• 18-Volt Cordless Circular Saws

    The best models have good runtime and cut dense material without slowing down

     
  • A Trip to the Plier Factory

    This summer I visited the Channellock factory in Meadville, Pennsylvania and got a close up look at good old fashioned American tool manufacturing. They allowed me take photos so I'm sharing them here...

     
  • Innovative Tool Carriers

    Here are nine of the best products for transporting and organizing your gear

     
  • An Unusual Truck Bed Storage System

    Check out the custom-made storage unit in this this pickup. It was built as a mobile command center for a fire-department, but it seems to me the idea could be adapted to a contractor's truck.

     
  • Mega Tunneling Machine

    I don't know anyone who will ever see, much less operate one of these machines, but that doesn't mean it's not fun to watch.

     
  • Blaklader Work Pants

    The last few years I've been hearing a lot about Blaklader, a Swedish company that makes work clothes that are designed to be functional, durable, and professional looking. Tools of the Trade asked me to try some of these clothes out and I have been wearing them for about a year. Here's what I can...

     
  • Woodworking Shop With No Tools

    Experts drool when they see Luther Sampson's shop — even though it contains no tools. Any why should it, when Luther has been gone for so long?

     
  • A Bizarre Cordless Tool Test

    I don't speak Swedish so I have no idea what the guy in this video is saying. It doesn't matter, though, because his actions speak louder than words.

     
  • A Cheap but Good Glue Brush

    Manufactures don't like it when I call their tools cheap, but there's good cheap and bad cheap.

     
  • Can't Get it Here: Self-Clamping Saw Guide

    If you have ever used a plunge cutting circular saw then you've probably clamped the rail in place to keep it from slipping.

     
  • Don't Bogart This ENL

    You know what I'm talking about.

     
  • What's the Best Recip Saw Blade for Carving Turkey?

    Buck and Larry don't know, but that doesn't stop them from plowing ahead.

     
  • 10 Must-See Tools for 2013

    In early November I went to Orlando, Florida, for the most important tool event of the year, the annual STAFDA convention, a members-only show where the tool and fastener manufacturers go to unveil new products.

     
  • A Simple But Effective Ripping Jig

    For those of you who can't afford a plunge cutting saw and guide rail, here's an inexpensive home-made jig that does much the same thing.

     
  • Coming to a Lumber Yard or Supplier Near You

    A few weeks back a fellow editor asked if I planned to cover the announcement of a 'strategic alliance' between Bosch and Simpson Strong-Tie.

     
  • The Most Unusual Work Light You'll Never Own

    That's not a completely accurate description — most of you will never own this light but some of you will.

     
  • $6 Million Lawsuit for Trench Collapse Death

    Two things stand out about the trench collapse that killed Kenneth Stafford: neither OSHA nor the workers comp system got involved.

     
  • Who Owns What: Ladders and Job Boxes

    What does an extension ladder have in common with a Knaack box?

     
  • Tool Companies by the Numbers: Makita

    My wife told me I'm a dork because I read annual reports (well, that's not the only reason). But really, annual reports contain information that tool manufacturers do not go out of their way to share.

     
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    Heavyweights of the IWF

    No, not a wrestling federation, the IWF is the International Woodworking Fair, a trade show devoted to woodworking tools and shop equipment. I spent four days at the show and saw a lot of cool products; here are a few of my favorites...

     
  • A Better Folding Sawhorse

    I've had the same set of folding steel sawhorses since the mid 1990's. They're sturdy and fold up small, but it's a pain to adjust their height.

     
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    MICHAEL DAVIS

     
  • Combination Jab Saw/Utility Knife

    I've been testing tools for years and am on a lot of mailing lists, so new tools frequently arrive on my doorstep unannounced. Most of these tools end up gathering dust in my shop but a recent arrival from the Swanson Tool Company has earned a coveted spot in my tool belt...

     
  • The Most Unusual Work Light You'll Never Own

     
  • Max Rebar Tier

    My crew recently formed and poured the foundation for a 4,200 square foot custom home we would later be framing. It was larger than the homes we normally build - the perfect opportunity to try out a tool I had seen at the JLC LIVE tradeshow...

     
  • Four Over-the-Top Shops

    Here are four of the most remarkable shops I saw this year on YouTube. Screen shots cannot do them justice, so be sure to view them online.

     
  • Woodworking Blades

    Irwin's sub-brand Marples, a name best known for chisels, has just released a new line of thin-kerf woodworking blades engineered for clean cuts and long life.

     
  • Magnetic Work Light

    Magnalight has just released a new magnetically mounted halogen work light, the WAL-M-500-120.

     
  • Cordless Cutter

    Milwaukee's new M12 Cable Cutters are a nice alternative to manual cutters, which require a lot of muscle power and can be difficult to use within the confines of an electrical panel.

     
  • 12-Inch Miter Saw

    Like the small table saw Bosch released last year, the 12-inch CM12 chop saw was designed with portability and capability in mind.

     
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    Hammer + Prybar

    The True Temper 30-inch Claw Bar looks like a cross between a framing hammer and a crowbar.

     
  • Diagnostic Pouch

    Primarily intended as a pouch for HVAC diagnostic tools, Veto Pro Pac's TP3 could work for anyone in need of a compact tool bag.

     
  • Li-Ion Finish Gun

    Paslode updated its 16-gauge cordless finish gun and added a load of new features, the most prominent of which is a lithium-ion battery that's smaller and lighter than the nicad in the previous model.

     
  • Big-Time Joinery

    Festool recently released the Domino XL, a larger version of its original Domino joining system.

     
  • Comfy Harness

    Safety harnesses are known for two things: saving lives and being uncomfortable.

     
  • Cordless Fan

    Whether they're dispersing fumes from floor poly or simply cooling things off when it's hot, fans are an essential piece of job-site equipment.

     
  • Digital Impact Gun

    With the introduction of its new 18-volt impact driver, Hitachi is the latest company to enter the realm of brushless tools.

     
  • Light My Pliers

    Now that LEDs are on just about every power tool you can name, it's apparently time for them to start showing up on hand tools.

     
  • Stirring Lid

    The Mixing Mate Paint Lid can be used to mix and store finishes such as paint, polyurethane, and stain.

     
  • Air-Powered Shingle Cutter

    Making crisp, straight cuts in asphalt shingles with a utility knife can be tricky in warm weather and downright tough when it's cold.

     
  • Modular Organizers

    To help with the constant struggle of tool organization, DeWalt has released its new TSTAK line of tool-boxes.

     
  • 18-Gauge Nailer

    Porter Cable's new 18-gauge brad nailer (BN200C) offers a nice set of features at a reasonable price.

     
  • Back-Saving Ladder Cart

     
  • Strap Organizer

    Ratchet straps are great for securing a load on a pickup truck, but keeping them organized is a total nightmare.

     
  • Flexible Roller

    The McCauley Mini Roller Flex is a roller handle with a flexible neck that can be quickly adjusted to any position, so you can roll difficult areas like rake boards and gutters.

     
  • Electronic Torque Wrench

    The ½-inch Armstrong Electronic Torque Wrench (ETW ½DR) has a simple set of controls and can be set for between 25 and 250 foot-pounds of torque.

     
  • Durable Pinner

    Uffy's new 23-gauge pinner, the TH-T-CZ10, is designed to be both lightweight and durable.

     
  • Universal Rip Fence

    Track saws are good for ripping sheets of plywood, but the tracks are long and the systems require a dedicated saw.

     
  • High-Voltage Cordless Chain Saws

    When lithium-ion tools first hit the market, a number of manufacturers introduced 28- and 36-volt models.

     
  • Senco Joistpro Metal Connector Nailers

    My crew and I used to hand-nail framing hardware, but as codes changed and we had to install more and more of the stuff, it became impractical to nail by hand.

     
  • Universal Dust Collection System

    Several weeks back Michael Springer wrote about the Milwaukee Hammervac. I am as impressed with the product as he is and decided to post a photo that shows how it connects to the hammer and a short video of the tool being used while drilling overhead in concrete.

     
  • Who Cares What Tradesmen Do?

    In the days before video cameras, no one bothered to record what happened on the jobsite. The attitude was: hey, it’s just a bunch of tradesmen out there building things – who cares about that?

     
  • Tool Companies: Who Owns What? (Part 2)

    What does a Baldwin lockset have in common with a Rayovac battery and a George Foreman Grill?

     
  • Can't Get it Yet: Circular Circ Saw

    We’ve all seen concept cars – bizarre designs that are displayed at auto shows but never go into production. Well here’s the world’s first concept cordless circular saw and it’s radical.

     
  • A Cheap and Simple Way to Organize Parts

    I used to keep small parts and accessories in screw-cap jars and leftover tins from Band-Aids and Altoids. The problem was, they were all different sizes and there were too many of them to keep track of, even when labeled.

     
  • Can't Get It Yet: KwickGripper Nail-Puller

    Every now and then inventors will call and ask if I’d like to review proto–types of tools that they hope to produce and sell.

     
  • Four Over the Top Shops

     
  • Tool Companies: Who Owns What?

    What does a Crescent wrench have in common with a Lufkin tape and the original Allen wrench?

     
  • The Ultimate Home-Made Table Saw

    Hector Acevedo is an excellent mechanic and craftsman. How do I know? Because I have seen photos and drawings of the cabinet saw he built from hardwood, plywood, and a mixture of home-made and purchased parts.

     
  • Review: Cordless Random Orbit Sander

    Makita has been on a roll, having recently introduced 18-volt cordless versions of tools that were formerly only available with cords: a sliding compound miter saw, a power planer, and now, the LXOB01 random orbit sander.

     
  • World's First Surface Laser

     
  • World's First Surface Laser

    Last spring I ran across the GSL 2 Surface Laser on Bosch’s German website. It grabbed my attention because it promised to do something that no other laser can do - allow a person working alone to quickly measure the high and low spots on a slab or floor, and without the use of a grade rod or tape.

     
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    Super Anchor Safety Bar

    Like other contractors who comply with OSHA fall standards, I've had to ask myself: how am I supposed to compete with crews that don't use fall protection?

     
  • New Modular Power Tool

    Pro tradesmen are not the target audience for the Matrix Quick Connect System (which is aimed at the DIY market) but it's an interesting idea for a tool.

     
  • Makita OMT Teardown

    I was working on a story about oscillating multi-tools (OMTs) when it occurred to me I had no idea how a spinning motor could make a spindle go from side-to-side. So I did what I always do when a tool confuses me – I tore it apart.

     
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    Avoiding Winter Caulking Woes

    Here in the Northwest, rain is the biggest problem we have in the winter. But it gets cold too – not as cold as other places, but cold enough to make it hard to operate a caulking gun. I used to warm the tubes by putting them on the dashboard or under the heater when I drove to work. It worked okay...

     
  • Can't Get it Here: Lithium-Ion Toolbox

    You may be familiar with L-Boxxes, the modular stacking storage cases that are the Bosch equivalent of Festool Systainers. Well, the GLI PortaLED is something more, it's an L-Boxx with LEDs built into the top so that the case can double as a work light.

     
  • The Ladder King

    Hal Wing died last month at the age of 72. You may not recognize his name, but you'd have to be from another planet not to know the name of his product.

     
  • How American is Your American Truck?

    The answer might surprise you.

     
  • A Trip to the Plywood Factory

    The other day I received an email blast from one of the big box stores touting a particular brand of hardwood plywood. I can't vouch for its quality because I haven't used it, but I like that it's made in the USA (most plywood is from China, Canada, and other countries with forest industries).

     
  • Australian Rules Tool Testing

    It's good to know that someone at Bosch has a sense of humor. In this promotional video a couple of Australians who claim to be tradies (tradesmen) try to destroy a Bosch cordless drill/driver.

     
  • Can't Get It Here: Makita Cordless Bike

    You heard me – an electric bicycle from a power tool manufacturer. But if you want one, you'll have to move to Europe, Asia, or Australia – just about anywhere that isn't North America.

     
  • Home-Made Vertical Panel Saw

    This picture of a home-made vertical panel saw was posted on one of the WoodWeb forums. As its maker puts it, 'it's not much to look at but it works very well.'

     
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    ForceLogic Press Tools

    Milwaukee has been busy keeping up with the needs of plumbers – specifically, their need for new kinds of installation tools. A few years back they introduced M12 and M18 cordless PEX installation tools. Now they are launching...

     
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    New Cordless Electrical Tool

    Milwaukee has added an interesting new cutter to its M12 cordless tool line...

     
  • Brushless Impact Driver Teardown

    I tear things apart so you don't have to. Well, not really – I tear things apart because I am curious about what's inside, especially when the manufacturer makes a big deal out of it. Lately, the big deal has been brushless motors so I disassembled DeWalt's new brushless impact driver and shot...

     
  • Clever Extension Ladder Mod

    Like most tradesmen, I've spent a lot of time struggling to raise balky extension ladders. So my first reaction upon seeing this project was: Why didn't I think of this back when I painted houses?

     
  • New 4.0 Ah Batteries from Milwaukee and Bosch

    One of these batteries will soon be available in the U.S. market - the other is about to be released in Germany.

     
  • Bosch CM12 Miter Saw

    Bosch's new 12-inch single bevel compound miter saw sports a number of incremental improvements and a feature that can't be found on other saws ...

     
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    Tools Up Close: Two Fuel-Powered Framers

    Early this year, Tools of the Trade sent me the newest models from Paslode and Bostitch, and this story is about my crew's experience with those guns.

     
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    Tools Up Close: Milwaukee M12 Band Saw

    Earlier this year Milwaukee added a tool to its M12 line that I never expected to see: a cordless portable band saw. Many tool companies make 18-volt band saws, but this is the first subcompact (10.8-volt/12-volt max) model. At 6.75 pounds and 12 inches long, it's small enough to be used one-handed.

     
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    A Deck Builder's Tool Kit

    These specialized tools boost productivity and quality.

     
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    Quick Folding Chop-Saw Stand

    I hate it when I go to a job site and see some carpenter trying to cut a long molding while his $800 miter saw is balanced on a piece of drywall set on a plastic trash can. For one thing it's dangerous. I like a continuous wooden table that's long enough for me to safely trim the end of a...

     
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    Full-Size Oscillating Multi-Tools

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

     
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    Wide-Angle Stud Sensor

    Imagine using a dozen stud sensors at the same time. That's the basic idea behind the Franklin ProSensor.

     
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    Makita Compact Router

    With its small size and powerful motor, Makita's new variable-speed compact router could be just the tool for your smaller trim work.

     
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    X-Ray Vision Tool

    General Tools' CL10 Cable and Pipe Locator makes it possible to see into walls.

     
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    Three-Speed Drywall Rasp

    Shaving the last quarter inch off a cut sheet of drywall can be agony.

     
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    Flexible Flashlight

    The EMF2 Extendable Flashlight is a low-tech alternative to a digital inspection camera.

     
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    Dust-Free Drywall Sander

    Festool has applied its expertise in dust collection to the world of drywall sanding.

     
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    Low-Cost Infrared Camera

    The growing emphasis on energy-efficient building has led to an increase in the number of companies making infrared cameras.

     
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    Extension Level

    Ever had to plumb from floor to ceiling by holding two levels together?

     
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    Convenient Tool Lanyard

    While tool lanyards might stop you from dropping a drill off a ladder, they can be restrictive and difficult to use.

     
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    Digital Level

    Bosch's electronic level is easier to use than a spirit level and performs some functions that a spirit level cannot.

     
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    Traditional Chisels

    If you like the durability and feel of traditional wood- handle socket chisels, Stanley has something for you.

     
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    Durable Infrared Thermometer

    The Fluke 62Max+ Infrared Thermometer is designed with durability and simplicity in mind.

     
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    Hand Stand

    The FastCap 3rd Hand just got a little easier to use, thanks to a recently released tripod accessory.

     
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    Flush Cut Pliers

    The new Channellock 758 pliers are designed to make flush cuts in small wires and plastic cables.

     
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    Wild Card Wrench

    Wera's new Joker combination wrench is ideal for use in tight quarters.

     
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    Hand Armor

    Most gloves protect only the front of your hand, but Ergodyne's ProFlex 925 protects the back, too, so you won't be injured during demo and heavy construction work.