, this blade has 75 times the life of standard carbide blades when used in abrasive material. I saw this blade tested against a carbide model at last year’s STAFDA show; the carbide blade quickly wore out while the Pergo Blade kept going. This year I saw it used on various difficult-to-cut unfinished and prefinished wood. Given how few teeth it has I was surprised by how cleanly it cut. These blades are currently available for 10- and 12-inch saws, and will soon be available for 7 1/4 saws. They sell for between $90 and $200.

I saw these pliers at the Irwin booth; they are part of a new high-end line that will likely not be sold at big box stores. They are made for Irwin by NWS, a German company that makes really nice tools. The tool on the left is a compound cutting diagonal plier that I tested and reviewed a couple of months back. It was fun to see some of the other tools in this line in person. Now that I’ve played with the long nose pliers with the angled head, I think I might have to buy them

This insane gizmo was being demonstrated at the BeA booth. It’s called the Skater, and it’s an automatic stapler used to fasten subfloor in RVs and manufactured housing. Roll it along the material being fastened and it drives staples at the spacing you choose (a wheel gauges the distance rolled and fires at the correct spacing). I saw the thing in action: It was the nail gun equivalent of a machine gun. It drove staples that fast. Click here for the manufacturer’s video of how the thing works. Don’t even think about buying one of these unless you have $5,000 to spend.

The XSH03M is a new 6 1/2-inch saw from Makita that will come out early next year. It’s intended to replace the BSS610, which was included in a tool test we did in 2012. The most obvious upgrade to the new model is the big folding rafter hook. More on this tool when we know more about it.

I’d seen a press release for this Bosch LED work light (FL12); it was nice to finally see it in person. It’s a small hands-free light that takes 12-volt max batteries. The light stands upright on a pivoting base, can be attached to a 1/4-20 tripod mount, and hung any number of ways from a nail hook or carabiner loop. A built-in magnet allows it to be attached to ferrous metal. The light produces 330 lumens of illumination, which is about what you’d expect from a light this size. It will run for about 6 hours on high with a 2.0 Ah battery and sells for about $59.

Bonus Photo: This mother of all wrenches is made by URREA. It’s not even the biggest one they make. But a 3 7/8-inch wrench that weighs 65 pounds is big enough for me. I would hate to have to lift the cheater bar you’d use with a wrench this size.

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