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From the (virtual) mail bin: “Have you seen or used the one-handed reciprocating saw? Home Depot and Lowe’s both have one, and I was wondering how well they work.” Indeed we have. Read on for details.

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For the past few years, Milwaukee has maintained extreme focus on tradesman-type applications. The end result for the consumer tends to some pretty wicked task-specific products that everyone can use, but might not have the need for. The ductwork and drywall Sawzall blades follow suit with this trend.

The ductwork Sawzall blade features a “pierce point tip” designed to plunge into sheet metal with a tapered shape, allowing the blade to make both radius and square cuts for any kind of pro- or homeowner installation. Tiny teeth are designed to cut clean without hanging on duct material or bending the metal, which also makes for a less accurate fit.

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After eating my share of crow over Milwaukee tools I didn’t think I’d like (see the fastback knife), I’ll try not to stick my foot in my mouth over this one. Milwaukee doesn’t spend cash and time building tools they think will fail. If they say their M4 cordless screw driver is aimed at manufacturing gigs and tradesmen, where the same small job like turning screws is a requirement, we won’t argue. I would suggest that I’ve never seen Milwaukee go to battle without a plan in the last six years, and that this tool is just the opening salvo for the M4 line.

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As much change as we’ve seen with tools over the last 6 or 7 years, there have been as many or more improvements in their accompanying accessories. Milwaukee’s latest-gen blade is called “Double Duty Upgrade,” and though it may sound like they’re stringing together adjectives like Top Gear’s “i-Hammer Eagle Thrust,” there actually is a method to the madness.

Dan Wolgram, Sr. Product Manager at Milwaukee Electric Tool, sums up the changes in the new Milwaukee blades:

“When blades break at the tang and buckle under stress, users have to waste valuable time on the job replacing them to continue the task at hand… As a result of this frustration, Milwaukee has created several new-to-world solutions that strengthen the blade at its weakest points, delivering the longest lasting blade on the market today.”

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If I say the words “rotary hammer,” what do you think? Big, right? Big and burly. Mean. Like twist-your-arm-off mean, I bet. Hell, I wrote about one for PopSci back in 2009 under the title “The Meanest Drill.” As we’ve always discovered here at Toolmonger, though, not everyone has exactly the same needs when it comes to tools. After looking into the needs of electricians and commercial remodelers (among others), Milwaukee thought, “Wow, these people have a lot of our M12 gear, and they could use something capable of dealing with masonry and drilling pretty big holes.” Hence, they’ve created what you see above, which is a hell of a lot smaller than it looks. It’s an M12 rotary hammer, and it’s just 9″ long and weighs just about 4 lbs.

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Though we suspect many pros already know about this, we wonder how many high-end DIY folks are aware that most of the major manufacturers offer automotive versions of their charging systems. Indeed, if you take the time to do a little Googling, you’ll discover lots of options regardless of the color of your power tools. Read on to take a closer look at four of them.

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Milwaukee has long targeted many of their specialty tools at electrical trade professionals, even to the point that they work closely with some of the electrical trade unions’ training programs in order to learn more about what electrical pros need, and of course to get additional exposure to future customers. So it’s not a big surprise that one of their newest M12 tools is a cable cutter, designed to replace ratcheting-style hand tools electricians use to cut big cable.

Milwaukee claims that the two biggest problems they saw with existing cordless cutters were cost and size; they don’t fit well into crowded electrical panels, and they’re so freakin’ expensive that most folks just go with the cheaper manual option. So they figured a reasonably-priced M12 addition might do the trick.

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It’s common practice these days to carry a specialty bit for every combination of length and bit type needed to complete the job. So if, for example, you need two masonry bits and a hole bit, and you need lengths of 6″, 12″ and 18″, that means carrying nine bits — plus spares. Milwaukee has what they think is a better idea. They want you to think about SDS bits the same way you think about sockets. Carry the bits you need, then add an extension to give you length options. Today they announced the product that backs up that idea: their new Max-Lok carbide extension system.

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If you flip through Toolmonger’s comments — as some tool manufacturers do, incidentally — you’ll come across a number of ideas readers post from time to time targeted at specific manufacturers. We’ve decided to start pulling some of those ideas out and featuring them, especially when they strike us as, well — pretty damn good ideas. This one’s for you, Milwaukee: Why not add another M12 bay on your multi-voltage charger?

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Milwaukee has indeed made good on their promise to join DeWalt in entering the hand tool market under their power-tool-famous brand, and one of their new products even made it into our Favorites of 2011 list. This drywall saw caught my attention as well as a potential replacement for my Husky 5-in-1 drywall tool. Honestly, I hate the Husky, except for one thing: it works. It’s ugly, it’s awkward, and it looks like a Swiss Army knife designed for a two-year-old. But it does a great job of making accurate holes in drywall, so it gets a good bit of use around my house.

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