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Tool Talk logoBy Jon Eakes

Spring Line-up



Running Wires

I don't usually have a lot of tools for people who run wires and when this one showed up on my doorstep it looked too simple to be really useful. So I sent it out on sites with a few different electricians... and had a real problem getting it back. This simple bracket hooks over wood or metal studs with ease. If there is a sliding problem, there is a hole for a quick screw to hold it in place. Then you simply put any wire reel - from heavy metal shielded cable to telephone wire (or flexible plumbing reel) - on the shaft and pull away. It takes up almost no space and is built solid. My testers loved it, and the $35 price tag, too. The inventor does not have any good distribution yet, but you can get the Reel-EZ on-line by digging through the strange Web site www.UnSeenOnTv.com.

New Meters
While I am onto electricity, I really liked this new little under-$40 meter from Ideal that covers just about every base you might want to cover in construction and renovation. It handles AC and DC, both voltage and current, and of course it has a continuity testing ohm meter. It also deals with capacitance, frequency and even temperature, from -20C to 750C (-4F to 1382F) - enough to know whether you have either an overheated connection or a an air leak in a cold wall. Visit www.idealindustries.com.

Two Mounts, One Motor
It took a long time for manufacturers to understand that we didn't really want to have to choose between a fixed-based router and a plunge-base router when, in fact, we wanted both for less than the price of two machines. So now it is pretty common to find Multi-Base router kits, allowing you to fix one base under a table arrangement and simply pop the motor out to put it into your versatile hand-held plunging base. 
I own a lot of routers of various sizes and from a variety of manufacturers, yet I was delighted with this new Milwaukee Multi-Base kit as it seems to me to have kept the best of longstanding technology together with new refined ideas. There is nothing strikingly new, except perhaps its very smooth plunge action. I was delighted to find the very low dual handles on the fixed base, which I think gives far greater control than D handles, and the appropriately raised but still well designed grips on the plunging router. The motor has a quick release to get in and out of the base or make large adjustments rapidly and, of course, all the very fine adjustments and stops you have come to expect.
One nice addition is the ability to access the depth adjustment through the face plate with an extension wrench, which means by cutting an appropriate hole in your router table, you now have above-the-table depth adjustment.
The soft start won't jerk the tool out of your hand, the variable speed adjustment allows matching the operation to the material being cut, and the built-in feedback control actually maintains your set speed as cutting resistance varies. Milwaukee has brought out a very respectable tool with all the right features. Visit www.MilwaukeeConnect.com.

Sitting Down with Power Tools
You don't have to be bound to a wheelchair to want to sit down to work on something like a lathe but, until now, no one made lower- to-the-ground stationary tools. Although there are a few complications, it is basically a question of making a shorter base to existing tools - and the very solid General Tool company finally listened to one insistent man who refused to let his newly acquired wheelchair stop him from working with wood. They now have a whole line of wheelchair-accessible stationary tools that they call Access - their standard industrial quality machines with lower tables. Visit www.General.ca.


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