• TOOLS of the TRADEshow-STAFDA 2009 Edition

    Last week I attended the 33rd annual STAFDA convention and trade show in Atlanta, Georgia. Membership includes distributors, retailers, and manufacturers of light construction tools and related products. This show is always interesting for Tools of the Trade because it is where we find the latest...

     
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    Fall 2009 Safety Supplement: Training Your Crews

    Training is an essential part of every safety program. Crew training provides an opportunity to focus on workplace hazards, operations, procedures, tools, equipment, and employees' attitudes. There are two basic types of safety training: formal and what we call 'tailgate' meetings.

     
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    Truckin' Around: Ford to Build Own Truck Engines

    Readers may recall that when Ford Motor Co. retooled its Super Duty line of big F-Series pickups in 2007, it also fell into a contract dispute with International Truck and Engine, the outsource manufacturer for Ford's much-touted new 6.4-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel engines. International...

     
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    Product Watch: Safety Gear

     
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    Safe Sites

    Walk around any jobsite on any given day–even the ones with well-trained and experienced work crews–and you are likely to see some relatively unsafe setup or dangerous situation waiting for trouble. Workers who know better will overlook safety because they think 'I'm just going onto the roof for a...

     
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    Fall Protection: Covering the Basics

    Falls are one of leading causes of death among construction workers. In 2004, 1,224 construction workers died on the job, with 36 percent or 440 of those fatalities resulting from falls. Most falls are caused by uneven working surfaces, misuse of fall protection equipment, and human error. Studies...

     
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    Ladder Safety: Best Practices

    As a roofer, I make my living climbing up and down ladders every day. So I was surprised to learn that ladder safety violations consistently rank among the top ten cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); third among specialty contractors, and seventh overall among OSHA's...

     
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    Training Your Crews

    Training is an essential part of every safety program. Crew training provides an opportunity to focus on workplace hazards, operations, procedures, tools, equipment, and employees' attitudes. There are two basic types of safety training: formal and what we call 'tailgate' meetings.

     
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    A Promise Kept: Chris Dutra

    Chris Dutra first began working for Bostitch in channel marketing and then in product development before landing in business development. Eventually he moved to a competitor, where he essentially reinvented the entire pneumatics industry. The innovative product and manufacturing strategies he...

     
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    Launch Time 2009

    With the economy poised for a comeback in 2010, toolmakers are just now rolling out their latest innovations to meet the anticipated demand. Every year at this time, the

     
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    First Test: Mitertite Assembly System

    Stretch clamps are provided to help pull the miter together and keep the two members making the joint from rotating around the single pocket screw. The stretch clamps are a great product all by themselves and will find other uses apart from the Mitertite application.

     
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    First Test: High-Pressure Pneumatics

    Makita is bringing its high-pressure nailer line to the U.S., and we were the first framing crew in the country to get our hands on its framing and siding coil nailers and brand-new 400-psi compressor. High-pressure nailers are more common in Japan, where the affinity for efficiency and compactness...

     
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    Truckin' Around: Pickups from India

    The faltering truck and auto industry in the United States has provided an opening for an all-new entry into the pickup competition here – the first-ever passenger vehicle to be imported from India.

     
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    Fall 2009 Hot Finds

    Ergonomic Angle Grinder / Lightweight Corded Circ Saw

     
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    SiteLines: Safety Check

    I know it's hard to stop scrambling in this business, with the constant crush to line up work, get the work done, and then get paid when you finish. But if there's ever a time to pause and focus, it's when it comes to assuring job-site safety for your crews, subs, and suppliers. Through these...

     
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    Product Watch: Elvex Go Specs

    Elvex Go-Specs GG-40C-FF protect against dust, sand, cement, and chemical particles, according to the manufacturer.

     
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    Product Watch: BucketBoss 95000 Kneepads

    BucketBoss's 95000 Kneepads weigh 2.3 pounds a pair and feature Gel-Dome technology.

     
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    Product Watch: Howard Leight Clarity Earplugs

    Howard Leight's Clarity earplugs – with a SoftFlange seal – protect hearing in environments of 95 dB or lower.

     
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    Product Watch: 3M 2200 Series Respirator Filters

    3M's reusable 2200 Series filters have a three-layer filtration design that enables easier breathing while providing the same level of filtration performance as the traditional five-layer filter, says the maker.

     
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    Product Watch: MSA North America Custom TechnaCurv Harness

    The Custom TechnaCurv Harness from MSA North America features a patented curvilinear comfort system that combines curved neck and torso webbing with an adjustable Y Back D-Locator pad.

     
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    Product Watch: Wiley X Jake Safety Glasses

    The Wiley X Jake safety glasses are made with High Velocity Selenite polycarbonate (scratch-resistant) lenses and nearly unbreakable nylon frames, says the maker.

     
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    Product Watch: SensGard's Hardhat Adaptor Clips

    SensGard's Hardhat Adaptor clips to the back of almost any hardhat to attach the SensGard SG 26 or SG 31 hearing-protection device.

     
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    Product Watch: US Safety Intruder Goggles

    The US Safety Intruder goggles offer splash, dust, and impact protection and meet ANSI Z87.1 and CSA Z94.3 standards.

     
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    Product Watch: Tommyco Total Flex Articulating Kneepads

    Tommyco Total Flex articulating kneepads 30321 have a patented all-terrain cover, making them ideal for exterior use, says the manufacturer.

     
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    Product Watch: Construction First Aid Kit

    The ANSI 10-person Construction First Aid Kit contains 91 combined units of bandages, scissors, tweezers, first-aid creams, and dressing pads.

     
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    Product Watch: Howard Leight Thunder T2 Hi-Visibility Earmuffs

    Thunder T2 Hi-Visibility earmuffs feature a reflective headband, green ear cups, and dielectric construction.

     
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    Product Watch: Ergodyne's ProFlex 710 Trades Gloves

    Ergodyne's ProFlex 710 Trades Gloves are constructed of an Akton visco-elastic polymer made to dampen shock and impact.

     
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    Product Watch: Moldex Meteors Disposable Earplugs

    Moldex Meteors disposable earplugs are the only earplug designed with an undercut tip to keep the earplug secured in the ear canal, says the company.

     
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    Product Watch: Dräger X-plore 1700 Series Respirator

    Made from CoolSAFE filter material and featuring an innovative exhalation valve, the Dräger X-plore 1700 series particle-filtering facepiece respirator has a moisture-repellent inner fleece and attaches with a head harness.

     
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    Product Watch: Capital Safety Tool Lanyard

    The Tool Lanyard from Capital Safety prevents tools from dropping.

     
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    Product Watch: Peltor Digital Worktunes Headphones

    Listen to your favorite music while blocking out harmful noise with the Peltor Digital Worktunes headphones.

     
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    Product Watch: Ansell HyFlex 11-510 Gloves

    Ansell HyFlex 11-510 gloves – designed for use with carpentry, HVAC, pipe-fitting, and glass installation – provide ANSI Level 2 and EN Level 3 cut protection.

     
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    Product Watch: Gateway Safety 4x4 Sport Safety Glasses

    Gateway Safety's 4x4 Sport safety glasses provide 99.9 percent protection from UVA and UVB rays.

     
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    Product Watch: Miller Fall Protection TurboLite Personal Fall Limiters

    Miller's TurboLite Personal Fall Limiters (self-retracting lifelines) are part of the Twin Turbo Fall Protection System.

     
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    Product Watch: French Creek Production Door Jamb Anchor

    The French Creek Production Door Jamb Anchor 1785 mounts in door or window openings from 24 inches to 43 inches wide and attaches to a harness with a self-retracting lifeline (not included).

     
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    Product Watch: Impacto Eliminator Knee/Shin Protector

    The Impacto 777-00 Eliminator Knee/Shin Protector is made with PVC-free materials and features padding containing Super Gel and foam for comfort.

     
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    Product Watch: Werner's Equalizer Extension Ledder

    Werner's Equalizer extension ladder is made from heavy-duty nonconductive fiberglass and comes with factory-installed leg levelers.

     
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    Product Watch: Klein Tools Advance Cap Safety Helmet

    Klein Tools' Advance Cap safety helmet has cooling vents and weighs .84 pound.

     
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    Product Watch: Stihl Cut-Off Machine Safety DVD

    Stihl's 45-minute instructional DVD, 'Cut-off Machine Safety, Maintenance and Operation,'shows how to use handheld cut-off machines safely.

     
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    Product Watch: Timberland Pro Triflex Boots

    Timberland's 6-inch Pro Triflex Boots have a waterproof leather outer with a waterproof membrane.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Milwaukee Sub-Scanner Cordless Detection Tool

    The 12-volt Sub-Scanner Cordless Detection Tool (model 2290-21) is an extra-heavy-duty 'stud finder' powered by Milwaukee's M12 rechargeable batteries.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Lenox Mobile Torch System II

    The Lenox Mobile Torch System II (MTS II) is a combo gas-torch canister connection and accessory carry-all designed for professionals.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: General Tools & Instruments Digital Franctional Callipers

    General Tools & Instruments' lightweight 3-inch and 6-inch nonmarring, nonconductive carbon-fiber-composite Digital Fractional Calipers provide precision measurements in three digital-readout modes.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Stanley FatMax Graphite Hammer

    The striking face on Stanley's two new FatMax graphite hammers is 70 percent larger than standard hammer faces, providing a larger 'sweet spot' to improve user accuracy, says the maker.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Amana Tool Router Bit Sets

    Two new wood-flooring router-bit sets offer precision-mated profiles with integral nail slots for solid wood from 58 to 3/4-inch thick or engineered wood from 1/2 to 58 inch thick.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Hitachi Cordless Impact Driver

    Hitachi's new 14.4-volt cordless impact driver (WH14DBL) has a brushless motor that provides up to 30 percent longer runtime per charge and extends battery life, says the company.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Ridgid PressSnap Cutting Tool

    The PressSnap cutting tool for no-hub and service-weight cast-iron pipe attaches to Ridgid's corded and cordless electro-hydraulic press tools.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Makita Three-Speed Cordless Impact Driver

    Makita's first brushless-motor 18-volt cordless impact driver (BTD144) has a three-speed power-selection switch.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: DeWalt 18-Volt Cordless Tools

    DeWalt's all-new line of compact 18-volt cordless tools includes a right-angle drill (DCD690KL), a drill/driver (DCD760KL), an impact driver (DCF826KL),and a hammer drill/driver (DCD775KL).

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Malco Tools with RedLine Handles

    New RedLine handles have been added to 22 tools in the Malco hand-tool line.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Greenlee Auger Bits

    Greenlee's extended-length (24- and 30-inch) auger bits eliminate theneed for bit extensions, which can catch on obstructions and prevent efficient chip removal.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Bosch GTL3 Tile Layout Laser

    The GTL3 tile layout laser can display 45-degree lines, which means that users can align layouts at zero, 45, 90, and 135 degrees from a single setup and view straight-line and diagonal alignments simultaneously.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Jenny Products Compressor-Generator

    This combination compressor-generator (K11HGA-17P-3000W) features an11-hp Honda overhead valve engine with an electric start.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Capital Safety Ultra-Lok Dual-Mode Fall-Protection Rig

    The Ultra-Lok RSQ SRL ('rescue with self-retracting lifeline')is the first dual-mode fall-protection rig to provide fall arrest and rescue/descent in the same unit.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Metabo 18-Volt Cordless Hammer Drill/Driver

    The SB18 LTX 18-volt cordless hammer drill/driver offers superior ergonomicsand power in a more compact design, says the maker.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Midwest Tool Siding Combo-Tool

    The Vinyl/Aluminum Siding Combo-Tool (model MW-CT) is two products in one – so you have one less tool to carry when working on a scaffold or ladder.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Stanley-Bostitch PN50 Mini Impact Nailer

    The PN50 Mini Impact Nailer is 60 percent smaller than most other pneumatic palm nailers but performs the same function, says the maker.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Bernzomatic QuickFire Torch

    The QuickFire Torch offers a more compact size and a hotter flame for soldering (and other direct heat-applied operations) than competing products, says the maker.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Irwin Marathon PCD Fiber Cement Circular Saw Blades

    Marathon PCD Fiber Cement Circular Saw Blades deliver longer life and less dust than standard fiber-cement blades, says the maker.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Trimble Spectra Precision Laser

    The Spectra Precision Laser (HV301G) is an automatic self-leveling laser that offers superior green-beam visibility for horizontal, vertical, and plumb applications, says the maker.

     
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    Launch Time 2009: Alltrade Line Of Tool Bags

    Designed to meet the demands of professionals, a new tool-bag line created for the Snap-on tool brand contains soft-sided tool-storage bags, rollerbags, wide-mouth bags, bucket totes, and more.

     
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    Hot Finds: Ridgid R1005 Angle Grinder

    The R1005 4-1/2-inch Angle Grinder from Ridgid combines a unique ergonomic grip, light weight, and a compact design to improve user control while reducing fatigue.

     
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    Hot Finds: Porter-Cable Heavy Duty Circular Saw

    For 2010, Porter-Cable will introduce an all-new Heavy Duty 7-1/4-inch Circular Saw that offers improved balance, 55-degree bevel capacity with stops at 22.5 and 45 degrees, and a lightweight cast-magnesium shoe.

     
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    Tool Test: 10-Inch Tile Saws

    We lined up seven wet saws representing six brands and tested them mostly on tough porcelain tiles, making cuts up to 7/8 inch thick. We used identical, high-quality porcelain blades to take blade performance out of the equation and focused on cut quality and accuracy, the precision of the moving...

     
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    Driving the Brand: Ken Hefley

    Whether he's working in his woodshop, renovating his house, or riding dirt bikes in the desert, Ken Hefley brings a high-octane blend of craft, passion, and competitiveness to everything he does. His job as Makita USA's senior VP of marketing is no exception. 'I've competed in sports all my life,'...

     
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    Torque Standards Stall

    Editor's note: On three separate occasions since July 2006, Tools of the Trade reported on the progress of an industry effort to create new universal power-tool measurement procedures. In January 2008, the Power Tool Institute announced the development and adoption of new voluntary procedures by...

     
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    Product Watch: Cordless & Pneumatic Fastening Systems

     
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    First Test: Milwaukee SwitchBlade Bits

    As the owner of a plumbing and heating business, I am also the fixer of tools and the sharpener of blades, and it's up to me to make my equipment investments last. One of my most onerous duties is sharpening the Selfeed bits we use. I've gotten good at it, but it's a time-consuming chore. So it was...

     
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    First Test: Bosch's First-Ever Nailer

    Out West where I build, the Big Three of framing nailers are Hitachi, Paslode, and Senco; if you've shot a 12d nail here, chances are it's been through one of these. There is no shortage of companies making framers, as I found out in our test of 19 full round-head nailers last year, but an...

     
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    Truckin' Around: New-Age Trucks on Horizon

    Tradesmen and small-business owners will have a new compact work-van option when the Transit Connect lands in Ford Motor Co. showrooms this summer. / Smith Electric Vehicles has announced plans to build all-electric, zero-emission commercial vehicles near its Kansas City, Mo., headquarters...

     
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    Cutting Edge: New Tool Update

    Since our last new tool report in fall 2008, companies have been busier than ever cranking out the latest and greatest. Why all the focus on new products now, with the building economy at a near standstill and the pool of buyers arguably diminished? Some of the projects coming to fruition started...

     
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    Summer 2009 Hot Finds

    Four-Rail Laser Miter Saw / Dust Extractor

     
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    Site Commander Winner!

    Minnesota custom home builder Larry Allar stepped across the racetrack at the LENOX 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, picked up the keys to the Site Commander Sweepstakes grand prize, and drove off with the most awesome work truck on the planet. Allar, a longtime Tools of the Trade reader and...

     
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    Sitelines: Retool for Green

    There's a lot of talk these days about how the green economy is going to revitalize our industry – especially through energy-related upgrades to existing buildings – and how, when markets for new homes recover, they will be distinctly greener. I couldn't agree more. Working to improve the energy...

     
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    Hot Finds: DeWalt Power-Tool Dust Extractor

    An innovative 12-gallon power-tool dust extractor from DeWalt (model D27904) features a 'pulse' filter-cleaning system

     
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    Hot Finds: Makita LS1016L Miter Saw

    Improved cutting ability and added features are highlighted on Makita's new LS1016L sliding compound miter saw.

     
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    2009 Site Commander Winner Drives Off with Grand Prize

    With the roar of 101,000 NASCAR fans greeting him, Larry Allar stepped across the race track at the LENOX 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, picked up the keys to the Site Commander Sweepstakes grand prize, and drove off with the most awesome work truck on the planet.

     
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    New Milwaukee Tools–The Very Latest

    I visited the Milwaukee Electric Tools headquarters in Brookfield, Wisconsin last week for a preview of upcoming products set to debut later this year. Milwaukee has 48 new products launching throughout 2009, and I think I saw and tried out most of them during my time with the product teams. With...

     
  • New Tool Report - May 2009

     
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    First Test: Nail Kicker Pneumatic Nail Remover

    For such an ingenious tool, the Nail Kicker is based on a very simple concept. What if you could use a nail gun instead of a hammer to pound a nail back through a board? All you would need is a nailer without a magazine, right? That's the idea behind the Nail Kicker.

     
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    Tool Test: 3+ Horsepower Plunge Routers

    The largest, most powerful routers you can buy are in the 3- to 3-1/4-hp class. If the motors were any larger, you couldn't run them on standard residential circuits. The most versatile of these machines are plunge routers. Their ability to plunge a bit into wood while the tool's base stays safely...

     
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    New Place for Pride

    I remember riding some pretty wild ups and downs during my 20-plus years of building, though nothing like we're seeing now. Each time things got tight I learned more about survival, which made my business stronger when the economy turned around.

     
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    First Test: NailOut Pneumatic Nail Lifter

    The NailOut is an air-powered cat's-paw designed to work just like a manual cat's-paw but without the hammer swing. Essentially, this tool is an adaptation of a pneumatic tool called a scaler that's used in the metal fabrication industry. A scaler's simple reciprocating action–or stroke–is similar...

     
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    First Test: Diablo Hand-Held Mixers

    Tile contractors spend a lot of time standing over a 5-gallon bucket mixing various setting materials, and most just use a 1/2-inch drill for the job. That's not an ideal approach, because the tool isn't purpose-built for the application. Always on the lookout for something better, we found the...

     
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    Randall Coe, VP of Marketing, Bosch Power Tools

    If you look beyond Randall Coe's titles at Bosch, first as director of product development and now as vice president of marketing, you'll find a complex, energetic ToolHound. Coe's leadership and rebellious streak have produced paradigm-shifting tools–stuff you use every day–and a business culture...

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice Awards

    No one in our industry has been immune to the deep economic downturn, including tool and accessory manufacturers. They're being forced to make the same tough business decisions as the rest of us. But judging from the steady stream of innovative products that continues to flow from their development...

     
  • Product Watch: Work Gear

    Spring 2009 Focus: Work Gear

     
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    Spring 2009 Hot Finds

    Universal Workbench / Scraper Accessory

     
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    Cutting Edge: Blue-Collar Jobs Turn Green

    With home building at a near standstill and the government promising financial stimulus for energy-producing and conservation initiatives, a number of industry, private, and government cooperative programs have emerged to help builders and tradespeople get back to work.

     
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    Cutting Edge: "The Old Saw Man"

    Tools of the Trade magazine presented its first Lifetime Achievement Award to living legend Marshall Burns at the JLC Live Show in Providence, R.I., in March. Burns started working with his father in 1937 making saw blades, often traveling to remote sawmills in the Maine woods to set up the...

     
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    Hot Finds: Walko Workbench

    The Walko Workbench is a smartly engineered portable workstation invented and sold in Europe and now available here.

     
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    Hot Finds: Simple Man Products Spyder Scraper

    The Spyder Scraper from Simple Man Products is about as basic as a tool gets.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice Grand Award: The Power Tool Institute

    This is the first time we've given an Editors' Choice Award to an industry association.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Milwaukee Subcompact Specialty Tools

    Subcompact cordless tools are a fast-growing trend and no brand has taken them further than Milwaukee's M12 line.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Delta Unisaw

    For years woodworkers everywhere have looked to the Delta Unisaw as the standard-bearer for stationary table saws, with good reason.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Goldblatt Bladerunner

    This ingenious tool may not replace your utility knife, but if you work with drywall it should become part of your arsenal, especially for radius cuts.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Festool Kapex Sliding Miter Saw

    Free-thinking Festool sets out to build new tools independent of the conventions of particular product categories, and the Kapex miter saw is no exception.

     
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    Lifetime Achievement Award

     
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    First Test: DeWalt Right-Angle Drill

    Years ago, when I started out as a young plumbing apprentice, the venerable Milwaukee Hole Hawg was the only right-angle drill used throughout the trades. It was big, heavy, and powerful. I went for more than one ride on that drill, and the countless smashed knuckles I endured were a real lesson in...

     
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    Tool Test: Compact & Subcompact Drill/Drivers

    Cordless drill/drivers have come a long way since the first one I purchased more than 20 years ago. It's interesting, though, that some have come full circle and ended up about the same size as those small, early tools, but with much better performance.