Getting a handle on hand tools
If you think striking tools, cutting tools or any other member of the hand tool family have advanced to the highest possible point of tool evolution, think again. Hand tools remain a category of continuing innovation. Ergonomics has been a long-running story, and interest is building in vibration-dampening features. And manufacturers appear to have only scratched the service of the potential market for combination tools designed for added convenience.
On the following pages, Home Channel News has collected a batch of new hand tools to give you a better grip on the merchandise trends.
Ridgid Tailpiece Extension Cutter
Elyria, Ohio-based Ridgid has released a new Tailpiece Extension Cutter, which saves users time and material costs. The new cutter makes a clean, fast, straight cut with one tool on polyethylene, polypropylene and thin-walled PVC plastic tube used in sink drain extensions and tailpieces. The cutter provides a contained, auto-fed cutter for the standard sizes of 1.5- and 1.25-in. outer diameters. The automatic deburring feature eliminates the need for a second tool and produces only a fine strand of plastic, as opposed to the fuzz around the cut produced by hacksaws or other tools on the market. The automatic beveling feature allows for the effortless assembly of slip joints and kits for immediate joining to other sink drain pieces. Easy-view windows ensure straight cuts on a measured and marked pipe. ( ridgid.com )
Toughbuilt foldable, compact bolt cutters
Toughbuilt, a brand of Burbank, Calif.-based Pandun Inc., introduced an innovative line of bolt cutters with handles that conveniently fold for portability and ease of storage. In 14-inch, 18-inch and 24-inch sizes, the powerful cutter is designed with hinges that fold away from the pressure. The nose of the tool also has a sharper point than the typical bolt cutter, allowing access for tight jobs. ([email protected])
Irwin Vise-Grip GrooveLock Pliers
Huntersville, N.C.-based Irwin has introduced a new technology to an old product: groove joint pliers. The new GrooveLock technology allows the user to adjust the lower jaw two times faster than any other adjustable tongue-and-groove pliers, providing speed and precision adjustability on the job. The pliers come in three jaw types—smooth, straight and v-shaped—to fit whatever job needs to be done. The GrooveLock pliers also feature right angle teeth for grip in all directions; anti-pinch Pro Touch grips for extra comfort without pinching palms and fingers; and a multi-groove ratcheting system, which yields twice the groove positions of traditional groove-joint pliers. ( irwin.com )
Arrow Fastener R.E.D. Hammer Tacker
Saddle Brook, N.J.-based Arrow Fastener’s new R.E.D. line of products, which stands for reliable, ergonomic and durable, features a professional hammer tacker called the HT50iR.E.D. The new tool features a durable die-cast housing and is bottom-loading. The balanced weighted head, surface guard and ergonomic grip ensures comfort and safety. The new hammer tacker also features a precision fastener control, which resists jams. The HT50i uses three sizes of Arrow’s T50 staples: 1/4-in. 5/16-in. and 3/8-in. and loads two full strips of staples which means users get more shots between loading. The new R.E.D. line is expected to hit the market in November. ( arrowfastener.com )
Seber Ratcheting Knife
Vista, Calif.-based Seber has developed a series of folding knives with a ratcheting locking system. The new Seber knives are the first switchable folding locking knife to lock open and closed, and lock at any angle. Allowing the blade to be locked at an angle allows the user to set the blade at the optimum cutting angle while allowing his or her wrist to be parallel to the cutting surface allowing more power to be applied. They are available in drop-point and tanto blade design. The tanto features a seat belt cutter and window striker and comes with the option of a honed or serrated edge. The knives are available in three colors, and retail for $49.99. ( seberdesigngroup.com )
Allway 3-in-1 Caulk Tool
New York-based Allway Tools released its new CT31 3-in-1 Caulk Tool. The new tool helps remove and re-apply caulk quickly and neatly. The stainless steel caulk remover pulls out the old caulk bead with either a push or pull motion. The triangular rubber blade is adjustable, providing three different profiles for smoothing the freshly applied caulk bead. The scraper end helps keep surfaces clean, while the soft grip handle enhances comfort during use. ( allwaytools.com )
Ol Bastard Jig Sharp Scraper
Louisville, Ky.-based Ol Bastard has devised the Ol Bastard Jig Sharp Scraper, an efficient, easy-to-use hand scraper and sharpening jig. Don’t be offended by the name, the Bastard gets that from the old-fashioned files used on rough cuts of metal as far back as 1677. Designed for refinishing hardwood floors, the Ol Bastard is also ideal as a paint scraper for wood, polyurethane and paint removal. It can also be used to scrape wooden boat hulls and wood floors corners before applying polyurethane or for removing vinyl tile glue from wood floors. The Bastard’s sharpening jig takes the hassle out of sharpening and saves up to 75% labor and time on scraping. The jig works by aligning the scraper blade at the precise angle needed to come in contact with Bastard file, resulting in a razor sharp edge. ( olbastard.com )
Bostitch AntiVibe Hammers
New York-based Bostitch introduced its new AntiVibe line of hammers, with 75% more strike face than typical hammers. The new line touts patented torsion control stabilizers to reduce arm-twisting fatigue. The patented AntiVibe technology works to minimize vibration by acting as a tuning fork that dispels vibration more readily as the hammer strikes the work. Additionally, each hammer is precision-balanced to improve performance and maximize comfort. The new line of hammers features a dual-tempered head rim and claw to help reduce steel chipping and cracking for added durability. Moreover, they provide a sharper claw for improved ripping capability, as well as a slip-resistant textured handle for a more secure grip. A magnetic nail starter helps extend the user’s reach while facilitating one-handed nailing capability. ( bostitch.com )
General precision wood joining jigs
New York-based tool manufacturer General Tools announced the release of new cost-effective precision wood joining jigs called E•Z Pro. While not exactly a hand tool, the product comes in pretty handy for woodworkers. It helps achieve professional-level dovetail joints, box joints, pocket hole joints, dowel joints and mortise and tenon joints for a fraction of the price of traditional joining setups. General Tools’ new, easy-to-use jigs enable the user to produce professional joints right out of the box, with the addition of a router or a drill, the company said. In addition to the mortise and tenon jig, dovetail jig, pocket hole jig and doweling jig, the company also released the E•Z Pro Jointer Clamp, which provides a simple alternative to expensive jointers. With this easy-to-use kit, woodworkers can straight-line rip crooked boards using just a table saw with a rip fence. ( generaltools.com )
Milwaukee PVC/ABS Saw
Once known solely as a power-tools company, Brookfield, Wis.-based Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. introduced its new line of hand tools in April 2010. The new line includes screwdrivers, jab saws, hack saws, utility knives and a PVC/ABS Saw. The PVC/ABS Saw features an exclusive tool-free blade change and metal core and delivers added durability to the PVC saw category. The company said the new line of tools will continue to grow and offer innovative products. Backed by a limited lifetime warranty, the new tools confirm Milwaukee’s commitment to best-in-class durability. ( milwaukeetool.com )
Channellock Ratcheting Wrench Set
Meadville, Pa.-based Channellock introduced its new 4-in-1 Ratcheting Wrench Set that does the work of eight combination wrenches or sockets. The company said this set is part of a commitment to add more innovative tools that save tradesmen and do-it-yourselfers time, money and space. The wrench set is manufactured in the United States and is comprised of two wrenches with four different sizes built into each. The wrenches’ 12-point sockets offer more points of contact, and their one-handed operation allows for fast and easy performance, enabling them to tighten or loosen nuts and bolts with minimal effort. They are heat-treated for greater durability on the job and have an electronic coating for ultimate rust prevention. The set is available in both Metric and SAE measurements. (channellock.com)
Pending home sales rise modestly in July
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator, rose 5.2% to 79.4 based on contracts signed in July from a downwardly revised 75.5 in June, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
The index, released Thursday, is 19.1% below June 2009 when it was 98.1. The data reflects contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months, according to the NAR.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, cautioned that there would be a long recovery process. “Home sales will remain soft in the months ahead, but improved affordability conditions should help with a recovery,” he said. “But the recovery looks to be a long process. Home buyers over the past year got a great deal, and buyers for the balance of this year have an edge over sellers. For those who bought at or near the peak several years ago, particularly in markets experiencing big bubbles, it may take over a decade to fully recover lost equity.”
Suspects stalled by flat tires
Two men suspected of stealing power tools from a Southern California Home Depot were arrested on Aug. 20 after their getaway vehicle developed two flat tires.
Deputies from the Victorville Police Station, summoned by store personnel, arrived at the Home Depot on Bear Valley Road shortly before noon to find a black SUV leaving the scene. One suspect attempted to drive the car, which had two flat tires, along an adjoining road but soon fled the vehicle on foot. He was arrested by sheriff deputies.
Asecond suspect was detained in the parking lot of the store.
Inside the SUV, law enforcement officers found electric drills valued at more than $2,000 that had been allegedly stolen earlier that day at another Home Depot store in Victorville.
Arrested for commercial burglary were Jose Munoz, 34, and Rolando Martinez, 39, both from Los Angeles. The suspects are known gang members, according to authorities.
Karen Hunt, a spokeswoman for the Victorville Sheriff’s Department, told Home Channel News that the commercial burglary charges stem from the suspects’ “intent to steal,” as opposed to “spur of the moment” shoplifting. As for the flat tires, “They tried to drive over an embankment in order to get away the deputies and loss prevention [personnel],” Hunt said.