Construction Tool Tests: Comparing Full-Size Oscillating Multi-Tools

There’s an old adage that “the tool makes the craftsman.” Now, I know quite a few craftsmen who can use just about anything and still make it work for them, but it’s fair to say that if you’re working serious construction or you take your personal projects seriously, that you want the best tools available to you.

When dealing with oscillating multi-tools, there are a lot of options out there, and it can get difficult to wade through them all. Before you make your choice, take some time to do some side-by-side comparisons, and figure out exactly what you’re getting for your money.

“The field of construction is a constantly changing area with many dangers. However, most construction accidents are avoidable with the proper foresight and education on the part of the developer” (Cagle Law Firm). Here are some tips to help you make the best choice, both in performance and safety, for your next oscillating tool purchase.

What Makes a Good Oscillating Multi-Tool?
Some people have their own preferences. This could be based on brand or comfort or countless other things. But, when tracking down the right oscillating tool, there are a few things you should definitely be on the lookout for. The folks over at Wood Magazine tested a range of multi-tools and put together a list of a few features that every good oscillating multi-tool should have:

Comfortable grip. Because you typically wrap one or both hands around the tool’s barrel, its circumference and shape determine how well the tool fits in your hand, right.

Minimal vibration and noise. Most of the models we tested vibrated about equally, but we felt Bosch’s Multi-X vibrated least. Fein’s MultiMaster ran loudest when cutting, while the Rockwell was significantly quieter.

Variable speed. Slower speeds make delicate sanding jobs more manageable. Cutting and grinding work best at the highest speeds. Every tool except the cordless Craftsman 17438 offers variable-speed control. Further smoothing things out, a couple of models also feature soft-start motors that ease the tool up to speed and prevent it from jerking to the side when switching on the power.

Side-by-Side Comparison
So, you know what you’re looking for, but there are still some questions you need to answer: Is a particular oscillating multi-tool more suited to a particular project? Can I get what I need in my price range? How long is this tool going to last?

To get the best answers to those questions and more, it helps to look at all of your options side-by-side. If you don’t have the time to go out there and give every potential oscillating tool a whirl (and honestly, most of us just don’t have time to do that), you can at least get an expert take on most of the major options out there.

Oscillating Tools breaks down the pros and cons of a range of multi-tools including the Porter Cable Multi-Tool, the Milwaukee M12 Cordless Multi-Tool Kit, the Fein MultiMaster Tool, and a lot more. These reviews show you everything that works well for a specific tool (including cost) and everything that might leave you a little disappointed.

So, maybe the tool doesn’t make the craftsman, but the right tool can make even the best craftsman work faster and more efficiently. If you’re in the market for an effective oscillating multi-tool, take a few minutes to do some research and find the one that will work best for you.

Do you have any additional areas you would add to your pre-purchase check list? Share your comments.

Written by Andrew Miller

Email: Andrewmillerblog@gmail.com

Twitter: @amillerblog

 

5 Creative Ideas to De-clutter Your Kitchen Space and Add Style at the Same Time

Does your kitchen clutter seem to take on a life of its own, multiplying overnight? Do you have overflowing cabinets, drawers, and shelves that have no rhyme or reason? Having a disorganized mess in the kitchen can make it difficult and less enjoyable to cook meals and spend family time there. It can also make your kitchen feel like it’s shrinking because you lack space.

 

If you are trying to bust the clutter in your kitchen once and for all, a stylish organization system is a step in the right direction. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune or a lot of time de-cluttering your kitchen. Here are some creative ideas to de-clutter your kitchen and add simple style at the same time.

 

Creative and Stylish Kitchen Organization Ideas

 

Organization in the kitchen doesn’t have to be ugly. In fact, there are several ways to keep the kitchen organized while adding a personal touch to the entire space.

 

Baskets and Boxes

Visit any home décor store and you’ll immediately be drawn to the multitude of storage options available in baskets and fabric boxes. There are limitless ways you can add beauty and charm to your kitchen, as well as adding a layer of organization, with baskets and boxes. Choose mix and match styles with fabric covers that come off for washing. Stack them on shelves, racks, and on tops of kitchen cupboards.

 

Spice, Plate and Pantry Racks

Getting items out of cramped cupboards and into an area where they can be appreciated visually may seem like the opposite of organization, but it’s the way kitchen designers are improving kitchens today. Try installing a space rack above your stove top for easy reach of cooking spice and a plate rack above the sink to show off pretty dinnerware. Use over the door pantry racks to store cooking needs and extra canned goods.

 

Window Sill Storage

Your kitchen windows can be the perfect spot for storing many items in your kitchen that cause clutter. Line up a pretty set of glass canisters in different heights, or try a row of herb plants to breathe life into your kitchen. You may also want to add your small appliances there to get them off counters and keep cords neat.

 

Corner Shelves and Cabinets

Many kitchens have unused spaces in the corners of dining areas and pantries. Take advantage of this by installing a corner shelf or cabinet. For the ultimate in style, choose those that blend well with your existing woodwork or kitchen colors. Or try a totally modern cabinet made from reclaimed wood with sturdy metal legs and wheels.

 

Cupboard and Drawer Tamers

Chances are, your kitchen cupboards and drawers are stuffed full with items, but you can never find what you need. This is where some creative organizing can help restore functionality and the neat appearance in your kitchen. Measure your storage areas then head for your local home DIY store for special drawer and cabinet organizers. Adjustable kitchen organizers generally slide into place or may require a little light fastening with screws. In minutes you’ll have the right place for everything you need to make your kitchen work better.

 

Designing your kitchen to be more organized takes a little planning to consider how you like to use this space. With the right kitchen organizing elements combined with designer touches, your kitchen will feel larger and become your favorite spot in the house.

 

About the author: Lindsay Parrich has written for the home and garden industry for over 10 years. When she’s not writing, you can find her covering humane pest deterrents such as www.bird-x.com and their coyote silhouette products.

Five Reasons to Use Foam When Insulating Your Home

spray foamWhen it comes to insulating your home, there are several options to consider. Foam boards are an excellent option for crawlspaces and lining basement walls. If you are dealing with poor attic insulation, your best bet will usually be rolls of fiberglass insulation or blown cellulose. However, there are times when the benefits of  spray foam insulation make it clear winner.

Ideal for Hard-to-Reach Areas

You don’t want to use spray foam to insulate large areas between rafters, but it is ideal for those smaller areas that are difficult to reach. If bees nested under the siding and have bored a hole through the wall, then spray foam is the ideal solution to fill that small, difficult to reach hole in the corner. Expanding into open areas, it will fill every nook and cranny, including areas that are irregularly shaped.

The Choice for Small Spots

Older homes are notorious for being energy hogs, and part of the problem is that smaller areas were not insulated. This includes the gap around window frames and the void created by outlets. Using spray foam, you can easily fill in those tiny areas and eliminate air movement.

Easy to Use

Spray foam is extremely easy to use. Unlike rolls of fiberglass that will leave you itching, spray foam never needs to be touched. Simply spray a small amount into the void, wait for it to expand and then add more as necessary. Once the foam has finished expanding, you will use a knife to cut away the excess before replacing trim or switch plates.

Save Money Now and Later

Cans of spray foam cost between six and ten dollars, so they are a very affordable option when you are insulating small areas. Even small areas of air loss can drastically increase your heating and cooling bills, so the spray foam will help you save money every month moving forward. You will be amazed at how much more comfortable any given room will become when you insulate around the windows in that room.

Invest in Spray Foam for New Construction

If you are having a house built, invest in professional spray foam insulation services. Available only through specialized companies, spray foam can be used in place of traditional insulation rolls in new construction. The spray fills every nook and cranny, creating an airtight barrier that will maximize your home’s energy efficiency. The spray lasts longer than traditional insulation and is more effective. It also creates a wonderful sound barrier that will make your home quieter when the windows are shut. Local installers may even have foam that is fireproof, so your home can enjoy an added layer of protection.

When it comes to home insulation, there are several reasons to consider using foam instead of fiberglass. It has a high insulating value, and it will expand to fill those odd shapes and difficult-to-reach areas. If you feel like your home has a draft coming in around windows or other areas, use foam to block that draft and make your home more energy efficient.

Jim Stason is a writer for a Phoenix insulation company. He loves writing about everything to do with construction.

 

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebuie/3645521498/

Harness the Power of the Sun – Installing Solar Energy is Easier than You Think

solar panelsThere are many reasons to consider installing solar options in your home. Not only will adding solar options cut costs from conventional energy sources but you will also be doing your part to contribute to saving the environment. According to the International Energy Agency, “the development of affordable, inexhaustible and clean solar energy technologies will have huge longer-term benefits. It will increase countries’ energy security through reliance on an indigenous, inexhaustible and mostly import-independent resource, enhance sustainability, reduce pollution, lower the costs of mitigating climate change, and keep fossil fuel prices lower than otherwise.” To do your part to help the global fight to save the environment, learn more about installing solar energy in your home or business today.

The Basics of Solar Energy

Solar Energy is nothing new. In fact, it’s one of the oldest forms of harnessing power. Since ancient times, humans have used a range of techniques to harness the power of the sun. Solar technologies are broadly broken down into two groups: passive or active, depending on which way they distribute they energy that they capture and convert. Some of the most popular technologies in use today include solar thermal electricity, solar heating, and solar photovoltaics, all of which make serious contributions to aiding our current fight to conserve our earth’s resources.

Easy Solar Energy Installation

In recent years, it has become increasingly easy to install solar energy in your home or office. With expert contractors trained to install solar panels, the installation is quick, easy, and painless to you, with little physical alteration done to your home. The solar power panels are simply attached to the roof, and a control system is added. Once installed, the maintenance of the solar panels is minimal, making it easy to take care of in the years to come and may have warranties of up to 25 years.

Going Green Doesn’t Have to Cost Lots of Green

Although many people moving to solar energy is an expensive process, it can be very affordable if done properly. Payment plans and state incentives ease the financial burdens of eco-friendly living, making it a more accessible option to the Average Joe. You will save money you would have otherwise spent on conventional electricity options, and after tax breaks from the IRS, you can save extra money, making solar energy an even more affordable option. Of course, many argue that the initial financial cost is little to pay compared to the great damage the environment would have to pay if you didn’t install solar energy. So do your pocketbook and Mother Nature a favor, and go ahead and install solar panels in your home or office today.

How to Remove Stains from an Asphalt Driveway

How to Remove Stains from an Asphalt Driveway

A stained driveway can really detract from the curb appeal of your home. Left untreated, a stained driveway not only looks untidy, but spills from vehicle fluids—like oil, gas and grease—can actually damage the asphalt. To keep your home looking its best, and to keep your asphalt in tip-top shape, remove stains as quickly as possible after they occur.
Oil Stain Asphalt Parking Space Leaves Bumper

(Image by Christopher Sessums)

Oil, Grease and Gas Stains

  1. Spread a solid layer of cat litter over the stain, and let it sit overnight to allow the litter to absorb as much of the spill as possible.
  2. The next morning, sweep up the cat litter and dispose of it. (Check your local city ordinances to make sure you’re disposing of the litter properly. Litter, brushes, paper towels and rags soaked with oil, gas or grease can pose an environmental risk if you throw them into your garbage can and they’re later dumped with other garbage.)
  3. Spread a thick layer of liquid dish soap over the stain.
  4. Fill a bucket with warm water, then use a brush to scrub the stain. Be sure to rinse the brush frequently between scrubbings. Keep this up until the stain is removed.
  5. Finally, rinse off the stain with a garden hose.

Anti-Freeze

  1. Fill a cleaning bucket half full with hot water, then add 2 cups white vinegar and ½ cup dish soap.
  2. Pour some of this solution on the stain, then let it stand for 15 minutes or so.
  3. Scrub the stain with a stiff brush. Be sure to wear gloves since anti-freeze can harm your skin.
  4. Rinse with a garden hose, then repeat the process until the stain is gone.

Other Methods

While these two procedures usually work well for cleaning asphalt with common household products, there are some other methods that may also work, depending on the severity of the stain and how long it’s been on the driveway.

  • Baking soda or powdered laundry soap: Sprinkle the soda or soap on an oil stain, then scrub with a stiff brush. Let the soda or soap sit for 30 minutes, then rinse and repeat until the stain is removed.
  • Commercial degreasers: Although you probably don’t have a commercial degreaser on hand, it may be worth it to purchase one. These products are very effective at cleaning asphalt, and they typically do so without any harm to the environment (although it’s always best to carefully read the label just to be sure).
  • Steam pressure washing: If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can usually find one to rent at a home improvement or rental store. It may be a more expensive alternative than some of the other cleaning methods, but it’s usually very effective on fresh stains.

No matter which method you choose, when it comes to cleaning asphalt, there’s just one thing to remember—the sooner, the better!

 

Rick Anderson blogs for www.contractorsasphalt.com in Austin, TX. For more information contact:

Contractors Asphalt Paving and Maintenance

713 Linger Ln.

Austin,
TX
78721

(512) 262-9004