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Tool Talk logoBy Jon Eakes

Old Tools Just Keep Getting Better

We see a lot of "new and improved" in marketing materials, but I prefer to think of this month’s entries as "old and improved." Read on to find out why.

Consider the Battery in the Balance

You may ask me why, of all the new planers that I have recently reviewed, did I settle on the Bosch PL1632? They all have great little improvements, but when I look at the total weight of this 6.3-pound corded tool from Bosch, the equivalent tool with a battery came in at 7.5 pounds. All that extra weight was not balanced for smooth operation but hanging out the back end. Using a portable planer is always a balancing act and I will opt for wrapping a cord around my arm rather than fighting weight that wants to get me off course.
The tool itself does a balancing act with its electronically counterbalanced single-blade system that assures perfect line-up and smooth cuts all the time. Add to that, new features such as an ambidextrous lock-off release button, a lock-on button for extended operation and a spring-loaded easy-release stand. The PL2632 version allows for left or right dust extraction and has a 3° overshoe for door faces. To make that cord durable, both models have a ball swivel attachment where the cord enters the tool. Of course, 6.5 amps and 16,500 RPM is what you would expect. www.bosch.ca.

Save Your Shoulders With Double Cam Action
With a double cam mechanism reducing the force required for cutting by 30 per cent, even a small guy like me can cut through bolts and screws, chain, strapping steel, tire chains, wrought iron, and more.
Forcing with large manual cutters is one of the worse stresses you can put on your shoulder sockets, because your shoulders are not made to be forced upward. Double cam leverage requires more arm travel, but less shoulder strain.
H.K. Porter’s 0090DCD 18-inch model cuts up to 9/32” HRC 48 material and their 0190MCD, with 24-inch handles, cuts up to 5/16” HRC 48 material. Apex Tool Group distributes through most renovation centres. www.apextoolgroup.com.

Blow Me Away

Rigid has just come forward with a one of the quietest and most powerful construction site fans in the industry. Providing 475 CFM of air with only 53 dBA of noise at the top of its variable speed range is a refreshing change. It can run for over 30 hours on a 4.0Ah 18v Rigid battery or continuously on an extension cord. It has a swivel head and over 10 hanging options built in to allow you to get the air where you need it. The RIDGID GEN5X 18V Hybrid Fan is sold only at Home Depot. www.ridgid.com/ca.

A Level That Will Bend Itself Back Straight

When comparing this new DeWalt 48” Box Beam carbon fiber level to DeWalt’s own 48” box beam aluminum levels, it comes in 35% lighter. But if you drop or impact an aluminum level it will deform – the carbon fibre level just bounces back perfectly straight. Just as durable are the three acrylic block vials, designed for tough construction sites. The DWHT43134 level has just come out on the store shelves. www.dewalt.com.

A Multiple Function Tool That Actually Works

Every week there is another little gadget tool the shows up on the store shelves often bragging about doing multiple things, but often not that practical or not very sturdy. Crescent Tools caught my eye with this simple little twist on a nut driver.
The Crescent Quick Convert Nut Driver looks and works like a regular socket nut driver, until it starts getting difficult to twist. Then you simply pull the socket and the handle away from each other, pivot the shaft square to the handle and push it back into place. Now you have a “T” handle socket driver with lots of torque, usually a separate tool. With its hollow shaft it can run the nut fairly far down a long machine screw. Found wherever they sell Crescent tools. www.crescenttool.com

Purple Pipe Has Grown To 2 Inches

To further meet the growing demand for sustainable building systems, Uponor is the first in the industry to offer a PEX purple pipe in sizes up to 2” for commercial and residential reclaimed water applications. The new offering comes in response to a growing need for water reuse systems in drought-stricken areas but is welcomed in all water conservation efforts. www.uponor.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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