June 18, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

2016 National Hardware Show Coverage

2016 national hardware show coverage

2016 National Hardware Show Coverage (cont’d)

Rockwell Power Tools

Rockwell Power Tools showed up in our 2016 National Hardware Show coverage with their entire line of 20-volt cordless tools along with a few new corded models. One notable tool that didn’t make it to the show was the new cordless oscillating multi tool with a brushless motor, scheduled to come out in early Spring 2017.

Rockwell 20V cordless power tools 683

The Rockwell F80 is a new oscillating multi tool with two oscillation angle settings of 3.4 or 5 degrees. Rather than turning down the speed and reducing motor power to gain more control for tasks like sanding, you can switch to the smaller angle setting and keep the 4.5 amp motor cranking. Like the brand’s other OMTs, this latest version has a tool-free blade clamping mechanism that is said to fit nearly all other blades including the new Starlock design.

Rockwell Sonicrafter F80 multitool tool-free 686

Inspired by the challenge to make the smallest circular saw that could cut through 2-by lumber, the Rockwell RK3441K handheld circular saw was created. This barrel grip saw is notable for its lack of a front handle, making it probably the only true one-handed circ saw we’ve seen.

Rockwell jawhorse 692

Besides switching to green, the news with the Rockwell Jawhorse and the larger Sheetmaster workstations is that the accessory log jaws (not shown) are being discontinued. As the single most useful accessory for these work-holding sawhorses–and arguably one that should come standard on the tools for construction lumber and firewood holding uses—now’s your chance to get one before they are all gone.

WORX Robotic Lawnmowers

Rockwell’s outdoor tool brandmate WORX shared the booth and their roving robotic lawnmowers were entertaining to watch. Besides cutting the grass, I imagine one of these would be good at chasing unwanted critters out of your yard!

Worx robotic lawnmowers 689

WORX is proud of the awards it has won from consumer publications for their WG303.1 electric chain saw, due in part no doubt to its unique spring-loaded chain tensioning mechanism. Keeping the chain properly tensioned is a chore that throws off many casual saw users and this feature was designed to alleviate the need for frequent adjustment. The next step they made to improve the model was lowering its price down to $79.

Plyworx PliersRack II

In the Plyworx booth we discovered one of the most useful things at the show—actually two of the most useful– the PliersRack and PliersRack II. These simple yet ingenious products are exactly what they say, racks to hold your pliers. And if you’ve ever tried to hang pliers neatly on pegboards or if you stack pliers two or three deep in a mechanic’s box, you’ll wonder where these holders have been all your life.

Plyworx PliersRack II 770

The original PliersRack is made to fit flat in a drawer. The rack is 30 inches long as has 32 storage slots of a few different widths, but it can be cut down easily to fit in smaller spaces.

Plyworx PliersRack II peg board 762 Plyworx PliersRack 768

The PliersRack II holds 14 pairs of pliers within a sturdy steel case. It comes with special rivets that snap into a pegboard and also has a rear prop to hold it steady for use on top of a workbench.

Lower priced plastic versions are in development for storage situations that don’t require the strength of steel.

Plyworx PliersRack II 765

Estwing Hammers and Pneumatic Nailers

Estwing hammers had some unexpected news in their booth: they’re going pneumatic. The iconic hammer brand is lending their name to a manufacturing partner to produce a new line of mid-tier nailers. Framing nailers and flooring nailers will kick off the line, along with a five gallon compressor and the most compact palm nailer we’ve seen.

Estwing pneumatic nailers 718

Another new development is the introduction of Estwing knives. Tanto and Bowie styles are available, each in two sizes. The knives are forged in the USA from a single piece of steel, which makes the handle very strong, but a bit on the heavy side.

Estwing Tanto Bowie knives 722

Estwing has been busy adding to their line of sportsman and combat axes with designs for campers, hunters, and soldiers. For military use, dusky camo is the new black.

Estwing hatchets 720

The Estwing AL-Pro hammer is the latest framing hammer from the company, and its forged aluminum handle alone makes it notably different from any other striking tool in memory. Inside the aluminum head, a chamber filled with loose shot gives the hammer the hit of a dead-blow hammer to reduce vibration. Smooth or milled face models are available but not interchangeable. The steel face and claws are permanently attached, not replaceable as the cap-head bolts seem to suggest. We only wish this had been around when we were trying to find the best framing hammer.

Estwing AL Pro aluminum hammer 713
Can’t wait to try out this new AL Pro hammer with its aluminum handle.

eMeasure eTAPE16/BT Bluetooth Tape Measure

eMeasure eTAPE16 BT digital tape 832eMeasure is a small company that wants to change how people measure—and more importantly—record the measurements they make. Starting with their eTAPE16 and now onto their latest eTAPE16/BT with Bluetooth connectivity, the devices offer manual and digital measuring for about 30 and 50 dollars respectively. Both tapes have digital displays which show measurements in inch or metric units, including feet and fractional inches, fractional inches, decimal inches, and decimal feet in units down to 1 mm, 1/16 inch, .1 inch, and .01 feet. Buttons on the tape allow you to set your measurements from the front or back of the case, display the center mark of a measurement (rounded up to the nearest 1/16 inch), re-zero at a certain spot, or save measurements in one of two memories. The Bluetooth connected model can use a basic data recording app made by the company or an app made by a software partner with cut list tables and additional features.

For most construction professionals, the 16-foot length of the tape is too limited so the company is working on a 25 footer.

Oxx CoffeeBoxx

Oxx CoffeeBoxx black 759Oxx claims that they make the world’s toughest coffee maker. After our Oxx CoffeeBoxx review we’d have to agree. Made to take to the job site but with enough cool factor to fit in at the man cave, the CoffeeBoxx is admittedly our most coveted coffee fabrication vector anywhere.

The “ruggedized” coffee maker (their word) packs up tightly for transport and the unit boasts a water and dust resistant IP54 rating. The unit works with all K-cup compatible single-serving coffee pods and also dispenses up to 85 ounces of hot water for tea, oatmeal, and instant soup. The $230 price tag seems high at first, but if this machine can help keep guys on site instead of taking off to the nearest gas station for coffee breaks, you’ll probably get a lot more work done.

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Michael Sweet

Like that worm-drive saw and mini sledgehammer.

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