Recent comments

Re: How do you deal with Ice Dams?

We've had record snow falls here in Massachusetts. So I've spent a lot of time recently removing ice dams. Some guys I know like to use a sawzall and use the end of the blade to chip channels in the ice another guy I know swears by an Estwing "Fireside Friend" which is a 4 lb mini splitting maul, which I tried but the splitting side makes me real nervous around shingles. Plus swinging that thing all day would destroy my joints!

Personally I think the best way to go is a smallish (@ 1") rotary hammer with a chipping function (corded or cordless but you'll need a LOT of batteries) and a tile removal chisel. The tile chisel is slightly angled which helps keep you in line with the roof and the blade is long and thin, so it can create cracks in the ice rather than just trying to mash it. I follow the pitch of the roof from the bottom and leave a few inches of ice on the roof which I then break up with a 28 oz framing hammer. Starting from the bottom I break up the ice right by the gutter and get to bare roof, from there it's easier because you can just break off chunks from the edge of the hole you've created in the ice, I also use the bouncy spot between rafters and let that flex break up the sheet of ice. I never actually touch the roof so there's no cracked shingles and very little ice left on the roof. Works great!

Re: In search of a quiet air compressor

Caveat, I haven't used this compressor but it looks to be excellent from everything I've read heard or watched.

The Rol-Air JC10 super quite compressor looks to be around $200, is oil-less, weighs 40bs, is made in the USA, 2.5gal tank, puts out 2.35cfm @90PSI and reportedly runs at 60DB!

I have a Makita MAC2400 which has been great for the last 2 or 3 years but is a bit of a beast to lug around. I'm very tempted to pick up the Rolair as a smaller more portable second compressor.

Re: Reader Poll: Do you still use a corded drill?

Dewalt made a 24volt cordless/corded recip saw. I think one of their intended markets was first responders as you could use the saw in cordless mode to start cutting up a car and then switch to corded once they had a generator running. But also nice for contractors who want a more flexible tool that would do both a quick cut in a tight space with limited outlet access and corded for more extended jobs. They discontinued it awhile ago...

Re: Is Hitachi a fading brand?

I'm relatively new to buying power tools. But I read, a lot. Blogs, industry publications, reviews, etc... Time and again the refrain goes something like this: "Hitachi used to make great tools, but these days the quality is lacking." The tools I keep on hearing about are their old miter saws, framing and roofing nailers. But on nearly all fronts I'm hearing that the newer models just don't measure up. This has led me to avoid purchasing any of their tools.

Re: Bosch redefines sliding miter saw category with new "glider" system

I have to say that the GLIDE mechanism looks pretty nice, and the low profile is a nice touch. I'm not sure about the dust collection though. I don't think that tiny flap with a vertical plastic tube is not going to catch a lot of dust no matter how strong the vac you attach to it is. But I guess we'll see when more hands-on reviews come out.

Re: UPDATE: Ultimate Miter-Saw Stand -- And the Winner is...

I have a Portamate PM7000. It's got big plastic wheels, fold-out legs and extension arms with small plastic rollers built into the work supports. Also has a power bar on the front which I plug my shop vac and the saw into so I can flip one easy-to-reach switch to turn on dust collection and the saw at the same time.

Overall it works. Although the fit and finish is not precise enough for trim work and a lot of pieces of the stand run into each other when you're collapsing it down for transport. The plastic used is also pretty easy to chip or crack so there are some parts that have fallen off or become broken. It's also quite heavy. So what would I do differently?

1: Rubber or pneumatic wheels, again cheap plastic that wears easily and doesn't roll very easily. Pneumatic wheels would add weight and bulk but are excellent when it comes to moving things around a job site, just have to be careful about nails. Solid rubber would be a happy medium and avoid puncture issues.

2: Bypassing rails. I've seen other stands with this feature. For whatever reason the support arm rails on the Portamate are justified at the same point at the center of the stand which limits the length of the arms a lot. Making them bypass each other when stowed would allow for much longer arms.

3: More aluminum. Extruded aluminum would be pretty strong and allow for lighter weight and more precise fit and finish. Maybe even have flat extruded aluminum arms that could be adjusted level with the saw table for continuous support of material. Small fold-out legs could be built into the support arms. You could even put sliding stops in tracks on them as well as a ruler.

Of course everything would have to be adjustable to allow for different sizes of saw. Getting tolerances tight enough while keeping things simple enough to be reliable both in terms of accuracy and life of the stand could be a challenge. But it would be a lovely best of both worlds of accuracy and portability (cost might be a little high though).

Re: UPDATE: Winners Chosen in our 'Toward a Zero Energy Home' Book Givaway

My father is in the design process of making his home a ZEH so this would be a handy book to have for sure!