Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Dewalt Power Tool - The Tracksaw

Dewalt is launching a new exciting product simplify the process of making long straight cuts. Gone are the days of measuring the distance between your blade and the guide and clamping a straight edge onto your material.

I haven't had a chance to use one, but this product looks very handy indeed. The product details from Dewalt are below.

Click here to go to the Dewalt site.


New Precision Saw System Allows Users to Quickly Cut Large Sheet Materials

August 2008 – DeWALT, a leading manufacturer of industrial power tools, announced the launch of its corded and cordless TrackSaws (DWS520 and DC351). The DeWALT TrackSaws provide a new option to finish carpenters, woodworkers, and contractors looking for a portable tool to make straight, splinter-free, precise cuts. Winner of a 2008 International Design Excellence Award, the TrackSaws combine the precision and cut-quality of a table saw, the capacity of a panel saw, and the portability of a circular saw.

The DC351 and DWS520 TrackSaws travel along an anti-slip aluminum track allowing users to make clean, straight and precise cuts. The zero-clearance track features anti-splinter edges indicating the exact cut location, so cut positioning is fast, intuitive, predictable, and accurate. The track’s underside has two friction strips to “grab” the material – keeping the track from moving without the need for additional clamping. The top side of the track has four low-friction glide strips, enabling the saw to smoothly travel along the track. Tracks are available in several lengths. All wear components are user-replaceable and will be available as accessories.

The DWS520 features a DeWALT-built, 1,300 watt motor, providing enough power to cut though hardwoods, and all common woodworking and construction materials. The straight plunge mechanism enables the user to make clean, straight, and splinter-free inside (plunge) cuts. A Continuous Anti-Kick-Back feature may be engaged as well – providing additional control by only allowing the saw to move in a forward direction on the track and thus preventing kickback.

The DC351 and DWS520 also have a dust management system with a universal 1¼” dust port that collects up to 90 percent of excess dust and debris. A 6-1/2” 48-tooth woodworking blade with a laser cut plate and precision ground teeth provides exceptional cut quality. Cutting depth (on the track) is 2-1/8” @ 90º, and 1-5/8” @ 45º bevel, allowing users to cut through all common materials.

The DC351 offer users the flexibility of a cordless TrackSaw option powered by DeWALT’s 28V Lithium Ion battery. The 28V TrackSaw provides users the same accuracy, capacity, and quality of cut as the corded version – and cuts more than 121’ of 5/8” plywood on a single charge.

Available in Q4 2008, the new TrackSaws are designed for cabinet makers, remodelers, finish carpenters, general contractors, furniture makers, and hardwood floor installers. When cutting sheet-goods, paneling, or doors, the new TrackSaws will make straight, splinter free cuts at nearly any angle in practically any location.

Friday, September 12, 2008

DIY - How to make a handy sheet material rack

I recently built a rack in my shed to hold all the sheet material that I keep, or have left over from other projects. It was basically 2 lengths of 3x2 fixed to the wall on an angle with a couple of shorter bits on the bottom to keep the sheets raised off the ground. Nothing fancy but it does the job.

My system does have a problem though, and that is when I need to access a sheet from behind the stack I either have to move all the other sheets in front of it, or try and lift it over the other sheets, or slide it out from behind which requires leaving enough space for the length to slide out completely.

Now what about this system I found on the Readers Digest site. A material rack that is hinged to the wall on one end and has casters on the other. This way it just rolls away from the wall on one end, and access to all the sheets is easy. I think I like this idea much better.

Here is a bit from the site:

They allow you to swing the storage rack out from the wall and slide out the board, panelling or other offcut item you want. Dividers strengthen the rack, while allowing you to separate large sheets from small. If you buy all materials new, they’ll cost less than $400 (see our cost details at right). But why not take advantage of all the offcuts you previously had nowhere to store and use them first before buying new material?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Only Roof Stuff

Following on from an earlier post on Solar Roof Tiles, I have found a great site called "Scenes from the Roof". That site covers not only solar but everything else you could think of about roofs and roofing.

This site has information on:
Green Roofs, Solar Roofing, Contractors, Equipment, Products, Safety and more.

Check them out for yourselves at www.roofinfo.com

Monday, April 28, 2008

Kitchen Counter Top made from Paper

Here is a product I first read about on the Bob Villa site.

A company called Shetka has a new environmentally friendly product that looks like stone.

Products that are produced from shetkaSTONE are manufactured from pre and post consumer waste paper and rely on using none of the Earth's overtapped resources.

Click here to go to their site for more information.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

DIY Handyman Tip - Don't Rush

Too many times we here stories of the Home Handyman (and professional contractors) rushing to get a job done and causing themselves or others injury. But rushing can also make make your job actually take a lot longer to complete. One thing that is always drummed into your head as an apprentice is:

"Measure twice, cut once"

A simple philosophy that works on more than one level.

How many times have you been in a hurry and "measured once", and ended up having to cut twice or more?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ladder Safety for the DIY Handyman

Here is a great new product that should help prevent some of the usual DIY accidents around the home. It is called Laddersmart and it has been designed to secure your ladder to the gutter of your house to prevent accidents and falls. It should also protect your gutter from damage that can be caused by your ladder leaning up against it.

Laddersmart is a quality ladder safety device that is fitted into the gutter from the ground using a telescopic pole. The ladder is then placed against the device and is effectively locked into place. The Laddersmart device prevents sideways and backwards movement of the ladder assisting in preventing ladder accidents and also protects the gutter from damage caused by ladders leaning directly against it.

The unique feature of Laddersmart is that the ladder is locked into place from the ground using a unique 'jaw' system. It can be used by anyone as it is so simple to use; tradespersons or the domestic home will have a use for Laddersmart.

Click here for more info and to see the Laddersmart in action.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Water Hammer Update

As an update on my Water Hammer post, I found some interesting info on the subject at the "One Project Closer" blog.

Ethan has written an article that gives a good description of the possible cause and effects of this problem and also alternate solutions.

Friday, March 14, 2008

DIY Fix Water Hammer Solution

Here is an easy solution for the DIY handyman.

After having water hammer problems in our pipes for a few weeks, it was time to go looking for a solution. I thought I'd try an easy fix by going to the local hardware to see what was available off the shelf.

I decided to try these new "Hydroseal Anti-Hammer O-Ring Tap Valves. And it worked. How easy was that. Also with the "spring" there seems to be no need to over tighten the tap to turn it off. The spring pushes the valve closed with very little pressure needed on the tap handle itself.

The Hydroseal is manufactured by Ryemetal. Click here to go to their website.

"Hydroseal's anti-hammer valve silences noisy pipe shudder by incorporating a cushioning spring. This spring allows for the gradual opening and closing of the tap.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What You Can Expect from your Bricklayer

By: India Cooper

Have you hired a bricklayer and you're not sure what he'll get up to? Here's a quick guide so you know what's in store...

Bricklayers do small one-off jobs but they are also an essential part of a building team, constructing and maintaining various structures. These include internal and external walls, chimney stacks and tunnel linings on both domestic and commercial buildings. They can also build fancy stuff like arches, garden walls, barbeques and benches.

A bricklayer coming to work on your project will use a variety of tools (both hand tools and power tools such as a cement mixer) and materials (bricks, blocks, mortar, lintels) depending on what the job involves.

Your brickie can't just turn up and start building a wall. He first needs to measure out the area and make sure he understands the architect's or designer's plans. He then works from the corners building up with bricks and mortar. He may work in a team, or at least have a labourer with him to keep supplying him with materials. The trade can be quite hierarchical, with labourers handing out tools, materials and tea, junior bricklayers doing straightforward laying and the more experienced bricklayers taking care of corners and decorative brickwork.

As he builds up a wall your bricklayer will be using a spirit level and plumb-lines (string stretched horizontally as a building guide) to ensure the wall is straight. He may also use tools to cut and shape the bricks (for instance around openings for doors and windows). And he will shape and make neat the mortar in between known as "pointing".

Your bricklayer will either use a corner lead or corner pole method to build. Corner lead involves building a pyramid of bricks at each corner. Once these are complete the walls in between can be filled, often by a less experienced bricklayer. But corner leads need to be really precise so they are time consuming and expensive.

Corner poles, also known as masonry guides are the alternative. The corner poles or posts are fixed and plumb-lines stretched between them, to guide the bricklaying. A layer of mortar (a cement mix) is then laid and bricks are laid and built up, with mortar to hold them in place.

On a big project a bricklayer may need temporary platforms of even scaffolding to reach up high. And if windows and doors are being inserted into a wall then a joiner will follow close behind to put in the frames.

So what sort of person do you want your bricklayer to be? He should be able to follow plans and be methodical, careful and physically fit - there'll be a lot of heavy carrying involved. You may also need him to be a good team worker and get on with other contractors if he's working as part of a bigger project.

And what sort of qualifications is he likely to have? Most brickies learn their trade on the job but there are formal qualifications they can get if they are happy to study. Local colleges can provide courses to gain NVQ qualifications in Trowel Occupations levels 1 to 3. This involves learning the essentials such as setting up and taking down working platforms, building structures (e.g. walls) and safe loading and unloading of materials.

Beyond the basics there are areas for specialist training including bricklaying, stone fixing and craft masonry. Once fully experienced bricklayers can become supervisors or estimators and beyond that construction managers.

If you are hiring a bricklayer it's worth taking an interest in what he is doing (while allowing him to get on with the job). Not only will it put you in a position of confidence but like anyone, your bricklayer may appreciate the interest you are taking in his trade.

Author Resource:-> Expert bricklayer India Cooper explains what one should expect when hiring a bricklayer. To find out more please visit http://www.ratedpeople.com/find/bricklayer

Article From Niche Article Directory

Monday, March 10, 2008

Must Have Tool Tip - The Level

They come in many different shapes and size, but the humble level (spirit level) is a definate tool that every handyman should have around the workshop. Whether you are checking for level (horizontal) or plumb (vertical) there is no simpler way. Some models also check for a 45 degree angle.

Here are some images of different types of levels I found on the "fine-tools.com" website.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Using Treated Pine - What is the "H" rating?

I needed to purchase some treated pine for 2 different projects. One was for some internal framing, which I wanted to protect against termites, and the other was for a gate post which would be outside and in the ground.

After talking with my local timber merchant I found I needed "H2" for the internal and "H4" for the outside gate post.

Here is a list of the different "H" ratings and their applications:

"H1" : To be used indoors, above the ground. Not resistant to termites.
"H2" : To be used indoors, above the ground. Resistant to termites.
"H3" : To be used outside, above the ground. Resistant to termites.
"H4" : To be used outdoors, in ground or ground contact. Resistant to termites.
"H5" : To be used outdoors, in ground with water contact. Resistant to termites.
"H6" : To be used when in constant contact with salt water.

Hope this clears things up a bit when deciding on the timber you need for your next DIY project. Make sure to ask your timber merchant for a more in depth description and application for each type.

Solar Panel Roof Tiles

Here is a great environmentally friendly building product.

Why have solar panels added onto your roof when the actual roof tiles themselves can be the solar panels and collect all the energy you need.

"instead of having a huge solar panel system fixed to the roof, this new system has actually built the solar panels into roof tiles, which will make the whole process easier and much more secure as the tiles are actually built into the roof instead of on the roof as with conventional solar power systems"

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Men and their Sheds

Here is a fantastic book called "The Complete Blokes and Sheds - Stories from the shed". Amazon.com describes it as:

The Complete Blokes and Sheds goes to the heart of what's sacred to many Australian men. Like the dunny (outside toilet), the footy game (football), and the meat pie with sauce, the shed has acquired an important place in Australian culture and mythology. It stands as a symbol of the Aussie male's integrity and a testimony to his ability to fix anything with a length of fencing wire, a hammer and a piece of 2 x 4.

In this good-humored and affectionate portrayal, author and photographer Mark Thomson peers into the gloom, past the dartboard, the beer fridge, and the piles of timber offcuts, to discover what really goes on between a bloke and his shed!

Friday, March 7, 2008

New Light Bulbs in Plain English

Here is a great little video showing the benefits of changing from the old style light bulbs to the more energy efficient and eco friendly CFL's. (Compact Flourescent Lightbulb).

Bookshelves, Bookshelves and more Bookshelves

Here is a very interesting blog highlighting different styles and designs of bookshelves, like the "Bookseat" and the"Cantilever Bookshelf" both pictured here.

As the site states: "Welcome to the blog on the bookshelf. The home of interesting bookshelves, bookcases and things that look like them."

Roof Tile Ventilation System

Here are some images to a  brilliantly simple idea that provides ventilation to the roof cavity. 

"This vent allows natural effective ventilation removing the hot air trapped in the roof cavity in summer and condensation problems in winter"

This product is called the Universal Ventilator System and was invented in Australia by Kevin Baker. Click here to get more info from his site.

Monday, February 25, 2008

How to Check Pressure on Domestic Water Pump

I was recently having a problems with the water pressure on our house. We live on 10 acres and have tank water only. The pump seemed to be cutting in and out quite rapidly, and also the sound of water hammer could be heard in our pipes. The pump we have is a Lowara with an 18 litre pressure tank. I was told that the most likely problem was that the pressure has reduced over time and air needs to be added to the pressure tank.

My tank needs around 20psi to operate efficiently. So I grabbed a tyre pressure gauge and checked the pressure, but found the pressure was at around 34psi. So it couldn't be the pressure right?

Well after spending a lot more time investigating, the problem did end up being the pressure. The problem was that I didn't check the pressure properly. So this is how it should be done.

You need to turn the power off to the pump, and open one of your taps to release the water pressure out of the pump and pipes. Now you can effectively check the air in the bladder that is in the pressure tank. Top up the pressure with a bicycle pump, and all should be OK.