The best sander for finishing cabinets

Random orbital sander verses finishing sander

The random orbital sander (left) works fast and can smooth joints like the one on this cabinet door without leaving cross-grain scratches. The finishing sander (right) is easier to control but not as effective at smoothing joints.

We asked four woodworkers and four home improvement editors the same question: “What is the best sander to buy for finishing cabinets”. And we got a unanimous response: “Buy a random orbital sander.”
All in all, there’s really nothing “wrong” with square-based, orbital finishing sanders. They “vibrate” the sandpaper in thousands of little orbits. They’re easy to control and they’re inexpensive to operate, since they use standard sandpaper in one-sixth, one-quarter, one-third or half sheets.
Orbital finishing sanders can leave small spiral swirls on wood if you’re not meticulous, but by sanding down through 180-grit, you can avoid this. But random orbital sanders take things a step further.
Random orbital sanders work far more aggressively and quickly. The circular bases spin at about 10,000 rpm while wiggling about 1/8 in. off center at the same time. This creates a truly random sanding pattern, which removes wood quickly and minimizes swirl marks. This speedy randomness also allows you to smooth joints where the rails and stiles of your cabinets meet at right angles.
Many woodworkers find they only need to go down to 100- to 120-grit paper with their random orbital sander for surfaces that will be painted or receive a clear finish. (For surfaces that are to be stained, consider a light hand-sanding with the grain to remove any and all remaining swirl marks.) But beware, the aggressiveness of a random orbital sander can cut through a veneer or damage the edge of a board in a flash. It takes a few tries to learn how to control them. Also, at a buck a sheet, the adhesive or Velcro-backed sandpaper discs are spendy, but you’ll work faster and wind up with better-looking cabinets.

source : 

Snow Thrower Brand Reviews: Craftsman Vs. John Deere Snow Throwers

Pros, cons and features of John Deere and Craftsman snow throwers.

If you live in an area that experiences snow fall you will need a top performance machine to help clear your driveways and sidewalks. Horsepower, price, durability, and snow discharge distance are all considerations that will need to be taken into consideration when you start shopping for your snow thrower. Two of the companies that manufacture snow throwers are Craftsman and John Deere. Both are names that most people are familiar with, and also are companies that produce quality machinery. When trying to decide whether to buy a Craftsman 88799 or a John Deere TRS21E, prioritize your wants and needs and use this list as a guideline for making your decision on which machine to buy.

The John Deere TRS21E, retailed at around $679, weighs in at 72 pounds, has a 21-inch clearing path, and can discharge snow up to 35 feet. It has a 5 hp, 2-cycle engine meant for light work, and is only intended to clear areas less than 12 inches deep. This machine only has one forward speed and no reverse, however because it is so light, it is still easy to maneuver. The discharge chute can be adjusted easily even while the machine is in service. Another benefit of this model is that is stores easily. The handlebars fold in, and the discharge chute can rotate up to 190 degrees.

A snow thrower model in the same price category as the John Deere TRS21E is the Craftsman 88799. It retails at around $899.99, however it provides more power, a larger plow blade, and multi-speeds and directions. Weighing in at 240 pounds, this machine is heftier than the John Deere is, but it maintains its maneuverability by providing six forward speeds and two reverse speeds. It has a 9 horsepower, 4-cycle gas engine that provides the power to clear 1900 pounds of snow per minute. It can clear a path 29 inches across, and has a discharge range of 40 feet. The Craftsman 88799 has fat tires that give it extra traction. This feature is helpful when you are plowing a steep driveway. Other benefits to this model include an electric starter, a cast iron lined cylinder, and a one gallon gas tank that allows for longer running times between fill ups.

 When weighing out the pros and cons of these two models you must ask yourself which machine is more practical for the type of snowfall and terrain you have at your house. If you have light snowfall with relatively flat terrain, then the John Deere snow thrower is a perfectly good snow thrower to purchase. However if you live in an area that has heavy snow fall, and/or need to plow areas where the terrain is steep, then the Craftsman model is the better choice. Another consideration to making your selection may be which model you will be able to handle. The John Deere is light, but it needs to be manually maneuvered with push and pull actions. The Craftsman, on the other hand, is three times as heavy, but it has six speeds forward and two speeds in reverse which reduces your need to manually push and pull the machine into areas when plowing. Both models have electrical starters and gas engines so you don't have to pull start either. Price may come into play if all other areas of comparison don't lead you to select one model over the other. The John Deere retails for $679 and the Craftsman model retails for $899.99, a difference of only $220.99, however this may be the deciding factor. If you still are undecided ask your neighbors what they use, or what they have used in the past to get a better idea on which model works the best in your area. If all else fails you can ask a salesperson in the lawn and garden section of your local retailer.

The box seat on Puget Sound

by Peter O. Whiteley

Comfortable, inviting, and elegantly simple, this two-room, 380-square-foot pavilion on a wooded site overlooking Puget Sound sits, as juror Julie Eizenberg said, "like a Miesian couch on a hill." The spare, shed-roofed, light-filled building replaces a dark and decrepit old beach house on the same site, and even uses its original footings. The water-facing, side is aluminum and glass. A roll-up garage door at the center opens the shallow room to sea breezes and the sounds of lapping, water.

The bare-bones simplicity, of the interior resulted in part from a remark made by contractor Karl Krekow partway through construction. He mentioned to architects Tony De Jesus and Tom Kundig that the exposed studs and conduit reminded him of his grandfather's mountain cabin. Although the architects had intended to cover the interior walls with insulation and gypsum board, Krekow' s comment brought them up short, They liked the honest and unfinished look, and so they persuaded the owners to leave the interior wall structure exposed. which meant installing rigid insulation on the exterior beneath the cedar siding and roofing.

The main room features an antique wood-burning stove, a floor of weathered oak, a long built-in daybed facing the view of the sound. a small refrigerator and sink, and plenty of storage beneath the daybed.,a small bathroom at one end gives the cabin all the comforts of home. In fact. the owners lived in the building for six months while their main house was being constructed farther up the hill.

Jumper Cables for Automobiles, Motorcycles, and Electronic Devices

These Pico Jumper Cables are typical of those offered for sale -- a very handy 16' in length, 400 amp capacity (so they'll handle larger battery sizes), and extended jaws for use on side mounted battery posts. The cables won't tangle on you and the ends are color coded to minimize placement errors in low-light conditions. Again; that has never happened to me.
motorcycle jumper cables

You don't need jumper cables that are 16' long if you are carrying them in your motorcycle tool kit; these will do nicely. The Motorcycle Battery Jumper Cables are a convenient 6 feet in length, 8 gauge heavy duty wire, and have sturdy, substantial alligator clips for secure clamping.

Here's a clever dcalifornia solar access panel kitevice -- the California Solar Access Folding Solar Panel Kit. Perfect for folks who spend lots of time far from civilization; boaters, hunters, campers, surveyors, and the like. You expose the 5 pound folding panel to the sun and charge the included 8 ah lithium-ion battery (very convenient for night-time power needs). The panel pulls in 40 watts of power to charge vehicle batteries, cell phones, computers, lights; anything with a plug. You get the panel, dc inverter, power point adapter, battery, and jumper cables. Good stuff.

Under the Roof Hang and Level Picture Hanging Tool

hang_and_level.jpgRaise your hand if you're completely lacking in any and all ability to hang a picture on a wall. Good. Now, if your arm is in the air, you're one of the people who has helped put the Hang and Level Picture Hanging Tool in the Amazon top 100 sellers in home improvement (#59 as of this writing).

The Hang and Level is a tool that facilitates the "so where do I put the hanger?" question of the picture hanging process. What you do is hook the picture to the tool, position it where you want it, remove the picture, and then press a litle button into the wall which leaves a mark right where you want to place the nail/hanger. It also has two built-in level vials for fine tuning.

The Under the Roof website tells us that their picture hanging tool has been mentioned in the New York Times and that it was awarded Outstanding Product at the '09 Hardware Show. We're sure the that tool is functional and in a way it's clever, but do people really need it? We just moved into a new place and over the past few weeks we've hung more pictures than the curator at the Louvre, and all we use is a tape measure, a pencil, and a little simple math. Works pretty well for us.

So we don't know. Maybe we're wrong, maybe this is the best idea since the cordless drill. Maybe everybody needs one. Or maybe we're all relying so much on gizmos, gadgets and technology that we can no longer do even the simplest tasks without assistance.

At Amazon

Tool Snob at Permalink | Comments (0) | Email This | Bookmark and Share

Screwpop 4-in-1 Keychain Tool

screwpop.jpgHelloooooo stocking stuffer! Meet theScrewpop, or as we like to say, "SCREWPOP!" The SCREWPOP! is a little keychain gizmo that quadruples as a screwdriver (Philips and slotted), a 1/4" hex, and the obligatory bottle opener.

We've had things like this in the past and they seem to sit somewhere in between, "pretty cool," and, "have only used it once in four years." But still, you could do a lot worse for $5. And like we said, it would probably make a good stocking stuffer.

At Screwpop

Tool Snob at Permalink | Comments (1) | Email This | Bookmark and Share

SEPTEMBER 24, 2009

Black & Decker MSW100 Ready Wrench

b&d_ready_wrench.jpgOur socket set is a mess. It's fine when it's sitting in our shop and we're the only ones using it, but the instant it enters the construction site, pieces start disappearing. It's like there are ratchet-eating elves living under the excavator or something. And oddly enough, it's always the most common sizes that vanish, so it doesn't take long for the kit to be rendered practically useless.

Black & Decker has come up with a new tool that might help the situation. The Ready Wrench is an interesting looking item that's sort of one-stop shopping for the 16 most popular socket sizes. Each end of the tool has a rotating piece with 4 different socket sizes. It looks like they get to the 16 number by including both SAE and the similar metric size, which actually aren't identical, so there's likely a little slop in 1/2 of the sizes.

This looks like a potentially handy tool. Probably more of a space-saver than anything else, or something for the DIYer who has no need for a complete wrench set. It reminds us of the space-age HK1 Adjustable Wrench that we reviewed way back in February. While the HK1 has a wider range of sizes (it's fully adjustable), the B&D looks easier to use on the fly.

The Ready Wrench costs about $30, which could be worth it if the tool has some durability to it.

At Amazon

A frontyard is crafted to match a Greene & Greene Craftsman home in Pasadena

A couple sought a landscape that looked as turn of the century as their 1906 chalet-style Craftsman known as the John Bakewell Phillips house.

October 03, 2009|Emily Young

Susan and Derek Pippert live in a classic Greene & Greene home in Pasadena that has always attracted plenty of admirers. But the old frontyard? Not so much. Only after the couple replaced that ho-hum rectangle of grass with a painstakingly detailed, Craftsman-style landscape did the garden do justice to the house.

The Pipperts once deemed Arts and Crafts homes too dark and dreary for their taste. But with three stories and more than 60 windows, the bright and cheerful 1906 chalet-style Craftsman known as the John Bakewell Phillips house changed their minds.

The couple, a foley editor for films and a stay-at-home mom, bought in 2006 and settled in with their two toddler daughters, content to leave the old frontyard as it had been: a lawn dotted with a few trees and hedges.

"It wasn't bad," Susan Pippert recalls. "It just wasn't great."

The following summer, a mature pittosporum tree died and fell, forcing the Pipperts to rethink the garden. That's when they remembered a magazine article about a charming Craftsman landscape in South Pasadena. The designer was Venice-based Gabriela Yariv, who coincidentally had been a childhood friend of Susan's sister.

Yariv cringed when she saw the Pipperts' ratty lawn and awkward brick path laid out in a right angle between the driveway and the front porch. "There was no pedestrian entrance from the sidewalk and a lot of flat, empty space, which made this tall structure look very imposing," she says.

To give the house a more inviting presence and to blend it into the surroundings, she told her clients: "You have a Greene & Greene house. Why not do it right?"

Yariv reenvisioned every aspect of the yard. Most important was the wide, serpentine brick path, built by Cliff Douglas of Douglas Masonry in South Pasadena, that is flanked by rugged granite boulders and two short stone pillars to welcome visitors arriving from the street. The pillars, also by Douglas, consist of rocks like those supporting the front porch and are topped with reproduction Craftsman lanterns to match the fixture hanging from the eaves.

With Greene & Greene's more famous Gamble and Blacker houses in mind, Yariv focused next on the large expanse of lawn, rounding off this one at the corners for a more natural-looking oval. Stones form rustic edging between the turf and less-thirsty beds, which are filled with the seasonal color the owners wanted and nods to the Asian influence on Craftsman architecture.

How to Replace Craftsman Tools

By eHow Contributing Writer

Many Craftsman tools come with a replacement warranty. Although there are exclusions, most hand tools are covered. According to Craftsman, the Craftsman Tool Warranty means, "They are guaranteed forever, unconditionally, no questions asked." Luckily for buyers, Craftsman actually stands by their warranty.
  1. Step1

    Be aware that not all Craftsman tools come with their famous warranty. Notable exclusions are bench tools, battery operated and electric tools, as well as precision measuring tools. Call your local Sears store to determine Craftsman tool warranty coverage for your particular case.

  2. Step2

    You can have Craftsman tools, covered under the warranty, replaced by returning them to any Sears store or outlet. It's not necessary to have proof of purchase, or to return them to the same location they were originally purchased. You can buy a covered Craftsman tool in California, accidentally damage it, and return it for replacement in Maine without issue. See our Resources section to find a Sears store near you.

  3. Step3

    Replace your Craftsman tool by bringing or mailing the covered tool to Sears and making a request for replacement. You will need to provide some minor information, such as name, address and phone. Depending on the type of damage, size of store and inventory level, they can either exchange it on the spot, or forward it to another location to fulfill the warranty. If you want forwarding, you must wait for your replacement tool.

  4. Step4

    Make a note of the date you dropped off the tool on your calendar. You can get replacements within days, but if you hear nothing for two weeks, call the store to inquire about the status. When the new tool is available, return to the store to pick it up, or request that the store mail the tool to your home. Depending on the individual store policy, you may incur a small shipping charge for this service.