Cutting and Marking Made Easier.
Skip the chalk lines and combo squares, now you can cut window
and door openings, as well as final courses of siding, with a
time-saving specialty tool from Malco. The Sider's 1/8-inch
graduated slots receive a utility knife and make quick work of
long parallel cuts. The aluminum template is available to match
most vinyl siding profiles, including double 4 and 5, dutch lap
4 1/2 and 5, and triple 3. The stainless-steel marking gauge
sells for about $16.
Malco Products, 800/328-3530,
Take a Brake.
Setting up and
carrying a bulky metal brake can be the hardest part of bending
and installing trim metals and flashing, especially when you're
working by yourself. The Quick-Start Brake Rack mounts your
Tapco or Van Mark metal brake to your truck's ladder rack,
which not only saves space in the bed of your truck, but also
creates a convenient work station. According to the
manufacturer, the Brake Rack makes your expensive metal brake
harder to steal, as well. It sells for about $230.
Brake Products Co., 610/941-4333,
Installing ten squares
of cedar shingle siding on my new addition has made me
appreciate my Bosch model 1660 24-Volt Cordless Circular Saw
more than ever. The 6 1/2-inch saw has really proved its merit
cutting shingles for gables and dormers. It stays up on the
scaffold with me, and the huge pack provides enough power to
last all day. The intelligently designed blade guard almost
never gets hung up on the skinny cedar shingles, and a cool
depth adjustment shows where the blade is set with only a quick
glance. I'm sure this saw would work equally well for
clapboards, vinyl, and fiber cement. I found it on the web
(www.toolsteal.com) as part of a
reconditioned three-tool kit (model 3960CFK) that includes the
saw, 1/2-inch drill, flashlight and two batteries for under
Robert Bosch Tool Co., 877/267-2499,
I don't know about
you, but I think typical aviation snips should last longer than
they do. Keepers bend and break, springs lose their spring
— and few things are more annoying than being perched
high up on pump jacks with a set of shears that can't make the
cut. If you're ready for a higher-quality product, check the
offerings from Klenk. Their models MA72010 and MA72000 Siding
Shears are perfect for vinyl siding. Large handles and serrated
jaws require less cutting effort, and fine points allow the
jaws to get closer to rolled edges. They sell for about $21 and
Klenk Tools, 800/327-5619,
Cold Weather Gear
When builders and
remodelers talk about cold feet, they're often referring to
customers who change their mind about a project after getting a
bid for the work. But if your cold feet come from socks that
aren't doing the job, you might consider a pair from TechSpun.
Favored by members of the U.S. Special Forces, Environmental
Sock Systems are comfort-rated for temperatures down to
-40°F. The wool-polypropylene blended socks are matched
with a comfortable liner that wicks away moisture and prevents
chafing. According to the maker, the socks are not intended for
people who can be content with a bag of tube socks from
Wal-Mart. They're made for people who simply can't afford
problems with their feet. The socks start at $16 per pair, and
liners sell for $7.50.
On a cold day,
good gloves can make the difference between getting things done
and going home early. Gorgonz makes a complete line of gloves
for people who have to wear gloves to do their jobs. The gloves
have special features for improved dexterity and grip, plus
extra padding at the knuckles for protection. But perhaps the
coolest feature is what the manufacturer calls the Exhale
Heating System. Gloves in this product line have a small
mouthpiece near the cuff that channels your warm breath to your
fingertips. I've tried them, and they work great. They cost
Gorgonz, 410/534-6320, www.gorgonz.com.
Earmuffs might not
be the manliest of work wear, but whining about your ears
hurting won't do much for your image, either. If you have
enough faith in your masculinity, you might try a set of
Earwarmers from Gorgonz. The adjustable muffs are available not
only in several colors of fuzzy fleece, but also in brown duck,
so you can make a coordinated ensemble with your barn coat or
insulated coveralls. Prices start at $15.
Gorgonz, 410/534-6320, www.gorgonz.com.
High-Tech Long Johns.
temperatures well below zero, you can be quite comfortable with
Duofold's Varitherm Base Layer long underwear. The product is
available in four weights — expedition, heavy, medium,
and light — to match any temperature and outdoor
activity. The high-tech knit polyester fabric helps you adapt
to changing weather or activity level by moving moisture away
from your skin. Aside from its excellent insulating properties,
the product is very comfortable and extremely well made.
Expedition-weight garments sell for about $37 per piece; all
the others sell for about $16 per piece. I think it's the best
long underwear available.
Duofold, 800/994-4348, www.duofold.com.