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    Tool Test: Circ Saws

    Here in the Eastern half of the country, sidewinder circ saws are the workhorse tools of most construction jobs. We do our framing with them, and unlike our Western cousins with their wormdrive saws, we use our sidewinders for everything from form work to trim. As a result, during the past 30 years...

     
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    First Test: Knaack's New Monster Piano Box

    Knaack's new 48 cubic foot Monster Box model 1000 piano box is 66 inches wide, 54-1/2 inches tall, 30 inches deep, and one tough box. I know–I had a chance to test it out, getting one of the first to roll off the production line.

     
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    Cap Staplers and Nailers

    If you're still using hammer-tacker staples alone to attach housewrap and synthetic roof underlayments, you haven't read the instructions lately. Major manufacturers of these products have required capped fasteners spaced in specific patterns for the past several years. I know what you're thinking:...

     
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    First Test: Bosch 4100DG-09 Table Saw

    Prepare for a major change in portable table saws. During the last few years, tool manufacturers have banded together to produce a new guard system for these saws, and Bosch is the first company to market it, on its new 4100 series saws. Trust me, this new system will change how we work.

     
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    First Test: Ridgid Faucet and Sink Installation Tool

    Making plumbing connections underneath today's kitchen sinks can be a real challenge. With multiple basins, monstrous disposers, pullout sprayers and their dangling hoses, soap dispensers, instant hot-water heaters, water filters, dishwasher and ice maker connections, pullout trash-can slides, and...

     
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    First Test: Metabo SE 12-115 Burnisher

    Metabo's SE 12-115 burnisher basically is a slow, variable-speed angle grinder with an extended spindle that fits accessory wheels up to 4-inches wide and 4 1/2-inches in diameter. A key on the spindle fits a groove in the wheels to provide a positive mechanical drive, and spacers of different...

     
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    Rock Star

    Josh Wiener carves a living out of stone–literally. As a second-generation sculptor, he works mainly in marble but also is well-versed in granite and limestone, and even does artistic concrete creations. After developing his talent close to home, Wiener went on to apprenticeships in Japan and...

     
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    Under the Umbrella

    Watching the tool industry consolidate under larger and larger umbrellas is a fascinating process, and one that we track closely. It is a topic that comes up in almost every meeting I have with tool industry execs from companies large and small. I've said many times that the tool industry is one of...

     
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    Hot Finds: Demo/Rescue Tool / 10-Inch Wet Saw

    Hot Finds: Demo/Rescue Tool / 10-Inch Wet Saw

     
  • Training Center: Builders' Show Education / Crisis Management / Start With Safety

    Where to go for training and education in the trades.

     
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    Tool Doctor

    Put together a group of tool repair experts who've spent half their lives fixing tools, and you'll have a bunch of old-timer's?and one young buck. At age 26, Adan Aceves has already spent more than half his life in front of a repair bench, starting as a 12-year old in the family business his father...

     
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    First Test: Roberts Roll-O Knife

    With its aluminum wheel hanging beneath, the Roberts Roll-O Universal Knife looks like some hapless engineer tried to make a unicycle from a standard utility knife. But there's a method to this madness, and unlike some innovations that fall flat when they get out to the field, the Roll-O indeed...

     
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    Portable Thickness Planers

    Whether you are setting up a woodworking shop or just need to dimension trim on a jobsite, a thickness planer is one of the first tools you should buy. Planers come in many sizes, however; the 24-inch width model we use in our shop weighs close to 700 pounds–not a real portable tool. Smaller 12- to...

     
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    First Test: T-Drill T-35 Tee-Forming Tool

    A T-Drill is a unique, incredible plumber's tool that I've relied on to give me a competitive edge for nearly a decade, yet most people–including many plumbers–have never heard of it. So when I was asked to review the new T-35, I was eager to see what kind of improvements they made to this amazing...

     
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    Toolhouse Drive

    I had the coolest dream this week, and I share it knowing somebody somewhere is likely to send the looney wagon to my office, but...I was driving down the typical auto alley found in most cities, the road lined with truck and auto dealerships for Ford, GMC, Dodge, Subaru, Toyota and all the...

     
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    Tool Test: Cordless Circ Saws

    When I began working in the building trades some thirty-plus years ago, carpentry tools fell into two categories: basic hand tools and simple electric power tools. I didn't start working with cordless tools until the mid-80s, when I bought my first 9.6-volt, 3 3/8-inch blade cordless saw–more of a...

     
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    Modern Marvels

    I never gave much thought to work gloves. They were just another part of my work gear. And I'm a tightwad, so most of the gloves I've purchased over the years fall into the 'disposable' category. So when Tools of the Trade gave me the opportunity to review the latest and greatest gloves on the...

     
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    No Rust, No Worries, Mate

    In Australia, a Ute is a pickup truck, but they don't look like our pickups,' says Randy Cryer, who lived there for a time and discovered that most Australians drive trucks with shiny, all-aluminum aftermarket pickup beds instead of 'factory tubs.'

     
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    100,000 and Counting

    As a young counter hand in a Sheffield, England, tool shop just after World War II, Ken Hawley probably never dreamed that he would someday possess one of the largest and most historically significant tool collections in Great Britain. But when I met him nearly 60 years later, he was busy...

     
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    Hand Tools

    The latest tools and accessories.

     
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    23-Gauge Pin Nailers

    I first discovered 23-gauge pin nailers when I was looking for a way to quickly attach small moldings after I found that 18-gauge brad nails, the standard for attaching small wood trim, would consistently split the material. At the time of my first purchase–about a decade ago–pin nailers shot a...

     
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    Cordless Rotary Hammers

    As a self-employed contractor in New England for nearly 30 years, I've relied on rotary hammers for as long as I've been in business. As a concrete foundation contractor, I've used them to drill holes for placing rebar into existing foundations to tie into a new pour, and occasionally on new...

     
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    Bosch and DeWalt Angle Grinders

    As a professional wood carver, I've had a 4-1/2-inch or 5-inch angle grinder with a carving disc attachment in my hands for six to eight hours a day for the last eight years. Speed, power, and dependability are all important to my productivity (as my wife and I say, 'If I don't carve, we starve.').

     
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    Milwaukee Router Kit

    I rely on routers for multiple tasks in my snowboard manufacturing shop; around here, they really get a workout. I recently tested Milwaukee's new 2-1/4-hp router combo kit in different stages of wood core production. With the fixed base, I template-cut wood cores, running the machine for hours at...

     
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    Festool Circ Saw and Guide Rail System

    I'm always tremendously skeptical about a tool that claims to 'change how work is done' as Festool does for its plunge-cutting 8-1/4-inch, 13-amp TS 75 EQ circular saw system. But after testing the TS 75 EQ, the company's newest and largest saw, I believe every word of it.

     
  • Training Center: Tool Safety / Safety Training / Nailing Safety

    The Power Tool Institute offers a number of educational articles on its Web site promoting safe use of a variety of power tools, including circ saws, table saws, routers, and jigsaws. In addition, PTI offers a number of tool-safety brochures and videos.

     
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    Hot Finds: Palm Nailer / Saw Hood

    Grip-Rite says its 16D mini palm nailer offers the performance of a pro tool but in a compact package that's one-third the size and weight of traditional palm nailers. The GRTMP16 drives up to 16D nails up to 3-1/2 inches long at 70?110-psi operating pressure. It features a magnetic nose to hold...

     
  • Swedish Workwear Hits U.S.

    It only takes one glance to notice that Blåkläder workwear is a bit different. But beyond its distinctive styling, Blåkläder clothes offer standout functionality and durability, says this Swedish manufacturer that recently brought its 48-year-old brand to the U.S. The company describes its products...

     
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    Talkin' Tools

    As hard as it might be to imagine, when I'm not testing tools, writing about tools, reading about tools, or seeing how tools are made, I seem to be talking about them–all the time. I'm not complaining. I love talkin' tools, which I guess you'd expect from the editor of a magazine called Tools of...

     
  • 0607- Editor's Note: Talkin' Tools

     
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    A Tool Is Born

    We often say the best ideas are born on jobsites by toolhounds looking for a better way. The Big Foot Saw is no exception.

     
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    Tool Storage

     
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    Portable Planers

    When I was working as a wooden boat builder, there were times that I couldn't tell where my hand ended and my portable planer began; no tool got used more. Since I've used these tools so much, I'm sensitive to their features and performance, and I take poor design and false promises about them...

     
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    Microplane Sanding Discs & Rasp Plane Blades

    The older I get, the less tolerant I am of certain things, and sanding wood tops my list. Choking on sawdust is bad enough, but there's also the tedium involved. So when a new product comes along that promises to make this work quicker and easier and less of a pain in the lungs, I'm eager to check...

     
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    Magswitch Featherboards & Jigs

    As a part-time college woodworking instructor, I have seen quite a few variations of the featherboard. In general, I'm a skeptic when it comes to new gadgets, having found over the years that they don't live up to manufacturers' promises. Then I came across the Magswitch Pro 30-mm and Standard...

     
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    Festool Joining System

    Festool's Domino isn't just a brand new type of joining tool; it's a whole new joining system. Based on mortise-and-tenon joinery, the Domino combines the qualities of biscuits and dowels with a stronger, self-aligning joint. A loose tenon of solid beech called a Domino fits into a slot cut by the...

     
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    Right-Angle Drills

    A big part of a plumber's or electrician's job is making holes. Through studs, plates, floors, joists, and even roofs, before you can start to run any pipe or pull any wire, you need countless large holes, and you want them fast and with as little effort as possible. So when you're looking to pick...

     
  • Training Center: English as a Second Language

    Inside: Safety Education / Connector Training / Safety Guide

     
  • Recalls: Wilton and DeWalt Saws

    Wilton says blade on 10-inch compound saw may come loose; DeWalt says lower blade guard on framing and circular saws may fail to close.

     
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    Hot Finds: Electric Come-Along and Rotary Hammer

    Warn has new Electric Come-Along; and Makita introduces new rotary hammer.

     
  • Supervisor Training

    Developed by the Associated General Contractors of America, the Supervisory Training Program includes 10 20- to 25-hour courses (plus two 25-hour overview courses) designed to provide supervisors with the knowledge and skills to be an effective manager of people, time, equipment, and materials.

     
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    Pure Tools

    We've learned a lot over the past 12 years of publishing Tools of the Trade, but the three most important lessons our editorial team acts on every day are...

     
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    Tricked Out

    Made from polymer materials, these durable Splash Guards protect the vehicle's finish from road debris. The guards, which can be painted to match the vehicle's finish, contour to the wheel well and are designed to accent the vehicle's lines. An optional polished Westin nameplate is available.

     
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    Lithium-Ion Hands On

    It would be hard to find any tool category in the history of this industry since the advent of the electric motor that has grown as fast as cordless lithium-ion (LI) tools. Since Milwaukee's official launch of the category two years ago, we've seen every major brand quickly enter the market with...

     
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    Fire And Rescue Crew, Cherryvale Fire Station 1, Boulder, Colo.

    When I was a teenager, tools were the compass leading me toward manhood, and since then I have done no less than carve my path through life with tools in my hands. I've written over the years about how tools bring truth to your work and put bread on your table. But I've never written about how...

     
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    Metal Connector Nailers

    Years ago I'd routinely build houses that didn't have any metal connectors in them at all. Everything was blocked or ledgered and a few 16d nails were considered adequate for almost any connection. Once in a while I'd use the odd joist hanger, so I kept a coffee can full of 1-1/2-inch hanger nails...

     
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    New Tools, Hands On

    In my snowboard manufacturing shop, we use a circular saw primarily for cross-cutting hardwood lumber to rough lengths prior to laminating it into blocks. This operation is all about speed. With thousands of feet of lumber in 16-foot lengths delivered at once, we really need to move through the...

     
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    Cordless Tools

     
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    Cordless Drill/Drivers

    With so many of these tools including a hammerdrill function, which we use all the time on our trim and cabinet installations, we took the models into the field and focused on this feature. Most of these hammerdrill models switch functions by dialing in the hammer symbol on the clutch setting ring...

     
  • Editor's Note: Be 'Sub'-Conscious

     
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    Jed Dixon, North Road Workshop, Foster, R.I.

    Look Sharp

     
  • Warranty Wars

    Performance, features, and price will always be first-choice deal-makers for tool buyers, but warranty coverage has become the latest competitive battleground among tool companies.

     
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    Launch Time 2006

    Hot finds and cool products from this year's STAFDA show, including power-packed lithium-ion tools, lightweight nailers, and functional fasteners.

     
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    Dream Team 2

     
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    Electric Chainsaws

    When you think of chainsaws in construction work, your mind usually goes to builders of log homes, pole barns, docks, fences, and perhaps timber framers. But I dug a little deeper and found them used in demolition, vintage wood salvage and reuse, panel home building, sculptural stair and railing...

     
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    Be 'Sub' Conscious

    In an industry faced with labor-force challenges, quality-control issues, pinched margins, and tight time lines, anyone who wants to succeed with and grow their construction business must always be on the lookout for ways to improve all aspects of its services.