Saturday, December 29, 2007

The DeWalt Cordless Tool Vision

Lithium Ion cordless tools have gotten a lot of press over the past 2 years. Milwaukee started the craze with its Milwaukee V28 cordless tool line, which were marketed as ‘more powerful but lighter than regular 18V tools’. Bosch jumped into the game with its 36V Lithium Ion, turning historically corded tools into cordless tools. DeWalt did the same with a 36V line. Bosch then came out with 10.8V lithium ion screwdrivers, which were extremely light. Milwaukee and Makita then jumped back in, with 18V lines of lithium ion tools – Milwaukee with its V18 Series, and Makita with a sleek new look.

DeWalt has followed with in improved version of Lithium Ion tools – a phospate based lithium ion battery that DeWalt has trademarked its NANO Technology. NANO Phosphate it a different type of lithium ion, with its biggest advantaged being its weight and number of recharges.

Because DeWalt 18V XRP batteries have been so popular over the years, the new NANO tools can be used with the old XRP batteries. The new NANO chargers will even charge the old XRP NiCd batteries. Old chargers WILL NOT charge the new NANO batteries, so customers need to have a new charger handy.

DeWalt has 3 different lines of NANO cordless tools: 18V, 28V and 36V. The 18V is the same weight as a 12V NiCd, so contractors are going to get 18V power with much less weight. The 28V’s weight is similar to 18V NiCd, and the 36V is for electric-type tools, but without the cord...such as rotary hammers, circular saws, etc.
DeWalt is keeping its NiCd line, as they feel it still has its place among professionals.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Amana Tool Saw Blades Stand Out!

One of our saw blade suppliers, Amana Tool, received the prestigious Top Value Seal for 2 Amana Saw Blades that no woodworker should be without.

Wood Magazine put 28 leading general purpose saw blades to the test and 2 blades that stood out from the rest were our very own Amana PR1040 & TB10400

#PR1040 - The Blade that Does it All!

#TB10400 - Thin Kerf General Pupose Blade

To see the testing method in action, view the video for free at

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lamello Top 20 Biscuit Joiner

When biscuit joining is mentioned in the woodworking industry, the name Lamello is the first to come to mind. This is because Lamello invented the joining process in Switzerland in 1955. To this day, Lamello still manufactures the highest quality biscuit joiners available.

Biscuit joining is the process of lining up and joining two workpieces. One of the most important, and challenging, jobs during the building of a piece of furniture is the lining-up, gluing, and clamping of two workpieces. The biscuit joiner makes this job simple.

A biscuit joiner is used to cut a circular slot into each workpiece that will be joined. Lamello biscuit joiners use a 6-tooth carbide-tipped blade that, when plunged into the workpiece, precisely cuts this circular slot out. This slot is created by the woodworker on both workpieces. The location of the slots are determined by where the woodworker wants the workpieces joined. After the slots are cut, wood glue is appied into the slots. The woodworker then takes a biscuit, which is a small football-shaped joining piece, and joins the two workpieces with it. Because the glue must dry before moving to the next step of the process, clamps are used to hold the pieces in place until the glue is dry. How long this takes depends on the type of wood glue that is being used. There are quick-set wood glues that can be used. The biscuits come in different sizes (#0 biscuits, #10 biscuits, #20 biscuits) so the user has options based on the size of the workpiece and the strength of hold that is needed.

You can find other biscuit joiners on the market besides Lamello, including Porter-Cable, DeWalt, and Freud. If price is a big issue, or if this is just for one project and you won’t be using the tool often, then one of the cheaper models may be for you. But if you prefer the best tool on the market, then the Lamello Top 20 is the way to go. Because many professionals and hobbyists often do not want to invest $700+ in a biscuit joiner, Lamello also sells a lower-level joiner: the Lamello C3 Classic Spliner. This biscuit joiner sells for around $450, and is still a superior product to the Porter-Cable, DeWalt, and Freud products.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Festool's C12 Cordless Drill Kit

Festool’s C12 12V Cordless Drill is the most imaginitive cordless tool you’ll find anywhere. With 5 different chucks, all of which lock into the drill with the turn of a wrist, this drill is a 5 cordless tools in one! There are chucks that turn it from a regular straight cordless drill, to a right angle cordless drill, to an offset cordless drill, to a drywall cordless screwgun, to a quick-change bit system!

The C12 is a lightweight, compact cordless drill with superb ergonomics. It is the first cordless drill with a brushless motor. This means no wearing parts! Which leads to extreme durability and long life.

The chuck that I find myself reaching for most often is the Centrotec Chuck. The Centrotec Chuck, which can also be bought as a starter set, is not just another quick change accessory. It actually replaces the straight chuck, which means there’s no extra length and no extra wobble. The Centrotec is light, about a half pound lighter that conventional chucks – which makes a difference on a big job. The bits simply snap in and out, which also saves you a lot of time. Pop a drill bit in, drill a hole, then release the drill bit and pop a screw bit in...all within seconds.

For anyone working inside cabinets, making drawyer carriages, or doing any assembly work in tight, cramped areas, the Right Angle Chuck and the Eccentric Chuck are invaluable. The Right Angle chuck lets you take one less drill to might as well sell your old electric right angle drill on ebay! The Eccentric chuck offsets the bit to the side of the chuck. This lets you drill and drive fasteners straight, even right up against a wall!

The Depth Stop Chuck allows for precise depth setting regardless of material. Think of a high-quality drywall screwgun, but with more torque for more applications...but without a cord! An additional plus is the fact that most drywall screwguns require 2 hands, whereas using this chuck with the C12 drill can be done one-handed. Installing a bit is easy: take a standard 1" bit, grab the depth clutch in your left hand and twist the silver bit lock counterclockwise a quarter turn. Setting the depth is just as easy, as you turn the depth clutch on way or the other to raise or lower the set. Like I said, you can drive a screw with one hand, so this comes in extremely handy if you are holding up a sheet of drywall with the other hand. If you need to remove a screw for any reason, you can remove it by holding the green Quick Out ring to the left and reversing your drill. Because of the toque that the C12 delivers, you can also drive 3” deck screws with ease! Also consider how easy installing something like two layers of sub-floor would be with the C12 and Depth Stop Chuck!

Some people will balk at the price of the chucks added to the drill kit, but within a few uses you’ve got your money back in time saved and projects done. The C12 has the advantage of having quick release chucks. You don't have to carry around multiple drills (most with cords), and the C12 comes with a 30-day guarantee and 3-year warranty! If you want the best, the lightest, and the most innovative, you owe it to yourself to give the drill a try.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Festool RO150FEQ 6” Rotex Sander and RO125FEQ 5” Rotex Sander

Woodworkers, Solid Surface Fabricators, and Auto Body Shops can all make their jobs a little easier by investing in a Festool Rotex Sander. The sander has dual-mode capability which makes heavy removal, fine finishing, and even polishing a snap!

Contractors and woodworkers can bring a rough, raw piece of wood to a glorious fine-finish shine within minutes with the RO150FEQ 6” Rotex Sander and the RO125FEQ 5” Rotex Sander. The steps go something like this:

  1. Grab a rough piece of wood.

  2. Remove your Festool Rotex Sander from its systainer and plug it in.

  3. StixFix on a coarse piece of abrasive sandpaper, such as 6” 36-grit Rubin.

  4. Use your thumb to switch the sander into Rotary mode. The toggle switch is located on the top of the sander, and you should push the switch to the right to get into the gear-driven rotary mode.

  5. Turn the sander on, apply the abrasive to the wood, and begin sanding. Because you are in the aggressive rotary sanding mode, you’ll need 2 hands to prevent the pad from jumping.

  6. Once you’ve sanded and see visual results, begin moving up in grits. Next you can grab a 50-grit abrasive sheet and repeat the sanding...from there keep moving up in grits. For bare wood, you want to use Festool’s Rubin abrasive sandpaper up to 180-grit and then switch over to Festool Brilliant abrasive sandpaper, beginning at 220-grit. You can use the Brilliant paper up to 400-grit, then switch over to Platin 2, 500-grit for a fine, fine finish. You can actually go all the way up to 4000-grit Platin for a mirror-smooth finish! Use some water at this point, which will bring out the beautiful natural texture within your wood.

There are many types of abrasives available for Festool sanders. Besides the Rubin for bare wood mentioned above, this includes different types of abrasives for paint, plastics, solid surface, heavy-duty materials, metal and more. Basically, if anyone wants to sand anything, Festool probably has the right abrasive for their application.