Yes, Tools Do Change
I was truly impressed with the degree of innovation shown in these tools: there was some really new and exciting stuff to talk about. Maybe it’s a sign that the economy really is coming back.
Nailing the Rapid Fire Finish
Cordless finishing nailers have always been a dream: no compressors, no hoses, no gas cylinders to buy, just batteries to recharge. But the killer has always been the tool weight and the tremendous drain on the battery. The advent of lighter, more powerful lithium ion batteries has allowed Senco to come into the competition with the Fusion 15, a beautiful little machine weighing in at 6.2 pounds — still much heavier than a pneumatic nailer (if you don’t count the hose), but a full 30 per cent lighter than the equivalent DeWalt cordless nailer, and with a rapid 15-minute recharge time.
For those who want to know what’s inside, there are no air compressors or flywheels. A permanently sealed nitrogen gas cylinder is what drives the nail with the force of standard pneumatics. The battery simply forces the piston back into place, recompressing the nitrogen in a fraction of a second. Firing 1-1/4 to 2-1/2 inch finishing nails, repeat firing is possible as the cylinder head jumps rapidly back into place — there is no delay to build up pressure. www.FusionPowerTools.com
A Tighter Mitre
Yes, there’s finally a new development in sliding mitre saws. Bosch has invented an articulated arm with 12 sealed ball bearings rather than the sliding guide bars: the Bosch Axial-Glide system. Precision is actually increased, there are no more rails to gum up and need cleaning, and you can back this baby right up to a wall because nothing needs to run out the back side, making it easier to transport and easier to use in tight spaces. One detail that I really appreciate is the Glide Damper that allows me to control the resistance on the glide. The GCM 12SD is a 12-inch saw with increased reach, mitre bevel capacity and all the controls up front. www.BoschTools.com
Milwaukee has just redefined the field of battery technology with what they call REDLITHIUM. Old Ni-Cad battery technology was rather generic — everyone had much the same battery. With the advent of the Lithium Ion batteries, there is apparently room for each company to go off in radically different directions, which is why we have seen lots of innovation and competition in this field. The new REDLITHIUM batteries provide up to 40 per cent more run-time, 20 per cent more power and 50 per cent more recharges than other Lithium products. They operate beautifully down to -18ºC. They are fully back-compatible with all Milwaukee 12- and 18-volt tools and will shortly be standard on all their new tools.
An interesting side note is that by increasing power in the 12-volt range of tools, we will be seeing more and more small, light and compact tools doing what heavy 18-volt tools used to do.
The dust from cutting fibre cement siding is always a problem. Nibblers certainly do a cleaner job, but how about a large guillotine from Malco? The large blade allows for cutting boards square or all the way down to 3/12 pitch angles — and very quickly. Designed to be used on a low bench or on the ground, there is serious leverage in that handle and no dust from the operation. www.MalcoProducts.com
Bits & Blades
This month’s drill:
Bosch has innovated with a new carbide tip design shaped to maximize the penetrating effect of the hammer action on a drill. The Speed-X bit breaks up concrete and masonry and pulls out the dust faster than anything yet made — performing especially well in deep drilling applications. In addition, it doesn’t wander at the beginning of the operation. www.boschtools.com
This month’s blade:
Milwaukee takes the honours this month with a truly revolutionary new reciprocal saw blade: the AX. The blade tip has a fang tooth very specifically designed for demolition plunge cutting — and it pulls the saw right in like I have never seen before. The rest of the teeth have a depth riser that prevents nails from getting deep enough into the gullet to break any teeth. Even that up-front fang has the same overbite protection. The end result: a very aggressive blade that cuts fast and lasts an incredibly long time in heavy demolition and renovation work. www.MilwaukeeTool.com
Montreal-based TV broadcaster, author, home renovation and tool expert
Jon Eakes provides a tool feature in each edition of Home BUILDER.