John Myrtle

John Myrtle's Posts

  • Finding a new tool that fits the work is a real pleasure for the pro. A full-size portable band saw used to be the tool of choice for cutting angle iron, Unistrut, and threaded rod on the job – even though its nearly 5-inch capacity is overkill for most chores – but now our plumber's crew grabs one of Milwaukee's compact models instead.

  • First Test

    As the owner of a plumbing and heating business, I am also the fixer of tools and the sharpener of blades, and it's up to me to make my equipment investments last. One of my most onerous duties is sharpening the Selfeed bits we use. I've gotten good at it, but it's a time-consuming chore. So it was with great optimism that I tested Milwaukee's SwitchBlade Selfeed bits with replaceable blades. I got the plumber's kit with four commonly used bit sizes and a handy snap-in extension (which I can no longer live without). Besides spare blades, the kit has four spare feed screws and their set screws, all contained in a durable 'lunchbox' that is one of the few plastic tool cases I haven't tossed out for being oversized.

  • First Test

    Years ago, when I started out as a young plumbing apprentice, the venerable Milwaukee Hole Hawg was the only right-angle drill used throughout the trades. It was big, heavy, and powerful. I went for more than one ride on that drill, and the countless smashed knuckles I endured were a real lesson in reaction torque. Thankfully, as the years have gone on, manufacturers have installed low-gear clutches in their drills, but some of these disengage too easily with large-diameter holes or wet lumber. So I was very interested to see how DeWalt's new Bind-Up Control in its DWD460 right-angle drill might help my poor old plumber's hands.

  • First Test

    Sometimes a tool is such an integral part of your daily routine, you don't think of it as a tool but as part of your shop or truck. A mechanic's vise is such a tool.

  • Making plumbing connections underneath today's kitchen sinks can be a real challenge. With multiple basins, monstrous disposers, pullout sprayers and their dangling hoses, soap dispensers, instant hot-water heaters, water filters, dishwasher and ice maker connections, pullout trash-can slides, and who knows what else, it can get really crowded in that 36-inch sink base.

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