First Impressions: Milwaukee 12amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw

by Bruno Bornsztein

First Impressions: Milwaukee 12amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw
Ok, so I know I'm late to the game getting a reciprocating saw, and if you already own one or know everything about them, mosey along. But Alicia's been getting after me to get rid of these ugly metal pipe laundry line posts in our back yard, and today I finally decided to do it. 

Now, for any job there are lots of tools that will work, and usually one or two that are perfect for the task. In this case, I decided on getting a reciprocating saw...

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Test Lab: Work Sharp 3000 Tool Sharpener Review

by Chris Gardner

Test Lab: Work Sharp 3000 Tool Sharpener Review

After hanging out in the DIY scene for a few years, I've realized something: a lot of creative projects are simply involve cutting or shaping raw materials and then putting them back together again. Of course, there are "from the ground up" projects, like painting or crochet, but sewing, cooking, woodworking, paper crafting, and many more require means to break down materials like wood, fabric, or vegetables into specific shapes before putting them back together in the way you want.

created at: 11/09/2011
And that, friends, requires sharp tools. Any time you use a blade, you break down the edge, twisting the metal out, dulling it and making it less useful. Even cutting regular paper with scissors. 
created at: 11/09/2011
But here's the thing - not only are sharp blades more effective, they're actually safer. So, having sharp tools, like scissors, kitchen knives, carving tools, saw blades, chisels, and paper cutters allows you to work faster, and cut yourself less. 

Enter the Work Sharp 3000.

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Our Porch Floor Makeover: A Wagner EZ Tilt Paint Sprayer Review

by Bruno Bornsztein

Our Porch Floor Makeover: A Wagner EZ Tilt Paint Sprayer Review

A couple of weeks ago, the people at Wagner (they're based in nearby Plymouth, MN) sent me one of their new EZ Tilt Spray Painters (if you're looking for one, you can buy it here on Amaazon) to try out. We had been planning on re-painting our porch floor, so we decided to put it to the test and get a minor project out of the way at the same time. Read on to see how it went.

The Wagner EZ Tilt paint sprayer
   

Paint sprayers break down into two categories; cup-fed and hose-fed. The hose-fed sprayers are more expensive, and the gun connects to a hose, which pulls paint from a remote source. The cup sprayers have a little cup that attaches to the sprayer body, and the paint goes in there. They're cheaper, and somewhat more maneuverable since you're not tethered by a hose. The downside is, the cup is small, so you have to refill more often.

The EZ tilt sprayer (I had the EZ Tilt Plus) has a flexible suction tube that sits in the 1-quart-capactiy paint cup and turns with gravity so it's always submerged in the paint. That means you can spray at any angle (in our case, vertical was especially nice) without having paint splatter (splatter happens in other cup-sprayers when the nozzle is partially out of the paint). 

The EZ Tilt makes it possible to spray at any angle.

(We started by clearing the porch off and hosing it down; the amount of black grime streaming off of things was tremendous)

Cleaning the porch off

I bet our neighbors just love us (Hi Matt! Hi Sally!):

All our porch stuff; off the porch.

Preparation:

You're going to be shooting atomized paint particles around, and they're not likely to stay exactly where you tell them to, so preparing the work area is really important. This isn't like brushing or rolling, where, if you mis-paint, you can always just go back and touch something up. If your paint spray drifts over onto something you don't intend to paint, the whole thing will have an impercebtible tinge of paint on it. I used plastic to cover the stucco of the home's exterior wall, and paper on the porch wainscoting:

Prepping the work area.

DON'T DO THIS! I actually had another 100 feet of plastic just sitting there, waiting for me, but I opted for the paper instead (on the right side). Mistake! More on that later.

Spraying:

In practice, I found the EZ Tilt really easy and fast to use. I haven't used other sprayers before, so I can't really compare, but the EZ Tilt gave me a nice, even coat, great coverage, and little overspray. I practiced for about 5 minutes on a piece of sheetrock, and was able to get the hang of it right away. As advertised, it had no problem spraying while pointed straight down at the floor. It did, however, splatter a little bit when the paint cup got close to empty (I assume more sprayers will do that). So you have to keep an eye on your paint level and refill before you get to the bottom.

Spraying is extremely fast; I did one coat on our porch floor (about 8x30 feet) in under five minutes. Of course, that speed is offset by the extra preparation you need to do to use a paint sprayer. I spent at least a half hour taping and putting up plastic on the walls. Don't even think about using one of these indoors; it would work fine, but just wouldn't be worth the trouble.

Clean up:

To clean the Wagner EZ Title up, you basically take the whole thing apart, piece by piece, and flush everything with water. The instructions make this look very scary and time-consuming, and the first time, it was. But after you've done it once, it's actually pretty easy, and not nearly as cringe inducing as you'd expect. One my second time cleaning the sprayer, I'd guess I spent about the same amount of time that I would have spent cleaning up paint brushes, rollers and pans. 

Tips:

This is not really specific to the EZ Tilt, but more to spraying in general: cover EVERYTHING you don't want painted with plastic. I made the mistake of skimping on the plastic in a few spots (using just painter's paper instead), and ended up with faint paint spray on the walls. I take full responsibility; it's a paint sprayer - even the tiny amount of breeze will blow neary-invisible poofs of paint around, and you probably won't notice them on the walls until you take the protective paper/tape/plastic down. Seriously; plastic is cheap, go crazy with it.

Another tip: paint on a calm (not breezy) day. Duh.

Finally: don't spray at night, or when your grouchy two-year-old is napping. This thing is pretty loud.

Bottom Line:

The EZ Tilt is a well-designed, well-built paint sprayer that really does spray at any angle. It's compact, easy to clean up, and reasonably affordable (starting at $129 on Amazon). If you're doing a small, detail job, stick to your brushes and rollers, but if you're doing a larger outdoor job (like a porch, deck, or exterior wall/fence), I'd definitely recommend it. You'll save time and get a smoother finish.

(PS - I'd show you an 'after' photo, but frankly, it looks about the same as the 'before' photo ... a gray, painted floor. I could go out a take a picture, but I think you'll have more fun imagining it. Put some unicorns in there for me!)

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Curbly Original
How To: Scherenschnitte with X-ACTO

by DIY Maven

How To: Scherenschnitte with X-ACTO

A few weeks back the folks at X-ACTO offered to send over a few of their items for me to review. My first thought was, "What could I possibly have to say about X-ACTO that my fellow Curbliers don't already know?" My next thought was, "Since I've never actually owned an X-ACTO, I can't really answer that question." I know, I know! How has a chronic DIYer never bought an X-ACTO?! Because such purchases occur to me when I'm at the checkout. You know, where they sell the knock offs for a buck or two. And, honestly, I figured one craft

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Test Lab: Bondera TileMatSet

by DIY Maven

Test Lab: Bondera TileMatSet

created at: 04/06/2011

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to play with a new tiling product called Bondera TileMatSet. Simply put, Bondera is pressure sensitive sticky back on a roll that eliminates the need for mastic and thin set when tiling walls, countertops or splash-backs. It's billed as VOC free, mess free, and it allows immediate grouting after tile installation. Sounds too good to be true, right? I thought so too. I mean, it's sticky back tape for goodness sake! How's that going to hold heavy tile??

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