13 Home Repair Tools for the Pro
We picked a bunch of tools that we thought our pro readers and you serious DIYers would find valuable for saving time, money and space. The others we thought were just downright neat.
Wallet-Friendly, Pro-Grade Pocket Jig
Kreg just introduced the new Foreman DB210, a pro-grade pocket-hole machine. It has all the features of previous Foremans but sells for half the price. The beauty of this class of pocket jigs is that indexing, clamping and boring all happen just by pulling down the handle. It's a very affordable version of the expensive dedicated pocket jigs found in cabinet shops.
The DB210 can bore three types of Kreg pocket holes: standard, micro and heavy duty, and it works on material 1/2 in. up to 1-1/2 in. thick. The vacuum attachment does a great job of collecting debris, which speeds up drilling and adds life to the bits. It's built solid like a shop machine should be but weighs only about 20 lbs., so it's a cinch to haul out to the job site. You woodworkers, cabinet builders and serious DIYers are going to love this tool.
Hey, roofers, you all have a high-quality tacker-hammer-style stapler, but check this out. It's a pneumatic staple gun from Spotnails that shoots the same Duo-Fast 50 series staples as your hammer tacker, and shoots them fast! It also holds more staples than your tacker (more than 2-1/2 full clips). But the best feature of this gun may be the absence of a staple retainer clip. (Who hasn't rummaged around a bush looking for a dropped clip?) Since your compressor and hoses are out already, this gun might be worth a try. Buy a Spotnails staple gun online or at tool stores.
Hang It Up Already
When you're working alone, it's not easy to have to measure, mark or position lumber while holding a gun with one hand and using the other hand to prevent falling off a ladder. Some framing guns have factory-installed rafter hooks, but you can still upgrade your favorite framer with a Sky Hook from Gunook Products. The hook mounts just behind the air nipple. You may need to buy a 3/8-in. to 1/4-in. NPT Bushing to install the hook depending on the type of gun you own. The Sky Hook is light and durable, and you can purchase one online or at pro tool stores.
Stop Wasting Foam
You can't beat spray foam for sealing around windows and doors or sealing large gaps and cracks in old house walls, foundations and attics, but how often have you run a can empty when you were so close to being finished? And how disappointing is it to use a partial can, knowing you'll have to throw the rest away? If you're a regular spray foam user, it might be time to step up to a foam dispensing gun.
A dispensing gun allows you to save foam if the job requires less than a full can. Once the job is finished, just set the gun aside until the next time you need it. Leave the can on the gun if you know it will be used in less than 30 days, or pull the can off, cap it and then clean out the gun with cleaning solution. Besides saving you money on foam, the dispensing gun provides much greater control because you're not working with a flimsy straw, and the trigger can be adjusted with a turning setscrew to control the rate of flow—nice!
This little guy has been a huge hit here at The Family Handyman. It's a new 7-in. tool from Wiss that cuts just about anything. The handles fit nicely in the hand, and it doesn't take up much room in the pouch. They're called utility scissors, but we've cut banding straps, aluminum fascia and even a steel stud—try that with regular scissors! Available at home centers and hardware stores.
Cool New Chalk Lines
DeWalt recently jumped into the chalk line business, and these two stood out for obvious reasons. The big honker has a string as thick as a bootlace and holds 1 lb. of chalk, perfect for long lines, and a lot of them. The tiny fellow is the smallest we've seen while still having a 3-to-1 rewind ratio, just the thing for you pros who only snap an occasional line and don't want to sacrifice a lot of space in your pouch. The compact chalk reel comes with a 30-ft. line and a bottle of blue chalk. The large capacity chalk reel has a 100-ft. line. Find them both online or tool suppliers.
A Bit Holder for Close Quarters
The new DeWalt Pivot Holder pivots at a 20-degree angle, which works great for driving screws in tight places. This is especially handy when you can't have a spinning drill chuck marring up a surface like a door frame. The collar spins independent of the holder and can be hand-guided to keep the bit stable. Slide the collar down and you've got a regular bit holder. You'll find them online or at home centers.
A Hose By Any Other Name…
Not all polyurethane hoses are created equal, and they don't get any better than the Flexeel made by Coilhose Pneumatics. Flexeel air hoses are super lightweight, which is nice when you're hanging off a 20-ft. ladder. They're extremely flexible and have a non-marring surface, so they won't scuff up walls or furniture when you're dragging them around a customer's house. These hoses also have a slight tackiness to them so they don't slide off a roof as readily as others. The pro tool store near us stopped selling other brands once they introduced these into the showroom. Find these hoses online or at pro tool stores.
Pliers With a Bite
If removing stripped screws is part of your job description, then get a grip, and buy yourself a pair of VamPLIERS. The jaws have vertical and horizontal serrations designed to grasp small, round screw heads. This thing really does latch onto screws way better than standard pliers, and all of the editors here at The Family Handyman were impressed with the high-quality feel of the tool.
Space-Saving Tiling Tools
Hart Tool Co. has a new take on notched trowels and grout floats for you tilers: an interchangeable handle system. In addition to the box and handle, the kit shown here comes with three stainless square-notched blades, one stainless V-notched blade and a gum rubber float. That's five tools taking up the same space as two traditional tools!
The interchangeable handle does more than just save space: It's adjustable along the spine so you can set it wherever feels most comfortable, or slide the handle back to extend the reach for those hard-to-access areas. And you lefties will appreciate that the blades are reversible. This Quick-Tatch Combo Kit
and a three-piece kit without a box are available online or at tool supplies. Plus, you can get inexpensive replacements when the blades wear out.
Photo provided by Hart
Ladders, sawhorses and scaffolding are difficult to set up on uneven ground. The process usually requires digging a hole or blocking up one or more legs to get them even “close” to level. The Bronco scaffold system thrives on uneven ground. It has three legs that easily adjust to accommodate most terrain conditions. They reach a height of 5 ft., fully extended, and are rated for 600 lbs. a pair. When you're not using them, they fold flat for easy storage and transport.
Photo provided by Reechraft
Wheel of Fortune
Most jobs start with an estimate, and precise measuring is crucial to a profitable job. Sometimes a tape measure is just not the right tool, especially outdoors. When bidding on a fence or retaining wall, you're not going to impress customers by having them hold the end of your tape measure—and first impressions are important.
Use a measuring wheel like this one from Calculated Industries. This lightweight Wheel Master Classic 12 has a 12-1/2-in. wheel and folds in half for easy storage.
Cuts faster than corded
Pipefitters, steelworkers and electricians have been using portable band saws for a while now, but Milwaukee just introduced a cordless model with the new brushless technology that converts energy into power more efficiently. The result is the M18 FUEL Deep Cut Band Saw (2729-22). Milwaukee has tested this saw against its own corded models (which are among the best in the industry) and claims this battery-powered tool out-sawed its corded competition. The saw has a 5-in. x 5-in. capacity and weighs 15 lbs. You'll find it at pro tool stores and online retailers.
Photo provided by Milwaukee