Tools that Measure Up
Time-Saving Siding Gauge.
Malco's Panel Gauges not only give your siding the correct 1
1/4-inch overlap without measuring, they temporarily support
both ends of the siding panel for easier installation, even
when you're working solo. The stainless-steel gauges are made
for 5/16-inch-thick siding and will support the entire weight
of a 12-foot panel. According to the manufacturer, the gauges
require no adjustments and will last a lifetime.
Malco Products, 800/328-3530,
Even Spacing for Your Casing.
specifically to speed the installation of door and window
casing, the Trim-Loc practically guarantees consistent reveals,
and it's small enough to fit inside your toolbelt. Tape-measure
slots hold your tape at a proper 3/16-inch reveal for accurate
one-step measurements, and 45-degree guides assure tight miters
at corners. But the coolest feature is that the tool allows the
use of short-side measurements without a second pair of
Bench Dog Inc., 800/786-8902,
McGyver's Layout Tool.
manufacturer calls it the Swiss Army Knife of layout tools. It
has almost as many functions but, sadly, no bottle opener. The
Precision T is a 48-inch, aluminum straightedge with fold-out
tabs for laying out plates. The 1 1/2-inch-wide tabs give the
correct layout for both 16- and 24-inch on-center spacing. When
the 24-inch removable leg is secured to the straightedge, the
tool can be converted into a 4-foot, L-shaped framing square or
a T-shaped drywall square. The removable leg can even transfer
anchor bolt locations to mud sills. Finally, a removable vial
insert changes the straightedge into a 4-foot spirit
Frame E-Z, 505/536-9411,
magnetic-tipped tape measures have a rare-earth magnet on the
tip for easier solo measurements. The new tapes range in length
from 16 to 30 feet and have a sturdy rubber-covered housing for
increased grip and impact resistance. The tapes also feature a
high-visibility orange case and multiriveted end hooks.
Although most of us frame in wood, it's still a good
Klein Tools, 800/553-4676,
Labor-Saving Painting Tools
Scraping paint is
about as exciting as watching it dry, so anything that promises
to make the tedious process go faster deserves some serious
consideration. Warner's Carbide 100X Paint Scrapers are a
definite improvement over traditional hardened-steel blades,
and the manufacturer claims that they stay sharp 100 times
longer. Cushioned handles are threaded for extension poles and
provide a secure and comfortable grip. The scrapers are
available in 5/8-inch round, 1-inch triangle, and 2- and 2
1/2-inch straight profiles. Straight versions have a
front-mounted knob for additional scraping pressure.
door hinges can really slow the otherwise rapid progress of
paint spraying. But Door Hinge Protectors from Paint and Peel
cover radius-corner 3 1/2-inch butt hinges in a single step
without masking tape. According to the maker, the precut vinyl
covers protect both sides and remove easily when the job is
Paint and Peel, 877/416-7246,
Get a Handle on Vandals.
is a problem for many homeowners and builders in urban areas.
Anything stationary for more than a minute is a potential easel
for an urban artiste. Dumond Chemicals, the makers of Peel Away
stripper, recently introduced two new products for removing
graffiti from buildings and equipment. The appropriately named
Graffiti Remover is a citrus-based solvent that removes stains
and most types of graffiti from masonry, glass, concrete,
terrazzo, and metal. The product usually works within 15
minutes, according to the manufacturer. Lift Away Graffiti
Towels remove graffiti from almost any hard, smooth surface
with a convenient, slightly abrasive, premoistened cloth.
Dumond Chemicals, 212/869-6350,
A Quick Shave.
Promising to strip
siding at the rate of 4 square feet per minute, the Paint
Shaver uses a three-wing carbide cutter to quickly remove paint
from flat surfaces. An acrylic shield with a profile-conforming
base controls airborne particles and connects to your shop
vacuum with a 1 1/4-inch port. According to the manufacturer,
the tool removes paint at twice the rate of conventional
sanders, and the carbide cutters will last for 5,000 square
feet before needing replacement.
American International Tool, 800/932-5872,
nearsighted painter or helper is leaving the ceiling of your
projects a little blotchy, you might suggest Ace's Simply Magic
Ceiling Paint. The flat white ceiling paint includes a blue
colorant that's added to the can just before application. The
colorant practically guarantees proper coverage, and,
magically, the paint turns white again in about 24 hours. Just
be sure to tell your customers about the product first or
expect a call from a frantic homeowner around suppertime.
Ace Paint, 708/720-0600,
Time-Saving Saw Blades
Rip It Up.
smooth rips without jointing or sanding, Freud recently
introduced the Glue Line Ripping Blade. The carbide-tipped,
30-tooth blade comes in Teflon-coated (LM74R) and polished
(LM74M) versions. The 10-inch blades have a 12-degree hook
angle and a triple-chip tooth design. The maker claims that a
thicker kerf and laser-cut expansion slots eliminate vibration
and deflection, producing cuts that can go right to the
assembly table without additional prep.
Pull Out the Grout.
replacing a tile can go a lot smoother and faster with a Grout
Grabber grout removal tool. According to the manufacturer, the
offset, carbide-abrasive blade fits most common reciprocating
saws. The 1/16-inch-thick blades can be stacked on the holder
to accommodate grout lines up to 1/2 inch thick.
Grout Grabber, 888/447-2248,
If you've ever had
to cut terra cotta (clay) waste pipe as part of a remodeling
project, you know the brittle material is hard to get through
without damaging it. Probably the best way for non-plumbers to
cut the material is with an abrasive reciprocating saw blade
like Lenox's Master-Grit 600RG (plumbers use a special $300
tool called a snapper). These blades use a tungsten carbide
abrasive bonded to the blade shank instead of teeth. The
manufacturer claims that the blades also work well on
fiberglass, cast iron, tile, marble, stone, and brick.
American Saw & Mfg., 877/886-2876,
carbide-tipped metal-cutting blades are meant only for
slower-turning cutoff saws, but Tenryu's Steel-Pro PRF-18548DS
Ferrous Metal-Cutting Blade is made for faster-spinning 7
1/4-inch circular saws. The PRF-18548DS blade's 48 teeth have
almost no rake and can safely spin up to 5,800 rpm. Although
the blade does get some metal particles flying, it's no worse
than an abrasive blade. The PRF-18548DS can cut ferrous metals
up to 1/4 inch thick, and it makes a clean cut without
Tenryu America, Inc., 800/951-7297,