The Cutting Edge
You Can Cut Just About Anything With The Right Tools.
Not being a professional plumber, I have always gotten by with large and small tubing cutters, hack saws, jig saws even recip-saws to get through my copper pipes... and then repaired my bruised knuckles afterward. Plumbers may have had access to automating this job already, but Milwaukee has brought out the first cordless power tubing cutter that I have seen for renovators and small contractors. This little 12-volt marvel automatically adjusts to clamp down on tubing from 3/8-inch to one inch. At 500 rpm, it gives a clean square cut 10 times faster than conventional cutters. The inline design keeps your knuckles out of danger, a sealed cutting head keeps the water out, and a built-in work light means you don't need the great flashlight I talk about later in this article - at least not for cutting. Anything that gets me in and out of plumbing faster, cleaner and with less swearing makes me happy. This little cordless tubing cutter sells for $199.
If you are like me, cutting vinyl siding and extruded products has been the job for a fine-tooth plywood blade installed backwards to prevent the teeth from biting and the vinyl from exploding. Irwin tools decided to make one that does it right from the start. They cut 120 pyramid shaped (60-degree) teeth on a circular saw blade that present a slight negative angle to the work whether you are cutting forward or drawing backward. There's no grabbing, no chattering, no chipping. Heat-treated for durability and featuring expansion slots for keeping the blade flat, no more vinyl is wasted with this blade.
Silicone Caulking and All Kinds of Glues
Silicone caulking removers have come and gone on the market because they were always strong solvents that tended to do damage to the vinyl and even fibreglass beneath the caulking. A new product called Re-Mov (www.removcanada.com) has changed the game. This is a non-flammable chemical that, rather than trying to dissolve the caulking, simply breaks the bond with the substrate. For silicone caulking, you have to work it into the joint and, if you let it dry, it sticks back again. But it is amazing how you can put on a bit of Re-Mov, lift a bit, squeeze in a little more and very quickly pull off a fully intact strip of silicone with little or no residue left - and no damage to the substrate. In fact, it works more like a solvent with the impossible-to-dissolve PL Premium polyurethane adhesive or urethane foams, but without bothering a varnished floor or a painted wall; with some pre-testing, it won't even bother most rugs. It is not totally eco-friendly, but it is surface friendly and, although a bit over $12 for an 8 oz. bottle, it is very effective.
Cutting Through the Dark
I wish Stanley would quit making their tripod light better and better. This time they have really outdone it. Three separate flashlights are tied together onto a tripod. You can turn on one, two or all three. You can pull off one, two or all three and use them separately. The on-off switches are integrated, the lights are powerful and it stands on its own, pointing forward as a single strong flashlight, or one, two or all three heads can be tilted to the side. This is the one flashlight that you need in your tool box. Find it in stores at under $36.