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Tool Talk logoBy Jon Eakes

The Cutting Edge
A combination of technology, quality and innovation

Trying to keep up with all the new products on the tool horizon can be a challenge (not to mention costly!) This month, I've selected a handful of products with a "cutting edge"- a unique combination of technology, quality and innovation.

When Nails Start Performing Like Screws

We have seen many amazing specialized deck screws but here is the first sub-floor fastener designed to make a nail work like a screw. Spiral nails have existed for years, and they do hold better than regular nails, but here is now a power nailer specifically designed to drive custom spiral nails. Yes they actually rotate as they drive in to give exceptional grip. Paslode calls the nail, and its PF237C dedicated pneumatic coil nailer, the TetraGrip Sub-floor Fastening System.
The TetraGrip system recently earned the first "No Nail Squeak" certification from the NAHB Research Center. Finally a squeak-free subfloor installed with the speed of a power nailer. www.paslode.com.

Hammer Technology Continues to Evolve

Every company in the hand tool market makes anti-vibration hammers so the challenge for the competition is to increase the power that hits the nail head and reduce the kickback to the hand and arm.
Stanley has recently added its own modernization to the Anti-Vibe hammer technology with a two-piece steel core to isolate the head vibration from the handle. The two shafts are wrapped in layers of multiple dampening materials and an absorbing collar further protects your arm from the vibration of head impact. An overstrike zone protects the hammer from your poor swinging. The FMHT51249 and FMHT51244 are 14- and 17-ounce hammers, the larger one with a waffle head. www.StanleyTools.com.


The Slice Is Cleaner than the Cut
If you have ever used circular saws for cutting metal drywall studs or runners you will never go back after working with a good shear. Malco's heavy duty Channel Shear Model SRC24A slices easily through studs in one easy stroke without deforming the channel shape. All ends fit perfectly without dressing. Replaceable hardened steel blades can be sharpened. The compound head to handle linkage and a 36-in. handle shear through up to 20-guage steel with no problem: no noise, no sparks, no surprises. The single die supports 1-5/8", 2-1/2" and 3-5/8" studs and runners. The whole thing folds and locks down for easy carrying and storage. www.MalcoProducts.com.


LED Technology Changes Security Lighting

Security lights operate when the electricity fails, hence they operate on batteries. The new high-powered LED bulbs are the logical evolution for bright light at very low power draws. Whether you are installing a security light as a permanent fixture for your client or using one as a safety device for your own crew, moving to LED technology has changed the game.
Ideal Security's new light duty Blackout Emergency Power Failure Light has six LEDs running at a maximum of 3 Watts and throwing out 120 Lumens and can run for eight hours at full power and 16 hours at half power-and the unit can be turned off to save the battery during extended emergencies. Freestanding or wall-mounted, it doesn't look like an emergency light with its 6" x 7" footprint, and only a little over 2" thick.
With the same portable or installed concept their heavier duty Lights Out! series can run up to 40 hours running 6 LEDs, or 24 hours running all 12. This one is strong enough to use as a work light. www.IdealAlert.ca. Available at retail all over.


Oscillating Tool Blades
Fein invented the oscillating tool and when their patents expired everyone made adaptors to allow using the wide range of Fein blades on all the different Oscillating tools that were coming out on the market. All the companies produced some blades but it took a while before they started making quality blades to compete with Fein. Now Fein has finally come out with their own universal blade mount to allow using their blades on other machines without adaptors.
As with all blades, you will find ones that last and ones that do not and the cheapest are not always the best investment. One of the frustrating realities is that there are times when only an oscillating tool can reach to cut a hardened screw, and a hardened screw will finish off just about any of the bi-metal blades. But if the screw has to be cut, and you can do it relatively quickly without collateral damage, it is worth the cost of an oscillating blade. www.Fein.ca.

Although every renovator and finish carpenter now owns an oscillating tool, there is precious little help in learning how to use it well-like how to cut out a piece of hardwood flooring without the smell of smoke throughout the house, as you see in my video above.
That is why, together with the help of Fein, I produced almost two hours of detailed videos on how to (and how not to) use the oscillating tool and each of its blades. Check out the Learning Curve tab at www.JonEakes.com/Learning-Curve.


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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