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    2008 Editors' Choice Awards

    Time and trouble–if only contractors and crews could find good ways to deal with these make-or-break culprits on every jobsite. When you think about it, the best jobsite solutions save us time and keep us out of trouble every day. The worst ones just make things worse.

     
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    Cordless Impact Drivers

    We set out to test the latest 18-volt lithium-ion impact drivers, but we made a few exceptions to round out the field. All but the Bosch are LI-powered, but a few different voltages and tool configurations are in the mix.

     
  • Product Watch: Cordless Tools

     
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    Roy Underhill, Williamsburg, Va.

    Roy Underhill is the one and only Woodwright, a term he coined to help sell his show idea to public television in the late 1970s. Now in its 28th season of filming, the original how-to show, 'The Woodwright's Shop,' is still going strong. In fact, Underhill is one of the longest-running program...

     
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    Time and Trouble

    It's time once again for our annual Editors' Choice Awards for the year's best tools, accessories, and jobsite solutions. This year, we spotlight 13 great products that will help you save time and avoid trouble–two of my biggest pet peeves as a builder and employer.

     
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    Delta 17-959L and Powermatic 2800 Drill Presses

    The first drill press I ever used was 40 years ago in my grandfather's workshop, and the ones I've used since, during my 22 years as a woodworker, haven't changed much. Woodworkers have always struggled with basic machines designed for metalworking.

     
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    Stretch Pickups

    Since the dawn of crew cab pickups, manufacturers have created ever larger, more luxurious passenger compartments. Now an aftermarket upfitter has topped them all with its own 6-door, 9-passenger custom stretch pickup trucks.

     
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    Transit Connect from Ford

    The Ford Motor Co. finally has taken the wraps off the Transit Connect, its much-anticipated import tradesman/delivery van. The carlike van, built in Turkey and sold throughout Europe as a commercial vehicle, will be marketed here as a more compact, economical alternative to the manufacturer's...

     
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    Import Scaffold Planks Fail Tests

    A product advisory has been issued, warning that non-APA-certified laminated veneer lumber scaffold planks imported from China failed to meet design specifications embossed on the products.

     
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    May/June Hot Finds

    The FLIR 15 professional-grade thermal imaging camera uses an advanced infrared detector to quickly scan large areas to reveal energy leakage, missing insulation, radiant tubing embedded in floors, and anywhere heat is present. The tool is lightweight, compact, and easy to operate, and its 2.8-inch...

     
  • Finally–Tool Test Standards!

    After years of repeated pleas by industry experts–including the editors of this magazine–major tool manufacturers have approved voluntary test standards for measuring torque and horsepower.

     
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    Lightweight Air Compressors

    My life changed 30 years ago when my boss showed up on our jobsite with a used 2-gallon, 1-horse air, belt-driven compressor and a couple of roofing staplers. That old compressor chugged day in and day out, just barely keeping pace with our tools but driving our production to a new level.

     
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    Makita TD090DW Impact Driver

    New from Makita, the TD090DW 10.8-volt lithium-ion impact driver outputs 800 inch-pounds of torque, 3,000 impacts per minute, and a no-load speed of 2,400 rpm, but weighs only 2 pounds and measures 6-1/8 inches long.

     
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    Hitachi Cordless Drill/Driver

    At 1.8 pounds and less than 6 inches long, Hitachi's DB10DL 10.8-volt, lithium-ion micro drill/driver fits into compact spaces.

     
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    Milwaukee V28 Cordless Grinder

    New to Milwaukee's V28 line of lithium-ion cordless tools, the 0725-20 4-1/2-inch grinder features a 3.0-amp-hour, 28-volt lithium-ion battery and outputs 8,000 rpm for cutting bolt, pipe, and angle iron and grinding weld beam.

     
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    Hilti 18-Volt Hammer Drill/Driver

    The SFH 144-A CPC 14-volt lithium-ion hammer drill/driver from Hilti offers the power of an 18-volt tool with the weight of a 12 volter, the company says.

     
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    Bosch Line of Cordless Hammer Drills And Drill/Drivers

    Bosch has released the second generation of its Brute Tough nicad-powered cordless hammer drills and drill/drivers, which have a range of features designed to provide the durability to stand up to rigorous conditions.

     
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    Metabo PowerGrip II Cordless Screwdriver

    Metabo's PowerGrip II 7.6-volt lithium-ion cordless screwdriver offers nearly twice as much power and drives twice as many screws per charge as the company's nicad-powered PowerMaxx Plus.

     
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    DeWalt 28-Volt Line Of Cordless Tools

    DeWalt's 28-volt lithium-ion tools with Nano Technology offer lighter weight, greater performance, and increased cycle life, the company says.

     
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    Panasonic 28.8-Volt Rotary Hammer

    New from Panasonic, the 28.8-volt lithium-ion rotary hammer, model EY7880LN2S, delivers 0 to 4,500 bpm in a compact size of 12-9/16 inches long and a light weight of 8.4 pounds.

     
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    Ridgid R86111 Hammer Drill

    The Ridgid R86111 18-volt lithium-ion hammer drill delivers 610 inch-pounds of torque and no-load speeds of 0 to 450 and 0 to 1,600 rpm, and 0 to 7,200 and 0 to 25,600 bpm.

     
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    Arrow Fastener CT50 Cordless Staple Gun

    Featuring a 10.8-volt lithium-ion battery, the CT50 cordless staple gun drives up to 1,500 staples on a single charge, says the maker,

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Makita Compact Hammer Drill/Driver

    Cordless drill/drivers seem to be shrinking; everywhere you look, brands are coming out with smaller and lighter versions

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: 10C Technologies Universal Battery Charger

    We're thrilled to award 10C Technologies' Crew Charge universal battery charger system, which can recharge different brands, voltages, and types of batteries simultaneously, including NiMH, nicad, and lithium-ion.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Muck-Truck Mini Dumper

    Packing the utility of a dump truck into a compact size suitable for the jobsite, the Muck-truck is a pink slip for your wobbly wheelbarrow.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Worksharp Wood Tool Sharpener

    Anything that takes the drudgery out of sharpening is a winner in our eyes, so we look to the Worksharp 3000 to save time and effort.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Steel City Granite-Topped Cabinet Saw

    No longer just a sophisticated addition to your customers' high-end kitchens, granite tops are now available on Steel City's 10-inch riving knife cabinet saw, providing a perfectly flat surface that will not warp or rust.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: DeWalt/Ford Tool Link RFID

    Communication and computer technologies have clearly made their way onto our jobsites.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Base Mate Ladder Stabilizer

    Say goodbye to unstable ladders teetering on uneven terrain.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Ridgid 12-Volt Subcompact Drill With Chuck

    Following in the lithium-ion subcompact trend is the new Ridgid Micros, but it has an important difference: a 3/8-inch drill chuck.

     
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    2008 Editors' Choice: 3rd Hand Saw Guard

    We keep an eye out for tools and accessories that we think can improve jobsite safety.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Max Superframer

    The best of the best in our recent test of full round-head framing nailers—we ran out of pages just extolling its virtues.

     
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    2009 Editors' Choice: Ridge Runner Truss Platform

    Being a ridge man on a truss crew is the framer's equivalent of a spacewalk.

     
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    2008 Editors' Choice: SawStop Contractor Saw

    SawStop's revolutionary blade brake won an Editors' Choice Award in 2001 when it first came out.

     
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    2008 Editors' Choice: Hain Co. Digital Cutting Station

    As much as we like many of the miter saw stations available today, this cutting station is one of a kind.