0b98a5447f65ec10d943c0a2b7ed6ddd 63 1408564256 - Mason

Portable organizational systems typically feature some type of box with a lid, they might even have removable cups that make using one item at a time easier for the user. But what if there was a better way to get organized? What if the cups themselves had lids, and instead of a large storage case, these cups attached to a framework to join with other cups? That is the idea behind the Twist Tubes, a new project up on Kickstarter.

As the name suggests, these organizers are tubes that twist to open and close. There are two different sizes for big or small organizational needs, and they can be paired up with external holders to organize your organizers. There is a holder to mount the twist tubes to walls, cabinets, or peg board, there is a rotary organizer that turns your tubes into a ferris-wheel of organization, and there is even lanyard system that allows you to carry a few to take on the go.

Unlike many Kickstarter projects, the Twist Tube is not just a dream from a creator that might not ever happen. For 4 years creator Jeffrey Bean has been working on the Twist Tube organizers and he is turning to Kickstarter to get his product through the home stretch. Kickstarter

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Makita XPH07M Brushless Drill 94 1408431326 - Mason

Makita has just announced their newest brushless hammer drill, and it looks like they are not messing around this time. They say the XPH07M 18-Volt Hammer Drill is able to deliver a full 1,090 in.lbs of torque, and leads the category in torque, speed, and run-time.

To be honest, I was getting worried that Makita was not going to be able to keep up with their competitors in the Brushless drill category, but this announcement has shown that they can not only keep up, but that they can take the lead.

“Simply put, this is a groundbreaking tool that goes straight to the top of the 18-volt driver-drill category,” said Mario Lopez, Product Manager, Cordless Products, Makita USA.

The XPH07M Kit will also use Makita’s new 4.0 Ah batteries, which will provide a greater run-time over 3.0Ah batteries, yet still has a decent charge time of only about 40-minutes. Makita’s Star Protection is incorporated into the hammer drill, which optimizes the battery output and protects against overloading, over-discharging, and overheating. Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) seals the inside of the tool and provides water and dust resistance by channeling them away from key internal components. Other features include an all metal variable 2-speed transmission (0-550 & 0-2,100 RPM), a ½-inch keyless chuck, dual LED lights, and an on-board LED battery gauge.

The retail price should be around $300 and it available now for Pre-Order from Amazon. The kit includes (2) 18V LXT Lithium-Ion batteries, rapid charger, tool case. The bare tool is available for about $150. Pre-Order – Amazon

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Milwaukee NPS14 001 77 1408124213 - Mason

Having just returned from Milwaukee’s 2014 new product symposium, I wanted to highlight some of the really innovative new tools now revealed; but, before I delve into some of what I saw, I would be amiss if I didn’t first mention what a superb job the folks at Milwaukee did in setting up the event itself.

The venue was a spectacular historic building, and though just a warehouse of some kind, besides the charm of its rustic bricks, it still possessed the architectural features of an era long gone and almost forgotten. Girthy wooden pillars, beams accented with molding, ironwork fastening it all together—It was the perfect setting to showcase some of the world’s best tools.

Of course a building by itself wouldn’t make for much of a show, so the great folks at Milwaukee transformed it into a construction site in progress. There were open wood stud walls, and metal stud walls; there was roughed-in electrical conduit, and roughed-in water pipes and drain pipes. All set up in just two days, there was just about everything you’d expect to see on a construction project that would require tools to complete. And what would a construction project be without Milwaukee tools?

Milwaukee NPS14 002 58 1408124214 - Mason

M18 FUEL 7 ¼” Circular Saw (2731-22)—Weighing in at only 9 lbs, this saw does everything you’d expect from a corded tool—only without the cord. In fact, the prevalent theme this year was, “Cut the cord,” and with a power source like FUEL, doing the job without a cord is a reality.

M12 FUEL Hackzall (2520-21XC)—This reciprocating saw is a light weight easy to handle tool. This tool was designed for one hand operation, and performs so well at that task that I filmed the saw in action with one hand while my other hand operated the saw to cut a piece of pipe.

M18 LED Stick Light (2352-20)—This little light can shine! Compared with other lights, both corded and non-corded, the Stick Light out lights the others and does so with an easy-on-the-eye light that allows the natural color of your work area to shine true. So, if an electrician is looking for a red wire in a panel with a rainbow of color, he can be confident of picking out the red. (Unless, of course, he is color blind.)

Milwaukee NPS14 024 74 1408124230 - Mason

Jobsite Backpack (48-22-8200)—This pack is specifically designed for the tradesman—most notably, the electrician and technician needing to carry a gamut of well organized tools and supplies. The backpack stands up on its own with its hard molded water-tight base, making it easy to open up and locate a specific tool. Made of 1680 Denier ballistic nylon, this fabric is five times stronger than the typical 600 D polyester.

13″ Jobsite Work Box (48-22-8010)—Get off your bucket-seat and sit on a tool box designed specifically as both a handy tool carrier and a convenient work seat. And unlike a bucket, this box comes with a vertical tool organizer, an interior divider, and a floating tray.

M18 FUEL 1-1/8 SDS Plus Rotary Hammer (2715-22)—A concrete drill that drills faster than its corded counterpart; and with only a re-charge at lunch, you can go the whole day without tripping over a cord.

M18 Sawzall (2621-22)—Perhaps the most iconic Milwaukee tool, the corded Sawzall in its red metal case has been a staple in countless Gang-boxes for over 50 years. This cordless Reciprocating is deemed to cut 35% faster and last 40% longer per charge than competitive brands. My own hands demonstrated that this recip is faster than corded counterparts.

Milwaukee NPS14 020 24 1408124227 - Mason

Hole Dozer—This hole saw line features a step slot for ejecting the hole plug. Slip a common screw driver into the slot and even thick plugs can be ejected by advancing to the next step.

Rapid Charge Station—Charge up to six batteries in 74 minutes. This unit charges both M12 and M18 batteries, and has index marks to easily mount it on a wall.

Hand Tools—Similarly conceived like the 300-plus tools that will fit in your tool bags, the Torque Lock locking pliers were inspired by how individual tools are modified and customized by their users. For instance, when a worker replaces a thumb-turn tightener on his pliers with a common eye-bolt to leverage the tool’s grip, it just stands to reason that the tool should be designed that way from the start.

It should go without mentioning that this is just a small portion of all the new innovative tools I saw at this year’s event. And we hope to review many of them in greater detail soon—so stay tuned.

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ct wings 92 1407948686 - Mason

Festool has a new tool accessory that at first sight looks like a gimmick, but it turns out it might be more useful than you think. The new Festool CT Wings is an add-on that turns your dust extractor into an expensive, but useful, third arm.

Attaching to the end of your dust extractor hose, the CT Wings use the powerful suction of your dust extractor to clamp themselves to walls, ceilings or other flat surfaces. Once suction-clamped in place, you can rotate the “wings” to help you hold materials in place. They could be useful when doing crown by yourself, but so are these crown hooks, which cost only a few bucks.

The CT Wings are not available just yet, but they are expected to be released in Europe next month for under $50.

What are your thoughts? I like how it can be moved around quickly, but the constant noise would annoy me.

Source: ThisIsCarpentry

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Ideal Tri bore 48 1407782880 - Mason

Sometimes when you want to drill a hole there is more than just wood you have to deal with. Ideal’s new Tri-Bore Hole Saw features Tungsten Carbide which allows it to cut through cement board, plastic board, plaster, composite materials, and even nail-encrusted wood.

The Tri-Bore works just like a regular hole saw except it has three large carbide teeth in lieu of the many small teeth found on a traditional hole saw. The diamond-sharpened teeth are said to provide an ultra-aggressive yet cleaner cutting action with minimized vibration. Each hole saw is precision balanced to further improve performance and drilling comfort.

If these sound too good to be true it is because they do have a higher initial cost, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. My suggestion would be to replace the size you seem to go through the fastest, and see if it meets your needs.

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MTM ammo can organizer 3 1406532642 - Mason

.50 ammo cans are readily available at military surplus stores at mostly reasonable prices (from $5-$20), which is why they make good storage cans for various items. However, because of their large size they are not always great organizers for smaller items. But one product aims to change your .50 cal organization problem.

MTM, a company that makes their own plastic ammo cans and other ammo holders has come out with a set of stackable plastic trays that have been specifically designed to fit inside metal U.S. military .50 ammo cans. Their design is probably to allow you to keep various ammo types organized in the large can, but they can just as easily be used for other non-ammo related organizational problems.

The great thing about ammo cans is that they have seals to keep moisture out, so with the MTM Ammo Can Organizer Trays you could store all kinds of small parts and not have to worry about rust. Though if you live in a humid area you might want to add some silica packets to the case before you close it. At under $8, you could have a pretty rugged small parts storage box for less than $20 total. BUY – Amazon

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Tape Ease 007 21 1406278035 - Mason

A few months ago I wrote about a new product that promises to be “The Ultimate Measuring Tape Assistant”. At the time I really liked the idea behind the product—a better hook for your tape measure—but I questioned how accurate it could be. Tape-Ease offered to send me a couple so I could test them out for myself, and I was happy to take them up on their offer.

First, there are two different models of the Tape-Ease. The Tape-Ease Rubber Grip is a general purpose model that should handle most of your measuring needs, while the Tape-Ease Pipe Grip model has been specifically designed for measuring pipes of all kinds.

Both models attach by clipping onto the sides of any standard 1” tape measure blade. This also means that they will not work well, or at all, with wide-blade tape measure. Often cases these wide-blade tape measurers also feature their own bigger hooks, and they too would interfere with the Tape-Ease. You see, the Tape-Ease needs to sit flush with the tape measure hook, or it will not allow for accurate measurements. There is space for a standard size hook to fit, but larger hooks simply will not.

Tape Ease 011 47 1406278041 - Mason

So the question of “Is it accurate?” is yes, as long as you have a standard 1′ tape measure with a standard hook. I have found that with this setup, the accuracy is 1/32” or less. Using a non-standard sized hook, the measurements could be off by as much at 1/8”. Still, for some applications, that degree of error would be acceptable.

With many tape measurers now offering their own bigger hooks, the question then becomes, is the Tape-Ease really necessary anymore? To put it simply, the Tape-Ease just works better than stock wide tape hooks. The Tape-Ease Rubber-Grip really does grip onto many different surface types, and I have found no easier way to measure pipe then with the Tape-Ease Pipe Grip.

Tape Ease 010 83 1406278043 - Mason

It might annoy some that the tape measure cannot fully retract while the Tape-Ease is installed, but that small annoyance is probably worth the convenience the accessory adds to your tape. It is easy enough to remove if needed, but if done regularly, it might do damage to your tape blade. One other thing to note is that the Tape-Ease does add weight to the end of your tape measure, so unsupported measurements over more than a few feet might be harder to do. Still, at only $3-$4 each directly from Tape-Ease plus a couple bucks shipping, they are worth a try. They are also available from Amazon, but they are cheaper directly from Tape-Ease.com

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Makita XRU04Z String Trimmer 41 1406063315 - Mason

Makita has announced another cordless solution for landscapers with the addition of their 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless String Trimmer (XRU04Z, tool only). It comes a year after their first cordless string trimmer hit US markets, but because of Brushless technology, it offers a significant increase in runtime.

While the previous model looked like it would work well for your average homeowner, the new XRU04Z Brushless String Trimmer has the look of a tool made for professionals. Boasting up to 90-minutes of runtime on a single 3.0Ah battery, it has the stamina to tackle more than just one yard. No engine means no fuel, or oil, or all the weight that goes with it, so the string trimmer and battery only weigh 8.6 lbs.

Other features include an easy-loading bump-and-feed trimmer head for, and a reverse rotation system that allows operators to quickly clear the trimmer head. One thing mobile landscapers might want to add to the setup is the Makita Automotive Battery Charger, this way you could charge between jobs. BUY – Amazon

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DEWALT Midsize Organizer DWST14740 31 29 1405976037 - Mason

How many different types of screws, nuts, bolts, washers, or anchors does a person need for any given task? If you were to look at the current selection of screw organizer boxes, 10 seems to be the magic number. But in reality, most tasks only require a few different fasters, the rest are just extra weight we have to carry around for a completely different task. This why I am happy to see that DeWalt has come out with a new Mid-Size Pro Organizer that is about half the size of other screw organizers.

For the bulk of my work I only need three or four fasteners, so why am I carrying around a screw organizer that has room for ten? I can’t leave any of them empty either, so they end up getting filled with fasteners I might use only a few times a year.

It looks like the DeWalt DWST14740 Mid-Size Pro Organizer was designed for people like me. Featuring six removable inner cups (3.12″ x 4.29” x 3.58”) housed in an impact resistant shell with a see-through lid, each DWST14740 can be customized to handle a specific task. If you need to take on more than one task, two or more of the DWST14740 organizers can be locked together and carried with one handle.

The lid on the Pro Organizer is designed in a way that locks the cups into place so that even if you remove a few, they remain secure. The lid also features an injected water seal that helps prevent moisture and other debris from entering your organizer. MSRP for the DWST14740 is $14.99 and it is available now. BUY – Home Depot

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Makita BL1840 93 1405671787 - Mason

Users, wanting greater runtimes in their tools, have been impatiently waiting for Makita to introduce their 4.0Ah batteries to the U.S. market. Though they have been available in other countries for months, we just got word that the new 2.0Ah (BL1820) and 4.0Ah (BL1840) batteries are finally starting to come out. In fact, the new 2.0Ah can already be found on sale now in new Makita 18V Compact Lithium-Ion Kits and Combo Kits.

The 4.0Ah cordless kits will follow shortly in August, and standalone 4.0Ah batteries will be available in September. But is Makita too late? Now Makita’s competitors are starting to come out with 5.0Ah batteries. Will Makita be a year behind again, or do they have something better up their sleeves? I first heard about Makita’s 4.0Ah batteries 2 years ago from a reader in Australia. So why did they take so long to reach the U.S.? Now other countries already have access to Makita 5.0Ah (BL1850) batteries before we even have access to the 4.0Ah models.

While Makita might be the last of the major brands to upgrade their batteries to 4.0Ah, theirs are still be the fastest charging, and maybe that is worth more to some users. What good would the increased runtime of a 6 or 8Ah battery be, if it took four hours to recharge? Makita has always had the best charging times, and the 4.0Ah batteries will be no different. The press release claims a charge time of 40 minutes, twice as fast as their leading competitor. 2.0Ah batteries should take only 25 minutes to recharge.

Even though it makes no sense to us why it takes so long for Makita’s battery technology to make it to the US, I wouldn’t want to trade early access for slower charging times. So hang on, we are almost there.

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