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Time-Saving Tools For Framers and Finish Carpenters, continued

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Fall-Arrest for Tools

If you've ever watched your cordless drill take a suicidal leap from two stories high, you know that there's little you can do except pick up the pieces after it hits the ground. But you can prevent such a needless tragedy with the MultiHoldit. What's cool about this product is it's a lot more versatile than a holster: You can use it for nailers, cordless recip saws, and caulking guns. It sells for about $20. Captn's Products, 620/432-0101, www.multiholdit.com.


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Miter Marker

We all know that the world is built from miters other than 45 and 90 degrees. The Accur-8 Folding Miter Square from Swanson not only gives you the most common 45- and 90-degree angles, it also shows 22 1/2, 67 1/2, 112 1/2, 135, and 157 1/2 degrees. Strong detents hold the polished stainless blade firmly in position. Laser-etched markings are easy to see and won't wear off. An 8-inch version sells for $30, and the 12-inch sells for $5 more. Swanson Tool Co., 815/469-9453, www.swansontoolco.com.


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Angle Finder

Determining the angle of trim, roof pitches, and sloping ceilings is a lot easier with a new tool from Tajima. The Slant AL200 has a rotating bubble level controlled by a thumbwheel on the housing. By rotating the level you can determine the angle measured in degrees, and you can even do it one-handed (not possible when improvising with a T-bevel and torpedo level). Magnets on the housing allow you to attach it to ferrous surfaces while you take a reading. Oddly, the scale doesn't include roof pitches expressed in rise over 12. It sells for $40. Tajima, 888/482-5462, www.tajimatool.com.


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Job-Site Jaws

Few tools have as many practical uses as a pair of locking pliers. But getting the proper jaw adjustment usually takes a few tries. The new SeberGrip pliers, however, automatically adjust the jaws to the right size without the trial and error required by conventional locking pliers. Adjustable jaw tension allows you to fine-tune the amount of grip, and you can turn off the self-locking feature if you want to use them like channel locks. Laminated jaws open to a maximum of 1 1/8 inches and use opposing teeth that provide a good grip on a variety of materials. Among other things, I used them to remove a rounded-off blade bolt on my coworker's circular saw — they worked great. They sell for about $30. SeberTech, 760/598-8888, www.sebertech.com.


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King Kong's Carrier

The half-dozen panel carriers I've seen come and go at the local lumberyard all required that you lift the panel and put the carrier at the bottom. At that point you've already lifted the panel, so why not keep going? The Gorilla Gripper is different. It grabs the panel from the top, so you don't have to bend over or hold the panel while you ready the carrier. The aluminum tool seems well made, and it sells for about $10. Cole Scientific, 805/523-1800, www.gorillagripper.com.


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Cabinet Caddy

Carrying and placing a kitchen's worth of cabinets can be tough on your back, but the Speed Doll-ie from FastCap can make it easier. The aluminum dolly allows you to scoop up a cabinet and roll it into place on rubber wheels that won't mar finished flooring. The dolly folds flat for storage, has a 250-pound capacity, and sells for $80. FastCap, 888/443-3748, www.fastcap.com.


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Space Makers

I can't think of too many on-site projects that take up more space than painting an entire home's worth of trim or interior doors. There's also the challenge of finding a place that's clean and won't see any other activity. If such a place proves elusive on your job sites, you might consider these new painting tools from Pivot-Pro. The Trim-Tree, at left, is a sturdy drying rack that the manufacturer claims will hold 2,500 lineal feet of trim and sets up in 1 minute. The WS-300, below, is a rotating workstand for painting interior and cabinet doors, balusters, and shutters. Locking pivots hold the door flat or on edge. The system includes a drying rack that mounts on your saw horses and holds seven doors. Freestanding Trim-Trees start at $400; wall-mounted versions sell for $190. The WS-300 sells for $490. Pivot-Pro, 989/736-8930, www.pivot-pro.com.


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Keep Your Cool

Working in hot weather can really slow production and can be downright dangerous. If the troops need a space to cool off or you want to be a little more comfortable indoors, you might consider the Port-a-Cool. The portable evaporative cooler uses a fan to blow air through a water-saturated medium, which can lower ambient temperature as much as 20 degrees in warm, dry climates. Just keep in mind that the units require 110 volts and a cold-water connection from a garden hose for operation. It will also raise the humidity level when used indoors. The 36-inch size shown starts at $2,600. General Shelters, 800/695-2942, www.port-a-cool.com.