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So Bosch now offers not just one but two different masonry bit designs: Bulldog bits, designed for fast drilling through light-to-normal weight concrete, and now also a tougher line targeted for use in “reinforced concrete or harsh aggregate.” They call it the Bulldog Xtreme.

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Cheesy X-name aside, this bit sounds like it has some design pedegree. For example, the new bit features a solid-head carbide design, which Bosch claims helps it drill more quickly through nasty stuff (like rebar) while wearing down less at the same time as compared to other carbide-tipped bits. And Bosch utilizes a variety of manufacturing technologies to make the Xtreme, too, including a “proprietary diffusion-bonding technology” and a “high-heat, high-pressure solid state welding process” to keep the bits’ carbide and steel in one piece.

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It’s got to be a difficult deal when sitting down to do the year’s rollout plan on some of these tools like the rotary hammer. Milwaukee and other toolmakers are constantly trying to keep customers who want more choices and their preference of simple production runs, even when fewer SKUs might be better for a balanced budget. Either way, customers still need to drill big-ass holes in tough materials.

The newest 5/8″ SDS Rotary hammer is 10.9″ long and 4.6 lbs. heavy — smaller and lighter than it’s ever been. It packs 1.5 ft-lbs. of impact energy, turns at 0-3,700 RPM, and features the latest in anti-vibration tech. All this power on hand, and the first question out of everyone’s mouth is always “When are you going to do a cordless version with the same power?” If they do produce a cordless version of some tools, will there still be wailing and gnashing of teeth when the corded version is shelved for a while or not upgraded as often?

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When I had my house built eight summers ago, I never suspected the wind — and the wind damage — we were in for. We’ve lost shingles, given up siding, and been struck by lighting. For a Toolmonger who likes to grill out, the wind also hit me where it counted — the grill itself. We generally stored it by the fence to prevent accidents, but storms seemed to hit us during the few times we left the grill out on the patio. After purchasing two cheaper replacement grills which both subsequently ended up wind-totaled, last year I decided to buy a new grill and protect it to be sure it’d last.

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Maybe you aren’t going to reach speeds of 40 MPH on these Marshalltown knee boards, but at least you won’t sink into the concrete while you’re shuffling along at 0.04 MPH.

Strap into the kneepads, lock your toes into the toe brackets, and you’re ready to work some concrete. The knee boards are made from 18 gauge stainless steel so they won’t turn into rust from contact with wet concrete all day. When the knee pads finally give out, you can replace them without having to buy a whole new pair of knee boards.

Pricing for Marshalltown’s KB230 knee boards start around $110.

Knee Boards [Marshalltown]
Street Pricing [Google]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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We’ve seen golden axes, golden shovels, and golden scissors for ceremonial purposes, but how about a gold ceremonial trowel? I’ve never seen one used, but if I had to guess, it might be for laying the first or last brick in a project.

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Irwin released a new SpeedHammer SDS-plus masonry bit line today aimed specifically at avoiding bit breakage due to rebar. Just like remodelers who tear into studs hoping not to snap a recip blade on a nail, folks drilling into masonry fear rebar — the steel reinforcement added to concrete projects. It’s damn tough to know exactly where they lie, and they’re hell on bits.

Irwin claims the new bit is “optimized for cutting through rebar at high speed” and offers “twice the life of traditional masonry bits.” The press release is a little light on technical details, but we’ll definitely follow up with some questions. In the meantime, you might want to give ‘em a look.

 

If you only need a hammer drill occasionally, perhaps you could get by with this Mastercraft hammer drill adapter. After chucking the adapter into your drill, you activate the hammering action by holding onto the adapter while you operate the drill.

The adapter requires a drill with at least a 3/8″ chuck. If you want to use the adapter with a cordless drill it should probably be a 12V or higher model. Canadian Tire retails this hammer drill adapter for $25. And for some reason, Duluth Trading Company charges $35 for their seemingly identical version.

Hammer Drill Adapter [Canadian Tire]
Hammer Drill Adapter [Duluth Trading Company]

Metabo’s Wall Chaser MFE 30 is a specialty tool for cutting grooves or chases in masonry or concrete.  The tool saves time by cutting both sides of the groove at once. Then all you need to do is chisel out the middle with the supplied extraction chisel.

Two 4-7/8″ diameter diamond cutting disks allow you to cut grooves 3/8″, 5/8″, 7/8″, or 1-1/8″ wide and up to 1-1/8″ deep, or you can just use one blade for other cutting chores. A dust port connects to common-sized suction hoses to keep the dust down.

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In the recent post Tool Pr0n: Would You Pay $280 For A Brace?, reader PutnamEco mentioned Protool — a company that sells tools in Australia, but not in the U.S. Seems like our friends down-under see a lot of tools we don’t here in the states. One product they sell which you won’t see anytime soon is their unique ProJet mixing system which looks more like a modern art project than a mixer.

Supposedly the ProJet mixing rods use the same principle as jet engine turbines. Three cones create an intense flow without introducing air into the mixture, which allows you to quickly and completely mix most materials without foaming.

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If you’ve never tried putting a 5-1/2″ hole in a piece of 1/8″ stainless-steel, my advice is to avoid attempting something so mad. However, if you need to put big holes in tough materials, there’s no substitute for a set of carbide hole saws outside of a knee mill, water jet, or EDM, and none of those are easy to find in the average home shop.

Carbide is a machinist’s darling, and the material is superb for this set of 14 hole saws from MK Morse. $125 for the set is steep, but discounted thanks to Amazon’s usual excellent prices. Milwaukee makes a similar set of five hole saws, but a careful user can cut just about anything with a good, high-torque drill motor or drill press. The ability to tear a sizable, accurate hole in just about anything can be a bit of a tall order for standard bi-metal hole saws, but carbide is up to the task.

Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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