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Jon Eakes 2016Tool Talk logoBy Jon Eakes

Teamwork & Learning Tools

This month could almost be called Teamwork Talk, as two of the entries are a result of just that. Even the rest of the line-up is a direct result of manufacturers trying to one-up the competition. Don’t you just love free enterprise?

Radon Control—The Essential Tool Is Understanding
Preparing for radon control in new construction appears very simple, but understanding sub-slab depressurization is more complex than it seems. All designers, builders and tradespeople should take a few minutes to watch my just released technical videos on radon detailing: Sub-Slab prep / Sealed Membranes / Passive Stacks / Discharge. www.JonEakes.com/Trades-Training and look in the Radon drawer.

Finding More Ways to Make Better Blades
Last September, I mentioned that Bosch purchased Freud in order to improve their offering of saw blades. Fein is another German company that actually invented the oscillating saw. When their patents ran out, everyone started making oscillating tools, including Bosch.
Despite all the competition, Fein maintained dominance in the quality and variety of blades available. So mounting adapters and universal mountings were invented to use Fein blades on other machines, but some “universal” mountings don’t actually fit perfectly snug. With the oscillating action of this tool, an imperfect fit between the blade and the tool translates into slippage and loss of both power and reach.
This year Bosch and Fein have joined forces to support a common universal mounting system for professional grade oscillating tools: Starlock for ordinary blades and StarlockMax for extreme duty longer/stronger blades.
Bosh has brought out 30 blades with the Starlock mounting and 10 extreme-duty blades are coming out in April with the StarlockMax mounting, requiring the most powerful of the oscillating tools to drive them as they are wider and longer.
Just look at this “Hero curved-tec”—Japanese style teeth with a sweeping curve and an inch and a half depth of cut. It will cut through a 2x in one pass. I really like the curve on this blade for clean plunging into material. Their carbide blades and 2-1/4” demolition blades are worth looking at as well.
For techniques on the use of any oscillating tool you should check out my 13 videos in the Learning Curve section of my web site JonEakes.com.

A True Laminate Flooring Blade

There was more teaming up this year: Diablo saws has teamed up with Pergo flooring to bring out a 10” Laminate flooring blade that finally allows using a chop saw to cut directly down on the tungsten finish without destroying your regular carbide blades. With only 12 weirdly shaped teeth, this is the first saw allowing direct chop cuts while lasting 75 times longer than regular carbide. The special grind on the Polycrystalline-Diamond (PCD) teeth is what works miracles. With this blade you don’t even need to watch my Learning Curve video on Specialty Circular Saw blades /cutting laminate flooring, where I demonstrate how to cut perpendicular to the tough laminate flooring finish to extend the life of your blades. Rather, go to YouTube and look up “Diablo Pergo Blade.”

The Worm Has Come to the Table
SkilSaw, the people who invented the circular saw and are specialists even today on powerful worm drive saws, has just launched the first ever Worm Drive Table Saw. They call this 10” portable table saw “the next evolution in ripping,” bringing the powerful torque of worm drive direct drive to the table saw. The drive mechanism also allows for a 3-1/2” depth of cut with a 10” blade. If ripping and heavy work is your main concern, this is your next table saw.

Batteries Just Keep on Evolving
The Bosch Power Ready Wireless Charging System allows you to simply stand your tool on the induction charging plate and it charges until you grab the tool again—no changing out the battery, no wires. Now the WCBAT620 brings a 4.0 Ah battery to this wireless system for more runtime.
40V batteries have become common on outdoor tools, like the DeWalt Brushless Backpack Blower. This tool extends runtime by building two battery bays into the tool itself. Using one or two of the new 40V MAX* 7.5Ah Lithium Ion batteries keeps the 450 CFM, 140 MPH flow of air going for a long time.

Yes 9 Ah batteries are coming. Milwaukee was going to launch this “High Demand” powerhouse in January, but it will apparently be on the shelves in the late spring. As power continues to grow you really need to balance working weight against battery run-time and change-out.

What Is a Dot Ratio and Why Do I Care?
I just got my hands on a new Milwaukee temperature gun, the 2276-20. It is a great thermometre that works with a contact probe, or with a laser. This one has about the best Dot Ratio (Distance to Spot) you can get: 1:40. But just what does that mean?
Most laser thermometres have a 1:10 or 1:12 dot ratio—some with 1:20, a few with 1:30, and, of course, for more money even 1:40. That means that the flat surface being probed for temperature will be 1” in diameter if my gun is 40” away—or with the more common guns, you will need to be 10” away to get a 1” diameter averaging.
At 10’ away, your measurement surface could be 1’ in diameter for a 1:10 ration or 3” in diameter for a 1:40 tool. The little dot seems to pinpoint a specific tiny place to measure, but the dot ratio tells you what it is really measuring.
If you want to see the effect of this just shoot the laser dot on a window frame close up when it is cold outside. Then back up keeping the dot in the same place. Watch the temperature drop as the gun averages the temperature over a larger and larger surface, which now includes the cold window glass and an insulated wall. Actually with mixed temperatures in the field of measurement, the averaging is usually higher than a true average— a mathematical thing about radiation. The important take-away is that, the higher the D:R, the more accurate the temperature; the lower the D:R, the closer you need to get.


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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