JFink


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JFink

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How to Crimp Ducts in the Field

How to Crimp Ducts in the Field

Make use of ductwork cutoffs by crimping the end to mate to the adjoining piece

Cut and Assemble Dryer Duct

Cut and Assemble Dryer Duct

Learn how to cut dryer duct to a custom length

Sheathing Walls with Zip System

Sheathing Walls with Zip System

Justin Fink travels to Wellesley, Mass., to watch a production crew frame and skin a house using Zip System sheathing and compatible seam tape.

Hang Drywall with Adhesive

Hang Drywall with Adhesive

Prevent popped fasteners by hanging drywall with adhesive

Living in a Passivhaus

Living in a Passivhaus

Daniel Roy is one of the owners of a recently completed Passivhaus in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Designed by architect Steve Baczek, the house was featured in a series of FHB articles and videos. In this post, Dan shares his experience from the first year in a new super efficient house.

How To Connect PVC Pipe

How To Connect PVC Pipe

Learn how to prepare plastic pipe fittings, apply primer and cement, and make the connection between the two parts.

Cut Drywall Without a T-Square

Cut Drywall Without a T-Square

A utility knife and tape measure are all you need to make clean, straight cuts in drywall

Home Propane Tanks -The Basics

Home Propane Tanks -The Basics

Thinking of putting in a propane tank to fuel that new gas range or fireplace insert? Here's some basic info to get you started.

Outdoor Copper Lighting

Outdoor Copper Lighting

These classic metal lighting fixtures can work with just about any style of home.

IBS 2014: InvisiDoor Hidden-bookcase-door Hardware

IBS 2014: InvisiDoor Hidden-bookcase-door Hardware

Builder Gary Striegler shows off his favorite new secret-door hinges. The hardware can support a full-size bookcase, and it can be set for inswing or outswing to work with any project you can dream up.

IBS 2014: A Look Inside The New, New Home Book

IBS 2014: A Look Inside 'The New, New Home' Book

Curious about what's possible when building a 21st-century house? Justin chats with architect Boyce Thompson and discovers how his new book helps people ask architects and builders the right questions to get the home of their dreams

IBS 2014: Chief Architect--A Powerful and Easy-To-Use Alternative to CAD

IBS 2014: Chief Architect--A Powerful and Easy-To-Use Alternative to CAD

Justin Fink talks with Scott Harris from Chief Architect to learn exactly what sets this software suite apart from traditional CAD programs

IBS 2014: Zip Systems New Radiant-Barrier Option

IBS 2014: Zip System's New Radiant-Barrier Option

Radiant barriers are not new, but Huber has added this feature to their already well-performing sheathing system

Choosing Trim Nailers: Which Gauge Finish Nailers Should You Own?

Choosing Trim Nailers: Which Gauge Finish Nailers Should You Own?

Most finish carpenters probably use the full range of pneumatic nail guns, from pin nailers to heavy-gauge trim guns. But can the average carpenter or homeowner get by on one or two sizes?

Pneumatic Framing Nailers: Why Choose Coil over Stick?

Pneumatic Framing Nailers: Why Choose Coil over Stick?

On the job site, there's nothing you can do with a coil-style nail gun that you can't do with a stick-style nail gun. So why would you choose one over the other?

Circular Saws: Sidewinder vs Worm-Drive

Circular Saws: Sidewinder vs Worm-Drive

East Coast vs. West Coast and lefty vs. righty are not the only factors here. Which type of circular saw do you use on the job site and why?

How to Check a Box-Beam Level for Accuracy Before Buying It

How to Check a Box-Beam Level for Accuracy Before Buying It

This is one step in choosing a new level that has to be done in person

High-Tech Brushless Motors Hit the Cordless-Tool Marketplace

High-Tech Brushless Motors Hit the Cordless-Tool Marketplace

Sweeping changes to power tool technology don't come very often, but there's one coming, and it's brushless motors. We'll help you decide whether they're worth their premium price.

Tool Review: Lenox Speed Slot Hole Saw

Tool Review: Lenox Speed Slot Hole Saw

One of the most challenging aspects of using a hole saw is clearing debris from the tool. Lenox claims that this new line of hole saws solves that problem once and for all.

Tool Guide Update: 14 Circular Saws Waiting for Your Reviews!

Tool Guide Update: 14 Circular Saws Waiting for Your Reviews!

Even after narrowing down the list of available 7 1/4-in. sidewinders currently on the market, we still ended up with 14 tools to test. We had to make a decision: Option 1 - Pack all 14 saws into the...

Seven Steps to Choosing the Perfect Circular Saw

Seven Steps to Choosing the Perfect Circular Saw

After testing 14 popular makes and models of sidewinder circular saws, senior editor Justin Fink sorts out the features that separate the good from the not-so-good.

Kobalt Enters the Cordless-Tool Market with an Impressive 18v Drill Driver

Kobalt Enters the Cordless-Tool Market with an Impressive 18v Drill Driver

This new drill competes with the "big boys" on features, power, and price

Tool-Test Preview: Compact Compressors

Tool-Test Preview: Compact Compressors

Do you have a compact compressor and an opinion? Then we want to hear from you!

Sneak Peek: Building the carriage doors in the shop

Sneak Peek: Building the carriage doors in the shop

Here, the doors are still being assembled. They're now completed and in place, so stay tuned for a full article about their construction and installation.

Another Walkout

Another Walkout

This walk-out basement was large, around 1200 sq. ft., and incorporated a full kitchen, bedroom, bath, and lots of storage.

Walk-Out Basement

Walk-Out Basement

This was a walk-out basement in central CT. The slab was already insulated, and I added 2 inches of EPS to the walls before placing studs. Finished floor was cork.

Throw Away Your Hammer Stapler and Get a Pneumatic Cap Fastener

Throw Away Your Hammer Stapler and Get a Pneumatic Cap Fastener

Installing house-wrap and roofing underlayment with cap nailers is definitely a best practice—but it may even be mandated by code.

Feds Consider Unprecedented Safety Rules for Tablesaws

Feds Consider Unprecedented Safety Rules for Tablesaws

Many of you will remember the heated debate when Carlos Osorio, a carpenter who injured himself using a jobsite tablesaw, was awarded $1.5 million from One World, maker of the Ryobi...

Say goodbye to iLevel

Say goodbye to iLevel

In it's latest identity crisis, iLevel, the company formerly known as Weyerhaeuser, is going back to being called Weyerhaeuser.

Tool Hound Favorites:  Nail Jack Nail Puller

Tool Hound Favorites: Nail Jack Nail Puller

Today's favorite tool was generously contributed by friend, and fellow tool junkie/writer, Marc Lyman. Marc is Editor and Diabolical Mastermind behind HomeFixated.com, a tool and home improvement...

Tool Hound Favorites: Bolt-Hole Marker

Tool Hound Favorites: Bolt-Hole Marker

Today's must-have tool comes from Larry Haun - longtime Fine Homebuilding contributor, ringleader of A Carpenter's View blog, and author of the new book, out this Fall, A Carpenter's Life - My Story...

Lost Your Wrench? Print a New One...Is This the Future of Tools?

Lost Your Wrench? Print a New One...Is This the Future of Tools?

I stumbled across this cool video from a National Geographic TV show on the tools used by astronauts. You saw it on Star Trek, and it turns out that reality isn't too far off the mark. A Burlington...

Tool Hound Favorites: 12-in. Hemostat

Tool Hound Favorites: 12-in. Hemostat

For today's random, favorite, can't live without tool, we hear from FineHomebuilding.com web producer, Rob Wotzak: "I got one of these hemostats as a Christmas present from my wife's uncle last year...

Tool Hound Favorites: Screw-Holding Screwdriver

Tool Hound Favorites: Screw-Holding Screwdriver

For today's random, favorite, can't live without tool, we hear from fellow editor, of "There's a Better Way" fame, Charles Miller: "One measure of how important I consider a tool is how much time...

Sheds Are An Almost Perfect Building Project

Sheds Are An Almost Perfect Building Project

This past weekend I "broke ground" on a shed at my brother's house. I love building sheds, so when he asked me to build him a 10x14 outbuilding nestled among some trees near the border of the woods...

What Tool Did You Buy Today (or Recently)?

What Tool Did You Buy Today (or Recently)?

For as long as I've been with the magazine, there has been an ongoing discussion in our Breaktime forum about everyone's latest tool purchases. Everything went in there, from a new pair of pliers to...

Behind the scenes at Bosch (am I even allowed to show this??)

Behind the scenes at Bosch (am I even allowed to show this??)

Last week Bosch held a media event at their headquarters in Illinois to show us media-folk some of their brand new, and yet to come, tools. As we settled in for day 2, I took some guerilla video of...

New DeWalt Cordless: In a world of 18v tools, why go 20v MAX?

New DeWalt Cordless: In a world of 18v tools, why go 20v MAX?

If you've been following my recent blogs here on Toolhound, or via Twitter (@toolhound), then you've seen quite a bit of new tool news coming from the folks at DeWalt, as we just wrapped up a two day...

First Look: DeWalts New 12-in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw

First Look: DeWalt's New 12-in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw

From Black & Decker University, Towson, MD – Yesterday DeWalt launched their new 12-in. sliding compound miter saw. The new tool, model DWS780, is a replacement for the DW718 we reviewed as...

Predictions: New DeWalt Tools to be Released This Week

Predictions: New DeWalt Tools to be Released This Week

Folks, it's that time of the year again. The major power tool companies are gearing up to launch their new offerings in time for the summer. On tomorrow's agenda for this editor is a trip to DeWalt...

New Tool: Hardcore Framing Hammers

New Tool: Hardcore Framing Hammers

Hardcore Hammers, a relatively new company, recently got in touch with me about a unique framing hammer. To me, there's no better inventor than a guy who has created a solution to a problem based on...

Lenox has a New Hole Saw

Lenox has a New Hole Saw

Sometimes plugs are easy to remove from a hole saw, other times they're one of the most frustrating parts of a job. When Mike Guertin reviewed hole saws in his article (Boring Into Hole Saws), he...

Boschs 360-Degree Dual-Plane Laser Level is Affordable and Versatile

Bosch's 360-Degree Dual-Plane Laser Level is Affordable and Versatile

This new tool bridges the gap between simple straight-line lasers and expensive, bulky rotary levels

Framing with Energy in Mind - Were Still Missing the Boat!

Framing with Energy in Mind - We're Still Missing the Boat!

There's a raised ranch house going up next door to my house in Plainville, CT. The 7-man framing crew finished their work today, so I snuck over after work to peek at the quality of their work. I...

FastenMaster buys Tiger Claw

FastenMaster buys Tiger Claw

Hidden deck fasteners may still be a small portion of the overall deck fastening market, but that's changing...fast. Companies are beginning to jockey for position, and the purchasing game is now...

Sneak peek at new line of DeWalt hand tools

Sneak peek at new line of DeWalt hand tools

Now that DeWalt has found a new home as part of the larger Stanley Black & Decker family, which also houses the Bostitch brand, it shouldn't be a surprise that a new line of hand tools is set to...

Are Modern Power Tools Junk?

Are Modern Power Tools Junk?

A recent blog post asking readers to weigh in on the merits and utility of their corded drills has sparked an interesting topic: Are today's power tools junk compared to the power tools used by our...

Reader Poll: Do you still use a corded drill?

Reader Poll: Do you still use a corded drill?

I've gone almost totally cordless when it comes to drilling and driving, but I still can't manage to let go of my trusty 1/2-in. corded Milwaukee drill, passed down from my grandfather, mind you...

Mid-Winter sale? ...What a bust.

Mid-Winter sale? ...What a bust.

I get email newletters from several tool manufacturers and retailers in my inbox each week. In some ways it's like a gambling addict working behind the counter at a lottery store, and I end up buying...

Is Hitachi a fading brand?

Is Hitachi a fading brand?

It's a good bet that you will see the same names popping up in 75% of the reviews in our magazine. Bosch, Milwaukee, Ridgid, DeWalt, and Makita always seem to be included. Lately, though, Hitachi has me second-guessing things.

Black & Decker sells Delta

Black & Decker sells Delta

How much money does it take to buy Delta?

A Cyber Monday Deal Worth Considering...

A Cyber Monday Deal Worth Considering...

If you just can't resist the temptation of Cyber Monday online shopping, you may as well spend your money on tools. Problem is that many of the cyber deals in our world are just the stuff that the...

Whats the worst time for a holesaw to fail?

What's the worst time for a holesaw to fail?

One of my brothers has a colonial with two upstairs bathrooms. The builders who did his house clearly had enough good sense to include bath vent fans, but not enough sense to vent them properly. Both...

DeWalts Smart Take on the 12V Mini Drill-Driver Was Worth the Wait

DeWalt's Smart Take on the 12V Mini Drill-Driver Was Worth the Wait

According to the Tool Hound, better chuck, battery, and handle designs make this new cordless drill tops in comfort and convenience.

This Combination Drywall Rasp Does Three Jobs Better Than The Old Single-Duty Models

This Combination Drywall Rasp Does Three Jobs Better Than The Old Single-Duty Models

This new rasp takes up less space, works harder, and multitasks, so why wouldn't you replace that old cheese grater in your toolbox?

Has anybody tried Windstorm 4x10 OSB sheathing?

Has anybody tried Windstorm 4x10 OSB sheathing?

I've come across advertisements about Norbord's Windstorm OSB sheathing many times over the last couple of years. I've seen them advertised in competitive magazines, I've spoken with their...

Talk about inefficient...

Talk about inefficient...

Credit for finding this gem goes to Andy Engel. He sent it to me awhile back as a two part email. The first photo is the clue - showing a whole lot of blackened fiberglass insulation near an air...

More Bad News for Ryobi: Cordless-Drill Recall

More Bad News for Ryobi: Cordless-Drill Recall

In March, a jury awarded $1.5 million in a case against Ryobi for a benchtop tablesaw injury. Now, 7 months later, Ryobi is back in the news again with a recall report filed on the Consumer Product...

Sloppy Housewrap Install

Sloppy Housewrap Install

This is a classic example of not understanding what housewrap is supposed to do. Just because it's protected by an overhang doesn't mean it shouldn't go all the way up the sheathing to prevent air...

Video: Bosch Axial-Glide Miter Saw

Video: Bosch Axial-Glide Miter Saw

You've heard us talk about the new Bosch Axial-Glide Miter Saw, and you will find a full review of the saw in our most recent issue of FHB. Now you can watch Bosch's 4 minute video tour of the tool.

Hitachi Announces Lifetime Warranty

Hitachi Announces Lifetime Warranty

The basics: Yesterday Hitachi Power Tools announced their new Lifetime Lithium Ion tool warranty, which protects the original purchaser of HXP Lithium Ion cordless tools against possible defects in...

Finally, a foam gun that will last (I hope)

Finally, a foam gun that will last (I hope)

Years ago, I grew tired of spending money on disposable cans of spray foam. With the exception of some of the newer multi-use throw-away cans (see a video here), I knew the reusable spray foam guns...

Gas shut-off valves for seismic areas

Gas shut-off valves for seismic areas

Gas + Earthquakes = Trouble. These dirt-simple valves automatically cut off the gas supply to your house in the event of an earthquake.

AZEK now in Home Depot

AZEK now in Home Depot

I went to Natick, MA the weekend before last to help my brother do some work on his kitchen. We took the obligatory drive to the local Home Depot to pick up a little of this and a little of that, and...

Lenox Releases Uber-Recip Blades (and a really cool website)

Lenox Releases Uber-Recip Blades (and a really cool website)

To be honest, I was going to write a blog post about the new double-tang cast-iron cutting blade that Lenox recently released, but when I navigated to the company website I was immediately distracted...

BUILDING SKILLS: How To Cut Housewrap For Window Rough Openings

BUILDING SKILLS: How To Cut Housewrap For Window Rough Openings

Cover all of your framing with housewrap, but watch this video before you cut through to install your windows.

Return of Some Classic Hand Tools

Return of Some Classic Hand Tools

Just like a old leather tool belt or worn pair of double-knee Carhartts, there's a certain romance to classic hand tools. I was flipping through the latest Garrett Wade catalog and decided it would...

Sencos New Hoseless Trim Nailer is a Game Changer

Senco's New Hoseless Trim Nailer is a Game Changer

With no gas cartridge to change, and no mechanical flywheel to wait for, this fast and portable trim gun is well worth its premium price.

Is your vac compliant with EPA lead regs? (hint: who knows...)

Is your vac compliant with EPA lead regs? (hint: who knows...)

So, by now we all know about the strict lead regulations being handed down by the EPA (if you don't know, you aren't visiting www.finehomebuilding.com nearly as often as most doctor's would...

Handy little nailset

Handy little nailset

This review was emailed to me by a long-time Fine Homebuilding tipster Don Mathis: Any old fool can drive nails under good conditions, but in hard to reach places (like hardwood tongue & groove...

Reader Email: Bargain bin flooring nailer?

Reader Email: Bargain bin flooring nailer?

I got an email this weekend from a reader that had a question about the off-brand flooring nailer pictured in last issue's What's the Difference? on flooring fasteners. Here's the...

Dewalts slim, balanced approach to 12v

Dewalt's slim, balanced approach to 12v

DeWalt may be late to the game as far as 12v Li-ion tools are concerned, but their new entries appear to be solid competition for the current market leaders.

Tough Folding Tweezers Easily Remove Splinters

Tough Folding Tweezers Easily Remove Splinters

Pull the most stubborn splinters on the spot with folding tweezers that clip to your keychain.

BUILDING SKILLS: Installing Housewrap At Inside Corners

BUILDING SKILLS: Installing Housewrap At Inside Corners

Install housewrap right if you want your walls to last. Watch this video and learn how to get your corners tight.

Why Im switching to Elmers Glue

Why I'm switching to Elmers Glue

I've been a steady user of Titebond 1, 2, and 3 for several years, mostly because it's what the next guy was using, and I could get it anywhere. Then one day I went into the store to grab a fresh...

Bosch redefines sliding miter saw category with new glider system

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

I give 'em credit. Bosch had what was arguably the best sliding compound miter saw in the industry. They came out in the top spot in many head-to-head reviews, and were responsible for innovations...

Re-Sealable Spray Foam

Re-Sealable Spray Foam

Try out this new can of spray foam that doesn't harden between uses.

Accurate marks on any material

Accurate marks on any material

On some materials - glass, tile, metal, and PVC for instance - a carpenters pencil just won't cut it. Here are your options for leaving a mark on those hard-to-write surfaces

My mission to find mineral wool

My mission to find mineral wool

It's sometimes easy for us to let readers know about new products like rigid mineral wool insulation (written by Alex Wilson in FHB issue #208, click here), but for our readers, finding a...

Festool Domino to focus on decking

Festool Domino to focus on decking

Expanding on it's successful woodworking market, Festool has created fasteners that allow the Domino to be used by deck builders.

Premium-priced finish nailer makes the grade

Premium-priced finish nailer makes the grade

The FN1664 is definitely at the high end of the 16-ga. price scale

In search of a quiet air compressor

In search of a quiet air compressor

A full-size twin tank air compressor is great for framing, flooring, and roofing, but what do you choose when all you need is a quiet, compact, and lightweight model?

Clam Clamp for Perfect Miters

Clam Clamp for Perfect Miters

It doesn't taste as good as shellfish but it makes better miters

Beefy Nail Set

Beefy Nail Set

I'm not technically allowed to participate in this contest, but I thought it was a fun opportunity to share a tool that I found in the wall of an old house while helping our Editor-in-Chief, Brian...

Dewalt Hammer Drill Disassembled

Dewalt Hammer Drill Disassembled

We completely dissect a hammer drill to discover what makes a hammer drill …well, hammer

DeWalt Enters the Box Level Market....But Why?

DeWalt Enters the Box Level Market....But Why?

DeWalt announced yesterday that they have teamed up with Empire levels to introduce a product that they claim will hold up 250% better than competitors

Super Glue on Steroids

Super Glue on Steroids

Ever since I tried my first sample, of 2p-10 adhesive I’ve been hooked, or stuck rather

Reciprocating Blade Test is Officially Underway!

Reciprocating Blade Test is Officially Underway!

You all helped weigh in on the types of blades that we should test, and some ideas on how to test them. Now, the test is underway...

Makita makes it easier to say goodbye to NiCad batteries

Makita makes it easier to say goodbye to NiCad batteries

Makita is now offering free tools as an incentive to help tool buyers make the switch to Li-ion cordless power tools.

Milwaukee Job Saw Kit

Milwaukee Job Saw Kit

This Milwaukee multi tool may become the most-used tool you own

SawGear: Automatic Length Measuring for Your Miter Saw

SawGear: Automatic Length Measuring for Your Miter Saw

The SawGear is an aftermarket addition to your chop saw that allows you to make precisely measured cuts with a keypad instead of a tape measure.

Bosch P2+R2 Driver Bit Does Double Duty

Bosch P2+R2 Driver Bit Does Double Duty

New drill-driver bit from Bosch can fit Phillips-head and square-head screws for extra convenience

Prediction 2010: Granite Countertops Are So Last Decade

Prediction 2010: Granite Countertops Are So Last Decade

High prices and high maintenance are just two reasons this ubiquitous luxory kitchen countertop material will fall out of style

Tape Measure Techniques You Wont Learn in Fine Homebuilding

Tape Measure Techniques You Won't Learn in Fine Homebuilding

Superhuman tape measure skills caught on tape

Clearing up the confusion on drill/driver settings

Clearing up the confusion on drill/driver settings

If you set your drill/driver to high speed and maximum torque, you aren’t getting the full benefit of the tool. This video will help.

Torture Test: Recip Saw Blades

Torture Test: Recip Saw Blades

Fine Homebuilding is gearing up for a torture test of demolition reciprocating saw blades, and we need your input on what matters most.

New Tool Category: Impact Drill-Driver?

New Tool Category: Impact Drill-Driver?

Bosch unveils a new category with the release of the Bosch Multi-Function Impactor, which can switch between impact, drill, and drive mode.

Time to retire your hammer-tacker?

Time to retire your hammer-tacker?

As Mike Guertin wrote in the opening paragraph of his excellent Tools of the Trade article ( ): If you're still using hammer-tacker staples alone to attach housewrap and synthetic roof...

Rockwell JawHorse Ruined by Infomercial?

Rockwell JawHorse Ruined by Infomercial?

As seen on TV? Does the infomercial for the JawHorse make you want to run out and buy the tool, or just laugh out loud?

Cash For Caulk?

Cash For Caulk?

"Cash For Clunkers" was one of the few successful strategies of the economic stimulus plan, now "Cash for Caulkers" aims to follow suit.

Which is the greenest wall system: brick, stucco, or EIFS?

Which is the greenest wall system: brick, stucco, or EIFS?

BASF recently conducted an Eco-Efficiency Analysis of wall systems to determine whether brick, stucco, or EIFS strikes the best balance between environmental burden and lifecycle costs.

Breaking News: Senco unveils a nitrogen-powered cordless nailer

Breaking News: Senco unveils a nitrogen-powered cordless nailer

Toss your fuel-cylinders, because Senco just unveiled a completely sealed Nitrogen-fired hoseless nailer.

Are hoseless nailers worth the hassle?

Are hoseless nailers worth the hassle?

Gas and flywheel powered nailers allows you to unplug from the compressor, but is the additional cost and maintenance worth the convenience?

Gas Fireplaces: Direct Vent vs. Vent-Free

Gas Fireplaces: Direct Vent vs. Vent-Free

If you don't have a chimney through which to route the flue for a gas fireplace, you have two options: direct vent, and vent-free. But the choice is more fiercely debated than it seems.

New National Standard to Limit Formaldehyde Content?

New National Standard to Limit Formaldehyde Content?

As of today, the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association is throwing their support behind legislature that aims to limit the formaldehyde content of particleboard, hardwood plywood, and medium density fiberboard (MDF) panels.

Fein MultiMaster patent has expired...competitors on the move

Fein MultiMaster patent has expired...competitors on the move

MultiMaster knockoffs are coming out of the woodwork, but mostly from bargain priced tool makers.

New Miter Saw Stand from Makita

New Miter Saw Stand from Makita

Makita releases a miter saw stand, model 195083-4, to accommodate their new LS1016L miter saw.

Drywall tool cuts like magic

Drywall tool cuts like magic

BladeRunner drywall-cutting tool speeds up the process with good results

Impact Driver Lets You Choose the Speed

Impact Driver Lets You Choose the Speed

A closer look at Makita's BTD144 Cordless Impact Driver

Accessory prevents installation damage to prefinished flooring

Accessory prevents installation damage to prefinished flooring

Protective sub-base attaches to pneumatic flooring nailers and staplers to widen the bearing area and prevent damage to prefinished flooring during installation.

Payback Estimator: Insulation Upgrade

Payback Estimator: Insulation Upgrade

Do you have a quote for an insulation upgrade? Use our calculator to estimate how long it will take to payback your investment based on savings in energy costs.

Riving knives on the rise

Riving knives on the rise

These long overdue tablesaw safety devices are finally becoming an industry standard.

Simple question: Is Festool worth the money?

Simple question: Is Festool worth the money?

Festool manufactures power tools that often sell for twice the cost of competitive tools. But are these premium-priced tools worth the premium price?

Video Review: Tool Hound takes the Festool  EHL 65E for a test drive

Video Review: Tool Hound takes the Festool EHL 65E for a test drive

Festool's newest portable power planer, the EHL 65E, packs some premium features, but do they warrant a price tag of nearly $400?

Video Tool Review: Makita LS1016L Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Video Tool Review: Makita LS1016L Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Tool Hound takes a closer at Makita's LS1016L 10-in. sliding compound miter saw.

Dewalt launches 1/2 corded hammer drills

Dewalt launches 1/2" corded hammer drills

Dewalt recently announced the addition of two new corded hammer drills: the DWD520K and DWD525K...one of which features a mid-grip handle.

Ridgid R4516 Portable Tablesaw

Ridgid R4516 Portable Tablesaw

Ridgid's R4516 portable tablesaw packs a big punch, and gives the Dewalt DW745 a run for it's money.

Win a Ryobi Tek4 Laser Distance Measure

Win a Ryobi Tek4 Laser Distance Measure

Ryobi adds to their line of Tek4 Li-ion powered professional tools with a new laser distance measure. Weigh in on the discussion and you could win a Tek4 RP4010 and battery charger.

Stiletto Titanium Flat Bars

Stiletto Titanium Flat Bars

Stiletto, makers of high-quality, high-priced titanium hammers, have now branched into the pry bar market.

Tool Competition, and 5 Reasons Women Should Own a Drill

Tool Competition, and 5 Reasons Women Should Own a Drill

A bit of insight on the nature of magazine competition, and ToolGirl's 5 humorous reasons why women should gear up with power tools

GE Promises Turn-Key Net Zero System by 2015

GE Promises Turn-Key Net Zero System by 2015

General Electric brings us one step closer to living off of the grid - this whole-house approach combines residential energy-farming products like geothermal heat pumps, solar PVs, and wind turbines.

Lightweight Structural-Steel Beam

Lightweight Structural-Steel Beam

LiteSteel Technologies has created a cold-formed steel structural product for use as a header, roof or ridge beam, or other carrying beam.

New Miter Saw Blade from Forrest

New Miter Saw Blade from Forrest

Forrest Manufacturing, makers of the the Chop Master miter saw blade just announced the first blade in their new series...

Kreg miniaturizes their pocket-hole jig

Kreg miniaturizes their pocket-hole jig

Kreg, maker of excellent pocket-hole screw jigs, has recently released a new Micro-Pocket Drill Guide.

Makita Launches Redesigned Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Makita Launches Redesigned Sliding Compound Miter Saw

Makita's new 10" sliding compound miter saw, the LS1016L, was designed to match the cutting capacity of a 12" slider.

Milwaukee launches (another) new tool category - HVAC and Electrical?

Milwaukee launches (another) new tool category - HVAC and Electrical?

Milwaukee introduces a line of electrical, HVAC, and other mechanical testing equipment. Category to include, among other things, laser temp-gun, fork meter, digital multimeter, non-contact voltage tester, and clamp-gun meter.

Very Cool Video of Concrete Screed

Very Cool Video of Concrete Screed

Spin Screed concrete roller screeds use an electric angle grinder motor to power a screed bar up to 22ft long. This tool is perfect for screeding everything from driveways to concrete pads in basements.

Ridgids New Fiber Cement Saw Sucks (in a good way)

Ridgid's New Fiber Cement Saw Sucks (in a good way)

Canadian contractor Michel Roy sounds off on Ridgid’s Fuego R3400 Fiber Cement Saw

Help Me Write a Cordless Drill Review (And Watch a Video of a Drill-Powered Mini-Bike!)

Help Me Write a Cordless Drill Review (And Watch a Video of a Drill-Powered Mini-Bike!)

Fine Homebuilding is going to review cordless li-ion drills for an upcoming issue. So, do you want 12v, 14.4v, 18v, 36v, or do you want us to make sense of it all and tell you which voltage is best for what you do?

Festool wants to replace your table saw

Festool wants to replace your table saw

Festool came in to the FHB offices last week to give us an opportunity to get up close and personal with a few of their newest tools. Bookmark the Toolhound blog in your internet browser to read more...

The no-swear approach to cutting crown molding

The no-swear approach to cutting crown molding

I once had a “Do-It-Yourself” type of customer who was remodeling his kitchen and had refinished the floors, installed face-frame cabinets, and set a laminate countertop. But when it came...

Two tools for tight miters

Two tools for tight miters

Not every tool that you read about in this blog will be brand-spankin’ new. That’s because some of the best tools have been around for years, but they aren’t commercially marketed...

New Dewalt drill bits fit for an impact driver

New Dewalt drill bits fit for an impact driver

The rotating hammer action of an impact driver puts more stress on drill bits and driver bits than a traditional drill-driver does.

Dumb as we wanna be about energy?

"Dumb as we wanna be" about energy?

In this NEWSWEEK Q&A, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman criticizes America's passive attitude towards energy, how we got lazy about change, and why we're "dumb" for thinking that switching to compact fluorescent bulbs will solve the problem.

Has the cordless tool market become overpopulated?

Has the cordless tool market become overpopulated?

Of all the tool categories that I have to keep track of for the magazine, none demands more careful attention than cordless drill/drivers. New models are released at such a feverish pace that...

Sizing up Ridgids new tile saw

Sizing up Ridgid's new tile saw

A few weeks back I sent one of Ridgid’s brand new tile saws to our go-to tile author, Tom Meehan. Now, Tom has been in...

Fly ash deck planks

Fly ash deck planks

I know what you’re thinking: “Oh brother…how much can these guys at Fine Homebuilding tell us about synthetic decking?” Well, at least one more thing, apparently. But first a...

Stiletto Hammers: Trade-in...Trade-up

Stiletto Hammers: Trade-in...Trade-up

If, like me, you are always just one lotto ticket away from being able to afford a Stiletto titanium hammer, then listen up to this latest promotion: Bring any old hammer into your local Stiletto...

Bosch unveils pneumatic nailers

Bosch unveils pneumatic nailers

Pneumatic nailers have been around for almost 50 years, but it wasn’t until Tuesday, during a press conference at their North American headquarters outside of Chicago, that Bosch officially...

Return of Rockwell tools?

Return of Rockwell tools?

When I was a kid, most of the tools owned by my Dad and Grandfather were made by Rockwell, the powerhouse of tool manufacturing between the late 50’s to early 80’s. Pentair bought the...

Modern source for antique glass

Modern source for antique glass

Part of the unmistakable charm of an old house comes from the slight distortions, bubbles, pits, and imperfections of the glass used in the windows. So when one of these old panes breaks (or you want...

This faux slate may be worth a closer look

This faux slate may be worth a closer look

I didn’t want to like Davinci Roofscapes synthetic slate roof tiles, I really didn’t.   The product isn’t really to blame. It’s just that I’ve been ruined by...

Mantel-making

Mantel-making

Here are a few shots of a mantel that I made. Some moldings are custom, some are stock millwork at the local home center. Unfortunately, I didn't snap any photos once I added the top shelf and...



Recent comments


Re: Precast Footings: EZ-Tube

This is genius!

Re: Home Propane Tanks -The Basics

Hi Tad,
I'm not sure what the issue might be, because the link works for me. Perhaps you can try finding it through the homepage of that site: www.propane101.com

Re: Siga Wigluv - Air Sealing Tape Review

Nice details, Matt. Good stuff here. Was this your first go with DrainWrap? I'm not a big fan of how it stretches (flattens out the crinkles) as you pull it tight. That said, I'm currently using HydroGap on a re-siding job and have been liking it.

Re: Ditch Digging

What kind of dog is Chase?

Re: High-Tech Brushless Motors Hit the Cordless-Tool Marketplace

TimberTailor,
Glad you found the information to be useful. I don't have numbers from every manufacturer, but I can say that Milwaukee and Makita are both claiming about a 50% increase in run time when comparing brushless to brushed.

Re: Seven Steps to Choosing the Perfect Circular Saw

Interesting discussion guys, and good feedback. Goodnich - I'm curious to know if what you're saying about the blade position on these saws is your opinion, or whether you heard that from somebody involved in the design of circular saws?

Re: Feds Consider Unprecedented Safety Rules for Tablesaws

Two great responses worth calling out as a concise, non political pieces of food for thought:

KamraKid: "Out of all of my 9-fingered carpentry friends, not one has blamed their equipment for the injury. Instead, each one sites 'Operator Stupidity' or momentary distraction as the cause."

Lawrence: "Anyone that has endured this type of injury now knows how many nerves are in the digits. It is not just stupidity that leads to these injuries--more often than not it is due to personal events taking your mind off your work, or exhaustion trying to finish up an important job. We all are at times elated or down... that's when it happens."

It's great to see so many well-argued points of view. Thanks everybody, keep em coming.

Re: Feds Consider Unprecedented Safety Rules for Tablesaws

Amish Electrician,
I appreciate you taking time to join the discussion. I would like, though, to insist that the Osorio case was about a tablesaw injury, not a miter saw injury as you suggest.

From the court documents:
"The complaint alleged claims arising from a hand
injury suffered in a construction site accident involving one of Ryobi's table saws."

Re: Working with Toxic Chemicals on the Job Site

Renosteinke,
I'm glad that Larry responded to your comment before I saw it. Also, in keeping with Larry's everlasting reservoir of patience and perspective, he responded far more kindly than I would have. I'll leave it at that, because as we all know, everybody is entitled to their point of view.

- Justin

Re: What Tool Did You Buy Today (or Recently)?

Wow...I've never seen or heard of the Bucket Ape before. I'm going to talk to Tom Meehan, our tile expert, about whether he's seen this tool. Seems pretty cool, does it do the job as described?

For those, like me, who didn't know about this thing, the website is www.bucketape.com

Re: What Tool Did You Buy Today (or Recently)?

Steve,
You read about that Husky organizer here, actually from me. Glad to hear you're finding it as useful and addictive as I did. I only have two right now, but I definitely have plans for more.

Re: Bosch's 360-Degree Dual-Plane Laser Level is Affordable and Versatile

It's worth noting, Robbandwood, that the PLS doesn't do a full 360 line. I'm not saying this is strictly necessary, but I am pointing it out in the interest of fair comparison between Bosch and PLS, in terms of features.

Re: Festool Postpones New Jigsaw

Don't worry, folks, I'm told that the tool will still be released eventually. They wouldn't tell me much in specifics, but the issue was performance related, and they claimed it wasn't likely to be an issue except in rare instances.

Re: Framing with Energy in Mind - We're Still Missing the Boat!

Mark,
That's a good clarification to make, because I didn't intend to "blame" this all on the framers. It's the whole thought process that needs to be addressed. Thanks for your comment.

Re: Are Modern Power Tools Junk?

Amazingrace,
I'll be straight with you, we haven't tested recip saws in a few years, so I can't speak with much authority about which is the current top model. I know I've had some trouble, and others have as well, with Bosch's blade release system getting stuck.

when you say about the other tools "been there, done that" does that mean you've had problems and are looking for other options?

Re: Are Modern Power Tools Junk?

The dates are certainly close enough to back up your point, Dreamcatcher. I'm not sure it's entirely valid when looked at only from a money calculator point of view. According to the history of national minimum wages, the pay in 1955 would have been roughly parallel to the pay today.

http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/anth484/minwage.html

Re: Are Modern Power Tools Junk?

An interesting point of reference, or perhaps a benchmark: One of the product guys from Festool once told me that they aim for every tool they make to last at least 10 years without repair, and I also read from another user that they guarantee the availability of replacement parts for 10 years after a tool is phased out/replaced by a newer model.

That's for some of the highest priced tools on the market. So where does that leave us with the mid-level tools? 3 years? Less? Some of you spoke about lifetime warrantees that don't amount to much...should Festool be the benchmark by which others are now measured?

Re: Are Modern Power Tools Junk?

Oh I also should add, quality doesn't necessarily mean that it has to come from the U.S. - companies like Festool and Fein have proven that German engineering and quality are very top notch. That's just one example.

Re: Are Modern Power Tools Junk?

Gadget,
You make some good points about pricing, and how it affects the tools. I've been talking to some of the major power tool companies and it seems that one of the issues is Home Depot and Lowe's having so much clout, that they can dictate pricing. In other words, they demand that the power tool maker create a circular saw with x, y, and z, and say that it has to sell for $xx - otherwise they won't put it on their shelves. Tool makers are forced to either comply or sell elsewhere.

There are a couple of tool companies on the brink right now...teetering on the edge of being run out of business by this strict buying/pricing structure.

Re: Is Hitachi a fading brand?

Thanks for the comments, Steve. I won't be removing Hitachi from the lineup anytime in the near future, I was just curious to see what people preferred. Thanks.

Re: Is Hitachi a fading brand?

Arcflash,
Our reviews of a tool are not influenced by anything other than the tool. Period. We're not "out to get Hitachi", as you suggest. There has just been a noticeable trend, backed by 15 or so comments before yours, that seem to indicate a decline in the brand. I'm not saying "don't buy Hitachi tools!", I'm saying "What happened to Hitachi tools?"

If you knew how many advertisers we've lost because of negative reviews in the magazine, I think you'd feel otherwise about our credibility. Hopefully these companies value the feedback, because in the end, we're just being honest about what we're finding.

Nobody benefits from fluffy reviews that leave out the tough criticisms. Not the readers, and not the tool makers.

Re: Black & Decker sells Delta

Hi guys,
At the time I posted this blog I didn't have any additional information beyond the release. A colleague of mine, Tom McKenna, did a bit more digging in the meantime and has posted some further details in Fine Woodworking's blog about the same topic:

http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/34363/updated-stanley-sells-delta-tools-to-taiwanese-company

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

Dreamcatcher,
I hear what you're saying, and it was definitely on the table for discussion. In the end, there's just no such thing as "ultimate" because each person will want/use different things.

For our stand, I felt the fence provided good utility when cutting crown in the nested position (a method I, personally, feel is better), as well as a provision for repetitive stops for both miters and butt stock.

Hopefully our stand will give people some ideas, and we will also offer suggestions on how to make it work for specific needs/wants.

Re: What's the worst time for a holesaw to fail?

stupid Tyvek coveralls...by the end of a job they're always ripped open on me.

Re: Light Weight Miter Table

Great saw setup - and I love the ability to make something from a single sheet of ply.

Re: What's Wrong With This Picture?

A 6" gap between the underside of the beam and the top of the window opening may technically be enough for window casing, but "enough" doesn't mean that it will look good. Details like this shouldn't get figured out during the trim stage. They should be considered at the framing stage.

Re: Finally, a foam gun that will last (I hope)

Great tips gtmtnbiker, and cleaning will solve gumming problems nicely. I'd also recommend preventive cleaning by screwing on a can of "cleaner" before swapping to a new can of gun foam.

Unfortunately, none of my issues were due to gumming up. Just flimsy plastic parts.

Re: Water Crisis: What is Virtual Water Content?

Rob - Can you comment briefly on how the water ties into products such as granite and carpeting? I'm missing the direct connection between H20 and building materials. Is this just water used in the manufacture/refinement of products?

Re: AZEK now in Home Depot

You make good points, Piffin.

1.) AZEK has been available all over the country for years, but in my neck of the woods, that has been limited to lumberyards. Having the material in Home Depot is a nice step forward.

2.) You may be right about AZEK becoming the Kleenex of PVC trim. I just hope builders take the time to learn the subtle differences involved with PVC - maybe the most notable being the change in the direction of expansion and contraction (along the grain rather than across it).

Hope all is well up there in Maine!

Re: PIECE WORKERS in the Construction Trades

Excellent storytelling, Larry...as always. Please keep it coming!

Re: Is your vac compliant with EPA lead regs? (hint: who knows...)

Renosteinke,
Squishiness in the lingo is going to be a problem, for sure. Right now there are terms out there like "HEPA-type", "HEPA-like", and "99% HEPA."

Re: Return of Some Classic Hand Tools

Hey Dreamcatcher,
I wonder if the folks at Garrett Wade are trying to make some sort of link between the "H.D." in the original H.D. Smith name and their spin of "Heavy Duty." Subtle tip of the hat to the original makers?

As for philips, I've had a set from Lee Valley for a few years now and I'm a big fan. The handles have a subtle trianglular shape that really makes them easy to grip when twisting hard. Plus, they're really stout and can take a beating, which is a requirement in my world. If you've never seen them, check em out here (they have square drive, too!)

http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=32208&cat=1,43411,43417&ap=2

Re: Senco's New Hoseless Trim Nailer is a Game Changer

DTempleton,
In theory there would be no loss of Nitrogen during the firing and recycling, but if that were reality than Senco would have cracked the code of creating the perpetual machine. Some leakage has to occur, and the folks at Senco are admitting this. The question is how long will the tool go before the drop in pressure is making any difference. If it's over 200,000 shots, then Senco tells me that puts them ahead of the number of nails you would be able to shoot with any commpetitors tool before it craps out anyway (their words, not mine...I've never taken the time to count...)

Re: Reader Email: Bargain bin flooring nailer?

Hey Rob,
I'm not sure if it has a poppet valve...what is the alternative? I read through the product literature but didn't find a mention.

http://www.ramsond.com/proddetail.php?prod=RMM4

I did have some trouble with prefinished flooring, so I bought a Nailer Shoe, which is an aftermarket base plate that places the impact of the nailer against the tongue of the wood, rather than on the more delicate edge above the tongue. With this shoe I've had no problems.

http://nailershoe.com/

Re: Does Rigid Foam Insulation Trap Moisture in the Walls?

This is a definite concern with exterior-applied rigid foam, and one that isn't talked about enough. But it is far from a deal breaker. A layer of crinkle-wrap (textured rainscreen housewrap - sold by many companies) between the foam and sheathing will provide enough of a break to allow condensed water to escape.

I've been wondering if the slightly textured face of something like Huber's Zip sheathing would be enough to achieve the same performance?

Re: Notes from the Pacific Coast Builders Show

Great blog, Rob. I'm curious about Knauf's take on the flash/batt system. Did you get a chance to actually touch the goop? I was impressed with how much compressible the Owen's Corning product is, which would be desirable when it comes to applying drywall or other coverings over a sealed seam...I wonder if Knauf has the same spongy compression without sacrificing the seal?

Re: BUILDING SKILLS: Wall Framing Layout

Hi Larry,
The reason we focused on the tape measure and speedsquare is because this video series is focusing on the basics of homebuilding. A layout stick could speed things up for a production builder, but I'm willing to bet that they learned how to layout their first plate with a tape measure.

And for anybody reading these blurbs, go out and buy Larry's books and DVDs. They are an EXCELLENT resource for people new to building. Especially the "Habitat for Humanity: How to Build a House"

Re: Why Building Science Matters to Builders (and Drinking Birds)

Great post, Kevin. It's also worth noting that we, as builders, have to be careful that we understand ALL (ok, as many as possible) of the components that work together as a system. Insulating an attic without air sealing is one example, but the mistakes begin with even the simplest of common practices, like installing housewrap. Understand how that housewrap works, and why it's being put up, and you're golden. Treat it like it's just another thing to tack up before moving forward and it's going to do more harm, funnel more water, and lead to far more problems than it's going to prevent.

Re: My mission to find mineral wool

Hi Andrew,
Thanks for the comment. I should clarify that I was surprised any of the lumber yards around here (in the Northeast) stock ANY kind of mineral wool. It's just not used for residential construction in the States. I know it's a common find in Canada, so I'm glad to see that Roxul and some other companies are pushing hard to move into the States as well!

Re: Man Wins Big Money in Table Saw Law Suit

...and now I want to clarify what I just wrote...I meant to say SAWSTOP has no true portable saw. Ryobi does. Sorry for the confusion, and even more sorry that our blogs don't have a "delete" button!

Re: Man Wins Big Money in Table Saw Law Suit

I just wanted to clarify something that Briandotca mentioned in a comment, below. Ryobi offers a contractor's saw, but it's not a portable saw in the common sense of the word. To be clear, it does not have a collapsible stand, and is not meant to be transported from job to job.

Re: Man Wins Big Money in Table Saw Law Suit

I find it pretty surprising that the plaintiff won this case. Ryobi is to be held accountable for not having a privately licensed safety system, which they didn't have rights to use, on their saws? it just seems like a bit of a stretch to me.

Re: In search of a quiet air compressor

Well, I'm glad I asked, because all of the comments about the weight of the Makita have me second guessing the decision, but the lower cfm of the Thomas combined with it's higher price is also a concern, as I sometimes do light siding and framing, as well as flooring, and I certainly don't want to burn out the compressor. The best bet may end up being some combination of the two categories - as we all know, it's often not realistic to expect one tool to solve multiple needs (and still do a good job at all of them).

Re: In search of a quiet air compressor

Cam - it looks like the Thomas runs $435. That's pretty steep for a trim compressor...I don't know. I guess it's like the Festool debate. Should I spend more up front to get quality that will last, or buy two lower-cost compressors over the course of a decade.

I just looked into the specs on the Makita and Thomas - the Makita runs at 80 db, and the Thomas at 69. In the world of decibels, that's not all that much of a difference. For instance, a normal conversation is about 60 db, while a vacuum cleaner is about 70 db.

Re: Torture Test: Recip Saw Blades

Thanks for all of the comments, guys. I've been keeping track of all the suggestions, but I should point out that I need to limit this particular review to just demolition recip saw blades. If I open the doors to metal-cutting, hardi, and offset blades/attachments, the testing group will get out of hand. Right now, we're going to focus on just the demolition category, but if it works out well, we're certainly going to revisit the topic in the future!

If you have any more brand suggestions, or testing ideas, please keep 'em coming!

Re: Torture Test: Recip Saw Blades

Interesting ideas guys, keep 'em coming!

Re: New Tool Category: Impact Drill-Driver?

Barconserv - sigh...I'm not sure whether to be thrilled that another company has a similar tool, or disappointed that they did such a poor job promoting it that I was never even told it launched!

...either way, thanks for chiming in. I'm going to order a Makita and give it a side-by-side run against the new Bosch.

Re: Cash For Caulk?

GREAT post dirk!

Re: Time to retire your hammer-tacker?

My concern, Mike, is what the best way is for builders to play catch up? Buying a pneumatic cap fastener makes sense for framers, but what about us remodelers that only find occasional need to play with hosuewrap and felt? I suppose I'm leaning towards getting one of the National Nail versions for my needs.

In the meantime, the hammer tacker is being permanently housed in the back of my pickup for tacking red flags onto lumber.

Re: Rockwell JawHorse Ruined by Infomercial?

KFC - One of my brothers came up to me one time and jokingly made some comments about this supposed do-it-all tool he saw an infomercial about. He figured it was just another of those crappy tools that claim to do everything...turns out he was talking about the MultiMaster. It's too bad, because I've never heard anybody speak poorly of that tool in terms of performance (price, yes)...yet his perception from an outside point of view was infomercial=crappy tool.

Re: Rockwell JawHorse Ruined by Infomercial?

I actually just logged on to fix that weight problem, Renosteinke. I didn't know the weight when I was writing this post, so I just stuck 80 in there until I went to the website and looked it up. Then I forgot. Sloppy...sorry.

Re: Which is the greenest wall system: brick, stucco, or EIFS?

That's not the only thing that isn't clear about this study, Mike. For such an involved evaluation, you'd think they would offer a bit more in the ways of details and results. It's one thing to claim that they found EIFS to be the most green, it's another to share the data that proves it. But your point on the HBCD is a great one, and I'm guessing that their study DIDN'T include that as a factor, as I think it's a relatively new finding (within the last few months?).

Re: Breaking News: Senco unveils a nitrogen-powered cordless nailer

Guilty as charged...I got my whet and wet mixed up. I wish I could chalk it up as spellcheck mistake, but I never use spellcheck...maybe I should start!

Re: Ridgid R4516 Portable Tablesaw

Hi Doc - It turns out that this table saw was a limited run by Ridgid. I'm not sure why, either. I'm told that the saw sold very well, too. The Craftsman model is just about the exact same thing, though.

Re: Flashing a Window: Debating Best Practices

I understand your defense of leaky old houses, Scott. But when you say "Hence the real issue is thermal radiance", I think you're talking yourself into an approach that you know isn't the best solution. As Rob said, if air is moving through fiberglass, the fiberglass offers no thermal resistance. "Heat" moves on air.

Besides, I personally think it's the job of a remodeler to do upgrade what he/she can when the opportunity presents itself. Sure, that rigid foam/spray foam gap filling may not matter all that much in the grand scheme of a leaky house, but when future homeowners decide to blow in dense pack cellulose or closed cell pour-in-place foam to air seal/insulate the house, your fiberglass-stuffed cavity suddenly becomes a chink in the thermal armor of the house.

Re: Stanley Works Acquires Black & Decker

whoops, Skil was an obvious one to miss, sorry about that. Ok, so that leaves Festool, Makita, and Hitachi for mainstream power tool makers, with Senco, Paslode and some others filling in the specialty gaps for pneumatics, etc.

Re: Stanley Works Acquires Black & Decker

So, according my tally, the tool world now stands as follows:

Stanley Black & Decker (as I'm told it will be called):
- StanleyWorks
- Bostitch
- Black & Decker
- DeWalt
- Delta
- Porter Cable

TTI:
- Milwaukee
- Ridgid
- Ryobi
- Stiletto

Bosch:
- Bosch
- Dremel
- Rotozip
- Vermont American
- Freud

And as far as my memory serves, Festool, Makita, Hitachi, Skil, Senco and Paslode are still pretty independent.

Am I missing any major ones?

Re: Fein MultiMaster patent has expired...competitors on the move

Dr_Z, What indicators should buyers be looking for in terms of wear and tear on the oscillating assembly? How does one determine a solid performer vs. a soon-to-fail model?

Re: Riving knives on the rise

I'm surprised to hear you say that, Jarvis. Most riving knives have two positions, one for through cuts, and another (lower position) for buried cuts such as dadoes, rabbets, and the scoring cuts you mentioned in your note.

Re: Simple question: Is Festool worth the money?

Is that true about the psychology study, Junkhound? If so, that's pretty interesting. Do you remember where you read/heard that?

Re: Hammer to Hammer

Great video!!

Re: Win a Ryobi Tek4 Laser Distance Measure

Hi Stan,
SawdustTechie won the draw; tool shipping out to him today. I apologize for not updating the blog with the winner - I will do so right now. Thanks!

Re: Build a Shed: LIVE!

Found it...the Bostitch Strapshot. A really, really neat tool - one that we should do a video of, actually. The way the nosepiece works is very neat.

http://www.finehomebuilding.com/toolguide/product-finder/bostitch-mcn150-strapshot-metal-connector-nailer.aspx?view=ur

Re: Build a Shed: LIVE!

We should note, Ed - pneumatic nailers would not be impossible for attaching joist hangers. There are a few companies that make positive placement nailers for this application. The Bostitch Strapshot is one we have reviewed in the magazine before. I'm sure the review is even on the site someplace.

Re: Win a Ryobi Tek4 Laser Distance Measure

Tek - it's funny you mention that "tape measures will always be used at the saw", because last week I saw a miter saw stand with a digital fence system. Maybe somebody has a better memory than me, because I forget the name now...but I think it allowed you to slide a board along the fence and look at a digital length readout for the cut.

Re: Build a Shed: LIVE!

Am I the only one not getting any sound?

Re: Lightweight Structural-Steel Beam

This update may interest some of you: I just got a press release from LiteSteel announcing a deal with BlueLinx to begin distributing LSBs to every major market East of Colorado.

Re: Why I Don't Use Cellulose or Blue-Jean Insulation

Thanks for the links, CelluloseFacts. I agree that ORNL is a fantastic resource, but years of homebuilding-related journalism have taught me never to rely on the word of a trade association such as CIMA. We live in a world where these organizations play fast and loose with their information - third party testing from folks at Buildingscience.com, GreenBuildingAdvisor.com, the building science department at UMass, and as you said ORNL - are all more reliable sources for this type of information (if you ask me).

Regardless, the discussion has gotten a bit off topic. There is always going to be argument over what products are "green" and why. I would not be surprised if Michael Chandler disagreed with Joe Lstiburek, or Joe Lstiburek, disagreed with Alex Wilson, or Alex Wilson disagreed with Martin Holladay. These guys are all seasoned vets in this area of building, but green is a point of view in some respects, no?

Re: Why I Don't Use Cellulose or Blue-Jean Insulation

CelluloseFacts - Any chance you can offer up some sources for all of these facts that you are throwing around? This is not a personal attack, but without data to back up your claims they are just as arguable as you are claiming Michael Chandler's and Mike Guertin's to be, no?

Re: Lightweight Structural-Steel Beam

Good question on cost, Chuck - The FAQ from the company says that the cost is competitive with typical steel beams and engineered beams - but that's more than a little bit squishy. The company claims that additional savings is realized by eliminating the need for a crane on the jobsite.

Also, I'm not sure that there is a direct savings in vertical height, though each of the different nominal sizes (8, 10, 12, and 14-inch depths) is available in 3 different thicknesses.

Re: Set Tile Without Mastic or Thinset

Cool idea - but if this sticky mat is anything like Grace's other products, I could see a problem when it comes to repositioning the tiles. I mean, is it a "once they're stuck, they're stuck" kind of a bond? Any idea what size the material comes in? I'm envisioning DIYers wrapping themselves up in giant sheets of peel-n-stick...

Re: Lightweight Structural-Steel Beam

Hi Mike,
I know you aren't REALLY surprised to see a product like this as a special order! It's a good question about the cost of the special order, though. I could see the lede time being a problem if you wanted to use them on a remodel job, where whatever is in stock often becomes the go-to choice for headers, beams, etc (extreme structural necessities notwithstanding), but I could see them as an easy thing to integrate into new construction, because they would be on the blueprints from much earlier on, no?

Re: Lightweight Structural-Steel Beam

Rob - great question. From what I can tell, integrating hanger hardware with an LSB would be similar to some of the methods used to integrate the hardware with a typical I-Beam.

There is a photo above that shows a 2x nested into the flange of the LSB, which makes perfect sense.

What I'm not sure of is how they intend hangers to be attached to the opposite (flat) side...I will check back with the company and see what I can find.

Re: Ridgid's New Fiber Cement Saw Sucks (in a good way)

That's good to hear, Tom! Did you buy it for backerboard, or for use on f/c siding? The fact that it can be used for more than one task makes it a much more valuable saw to a guy like me, who doesn't just specialize in siding, know what I mean?

Re: Play Fine Homebuilding's Game "The Inspector"

This 3rd version of the game (the Timber-Frame) was TOUGH! I only got a 200!

Re: SawStop Inventor Walks the Walk

I have to agree with Rob on this one, I'm kind of shocked at the number of people in this thread that are against technology that can reduce injury on a table saw.

The inventor wasn't a desk jockey that dreamed up a way to make a quick buck, he developed the technology to help make the most dangerous jobsite tool a little safer. And the argument that the saw is aimed at students in shop classes and woodworking schools? Frankly, I think that's laughable, and we all know it. Those students are more than likely operating the table saw in a MUCH safer way than most people on a jobsite, where push-sticks, riving knives, and blade guards are about as common as board stretchers.

The airbag example is perfect. I'm willing to be that the inventor of the airbag didn't come up with the concept as the result of his family dying in a horrible car crash. Somebody look at statistics and said, "hey, let's see if we can figure out how to make these things safer" - the sawstop was invented for the same reason. Airbags are not an option for your car - you buy any vehicle and it will have one for you and for your front-seat passenger. Where's the outrage about that? You're paying for that technology, but it's been marginalized because it's industry-wide. If the sawstop technology was adapted into all table saws, the prices would all shift accordingly, injury rates would go down, and everybody wins.

Re: Why I Don't Use Cellulose or Blue-Jean Insulation

Great post, Michael. Some good insights here.

Re: Spray foam for the eco-conscious

The only "green" foam I've tried is the disposable can version from Home Depot - I don't recall the name, but the foam was soy-based. I was disappointed with it's performance, though. When the foam hardened it was very brittle to the touch, almost to the point of collapsing or shattering if disturbed. The poly and latex based foams have a much more resilient performance, by comparison. I wonder if the foams for full insulation perform the same?

Re: Worm-drives vs. sidewinders? A conversation with Larry Haun.

East-coaster here, so it's no surprise that I started out with a sidewinder. But over the last year or so I've switched almost completely to a worm drive. It's easier to see the blade (I'm right handed), the saw has more torque, depth settings are easier to access, and when it comes to ripping sheets of plywood or cutting a 2x to length, the extension and weight of the saw are HUGE benefits. That said, I still pull out the sidewinder for anything overhead.(see Larry? stubborn allegiance can be overcome by practicality!)

Re: Play Fine Homebuilding's Game "The Inspector"

I think we should add another "error" item to that gable-wall picture...the fact that I left the camera bag on the floor in the photo. Whoops! We could probably start a game based on that concept alone...always happens to me!

Re: Crown Molding: Mitering vs. Coping. Which Do You Do?

Gman - I've had great luck with the larger of the two Ridgid portable saws (the one with the folding stand), but the smaller of the two is less reliable. I hear good things about the bosch saw, too. Supposed to have a nice fence.

Re: Very Cool Video of Concrete Screed

...it just makes the muscles in my back relax knowing that this tool is out there.

Re: Crown Molding: Mitering vs. Coping. Which Do You Do?

I cope on all crowns, with the exception of crown on cabinets. To me it's not so much the out of square inside or outside corners, it's the fact that I have to hold that miter just right while I'm fastening, and that even the force of the finish nailer may knock it out of alignment. A coped joint can be pressure fit and will hold tight while I shoot a nail through it.

Re: The no-swear approach to cutting crown molding

yeah...Bosch doesn't actually have any photos of the angle finder being used to calculate crown molding (not sure why) - but the tool can be used for other trim tasks as well, hence the baseboard molding photo. Sorry for the confusion.

Re: The no-swear approach to cutting crown molding

I couldn't agree more about having to enter the spring angle every time you turn the tool on, Ray. That's a serious pain, especially on a tool that is accurate to a tenth of a degree. For what it's worth, the new model has a memory function that eliminates that annoyance.

Re: Has the cordless tool market become overpopulated?

That's the one - thanks for the help, Greg!

Re: There's a Better Way: Custom Drywall Taping Tool

I've thought about doing the same thing with a throw-away plastic taping knife in order to get into those impossibly tight inside corners. For instance, where a wall meets a cathedral ceiling.

Re: Paper Countertops Look and Feel Like Stone

"What’s the worst top from an environmental perspective? In his opinion, that title goes to either concrete or natural stone."

Wow...really? I suppose his argument would be that trees will repopulate much faster than stone? I'm just playing the devil's advocate right now, but if that's the case, then bamboo would seem a far more environmentally-sound option that paper, right?

Re: 2009 Deck Code Changes - Pay Attention!

Hey Mike,
Thanks for the info. Question though...you say that, so far, the only bracket that will satisfy the code is the Simpson DTT2Z. Doesn't something like the Maine Deck Bracket (www.deckbracket.com) essentially do the same thing?

Re: porch railing

really nice work on this...beautiful!

Re: Green Driveway Paving

Mike - you mention that the pavers can be laid atop a "special water receptor material"...does this mean a geotextile fabric of some sort that lets water flow through, or do you mean some sort of run-off collection material?

Re: Coping Inside Corners With a Jigsaw

I keep hearing about people loving this Coping Foot. For me, nothing beats an angle grinder with a doubled-up set of sanding discs. It's noisy and dusty, but I don't need to make relief cuts and all of those extra steps that come along with the jigsaw method.

Re: Has the cordless tool market become overpopulated?

Paul, I'm pretty sure that I saw a company that was making just such an adaptor. Well, if I remember correctly, it was more of a multi-port charging dock that could be adapted for different brands of batteries. I will have to try to dig up that company info.

Re: Paper Countertops Look and Feel Like Stone

Rob - does this material, in general, come out to be a savings over stone? If not, I think some of the perks might lose their appeal when the granite crowd comes shoppin...right?

Re: New Dewalt drill bits fit for an impact driver

Well, that's sort of the gamble, Paul. The only times I've used an impact driver to drill holes has been using a spade bit for rough work like boring through studs and plates. Just about every spade bit available today has a hex shank, making them an easy choice (provided they hold up to the torque). But for more precise holes? I guess there's only one way to find out, right?

Re: Hurry Up and Wait!

That's unfortunate, Paul. There is enough resistance to change in the building industry already, but nothing kills momentum more quickly than when the healthier (or more efficient, or more eco-friendly, et al) products don't work as advertised.

Re: Has the cordless tool market become overpopulated?

Your suspicions are correct about multiple brands coming from the same factory. In fact, it seems to be getting worse over the last few years. Some of it is undoubtedly because of all of the mergers in the tool industry, but sometimes it's a case of two very independent brands using the same molds and slapping on a different label on the way off the assembly line.

Re: Hurry Up and Wait!

Hi Paul,
Are you worried at all about the cork in the laundry room? I decided to use some cork tiles I had leftover from a project to do my kitchen floor. One dishwasher over-bubbling later and I've got some buckled tiles that need replacing. I can't tell, but it looks like your cork floor is one big sheet maybe?

Re: How to Install Blocking to Anchor Cabinets Solidly

I'm sure Mike could answer the vapor barrier question, but my guess is that because the walls have no insulation in these photos, and that he mentions covering the hole with drywall/joint compound that he is planning to deal with the insulation/moisture issue down the line. I'm also willing to be that Mike doesn't necessarily use vapor barriers - he's a student of building science, so I bet he's begun to move (or already completely switched)to renovating his houses so that they dry to both sides.

Re: Dust Shmust-- Just get 'er done!

I'd just like to add that I've been most likely to wear my safety gear when I've shopped for equipment that fits well and is comfortable. If your safety glasses are bulky and hurt the bridge of your nose, you're not going to wear them. If your ear muffs make your ears sweaty, you're not going to wear them. Spend a few extra dollars to get safety gear that you can put on and forget about.

Re: Sizing up Ridgid's new tile saw

Hi Jamie - The saw hasn't been released yet, but I'm hoping to receive a features list and pictures of it today (the pentagon keeps a short leash on these things). And yes, there are plenty of great things about the saw, but the best is probably the price. A $300 savings compared to the Dewalt is nothing to balk at, even if there are some chinks in this saw's armor.
- Justin

Re: Bosch unveils pneumatic nailers

The 4th picture is showing the backside of the framing nailer. Bosch built the entire nailer out of aluminum, but I believe the back piece is steel (don't quote me on that) as it's expected to be used to bump lumber into place for nailing. The exhaust is not adjustable - but it comes out around the sides of that backplate - I think mostly (if not completely) towards the topside.

Re: Who cuts drywall with a circular saw?

I thought cutting 3/4-in. MDF with a circ saw made some dust, but drywall? geez...

Re: This faux slate may be worth a closer look

I've got a response for you from DaVinci, Shawn...hope it helps:

"To sell into California we had to do testing for Prop 65: The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Our products were tested and do not release or discharge toxins. The inorganic pigments are permanently bound within the polymer and cannot be released under reasonably foreseeable conditions."

Re: This faux slate may be worth a closer look

Excellent question, Shawn. That's not something I'd considered, but I can definitly see where it would be a concern. I'm getting in touch with the folks at DaVinci Roofscapes to see if we can't get an answer on the topic of environmental saftey. Stay tuned...

- Justin