Big Blade, Deep Cuts
Cut?flip?cut again. That's how we have to cut a thick post or beam with a regular circular saw. Maybe the cuts line up, maybe they don't. With the new 10-1/4-in. worm drive saw from Skilsaw, you can cut through thick materials in one clean pass. The saw has a cutting capacity of 3-11/16 in., and it weighs only 16.45 lbs. (less than some 7-1/4-in. worm drive saws.) The motor is powerful enough to plow through the toughest laminated veneer lumber. This beast of a saw, called the Sawsquatch, costs about $449 online.
Ever More Powerful Cordless Yard Tools
Not that long ago, battery-powered outdoor equipment was a promising idea, but not all that practical. But battery technology has improved, and the power of modern lithium-ion batteries has grown substantially. First there was 18 volts, then 36 volts, then 40, 56 and now even 80 volts from a single battery! When you combine these honkin' big batteries with new motor technologies, you get tools that compete favorably with their gas-engine cousins. Chain saws powerful enough to cut 18-in. logs all morning. Mowers you can use for huge yards. Trimmers that will run longer than you can.
And boy, do we love the benefits. Reliable push-button starting, quieter operation and no messing with gas (or worse, mi gas and oil!). You'll find most of the major manufacturers making these next-generation tools: Echo, Ryobi, Oregon, Kobalt, Craftsman, Stihl and Greenworks. Each offers many tools that take the same batteries: mowers, trimmers, chain saws, blowers, pole trimmers, hedge trimmers and more. The new 80V battery from Greenworks will even run a snow blower! Cordless tools cost more up front, but they are super-handy! If you've ever doubted that battery-powered tools would pack enough power for you, give these new ones a try.
A Superior Air Hose
I've been using a Flexzilla air hose for about five years now as I build our summer home. It's seen me through framing, sheathing, roofing, siding and trim. This hose is as good as it gets: It lies flat with absolutely no coil memory. It's soft and doesn't mar woodwork but is tough enough to use on the roof. It coils easily, and the bright color makes it easy to spot, so you're less likely to trip or run over it. It's one of those rare accessories that I would instantly replace if I ever lost it. The 50-ft., 3/8-in.-diameter version costs about $35 at home centers and online.
Ken Collier, Editor in Chief