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Remember how we pointed out some of the benefits of Bosch entering the micro-recip market? Here’s another benefit: more blade selection. Not surprisingly, Bosch recently announced a line of blades to go along with their new saw. Bosch calls ‘em “pocket blades,” by the way, which seems like a cool idea to us. Since they share the same mounting system as standard recip blades, we’re totally guilty of slapping Milwaukee’s Hackzall blades in our standard recip for cutting jobs that don’t require the standard 6″ to 12″ reach. (And once or twice we’ve mounted full-sized blades on a micro-recip when it happened to be close at hand.) Of course, Bosch’s new blades will work with any standard recip mount, including full-size saws and both their (and Milwaukee’s) micro-recips.

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Bosch recently introduced a new corded rotary hammer — a 1-1/8″ model that delivers a whopping 2.4 ft-lbs. of impact energy. But what’s most interesting here is Bosch’s apparent desire to switch to the traditional long, D-handle design. DeWalt, Milwaukee, and others have long adopted a chunkier vertical-motor design (see above) for their largest hammers, generally claiming a better in-hand balance as the length of the traditional D-handle models proves relatively front-heavy.

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One of the benefits of operating Toolmonger is that I get to hear what a whole lot of people think about tools — especially the tools that people want as opposed to simply need. And one of the most drool-worthy tools for years was — if my email box was to be believed — Festool’s Kapex KS 120 sliding compound mitre saw. (No, I didn’t misspell that. They’re a European company, so they like to spell miter a little differently than we do in the States.) Recently, however, it seems to me that Bosch has stolen a lot of Festool’s thunder.

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I know I’m going to catch some hell from the nice folks at Bosch, but hey — I call it like I see it: the PS60 looks to me like their response to Milwaukee’s Hackzall. That said, I’m glad to see Bosch offering it. Some folks bought into Bosch’s sub-compact line and some bought into Milwaukee’s — probably through something like a drill/driver — so I’m glad to see that each group has access to this incredibly cool little tool type, regardless of their initial brand investment.

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As it has for the past four years, the end of this year warrants a few posts about the hardware that emerge as tough and rugged gear. Some publications (and apparently readers) are content with the quick mention of a tool and a feature list. We actually use the tools we write about — new, old, or well-used, they all get a workout just the same. A few, like the Bosch ps21, stand out as remarkably handy to have in the shop.

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Studfinders and wallscanners are a bit of a mystery to me. While I dig them, the requirement for having one is beyond what I have cause to use in everyday projects. But the new wallscanner D-Tect150 uses Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) Radar and for some reason, it’s just cool.

Bosch says that the 150 is the first detector to use Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) radar in a wallscanner and that it

…exceeds all other conventional sensor scanners by bringing superior detection depth and accuracy to the job-site.  The Bosch D-tect 150 is also the only scanner in the marketplace that can display material type, depth & relative width information of ferrous and non-ferrous metal, non-metal objects (i.e. wooden studs and plastic pipes) and live AC wires in concrete, wet concrete, deep concrete, in-floor heating, drywall, metal and signal view.

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The folks at Bosch saw last week’s post about tool sculptures and sent along these pics of “Princess,” their Bosch accessories mascot. She’s five feet tall, and yes, she’s built from and completely skinned in various Bosch accessories.

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Jason Feldner, son of Sauron the horrible, did look out onto the land and he said “Come, pathetic tool writer hobbits and test these drills, that I might crown the One Drill.” And so it was that the hobbits were made to to suffer in the bowels of Chicago’s heat in search of the One Drill for the son of Sauron.

“Screw!” Barked the Feldner. “Screw and screw some more! Find me the One Drill, for you will not be released from bondage until you do!” And the hobbits toiled.

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The press release for Bosch’s new GLM 80 laser distance measurer lists a ton of features, like the fact that it’s lithium-ion powered, that it has an automatic backlit display, and that it plugs into an accessory to become a digital level. But what you really want to know about it is that it payed a lot more attention in geometry class than you did. That plus a built-in inclinometer means that it can perform 90-degree height measurements with just one laser sight. Or it can give you the height of, say, a distant window without you being level with the bottom of it. Just point it at the top, click, point it at the bottom, click, and you get the height.

In 90-degree mode, you can shoot any point on a wall and the GLM 80 backs into the 90-degree measurement based on the straight-line distance and an assumed 90-degree angle. No more shooting once at (hopefully) 90-degrees and again at your measure point. It’s a big time-saver, and seems more accurate than putting the device on the floor.

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Our compressor test has finally come to a close, and here are the results. We looked at all manner of compressor tools and tests and found what we consider to be some truths and untruths about what’s handy and what is scrap. To be honest, we didn’t find any flaming bags of poo in our test, just some compressors built for different kinds of jobs and a few we didn’t really get along with for one reason or another.

Performance

As you might expect, performance testing was largely a matter of looking at the numbers. The more CFM the tool required, the more challenging it was to keep up using low CFM compressors. So an 18-gauge brad nailer might go 50 brads before it needs to cut in on a 4.2 CFM compressor, where something like the CH got somewhere around 12 brads. Did both do the job? In a word, yes.

However, there was a large difference in how fast the tank refilled and how quiet it was while doing so. Compressors like the Bosch and Makita would only kick in for a few seconds — the DeWalt and Hitachi for around 20 seconds and something like the CH would go chugging on for a full minute or so.

There was also the matter of what you were going to be doing with the compressor. For instance, intermittent or continuous tools will make a large difference in what compressor you use and how well it works. Intermittent tools like 18 gauge nailers running at 90 psi (or even framing guns) might be fine for lower CFM rigs or compressors that have a cut out of 130 or 165. This is because you aren’t using it all at once and the motor can catch up to your use by replacing pressure when you’re lining up the next shots.

But when we hooked up an air-powered drill (continuous) with a CFM rating of around 6.5, the results were, well, not good. A few seconds of pulling the trigger and every one of the tested machines was pedaling at top speed to keep up. Eventually they all spun down into gasping out whatever the pump would push. The lesson: Don’t use continuous tools higher than the CFM rating of the compressor, or they won’t perform like they should.

So to better understand where machines that seem similar on the outside really start to differ, we put up a few baseline numbers.

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