Sensible Solutions for the Jobsite
Sometimes the best solutions to age-old problems aren't sensational techno-wonders. Instead, they're just plain sensible.
Tool Tethering Goes To Sky Hooks
We often need to tether our tools when working at heights where we would not want the tool to fall on a fellow worker, or in places where recovering a dropped tool could be very difficult. It is common to tether them to a railing or to our own tool belts with cords long enough to let us work, but long tool cords can be a safety hazard in itself. Attaching them to your wrist greatly reduces that problem since a cord from your wrist to your hand is very short, while allowing you to move while you work. However, untethering wrist attachments and transferring them to your tool pouch or belt can be cumbersome and the tool is not safely secured at the moment of transfer. Stanley Tools has just acquired Proto Tools and their Proto Skyhook systems, listed as Stanley JPS Proto SkyDock.
The beauty of this is that you strap a SkyDock onto your wrist and thread another SkyDock onto your belt or pouch. Then you attach the 9" tether with its SkyHook to your hand tool. The SkyHook has two openings with a teeter-totter catch mechanism. When the tool is tethered to your belt, you simply slide your wrist dock into the second slot and the connection is released on the belt dock: Away you go with the tool securely attached to your wrist. When you want to change tools you simply slide the open side of the Skyhook onto the belt dock and it releases from your wrist while locking to the belt. You don't even need to look in order to make the secure transfer. With a dock on each wrist, you could change the tool from hand to hand instantly.
The Skyhook system is made for hand tools weighing less than six pounds only, not power tools, and only for tools that have an obvious hole or ring for attaching the carabiner clip on the tether. Ask for it where they sell Stanley tools or, on Amazon.ca, just look up SkyDock.
Led Lighting With Legs
All companies are competing with small, lightweight but powerful LED light sources and many have pivoting heads and/or hanging hooks. Milwaukee just put some sturdy legs on one of their lights with their TRUEVIEW LED Stand Light. The M18 battery is the ballast hanging low for tripod stability, while the lightweight light source is adjustable from 4 to 7 feet height, with both rotation and pivot adjustments as well. It can provide 2,000 lumens of light for 10 hours.
DeWalt Goes Retrofit
When Lithium Ion batteries came out, DeWalt did not make them backward compatible for all of their Ni-Cad tools. The bases were a completely new shoe design. That is always frustrating for someone who has old tools still in good condition but no more batteries to drive them.
I thank you, DeWalt, for finally bringing out the adaptor that will make the shoe style Li-Ion batteries compatible with my old insert tools. You simply slide it into the shoe of a battery and insert it into the socket of your still good old tools. The DCA 1820 is listed at about $55.
They also offer a kit with two 20v Max batteries, a charger and the adaptor.
The Connected/Disconnected Job Site Sound Box
Suspended inside the rubber and aluminum roll-cage is the new Bosch Power Box PB360C. On the power side you can plug this in or cut it loose running on a Bosch 18V Li-ion battery. On the sound side you can plug in your sound source through an AUX plug and even store small devices inside a secure weatherproof storage nook, or cut that music side loose with new Bluetooth connectivity up to 150 feet from any Bluetooth enabled device, or simply tune in an AM or FM radio station. The free PowerBox smart phone app even controls the sound box from a distance, giving you maximum use of the four-way 360-degree speakers and subwoofer-or instant quiet to be able to hear the boss.
Since it is intended for a jobsite, you can also use it as a power bar, to charge Bosch batteries and profit from its powered USB outlet.
The Bulldog Takes a Plank Out of the Middle of a Click Floor
One of my dreaded tasks has always been replacing a plank in the middle of a floor. On a nailed down floor it remains a daunting task and, while lifting a click floor up from one side of the room to the middle and laying it back down was better, it wasn't really much better. The flooring guys at Torlys have invented the Bulldog Easy Plank Replacer, and it works for all click flooring.
The key is that under the flat-hinged section of this tool you apply a special double-sided tape, which Torlys supplies. It has great shear tack while being easy to lift off the board so it actually holds onto the board while you hammer the rubber bumpers in one direction or the other.
Putting pressure on the hinged tape end with your hand or your foot, you first slide the boards out a small bit, starting at the wall and working toward the damaged board until the damaged board is free on both ends. Then force the boards in the two rows next to the damage away until the click tongue and groove is free on one side. After that, simply put the taped end on the damaged board itself and use the hinge action to tilt the board up and free. Work backwards to snug the new board into place.
The tool is selling for about $110, and $34 for a 75-foot roll of Bulldog tape. It is worth watching the demo on the web at www.Torlys.com under Residential/Accessories. The dealer locator is under Residential/Resources.
Montreal-based TV broadcaster, author, home renovation and tool expert
Jon Eakes provides a tool feature in each edition of Home BUILDER.