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Tool Talk logoBy Jon Eakes

Keeping Up With Technology
Do you know what’s changed in that tool you’re about to replace?

Keeping up with what’s new and improved should be more than just buying into the advertising hyperbole. Understanding what’s changed, why it matters, and how it will make a difference to you, is really what it’s all about. This month, we pay special attention to the “what-why-how.” Enjoy!

Caulking That Stays Warm
I hate to break the news, but cold weather is on the way. Fortunately, Canadian Industrial Distributors is going to ease the transition for you. They have brought an insulated 50-watt heated caulking and tape pouch to Canada. It will keep your building materials at 26°C even when it is -25°C outside. The heating element is in the middle of the insulated pouch, sending heat to caulking tubes on both sides.
The Junior holds about six sealant cartridges and has a belt attachment, while the standard size can hold 12 standard caulk tubes and has a shoulder strap. When you are not actually using it, you can plug it into the wall or into a cigarette lighter power inverter.
They also have warmer jackets for paint cans, 2- and 5-gallon pails, cylinders and drums. Available at Contractor Supply in Canada or on the web at CaulkWarmer.com.

When The Curve Meets The Flat
Irwin has finally given us a graphic showing how the lobular design of their hex drivers can use the power of impact wrenches without stripping the hex fasteners. Traditional hex drivers matched the shape of the drivers to the shape of the fasteners. Lobular means that the fastener is still flat but the socket is curved. So how does a less perfect fit do a more perfect job? 
With a perfect match between socket and fastener, most of the pressure is on the corners of the fastener. The excess space in the Lobular corners allow for paint or plating build-up on the hex corners avoiding jamming— but more importantly the driving pressure is just off centre of the flat of the fastener but not yet stressing the corners. There is a lot of meat where the curve meets the flat. This means no stripped fasteners despite the impact action. Irwin.com.

Vibration On One End, But Not the Other
A demolition hammer is not a tool you are going to buy every day—but if it has been a while since you have replaced yours, then you should take note that the technical evolution in this tool is centering around reducing vibration back to the operator while delivering even more impact energy to the job. The new Bosch BH277OVCD Brute Turbo breaker hammer is a good example of these improvements. Tests show it delivers 23 per cent more impact to the target, while operators report less user fatigue. That translates to a job done faster. Boschtools.com.


More To Confuse You About Batteries
We all look for longer and longer runtime in new batteries, but those who pay the bills are also looking at “recharge-life.” Excessive heat can reduce the life of any battery so many batteries are designed to shut down or delay charging when things get too hot.
The new Bosch 18-volt batteries address this issue with proprietary CoolPack technology. That red heat sin-like fin on the outside of the battery extends inward and wraps around each cell to extract heat from within. With its unique conductive properties and rib design, Bosch is the only battery manufacturer to integrate this particular technology. Boschtools.com.

When High Tech Goes Square Dancing
It looks like the engineers at Milwaukee finally stumbled over one too many charger cords, like the rest of us. So they decided to build a six-pack charger. But a lot of juice is not always available so they taught this thing to charge one battery at a time in sequence—and use lights to tell you which one you can take to get back to work. With six batteries ahead of you, something will be charged before you come back to the dance. It has integrated hang holes for vertical mounting, and a pass through plug to conserve outlet space. The new unit will charge M18 compact batteries in 30 minutes and extended capacity (XC) batteries in 60 minutes. Milwaukeetool.com.

“Star Wars” Keeps Coming Back, And So Does Porter-Cable
For those of you who are diehard Porter-Cable shop tool fans, you will be glad to see them moving out of the shop with new tools like their PCCK640LB Lithium Ion impact driver.
Porter-Cable, like its sister company DeWalt, has moved to a sleek 20v MAX Lithium Ion platform for its new series of professional tools. (20v Max actually means 20 volts under no power but 18 volts in action.) Keep your eye out for a whole range of new cordless “out of the shop” tools from Porter-Cable. Portercable.com.

And Finally An Intelligent Light Dimmer
I’ve wanted to write about this for some time but kept running out of space. Lights are more and more complex and many do not function well with dimmers. Some require a kick-start to turn on, then can be dimmed, while others must not be dimmed too low or they will kick out. So Cooper Wiring Devices has finally made the AL series of dimmers that work with all kinds of lights and include a preset feature to return lights to a previously desired setting.
The switch you see here has two adjustment wheels you can see on the side. One wheel sets a kick-start level to get fluorescents to start properly, while the other wheel sets the minimum dimming setting to keep everything working. It works with about all light bulbs: LED, CFL, INC, Magnetic Low Voltage, Electronic Low Voltage and Fluorescent. There is no problem for the dimmer if you mix bulbs in a multi-bulb fixture, but it will probably be difficult to get even levels of dimming. It states “Permanently installed fixtures only” because if you power an outlet you could do some real damage to a sound system. So although it is universal, stick to light bulbs and stick to one kind in any given fixture. CooperWiringDevices.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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