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Tool Talk logoBy Jon Eakes

Smart Solutions

At first glance, this month’s entries might not seem to have much in common — in fact, technically some aren’t even considered tools. But they actually share a common bond: each one offers a smart solution, and in the case of our first entry, a stylish one…

Sharp Dressed Man
OK, so this one is definitely not a tool, but it does use your Milwaukee 12v power packs. It is a heated jacket conceived for construction sites (while advertising the Milwaukee brand, of course) that provides full heat for up to six hours. Even with the worst of this year’s cold weather over (we had to test it), it has three heat zones and three power settings — keeping you functioning in varying degrees of cold weather. It came out in the middle of this winter and is living up to its claims. You might even think they invented it for Canada. The battery holder is on the backside and the touch controller on the front. Switch out to any 12-volt Milwaukee battery. www.milwaukeetool.com.

Diamond Studs
Can diamonds be a contractor’s best friend? We use a lot of diamond tipped cutting tools, but have you taken a look at the diamond-studded sharpening tools? Fishermen use diamond honing slips for their fish hooks all the time because the hooks tend to dig into all other stones. One of the great advantages of a diamond sharpening tool is that it keeps its shape. Another is that it removes material far faster than other stones, and comes in as wide a variety of grits as you might need.
The DMT Diafold Whetstone is small enough for quick on-site sharpening of carbide router bits and folds into its protective handle. Chisels and all sharp edges, carbide or steel, can be touched up on the job.
The DMT Convex\Concave slip is a wired and wonderful tool for sharpening and honing inside or outside curved chisels in a smooth stroke without changing the shape of the sharpening surface. It provides radii from as small as 1/16 inch to 1 inch curves. The 600 diamond grit sharpens rapidly, the 1200 grit hones to a razor edge. 
The variety of diamond sharpening surfaces available is amazing, far more than you see at Lee Valley and well worth a visit to www.dmtsharp.com. You will find many of these stones at speciality knife stores and fishing stores in Canada.

Getting a Grip
They may look like just another pair of vise-grips, but the Irwin VISE-GRIP Fast Release (CR) Locking Pliers gives three times more locking power by using a second leverage action at the end of closing the handle, which grips tighter as you push. You will notice a slight movement forward of the lower jaw — that’s what gives it the extra grip without extra hand power. The one-hand release uses that last leverage point to allow opening the grip without using a lot of force. www.irwin.com.
If you like well made Canadian products, you will love the TASK SocketPro adjustable hex socket. Designed and made in Canada, six adjustable slides move in on a screw drive to give you anything metric or imperial from 3/8 inch to 3/4 inch. Made as a hand tool, you can drive it with a drill, but not with an impact wrench. It even grips bolts and nuts that have been stripped by sockets or vise-grips. You can see the SocketPro in action on a YouTube video at www.KobraTools.com/socketpro.
It’s coming to Canadian Tire at the end of April with an introductory retail price point of $19.99. www.kobratools.com.

Bits & Blades
This month’s drill and blade of the month both go to Bosch.
The Bosch Straight shank rebar cutter is a drill bit that will cut through rebar up to 36 times faster and last twice as long as other rebar cutters. It has a unique flute geometry that employs a steep spiral design which quickly removes debris. A relief hole is incorporated into the cutting surface to dissipate heat and facilitate slug removal. Users simply drill with a carbide bit until making contact with rebar. They then use the rebar cutter in rotary mode to cut through the rebar until contacting concrete again. Once rebar is cut, just switch back to the carbide bit to complete the hole.
Bosch has upgraded their diamond cutting blades in a highly competitive field, claiming five times the cutting life for their new blades with 20 per cent more speed. Their design objectives were to reduce excessive blade wear and prevent segment cracking. With the increase of tile applications, Bosch enhanced the continuous rim blades with an increased area of usable segment rim height versus previous blades. This feature enables improved wet or dry chip free cutting of ceramic, porcelain and granite with grinders or tile saws available in sizes from 4 to 10 inches diameter. www.boschtools.com.

Montreal-based TV broadcaster, author, home renovation and tool expert Jon Eakes provides a tool feature in each edition of Home BUILDER.

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