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Any power tool consists of a power system — a drive motor, essentially — and a series of mechanical devices that interconnect that drive to some kind of spinning or reciprocating tool: a drill, saw, or driver. So why not just make the motor and handle detachable from the rest of the mess (interconnect and tool) and sell the latter separately so you can just swap them onto the tool when you need them?

Well, we can think of three or four reasons why it might not work. But Black & Decker decided to give it a try. They’re calling it the “Matrix” system: a battery/motor/trigger in a drill/driver form factor along with a series of attachments, currently a drill/driver, oscillating tool impact driver, jigsaw, detail sander, trim saw, and router.

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There are a few choke points to be aware of when tackling a home painting gig. Among them are picking the right paint, doing correct prep work, and covering the walls well. Somewhere between gobbing paint on the wall and cleaning up comes the part that separates the pros from the noobs: edges. Black & Decker thinks their new EasyEdge powered paint edger will help blur the line between you and a pro, so to speak.

The EasyEdge injects paint into a tube and pushes it through the foam paint pad at the head in an evenly distributed manner. An edge on either side keeps the paint in a neat line. A knob at the bottom controls the effective flow, and the trigger lets the paint loose by pushing the plunger.

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When we first speculated a while back about the kind of tools we might see as a result of the Stanley/B&D merger, we focused on cross-pollination of the brands — like DeWalt manufacturing hand tools (which happened) and Stanley getting some power tools (wait for it). What we didn’t consider was how changes in the new company’s management could lead to within-brand sharing, too — like, for example, Black & Decker installing DeWalt’s 20V MAX battery tech in its tools. What you see above represents what we imagine is just the first volley in this kind of thinking.

So let’s look past all the corporate structure stuff and look at the tools themselves. Black & Decker’s 20V MAX brands start with B&D’s stalwarts: handheld vacuum cleaners. (Really — you still call ‘em Dustbusters, don’t you? Like people from Texas call all sodas Cokes?) These include the Flex, a Dustbuster-like model, and an accessory-laden model that looks great for automotive vacuuming. All three get the 20V MAX lithium-ion batteries, but like their NiCd predecessors, they’re permanently installed.

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What you see above is Black & Decker’s latest entry into the cordless screwdriver market: the Gyro, named such because you control it by simply turning it. When you pick up the Gyro — which you hold pretty much the same way you would a palm nailer — your palm pushes a switch on the back, turning the Gyro “on.” Rotate the screwdriver to the right, and its accelerometers detect the turn and begin rotating the powered driver clockwise. Turn it back to center and it stops. Rotate it to the left and the screwdriver head turns counter-clockwise. The farther you rotate the unit, the faster the head spins.

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Ok, so maybe it’s more of an evolution than a revolution, but Black & Decker seems to have definitely discovered how valuable a cheap, simple cordless screwdriver can be to the average user. Back when the original SmartDriver came out, we saw lots of press comparing it unfavorably to the Bosch PS20 (which cost three times as much) and other drivers with more features and tech. But we stuck it out, pointing out that for a certain market segment, the SmartDriver’s simplicity (and cheapness!) scored big. Now Black & Decker offers a whole freakin’ line of SmartDriver-inspired inexpensive drivers. Read on for the rundown.

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Despite the Tim Allen-grunt-inspired popularity of chainsaws, we’ve recommended safety saws for most homeowners. They’re not as versatile as full-on chainsaws, but they trade a little bit of utility for a ton and a half of safety, which can make all the difference for someone who probably picks up a saw only once or twice a year. We’ve heard plenty of good things about Black & Decker’s Alligator Lopper, and Worx offers something sort of similar — but even simpler in operational terms. They call it the JawSaw, and it’s a little cheaper now than when it was first introduced.

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At no point in my life have I ever looked upon yard work with the same soft-focused, warm fuzzies that seem to inhabit many of my neighbors. They talk of string trimmers the same way I might describe a muscle car. For my part, I just want the least amount of hassle with the easiest care possible. Black & Decker sent me something that actually fits that bill in the 36v string trimmer. It cuts with the same grunt as a gas trimmer but without all the pulls, fuel mixing, and sore shoulders.

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I arrived a little early this year to my parents’ house on Father’s Day because my dad had cut some limbs from the large tree out front. He’d freed them from the tree with a bow saw, as he has done since before I was born. This year, however, I brought the Alligator Lopper with me. After we separated all the wood we wanted from what we didn’t, we had a lot left over — as you can plainly see in exhibit (A) pictured above.

We hauled the leftover foliage from the front near the street to the backyard brush pile of the three-acre plot in one trip. Was this a big deal? To be honest, yes and no.

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Chuck likes to give me a hard time about my Skilsaw because he says I bought it for the sole reason of not using the term “circ saw.” That’s of course untrue — I also got it because it was on clearance. It’s lasted 5 years thus far and is still going strong, but it has nothing on longtime reader Putnam Eco’s old Black & Decker.

This saw has lived through about 8 American presidencies and roughly 4 major wars, and its still sees service today judging by the modern Diablo blade perched on the spindle. Folks love to talk about the Sawcat, which is one of the saws that built Black & Decker’s rep in the American workforce back in the day. But this bad boy was the foundation that the Sawcat was built on. Sidewinders today don’t look that much different, in fact.

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And so it came to pass that there were semi-great storms in the Texas area in early 2011, and they did reap horrid damage unto the land. Trees were splayed in twain and fences did break loose from their moorings. The simple Texan folk looked out onto their devastated lawns and saw that it was horrible. They cried out — on the internet — for a savior, a tool to salve the wounds of their broken shrubbery, and reading from the book of interweb-jackass they did find a chainsaw. And lo, there was much suffering across the land.

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