Apps and Applications
The latest in tools and technology
Some months it’s hard to find new products to share with you on Tool Talk. Not this month, where I cover everything from Bluetooth to nailers and string markers. Enjoy!
Bluetooth Has Arrived in Tools
Bosch makes a variety of versatile and accurate measuring tools, such as the GLM series that compete well with features on other brand laser distance measuring instruments. But what Bosch has jumped ahead with is a Bluetooth connection to their smart phone or tablet app (both Android and Apple, thank you, Bosch).
So just what does this app do? It dynamically links the distance measurer with a calculator, a graphics program and a remote control panel in a smart phone or tablet via a Bluetooth connection. This allows users to sketch or overlay measurement on jobsite photos taken with your smart phone or simply stored in the smart phone, calculate measurements or assume control of the tool’s measuring functions from the smart device—great for one man operations trying to be in two places at the same time. For further processing, measurements and photos can be transferred from the smart devices to computers via USB or even e-mailed directly from the site to whoever needs the information. If the guy in the office thinks you’ve missed a measurement, get it before you leave the site. The USB connection is also used to charge the GLM. Now finally there’s one phone app that I think is really useful. www.bosch-professional.com.
DeWalt Brings “Gas-Free” Cordless to Framing
It has taken a while for battery-operated cordless tools to really enter into the heavy duty field traditionally held by pneumatic or gas nailers. Early entries into the field were very heavy and ran out of battery power quickly. The Brushless motors and new generation Li-ion battery packs have brought up the power and brought down the weight. With DeWalt’s new Compact Framing Nailer (DCN690M1), 4AH 20V Max batteries are driving 90mm ring shank nails in temperatures from -15 to 50°C, all day on a single charge—and it is only 1 1/2 pounds heavier than the gas-powered Plaslode framing nailer.
The marketing competition is heating up with Paslode, whose gas powered nailer was the original “cordless” and “hose-less” nailer. DeWalt has introduced the marketing pitch of “Gas-Free Cordless” and, to counter rumors of problems with the gas nailers, Paslode has introduced their no questions asked “keep it working” promise. So as tools get closer to comparable performance, a good comparison of guarantees may be in order. DeWalt’s claim to no more expensive gas cartridges should be tempered with a close look the cost of battery replacement, although I have seen no studies that have put numbers to that yet. www.dewalt.com, www.paslode.com.
Hitachi Has Been Losing Weight Too
We haven’t seen much new from Hitachi recently, so for those of you married to the brand, you will certainly be interested in their new NV90AG 3-1/2” pneumatic Coil Framing Nailer. It drives nails ranging from 1-3/4” to 3-1/2”. With pneumatic power we expect and get the force necessary for all driving applications and, with their new all-aluminum body but steel head plate for durability where it is needed, it is down to 7.7 pounds, just half a pound heavier than Paslode. The magazine is tilted for easy charging and perfect balancing in the hand when working overhead for extended periods of time. www.hitachipowertools.ca.
Smaller and Larger Than You Ever Imagined
DeWalt has a new line of string markers that cover the range like never before. The DWHT47237L is a pocket size (half the regular size) 30ft. string line, with a geared winding like you have seen in larger marking lines. Actually this one tiny device will probably handle most of your string line needs and is far easier to carry around. Its small size even makes it easy to have a couple of different chalk colours in your pouch at the same time.
Then they have regular reels with helical gears that are less prone to line jams and breaks and at the other extreme there is the DWHT47252 that has a 150ft line and can hold a full pound of chalk. Now all I need to figure out is how to “snap” a 150-foot long string. www.dewalt.com.
Blade of the Month
We’ve highlighted recip saw blades that got more cuts faster on very difficult materials, like cast iron piping. This month we look at a new 6” recip blade that is designed for very fast, very smooth cuts in ordinary nail-free wood and plastic pipes; it is not a tough demolition blade, but more of a fast finishing blade.
Lenox calls the 6W6R their “Extra Sharp” blade with a Fleam Ground tooth. The Fleam ground tooth looks like what we often call a Japanese tooth—with the difference that true Japanese saws have three grind bevels on every tooth, the Fleam has two—and ordinary “milled” teeth have one grinding surface. So that razor edge on each side cuts smoothly and clears dust quickly, the speed coming from a cutting action with both directions of the stroke.
Usually a recip blade draws the shoe tight to the material minimizing vibrations, but because the Fleam blade cuts in both directions you have to secure your material firmly and push in hard to avoid excessive vibrations. But if everything is solid, it does cut faster with less power required. It even allows the smaller low-powered cordless recip one-hand saws to do what they simply can’t do with a regular blade. I’m glad I didn’t throw that little machine away—it just needed to wait for the right blade to be invented. www.lenoxtools.com.
Montreal-based TV broadcaster, author, home renovation and tool expert
Jon Eakes provides a tool feature in each edition of Home BUILDER.