Tool Test - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Tool Test: Shop Flash, Micro Pinner, EZ-GRIP and Log Splitter

tooltest_lead

Tool Test



Shop Flash
Some of us go into our woodshop just to relax and do the things we like to do best. For others, however, we have a business to run and missing phone calls could be expensive. With machines running, a telephone’s ring may not be heard. Now, there is not much chance of that.
 
Busy Bee Tools & Machinery has a product called Shop Flash. The Shop Flash sells for under $50, and that’s quite a bargain, considering what it does. You simply plug the power unit into an outlet, stick the microphone pad on the side of your phone and plug it into the Shop Flash and hang it on a wall. Now, when the phone rings you can choose either a loud ring, a flashing light or both. The flashing light is a strobe light that is bright enough to alert anyone in the shop and the loud ring will easily be heard above the loudest tools.
 
The Shop Flash is not a new idea, Radio Shack has had one for a number of years. The Shop Flash, however, is a big improvement. It is both louder and brighter.
 
We’ve rated this as a ★★★★★ tool because just one missed business call would more than pay for it.
 

tooltest_1
Micro Pinner
Senco has just released one of the slickest air nailers that I have used for some time. Senco calls it a Micro Pinner and it drives a 23 gauge pin that is so fine that it is hard to see the entry hole. The Micro Pinner will shoot pins from ½” to 1” in ⅛” increments and in the thousand or so pins that we drove in our testing, there was not one failure or nail jam. One of the reasons for this is the magnet located in the drive head, this makes sure that the pins are in position to fire.
 
The Micro Pinner that Senco calls the Finish Pro 10 takes strips of pins and a slide lever adjusts for the length of pin that you are using. You cannot intermix sizes. There is a “chamber empty” flag to let you know when to re-load.
 
The pin strips have an arrow on them to indicate the pointed end and this is a good thing because the pins are so fine, it is difficult to see for some older eyes.
 
We have given the Senco Micro Pinner ★★★★★ because it works so well and can be used in so many situations, picture framing being just one of them. We drove pins into oak, maple, teak, mahogany and some softer species and, in every case, the pins were recessed perfectly.
 
Senco sells the Micro Pinner in a plastic case and adds a bottle of oil, a ¼” NTP fitting and some sample pins.  This is a neat tool for furniture mouldings and to use while glue is setting up.


tooltest_2


EZ-GRIP
Clamps are expensive! Wow, that’s an understatement! There is now a great price breakthrough that certainly pleases this woodworker and I’m sure that when you see bar clamps at better than half price, you will agree.
 
The clamps are not unlike the hand compressed Quick-Grip clamps that most of us use. In fact, they work much the same way. These new clamps are from General Tools and they are currently labeled EZGRIP. You will soon see them under the new label Tooltech and you will find them at the Home Hardware and Tim-Br Mart stores across the country.
 
The Tooltech clamps are currently in 4”, 6”, 12” and 24” sizes and larger sizes will be on the market soon. What makes the Tooltech clamps an even bigger bargain is that they are spreaders too. A wing nut at the end of the bar is removed and that half of the clamp is reversed.
 
Gluing pressure? In our tests we found that the pressure applied is as strong as your hands can apply by squeezing. I was able to get 142 pounds out of the 12” size and that is enough for glue squeeze-out. The pressure release is neat. The plastic button is easily pressed with little kick-back.
 
We liked getting quality clamps at a reasonable price and the Tooltech bar clamps fit that bill quite nicely. We rate them at ★★★★.
 


tooltest_3
Log Splitter
Delta is going to make things a lot easier and less expensive for you people that have a small woodlot on your property. Up until now you would have to borrow or rent a log splitter. The alternative would be manual labour and that is not a pleasant chore.
 
Buying a wood splitter can be expensive for the small woodlot owner, often over $3,000 and they are the gas engine type. Or, you can rent one for a weekend and that makes you dedicate an entire weekend to wood splitting. How about one that will fit nicely in the trunk of your car, weighs 97 pounds and will split logs 20” long with a diameter of 12”. That’s what Delta’s 38-610C Log Splitter will do. In addition, it will exert 8,000 pounds of pressure on that log.
 
The 38-610C is electric and is powered by a 1 ½ HP 110 v induction motor and hydraulics. The large wheels and handle make this new log splitter easy to move around. A 100-foot, 12-gauge extension cord worked well in our test and we could split 16” maple logs in an 11 second cycle time. That’s fast enough for me.
 
The Delta 38-610C has a safety feature that ensures your hands will be kept out of the way. One hand must be on the power switch while the other operates the splitter slide.
 
Delta gets ★★★★★ for this great niche filler at a price below $650.



Tool Test Rating System
★...................below average quality
★★............... average quality
★★★............ very good quality
★★★★........ excellent quality
★★★★★....  top of the line



Graham McCulloch
GRAHAM McCULLOCH is a woodworker and writer living in Halifax, NS
(902) 479-0221