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    Roof Mates Air Knife Pneumatic Shingle Cutter

    Roof Mates' new Air Knife is a real knuckle saver. A cross between a pneumatic tool and a hook-blade utility knife, the Air Knife's reciprocating piston zips the 1-1/4-inch-deep hook through shingles in a blur with just a light draw force. It's great for trimming rake edges and valleys, and cutting...

     
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    Block Work for Dummies

    Most builders sub-out block work. In my practice, however, doing block work myself increases profits, lowers costs, and maximizes my control over jobs. It also gives me another service to offer prospective customers. The key to working with block lies in developing a few basic skills: Unit layout...

     
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    Realtity Check

    OK, I'm probably the only person left in the world who doesn't get a kick out of 'reality' TV shows–but I don't. If watching TV is a waste of precious time, then watching these 'redesign a room in two days'/'build a mansion in a week' shows are the ultimate. I know I'm on shaky ground here, given...

     
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    Construction Master

    When someone says 'framing square,' we all probably think of the same object. But before it became a mass-produced tool in early 19th century America–and the tool we all think of–medieval European timber framers used framing squares to lay out bents and ribbed vaults for houses and cathedrals. It...

     
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    Radius Layout

    The architects I work with love to design arches–sometimes even serpentine soffits that roll like ceiling-mounted ocean waves–but they don't spend much time on layout, leaving us to figure them out on site. Fortunately, not every arch we build requires the math department at Columbia University to...

     
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    Hans Nebel

    It's not what Hans Nebel does with his tools that's important. It's what the tools do for him.

     
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    Coil Roofing Nailers

    Coil roofing nailers are the most abused tools on my jobsite. They withstand blistering rooftop heat under summer sun, take two-story high-dives onto frozen mud in winter, and endure constant grinding as I drag them across 10-grit shingle granules. And that doesn't even account for the grime that...

     
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    Trim Routers

    When you're working with historic buildings, there's one thing you can depend on: You can't depend on anything. Over the last 150 years, changes in hardware, trim details, and other product introductions and evolutions (weather stripping for example) have led to the need for a versatile tool like a...