Tools & Materials
Latest and Greatest: March 2018
A manageable cut-off saw
STIHL developed the world’s first cut-off machine powered by a 36-volt Lithium Ion battery, the TSA 230. This saw is light and maneuverable and only weighs 8.6 pounds (Half as much as a similar-powered model). And there’s no exhaust making it ideal for indoor use. It has built-in water control and many of the same features as it’s bigger brothers. The STIHL TSA 230 is available at authorized STIHL dealers.
Easy to clean, multitasking level
The Milwaukee REDSTICK can be used to screed, smooth, and level. Once you’re done, the level is preposterously easy to wipe clean. The REDSTICK also has all the great features you would expect from a Milwaukee level. SHARPSITE Vial Technology makes the magnified bubble easy to read and the REDSTICK’s magnesium core keeps the level from breaking down. The Milwaukee REDSTICK Concrete Levels are available in 24-in., 48-in. and 72-in. lengths starting at $99.99.
A tool for the low-voltage guys
Electrician Scissors is the most used tool of many of the low-voltage electricians that we’ve talked to, and Klein seems to be the go-to brand. If you’ve never heard of electrician scissors, here is a primer: Of course like any scissors, Klein’s new Electrician Scissors can cut through stuff with the blades, but they also have a cable cutting notch so you can rip through wire up to 14 AWG. They’ll strip 19 and 23 AWG wire all day long and have a notch in the tip for de-burring electrical boxes. There’s also a scraper on both blades for convenient wire cleaning. Klein’s All-Purpose Electrician’s Scissors are available online and in home centers for $24.35.
Porter Cable cordless wet saw
Porter Cable recently unveiled their new 20V MAX* Table Top Wet Tile Saw, continuing the on-going trend in the tool industry of “there’s a cordless version of everything now”. While table top saws are mostly stationary, the cordless-ness of this tool would still be advantageous on a jobsite with no or limited outlets. If you’re worried about the run time of a battery powered saw, don’t be; Porter Cable claims that this saw can make up to 154 cuts on a single charge. The 20V MAX* Table Top Wet Tile Saw can be found online for $269.99.
Skid steer of the future?
What makes this JCB Teleskid machine unique is it’s one-of-a-kind telescoping boom, which gives it the ability to reach a variety of places. The Teleskid’s telescoping boom gives you eight feet of outward reach. Plus, its one armed design gives you 60 percent more visibility than similar twin-armed machines. With a fully extended boom the Teleskid can lift up to 1600 pounds. With the boom retracted that weight capacity goes up to an impressive 3695 pounds. To find out more about the Teleskid from JCB, click here.
The new Shark
CNC machines, once only found in specialty woodworking shops, just became a lot more accessible. At the end of 2017 Next Wave Automation announced an entirely new version of their flagship product, the CNC Shark. The machine, which they are calling the CNC Shark II, has all of the great features of their previous models but at a much lower price point, and it has a smaller design so it doesn’t take up as much room in your shop.
“The CNC Shark was one of the first, widely distributed small format CNC machines in the world,” says Tim Owens, Next Wave Automation founder and CEO. “The new CNC Shark II machine is an industrial powerhouse with a small footprint, so that hobbyists and small shops can have a full range of functionality without having to create the space or the budget for machines costing, literally, thousands of dollars more.”
The CNC Shark II could benefit a wide variety of industry pros, whether you are a siding pro looking to make custom house numbers or a trim carpenter who needs a custom piece of millwork, or you just want to impress your customer with a “Welcome to the Johnson’s” sign. The new machine is available online starting at $2,999.
On the job hose repairs
In the past if you nicked a garden hose there wasn’t much you could do other than throw it out. But Stanley’s new Duraflex Expandable Hose features a patented Quick Repair coupling that makes it easy to fix leaky gashes, so no more duct tape patches to limp you through the day. All it takes is three steps: first, you remove the Quick Repair coupling. Next, you cut the damaged section away. Finally you simply reattach the Quick Repair coupling at the splice, creating a sealed, leak proof connection and saving the hose. There’s a good chance you may not need a repair because the Duraflex is hard to damage in the first place, with a heavy-duty 2-ply construction. The Duraflex Expandable Hose can be purchased online or in hardware stores for $34.99.
The MEDUSAW Walk Behind Worm Drive Saw makes it easy to score concrete in large areas, giving an ergonomic alternative method to a job that is often back-breaking and labor intensive. The MEDUSAW has a dual-field worm drive motor and a walk-behind set up that is efficient and accurate. SKILSAW made sure that MEDUSAW was as accessible as possible, with an ambidextrous, adjustable handle, a three point line of sight, and a larger wheel for maximum visibility. This saw is designed to meet OSHA’s new silica exposure requirements, with integrated dust control in both wet and dry environments. The MEDUSAW Walk Behind Saw will be available soon. For more information visit the SKILSAW website.
Portable fan built for the jobsite
The new 11-in. Jobsite Fan from DeWALT is a great little fan that gives you the perfect mix of portability and power. The main draw of this fan is its versatility. It has both corded and cordless functionality and can be hung, stood up or mounted. There’s pretty much no place on the jobsite this fan wouldn’t work. When in cordless mode it runs off of the standard DeWALT 20V MAX battery, which one Amazon reviewer says lasted for over 17 hours of runtime. Plus, the fan speed is completely adjustable. The 11-in. Corded/Cordless Jobsite Fan is available from most online retailers and in hardware stores for $79.00.
One tool to drive them all
The Bosch Max FlexiClick 5-in-1 Drill/Driver System has one tool and five attachments. That means it can perform all kinds of tasks, like: screw-driving, drilling, right angle drilling/driving and offset driving close to edges. This tool/tools isn’t going to replace a deck builder’s 20v impact driver and drill, but it might be a great option for those smaller project that require a bunch of different operations, like knocking off a punch list at the end of a build-out. If you’re moving around and don’t have the space to haul around a bunch of dedicated tools this might be just what you’re looking for. The Bosch 5-in-1 Drill Driver System is available online and in home centers for $199.00.
Light as a feather
DeWALT’s new Carbon Fiber Composite Staple Gun weighs 50% less than a typical staple gun. And the reviews from buyers so far have been positive. Many pros are impressed that it doesn’t jam regardless of what brand of staples are used. But really, it’s all about the weight. You won’t believe it until you pick one up. They’re preposterously light. The DeWALT Carbon Fiber Composite Staple Gun is available online and in hardware stores for $34.97.