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Tool Talk logoBy Jon Eakes

Keeping Things Clean & Tidy
Portable, Powerful Universal Dust Extraction

Dust extraction with hammer drills can be essential for you when working overhead and important for occupants when driving anchors in an occupied condo. Up to now we have had some tubes with cumbersome vac hoses but Milwaukee has introduced the first universal autonomous dust extractor.
It is universal because it is comes with three different-sized collar rings so it replaces the standard side handle on almost any SDS hammer drill. The Milwaukee collars have a clamping device on the other side of the handle strap that clips quickly on or off of the vacuum attachment, automatically lining up the drill with the collector ring and instantly liberating your drill when you don’t need to control the dust. The dust catcher ring is on the end of a telescopic holder that has a push button adjustment for your bit length, working best with 6” SDS bits, and its own quick set depth stop. The vacuum is tiny but powerful, running off of a standard 12v Milwaukee battery. The HEPA filter and collection bucket are right onboard to give you total mobility, no sloppy bag and instant dumping.
The On/Off/Auto control can automatically activate the vac motor when the drill begins to advance and stays on a few seconds after pulling back—clearing out the dust in the collector head. I tried it on red brick just to see if any dust got to the ground at all: perfectly clean. It adds three pounds to your drill but gives you clean work, mobility and instant change over. They call it the M12 HAMMERVAC Dust Extractor—and it works.

Some drills have bit clips, Porter Cable has added strong magnets, but here is an odd but very useful little piggyback idea from MalcoProducts.com. The Driver Bit Pouch Strap uses elastic bands to hold the sturdy four-slot carrier on the side of any drill driver—right on-board but up and out of the way—and the bits never fall out.

The Designcord is an extension cord / buss bar with lots of useful features. It is a 52’ 12AWG 20 amp extension cable with an auto rewind reel. The four outlets don’t move, have dust and water protection caps as well as both overheating and over-current resettable protection. The rewind mechanism has entrance roller guides and reciprocating winding guides for smooth in and out. Available in many renovation centers, you can also find it at Task-Tools.com.

A Difference You Can SEE, not just FEEL

There is something reassuring about looking right through the handle to see the solid high impact steel core of Irwin Marples new worksite chisels, continuous from the extra large hammer cap to the hardened steel blade. Marples has decided to expose their durability, while still giving you a comfortable split-proof acetate handle. These new chisels have a very good feel to them, and you can actually see their strength.

Blade of the Month
My Blade of the Month has to go to Milwaukee for thinking small. They have just brought out the two SMALLEST reciprocating saw blades on the market. I guess that just had to happen as in the last few years small mobile cordless reciprocating saws have come on the market from many manufacturers. But whether you are using a large or conveniently small recip saw, these two blades have very good reason for being in your tool box.
The Milwaukee 48-00-1640 DRYWALL blade is specifically designed to just barely cut through 5/8” drywall—leaving all the wires and pipes totally safe on the other side! Take a look at that weird top/bottom tooth design. It won’t cut anything but drywall, but it cuts in both directions and turns 90 degrees dead on in the corner. Its short length makes plunging easy as well.

The Milwaukee 48-00-1630 DUCTWORK blade is made for sheet metal ductwork including circles or other shapes. Generally a recip saw would be out of the question for ductwork, but this blade’s very fine teeth don’t let the sheet metal vibrate and its short length won’t whip on the other side. There is a certain width to the blade, so if you try to make too tight a curve it will cut well but bend in the outer portion of the curve a bit—not quite as clean a cut as a nibbler for circles, but a lot cheaper. Here too, the short length leaves it enough strength to plunge easily without a starter hole.

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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