Author: Eric Jopp

Dewalt’s New TrackSaw

Dewalt is launching their new TrackSaw that will be released this November and it looks like Dewalt is going after Festool’s Guide Rail system and dust collection.  As the name suggests, the TrackSaw follows a track to help you make a perfectly straight cut every time.  According to Dewalt the cut will produce splinter free cuts which makes sense once you see how the track lays right by the cuts. Since this news was posted, we have tested the TrackSaw.  You can see our review of the Dewalt TrackSaw here With this saw you can make beveled cuts, cut on inclines and more.  The tracks come in a variety of sizes and you can always join them together.  The saw is a 12 amp 1300 watt motor, variable speed (Corded) and has an anti-kick back mechanism.  The saw is available in a corded or cordless version.  Both have a plunge system in place, so you can start your cut from any point.  This system weights in at 12lbs.  On the bottom of the track there are two friction slips which means you do not have to clamp the track down and damage your project.  You can replace the top or bottom strips if they wear...

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Ladders – Safety and More

We stopped by our friend Jim’s jobsite the other day.  Jim, or Jimmy as we call him works for a very large construction firm in the Chicago area.  As we started to talk, he mentioned how he had to yell at one of his workers for safety concerns.  It seems this guy was more concerned about getting the job done quickly instead of safely.  This worker put up a ladder on uneven ground, with the wrong angle. In addition, he didn’t have the right height.  Worst of all, this guy wasn’t even an apprentice. He was a journeyman who has over 20 years of experience.  Maybe he wasn’t thinking, or maybe he felt to safe, but either way it was dangerous.  After talking a while Jimmy wanted us to write a short hand out that he could give to his workers at their morning safety meetings.  We wrote a nice piece for them and got great feedback, so we decided to add it here on our website. Before we get started we need to get down to some basics so we are all on the same page. First, lets start with terminology. If you all ready know the terms, you can skip down to the next paragraph. Butt or heel – Bottom end of the ladder, the end that is placed on the ground. Dogs or Pawls– Device attached to the inside of the beams of...

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Fireplaces – The Ins and Outs

There is nothing better than sitting in front of a fire on a cold winter day.  As you will discover there is more to a fireplace then just putting wood in and lighting it on fire.  If you own a fireplace, you are probably aware that it can be the best feature of your house, but also the worst feature in your house.  Yes, it is great to sit in front of a blazing fire, but it also causes heat loss, smoke build up and more.  Below are some good tips and tricks you can use to make a fireplace the best feature of your home and at the same time cut down on the negatives. This has happened to all of us, we build a blazing fire only to find out it is actually cooler in the house than warmer.  Here is another one, when the fire is going, we actually feel a cold draft circulating inside the house.  There is a simple solution to these two problems.  A house will feel colder and more drafty for two reasons.  First a fire needs oxygen, so as it burns, it pulls more oxygen towards the fire, but the biggest reason is hot air rises.  As the air rises, it needs to be replaced with more air to fill in the void.  The only place it can find more air is inside the...

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Fire Safety

  Well, it’s that time of year when we start up our furnaces and have fires in the fireplace. So now would be a good time to talk about fire safety.  Each year we have thousands of fires and many deaths. There are multiple reasons for people not surviving fires. One thing to remember is that most people do not pass away because of the fire itself, they pass away because of the fumes, the Carbon Monoxide.  Carbon Monoxide blocks your lungs from getting oxygen into your body.  So let’s start with smoke detectors There are two type of smoke detectors – Ionization and Photoelectric detectors.  Wikipedia is a good source of information for these two types of detectors.   The main point is that you should have them installed in your home.  If you don’t have them installed, stop reading this and go down to your local hardware store and buy some, then come back and you can keep reading this article.  Oh, you all ready have them, well have you tested them within the 6 months?  If not, stop reading this and go test them out.  If you have them, and have tested them within the last six months, you may proceed reading this. It may seem like over kill to install a lot of smoke detectors, but we’re talking about your life and your families lives.  You should install a detector in the basement and attic.  You...

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Milwaukee V28 Hammer Drill Review

This review is for the Milwaukee V28 Hammer Drill.  This came in the Milwaukee V28 Combo kit model number 0928-29, but you can also buy this drill separately.  If you are looking to buy this separately, the model number is 0724-20. The first thing you notice about this drill is the balance.  The drill only weighs 4.4 lbs without the battery.  When you attache the V28 battery, it balances the all metal chuck and sits perfectly in your hands.  To jump ahead, this drill comes with a side handle which you will need because it puts out an amazing 600 lbs of torque. The Milwaukee hammer drill has a 1/2″ chuck with carbide jaws and the clip-lock system.  The motor can also produce some serious speed, 0-9000/0-27000bpm and 0-600/0-1800rpm.  As you can see, there is a high and low setting plus 20 clutch settings.  Another cool feature is the battery can go on forward or backwards.  This helps when  you have to get into spots that are tight and the battery always seems to get in the way.  With this, you just turn the battery around and are ready to go. We like the balance and feel of this drill.  We stuck on a 1/2″ dull drill bit to test the power.  We first drilled into a treated 4×4 and as you can see by the video, the drill went through it with...

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Hitachi Hammer Drill Review – DV 18DL

This review is for the Hitachi Hammer Drill that came in the kit KC18DCL.  The model number for this drill is DV18DL.  This drill packs a lot of power and produces 570lbs of torque.  Compare that with the Milwaukee V28 that produces 600lbs of toque, and the Hitachi is only an 18V.  While most hammer drills have two speed settings, the Hitachi has 4 settings.  The four settings are 0-200/400/900/1800 rpm, so as a user you do have lots of control.  One feature we really like is the unique access to the carbon brushes.  On the back of the drill you have easy access  to change the brushes once they get worn out. When you first pick up this tool, you notice this has great balance and is extremely light weighing.  The tool only weights 4.9lbs.  The tool belt clip is a nice feature, but we found the light to be pretty much worthless.  While it does work a little bit, it just got in the way more than it helped. We ran a couple tests on this drill.  One was simple drilling and the other was mixing concrete.  For the drilling part we used an old, dull drill bit.  We drilled into a treated 4×4 that the drill ran through with no problems.  We also ran this drill through two solid Oak 2x4s, and again there was not much resistance. For...

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Hitachi Impact Driver Review – WH 18DL

We reviewed the Hitachi combo kit model number  KC18DCL.   Inside this kit is the Hitachi Impact Driver model number WH18DL.  To learn more about impact drivers, you can see our article on impact drivers. The Hitachi impact driver is just one of those tools that feels good in your hand.  The driver has a nice balance and is incredibly light, weighing only 3.5lbs without the battery.  This driver puts out an astounding amount of torque coming in at 1,330 in-lbs.  Hitachi put a two piece motor with heavy gauge copper to get this much power into a light weight tool.  On this driver Hitachi has a power mode which is 0-2,600 and a save mode 0-2,000 rpm.  We all know that a tool that runs hot causes more wear and tear and shortens the life of the tool.  Hitachi uses a unique cool flow system that provides a steady stream of air into the motor to help keep this driver running cooler.  Another nice feature Hitachi designed into the impact driver is easy access to the carbon brushes, which allows you to change these easily and quickly.  One last feature worth mentioning is  the tool belt clip. Hitachi has a built in light that will shine  on the area you are working  to let you see your work easier. We wanted to test this impact driver, so there was no...

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Hitachi Battery and Charger Review

This review is for the Hitachi Lithium Ion batteries and charger.  These came in the Hitachi combo kit model number KC18DCL.  You can also buy these separately.  The model number for the batteries is EBM1830 and the charger model number is UC 18YRL. Overall, we like the Lithium batteries.  The Hitachi batteries are backwards compatible.  Hitachi puts a recharge life for these batteries at around 1,300 to 1,500 charges.  This kit comes with the 3 amp batteries. The Hitachi charger is also a great charger.  Hitachi includes a universal charger that will allow a user to charge 7.2V – 18V Lithium batteries, and the same for NiCd and NiHM.  Hitachi also has a built in cooling fan which helps lower the over all temperature of the batteries and allows them to cool down and charge faster. We like the Hitachi batteries and universal charger.  As you can see, there is not much to batteries and chargers, but after seeing some of the other batteries and chargers put out by manufacturers, we always like to take a look at the ones in the kits we review....

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Hitachi Contractor Bag Review

  This is the Hitachi tool bag that came in the kit KC18DCL.  This tool bag is made from a heavy duty Nylon with two handles to carry the bag.  On the outside there are a couple small pockets to hold hand tools you might access often.  Once you zip open the bag, there are two pockets.  One designed for the charger and the other is a small nylon mesh with a zipper.  This bag will hold all the tools in this kit with room left over for other tools. As you can see from our other tool bag reviews, we like to test the weight this bag can handle.  Since this is a light kit, weighing under 20lbs., we figured we would put 50lbs. in this bag to test it.  As you can see from the video, we put 50lbs of weight in the bag, lifted it up and gave it a couple good tugs.  The bag held up and nothing tore.  We feel very comfortable over loading this bag and knowing it will hold up.     Over we like the bag.  Good storage and built just right for this kit.  As you can see this bag has some great strength....

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Hitachi 18V Review – Kit KC18DCL

This review is for the Hitachi 18V lithium Ion combo kit model number KC18DCL.  After we did our shopping we found prices starting at $289 and up.  Amazon was selling this kit for $420. The Hitachi kit  comes with a hammer drill, impact driver, two batteries (3.oAh), charger, and a tool bag.  One item to note is Hitachi sells two different kits that are identical, except for the batteries.  One kit comes with a 1.5 amp and another is a 3 amp.  This review is for the 3 amp battery.  You can also buy the power tools individually.  The hammer drill is model number DV18Dl, and the impact driver is WH18DL. When ever we pick up a tool, one feature we always want is balance.  We want our tools to have good balance so our arms and hands do not tire out while working.  Another item we noticed was how light both tools are.  The hammer drill is only 4.9lbs. while the impact driver weighs in at 3.5lbs. The Hitachi hammer drill seems like a very nice drill.  As we said, it is very light, has a nice feel, and good balance.  What’s amazing is this drill puts out a whopping 570lbs. of torque.  Another nice feature is the command you have over this drill.  While most drills have a high and low, the Hitachi has a high, plus another switch for power and save.  The trigger...

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