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THE TOOLBOX

Sharpen Your Drill Bits Just Like the Pros

October 29, 2000|From Today's Homeowner

Keep your drill bits cutting like new with the Drill Doctor ($129, Model 250), the first affordable drill-bit sharpener that gives professional results. The electric sharpener uses a diamond abrasive grinding wheel to sharpen dull and broken bits. Use it on high-speed steel twist bits, cobalt bits, even expensive carbide-tipped masonry bits. And best of all, it's nearly as easy to use as a pencil sharpener: Tighten the bit into the chuck, set the correct bit depth and then insert the bit into the sharpening tube. A couple of quick twists and the bit is sharp.

For details, contact Professional Tool Manufacturing, http://www.drilldr.com; (888) 693-7455.

Seven-in-One Tool

There are dozens of multipurpose tools on the market, but Crescent's pocket-sized ToolZall Maintenance Pro ($75) unfolds to reveal a pair of cutting shears, not pliers like most multipurpose tools. The super-sharp shears can slice through a variety of thin, tough materials, including fibrous tapes, nylon cord, house wrap, felt underlayment and even metal flashing. Tucked inside the folding handles are six other useful tools: knife blade, slotted screwdriver, wood saw, single-cut metal file, double-cut wood file and 9-inch ruler. The tool is made entirely of stainless steel and comes with a woven nylon sheath.

For details, contact Cooper Tools, http://www.coopertools.com; (919) 781-7200.

Durable Masonry Blade

Vermont American's new Diamond Abrasive Masonry Blade can quickly slice through stone, brick, granite, ceramic tile, concrete block, fiber-cement board, stucco and virtually any other masonry material. It comes in three sizes (4, 4 1/2 and 7 inches) and is engineered to last 30 to 120 times longer than traditional silicone-carbide abrasive blades. Three models are offered: 30X, 60X and 120X ($16 to $75). The 7-inch 60X blade shown costs $40. The 30X blade of the same size runs $25; the 120X is $70.

For details, contact Vermont American, http://www.vermontamerican.com; (800) 742-3869.

Compact Compressor

The revolutionary new Craftsman Two-Stage 20-Gallon Compressor ($429, Model 16777) is a compact, portable unit that delivers the same air power as a 60-gallon, 240-volt stationary compressor--but it runs on standard 120-volt house current and is 50% quieter. The 4-horsepower, oil-free motor compresses air in two stages: First, a large cylinder compresses the air to 40 psi, then the air is discharged into a smaller cylinder, which raises the pressure to 175 psi. That's more than enough air power to run virtually any pneumatic tool, including an impact wrench, nail gun, cutoff saw, orbital sander, grinder, drill, paint sprayer, grease gun or sandblaster.

For details contact Sears, http://www.sears.com/craftsman; (800) 377-7414.

Pliers That Bite Big

There's nothing worse than needing to grip something with pliers and finding out that the tool you're using just doesn't have the jaw capacity. That's why Stanley Tools developed the MaxGrip Self-Adjusting Groove-Joint Pliers (about $17.50, Model 84-884). With a jaw capacity of 2 3/8 inches, this tool has the biggest bite of any self-adjusting pliers on the market. Its cushioned, spring-loaded handles can be operated with one hand, which is a distinct advantage when working in tight spaces. And, the curved, laminated-steel jaws are virtually indestructible, featuring coarse teeth for positive, nonslip gripping.

For details contact Stanley Tools, http://www.stanleyworks.com; (800) 782-6539.

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