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Tool Talk logoBy Jon Eakes

Changing Our Work Habits Through Innovation

Working With Three Hands
Festool is a company that is extremely creative with its professional grade accessories-tools that can be very useful to people working alone. Many things have come and gone on the market to replace a helper in holding things to a wall, but never a second hand as powerful as Festool's CT Wings (500312). Rather than trying to create a suction cup that might stick for a while, they have designed this grip to use the continuous power of an industrial vacuum dust collector, something you most likely have on site anyway. Sixteen adjustable wings give you a cushion grip up to 2" deep in 1/8" increments. The bypass valve removes the suction and allows removal with no damage to the surface. Supports over six pounds of moulding, wood stock or layout tools on any smooth surface, even bare drywall. www.FestoolCanada.com.

When Light Is No Longer Simply Light
The days of the easily broken incandescent hang-on-a-hook drop lights are over, and the fire threatening halogen floods are on their way out too. LED lighting is changing our way of lighting but it is not just about brightness, heat and fragile bulbs.

DeWalt DCL050 hanging torch: 20v Max batteries, 7100K, adjustable 250 or 500 Lumens. DeWalt DCL061 area floodlight: 18v NiCad battery or power cord, 6100K, 1500 Lumens two position base and rotatable light grid. Milwaukee 2362: M18v battery, 4,200K, adjustable 70 or 350 or 700 Lumens, 180 to 360 beam. Milwaukee 2362-20: M12v battery, 4,200K, adjustable 40 or 200 or 400 Lumens, 180 to 360 beam.

All of the tool manufacturer lighting systems list the brightness of their lights in lumens, but actually lumens is only the power of the emitting source. Lux measures lumens per square metre, how much light actually hits the target, taking into account reflection and filtering losses, but the manufacturers don't give us Lux numbers to compare. Incandescent and halogen lamps lose a lot of light in internal or external reflectors. The LED diodes only project forward and don't lose light power to the backside. If you are comparing incandescent or halogen to LED, lumens don't help much. If you are comparing LED-to-LED, lumens will give you relative lighting power.
Then there is the question of colour, measured with the Kelvin Colour Temperature Scale (K). The old incandescent bulbs were giving off a warm orange light around 2,800K. They didn't give a true retendering of colours which became a serious problem when dealing with small many-coloured HVAC, alarm and communication wires. Milwaukee aimed specifically at this problem, creating what they call TrueView light at about 4,200K looking specifically for clear colour identification of low voltage wiring. DeWalt wanted to brighten things up more in general construction, leaving the incandescent yellow behind, and pitched their large flood LED light to full daylight at 6100K, and their smaller torchlight even whiter to the bright sun level of 7100K. LED technology allows fine-tuning we never had before, but of course complicates your purchase of a lamp.
One new feature with the Milwaukee torches is that they can be adjusted from a 180° forward working beam up to a full 360° lantern projection thanks to three vertical columns of LEDs that can be rotated. www.milwaukee tool.ca; www.dewalt.com

The Term "Combination Blade" Takes on New Meaning

I have always described combination saw blades as compromised blades that didn't know if they should rip or crosscut and did both equally poorly. Freud just made me eat my words.
Their new Fusion Trio blade is a fine piece of engineering. The Fusion Trio includes a 30° Hi-ATB for slicing through plywood and melamine, a double side grind design for delivering polished cross cuts, and an Axial Shear Face Grind that zips through wood and sheet goods with minimal resistance. For wood, wood products and veneers only (no metal) their 10" blade will cross cut 3/8" to 3-1/2 and rip 3/4" to 1-1/2" for both hard and soft wood. Ripping hardwood with a combination blade is quite a feat!
I was very happy to see that the instruction sheet that comes with the blade details good blade alignment for table saws. It says to do the same for radial arm saws, but without details-so for that you need the bible on aligning radial arm saws: Fine Tuning Your Radial Arm Saw by yours truly, which you can find on my website, www.joneakes.com (not the ripped off copies on British and Russian sites). www.freudtools.com.

I Asked for and Got Insulated Strapping

You may have noticed the recent advertising for Tyvek ThermaWrap R5.0, a glass fibre insulation with a Tyvek skin for insulating the sheathing. When I asked about using as little as R-5 on the outside of the house, I got the intelligent response that the well-known vapour permanence of Tyvek permits this little insulation without moisture problems. OK.
But then I really had problems with the thought that strapping for siding over such a soft material would riddle the wall with thermal bridging. That is when DuPont sent me samples of their CT Insulated Batten. I needed the installation photo to realize that this extruded polystyrene foam-backed piece of 3/4" x 1-1/2" plywood goes on the wall first. The sloped foam matches the flow of the glass fibre over it, avoiding an air space and the R3.3 of the batten with a little compressed glass fibre over it comes close to the R5 of the rest of the wall. They make another shape of the batten for window and door framing. So, if you need strapping, you can have solid strapping without thermal bridging.

A Tool on A Diet

In-line magazines holding 90 staples and 240 caps per spool plus the lightweight of Paslode cordless/hoseless gas engines make installing housewrap faster with less arm fatigue with the new CS150 CapStapler Housewrap Stapling System. An easy transition from sequential to bump drive is combined with a quick switch from staples to caps. Simple quick reloading is all part of the site demanded innovation. At 4.8 pounds with a staple range of 3/4 to 1-1/2 length 18-Guage 3/8" Crown staples, this tool shows it is possible to get more features into a smaller package. www.Paslode.com.

Spring Training Camp 2015
You may recall that last spring I raved about the practical building science education I received at the Building Knowledge Canada Spring Training Camp in Huntsville, Ontario (Muskoka area). I am delighted to tell you that the success of last year has allowed planning another camp this spring: April 26-28, 2015. Challenge your old habits and convictions. Two days, phones off, with some of the best and most practical building specialists in Canada. Sitting in on this one event could turn your standard house plans inside out.
Last year we were surprised about putting insulation ON not IN walls and removing most of the ducting in the house by use of the concept of THROW, and much more-all while increasing the quality of your houses and your profit margins. That's not their sales pitch; that's how highly I esteem what goes on there. This year they are concentrating on Tall Wood Buildings 4- to-6 storeys and The Road to Net Zero, which is coming fast, and more. Contact: Rachel@BuildingKnowledge.ca


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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