By Jon Eakes
ways to do old things
Air or CO2
Every one of you has a pneumatic nailer and some of you have gone to heavy battery-operated cordless nailers to get away from the hose. Sure, there are gas nailers on the market but how about turning your standard pneumatic nailer that you already have into a truly portable machine? Take a look at the JacPac. A little air tank small enough to hang on your belt would certainly not shoot very long or maintain an even pressure, but this is not an air tank. It is a CO2 cylinder. That means it is filled with liquid CO2, which can maintain any working pressure from 20 to 100 psi throughout the discharge of the cylinder. Actually, the CO2 cylinder is the same as those used in paintball games; it is the JacPac regulator that adapts it to pneumatic tools. The cylinders are rechargeable, weigh less than five pounds and one 9-ounce cylinder can install all the floor, door and window trim in three 10'x10' rooms. Of course, it connects to standard pneumatic hoses and works with any pneumatic tool up to 100 psi, from trim nailers to roofing nailers. Nine- and 20-ounce cylinders are available, and are rechargeable at welding facilities or paintball locations. The cost is $130 for one cylinder and the valve, $30 to $50 for extra cylinders, and $4 to $8 for a recharge. Check www.SupplierPipeline.com for availability.
Last year, some of you tested the Ridgid R2310 heavy duty worm drive saw for framing and liked it, but said that the real test would be time. Now, one year later, this is the typical response from the field: "This saw is preferred by the men over other worm drives because of its unique features, such as the hook to hang it. Also, all the adjustments are easy and remain easy to use. Other saws seem to rust or get stiff in their adjustment points. The saw performed above my expectations especially during this past winter season where it received a lot of use." The only complaint that remains is that worm drive saws are very heavy. Now Ridgid seems to be competing with itself with the new eight-pound lightweight 6.5-inch Feugo circular saw designed specifically for framing. The flat bottom motor gives this small blade the unusual ability to cut 45° through a 2x while the small blade allows more power at the teeth for cutting framing. Heavy duty in a small package, it costs $169. See www.Ridgid.com.
If you wonder why your ability to solder copper pipe has gone to pot, check my Web site database under the keyword "soldering" and you will learn a lot about the difference between lead and lead-free solder. But now you just may leave all of that behind with Just for Copper solderless copper bonding adhesive. Just for Copper is approved by NSF for potable water supplies and exceeds bonding requirements for solder. Clean the pipe, apply the adhesive, twist into place (to ensure a complete coating) and it is done, just like ABS. No torch. No leaks. It sets in 10 seconds, cures in seven minutes and is pressure rated to 500 psi. The Pro version has a red dye to see it better. One caution: it does not conduct electricity so it cannot be considered part of an electrical grounding. But does it ever make life easy! It is already in hardware stores and it does work. See www.justforcopper.com. And while we are in plumbing, have you tried cutting cast iron drain pipes recently? Lennox just made your life easier with its Diamond Cast Iron recip blade. At $15, it tested out cutting through four-inch cast iron pipe three times faster than carbide, making over 15 cuts per blade. Finally, a clean, quick cut through cast iron with your existing tools. It will be in stores soon.
Two last tips, these about ACQ-treated lumber. The green screws marked "ACQ OK" are equivalent to double-dipped galvanized screws and are considered the minimum necessary to avoid corrosion because of the high concentration of copper in the ACQ. For any continually wet areas, the best recommendation is Stainless Steel 304 or better. However, since most stainless steel fasteners and brackets are not identified, how do you know if they are 304 or better? The trick is, if a magnet will stick to them, they are not 304 or better; they have iron in them. Yes, stainless steel can have iron and rust and still be called stainless steel. So you are looking for stainless steel fasteners and brackets that won't hold a magnet. Those won't react to ACQ lumber. On the other hand, never let ACQ lumber touch aluminum fasteners, brackets or siding. They "rust" right through.
The MaxTie is one of the coolest machines I have tried in a long time and I want a few of you to test it for me on sites. It ties things. That's it. Place those jaws over the junction of two re-bars, or a re-bar and a hydronic heating tube, or through the holes where you want to tie snow fencing together, and the coil of wire spits out one of the jaws in a curve that feeds back into the other jaw. That rolls around until there is a ring three wires thick, then it bites off the wire and twists the ends snug… in about 2 seconds. You can even get extension handles for doing floors without bending over. This is to hand-tying tasks what the computer is to writing a letter with a feather and ink. Write to "Ask the Expert" if you are interested in trying it out for me. (Also see www.cid.ca/dyn.Re-bar_Tying_System_en.php.)
Montreal-based TV broadcaster, author, home renovation and tool expert Jon Eakes provides a tool feature in each edition of Home BUILDER.