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Home Depot Pro-Spective Review: Makita X2 LXT Reciprocating Saw

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There are exciting things happening with Makita’s new 36v platform right now.  A few months ago I got to try out the X2 LXT 36v Rear Handle Circular Saw (XSR01Z) (*affiliate link)  and immediately knew I was gripping my fingers around what the industry is quickly calling one of the best circular saws ever made.   Unfortunately, the Makita reps pried the saw from my hands when I got so excited I tried to cut their display booth in half with it.  So now I shed a tear every time I walk by the saw at my local Home Depot reminiscing on the memories we made (we’ll always have Atlanta…)  Flash forward a few months and I fell in love again with another Makita X2 Saw.  This time it’s the X2 LXT Reciprocating Saw (XRJ06Z) (*affiliate link) .  Pull the trigger of this Makita and you’re in for a thrill of pure unadulterated demolition and destruction.  Try to hold back a smile.  I dare you.

The X2 on this platform means you’re carrying two 18v batteries packed in side by side that combine for 36v of power.  There are few things in this world that this saw will not be able to cut through.  The extra battery power and a brushless motor are the equivalent of having a Prius Hybrid Monster Truck.  You’re going to be able to do some very serious damage and have enough juice to bring the pain for a very long time (without the reservations of driving a Prius). 

So how do you put a saw this powerful to the test?  I had just the job for it.  Over the last few weeks I’ve been demoing my back porch (still!) that should be featured on a DIY Nightmares TV show for how poorly it was constructed.  Because I’m not one to pass up lumber I could repurpose, rather than just cutting and smashing all the boards I’ve opted to cut as many decking screws as I can with a reciprocating saw and salvaging the decking boards for another project.  Decking screws that are embedded so deep into a board you can’t back them out with the best impact driver are no bueno.  While doing my careful demo I killed my lone corded reciprocating saw that I’ve had for years that I kept around for the tough jobs and then burned out another (less than a year old!) model from a well-respected tool company.  So if you’re keeping count that’s Deck – 2, Recipro Saws – 0.  So I grabbed the new Makita Recipro saw, popped in a fresh Diablo Steel Tipped Carbide Metal Cutting blade (*affiliate link) (with tool-less blade changing) and starting slicing through screws like bad guy fodder in a 70’s Kung Fu movie.  It was a blood bath.  Not in a bad way like I was waving my saw around carelessly and lost a few phalanges, more like a day of reckoning had come for those decking screws. The Makita came, saw (literally!), conquered and barely broke a sweat having only spent a bar of battery on each pack.  But why stop there?

Tired of me mentioning how the biggest tree in the neighborhood looms over our house (and both neighbors’ houses)?  Too bad!  Well this past weekend a limb as thick as a normal tree fell on my fence in the middle of the night.  Did I grab a chainsaw to cut it up the next morning?  Heck no!  I grabbed two batteries and the Makita X2 LXT Recipro and this time popped in Diablo’s Carbide Pruning Blades (*affiliate link) .  Within minutes I had nice firewood sized pieces of lumber cut and stacked, so I then started showing off.  These limbs were the perfect width for making coasters… Christmas presents anyone (Assuming I can get them dried out fast enough)?    Oak of any kind is a dense cut and gets tough for most blades and tools to run through.  The Willow Oak limb put up little to no resistance in this test.  Sharp blades and a powerful saw will win most of these battles. 

So what’s the downside?  Honestly, the performance is so strong with this saw that the only fault is how heavy the whole unit gets with two batteries attached to it.  But I don’t even fault it there.  The added weight helps stabilize the saw and gives you a more authoritative stroke through your material.  At a little over 12 lbs. with batteries attached the saw outweighs most of its closest competitors but I barely noticed because I wasn’t struggling to make cuts like I was with the other saws.  I say if you find the weight of this saw a downside then it’s time to hit the gym bro.

The Makita X2 LXT Reciprocating Saw (tool only) currently retails at The Home Depot for $195.71.  Need something a little smaller?  You can get the X2’s little brother for half the weight and the same price with the Makita 18v LXT Brushless Reciprocating Saw as well (check out Jaime’s review from That’s My Letter).
~Lazy Guy
*This review is part of The Home Depot’s Pro-Spective Tool Review program.  I have been compensated for my time and provided with product in exchange for my opinion on this tool and accessories.  My opinion is my own, but you’ll share my opinion when you fire this bad boy up.

Source: Lazy Guy

Lazy Little Library Build

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The seasons are changing, the kids are heading back to school and you now have a giant stack of books that you paged through this summer while living a life of leisure with your toes in the sand.  Now what do you do with all of those books?  It’s the dilemma we have at our house (minus the life of leisure) since the wife and I are both voracious readers (did you see I used a smart word there?).  In the paraphrased words of The Clash, “should they stay or should they go?”  With our bookshelves bursting at the seams the answer is go, but beloved books (or trashy summer reads) should go to a happy home (just like found kittens!).  So what’s the answer?

This month I teamed up with Kreg Tools to build a “Little Library” so the community can take a book or leave a book as they please.  It’s a great way to share with the neighborhood and (let’s be honest) clear those towering stacks of books out of that unsightly corner in your house.  Kreg Tools was also nice enough to let me try out their newAccu-Cut (*Affiliate Link) as part of this build to break down the plywood I used in the construction.  It’s like a track saw that uses a circular saw (fits most brands) and guides your blade to make straight and accurate cuts every time.  As a shop owner with limited space, being able to breakdown sheet goods without a table saw is a game changer.

Check out the full build video below that also includes my “most requested” shop tip (3:35 mark) about how to get the angles right on the Rustic X trim accents.  To view the step by step build (for free!) head over to Build-Something for the full tutorial.  If you love the design or build it yourself, please remember to go back and share it on the site!
Hate books?  The same build is perfect for a community pantry as well for sharing non-perishables with your neighbors. 
*This build has been sponsored by Kreg Tool and www.BuildSomething.com
~ Lazy Guy

Source: Lazy Guy

#IGBuildersChallenge4

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Hey guys I’m excited to share with you all that I will be part of the "Build Team" for the #IGBuildersChallenge4!  Yeah, I just threw a lyrical hashtag at you.  What of it?  That’s how I roll.  #sorrynotsorry (but sort of sorry I just brought that tag back into relevance). 
So what’s the "IGBuildersChallenge" and what’s this episode IV?  If you’ve been following me from the beginning of the website (liar) you’ll know I participated in the OG #IGBuilderschallenge and built (in my opinion) an awesome take on a media console, but with apothecary drawers.  Having never made a drawer in my life, I decided it was a good time to change the design plans and build 12 drawers.  Yes 12.

Did I design the whole project myself?  Nope.  Ana White designed the basic plans (you can see the original build plans and project here).  The way this challenge works is everyone who signs up gets the same set of mystery base plans at the same time.  You then have 3 weeks to build the project, put your own spin on it and post it to Instagram to enter.  Enter?  Yes… You’re in competition… against builders all across the country to win an awesome prize pack.  It’s a fight to the death… like the Hunger Games, but with power tools… and uh… no deaths.  So it’s not really like the Hunger Games at all I guess. 

So how do you participate in the #IGBuildersChallenge4? You head over to theofficial website hereand sign up.  That’s it.  Plans will get emailed to you and you’ll have 3 weeks, starting October 1st, to knock this mystery build out and post to the appropriate hashtag on Instagram to enter.  Easy peasy.  You have absolutely no obligation if you’re not interested in the plans or just don’t have the time to build.  So it’s low risk, but it’s great exposure for anyone who participates whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner DIY’er.
This season, plans are being designed by the talented Jen Woodhouse who will also be judging along with the Mother of DIY’ing Ana White and Clint Harp from Fixer Upper & Wood Work!
Oh, and real quick… what’s it mean that I’m part of the official IGBuildersChallnege Build Team?  It means that I’ll be on the other side of the challenge this time with a few other awesome builders sharing tips and tutorials along the way in how we built our own versions of this new mystery project (we’re like a woodworking help desk).  We’ll also be showing you the products we used in the build that were provided by an awesome group of sponsors that you will also get a chance to win during the challenge.
Excited yet? You Should be.
~Lazy Guy

Source: Lazy Guy

Furniture Touch-Ups Made Easy

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And now for something a little different. 

I generally build my own furniture these days, but when I first started out DIY’ing, like most people I was picking up furniture from the local consignment shop.  With a little love and some paint or stain I could quickly bring these pieces back to their former glory… or even make them a little better… in my opinion (chalk paint is still cool right?).  Well some of those pieces are still around the house and years of wear and tear with a toddler and several cats that think they are competing on Ninja Warrior have left quite a few scratches in the finish. 

Well scratches beware because the Mohawk 3 in 1 Repair Sticks are about to send you the way of the dinosaurs.  By repairing you… not by hitting you with an Earth shaking asteroid or slowly turning you into birds over several million years…
Check out the video below or stick around for instructions.  Or do both! 
Oh you’re back!  Or you skipped ahead… you rebel you. So how do these fancy magic markers work?
Step 1
Depending on if you’re from the era of Taylor Swift, Florence + The Machine or the Cars you can either "Shake It Off", "Shake It Out" or "Shake It Up".  Each method works.  Bonus point if you play the song while you shake the Repair Stick for 30 seconds.  Or longer if you’re really digging the tunes.
Step 2
Pop the top and hold the Repair Stick upright, then depress the nib.  I honestly have never heard of the word nib used in this context, but sure enough, it’s the pointed end part of a pen that distributes the ink.  I guess I’ll allow it, sort of like an aglet.  When you depress the nib, it releases any gas pressure that might have built up over time or from your shaking session.  When your paint starts flowing, dab the tip by pressing it (not "Dab" dancing) into a rag until it becomes fully saturated.  For the record… I had no idea I was going to have so many song references in this post.
Step 3
This is the point where I should be telling you to try the Repair Stick on a test area, just in case it doesn’t match.  What fun is that?  Go hard or go home I say!  Or play it safe.  Your choice.  Otherwise, you can use the nib and color in any minor scratches. 
Step 4
If you have a deep scratch, open the end of the Repair Stick with the clear plastic Fil-Stik cap and the filler.  Then rub the tinted wood filler into the scratch at a 45 degree angle.  If you go at a 42 or a 48 degree angle I’ll know.  Don’t you even try it.  Spoiler, the Repair Stick will explode (the repair stick WILL NOT explode, 45 degrees is the ideal angle for application). 
Step 5
After applying the filler, put cap back on and use the Fil-Stik cap like a little bulldozer to scrap off any excess filler.  Make sure you have a smooth surface when you’re finished. 
Step 6
Wipe away any excess filler with that rag with were not supposed to be dab dancing with earlier. 
Step 7
If you were filling in a bigger scratch and there’s any wood still showing, go back and touch it up with the marker side (with the nib!).  Take your finger and blend the remaining stain into the surface.  I personally like to use someone else’s finger (preferably still attached) so I don’t get stain on my finger.  Wipe away any excess and you’re done!

The Mohawk 3 in 1 Repair Sticks currently come in 4 colors at the time of this post, but rumor has it that they will eventually have 12 colors.  Speaking of, the colors match EXACTLY with IKEA Furniture colors.  Is this a happy accident?  Nope.  Mohawk used IKEA pieces to formulate the colors.  But if you’re like me and the closest Blue Box "please help me I’m lost in the florgenruben section" Store is several hours and a few hundred miles away, the Repair Sticks work on non-IKEA furniture too!
You can pick up the Mohawk 3 in 1 Repair Sticks currently on Amazon in Black, Brown, White & White Stain (*affiliate link). 
~ Lazy Guy
*This post was sponsored by Mohawk Finishing Products.  I’ve been compensated for my opinion and time.  My opinion is my own (and so is my time), but this product fixed the scratches in my furniture… so I might be slightly biased now.  Ha!

Source: Lazy Guy

Sanding Disc Storage Tutorial

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I have an underlying desire to keep things organized.  My wife will laugh at this comment because she knows I also have a desire make little piles of my junk all around the house (mostly shoved in corners) but it’s all a method of organization.  I put something somewhere and I know where to find it when I need it.  It’s another reason why I continue to add to my shop so it can be easier to find what I need when I’m concentrating on a project.  Have you seen my tool wall?  It doesn’t get much easier to find a tool when its physically hanging on the wall in front of my face.  Floor space is also at a minimum, so just like living in an urban sprawl, sometimes the only place to expand is up.  So this week I added some shop organization for my random orbital sander discs.  It won’t solve my bad habit of throwing all my spent discs on the floor mid-project, but it helps me from having to dig through my piles of stuff when I need the next grit.

I’m definitely not the first person to make one of these.  I know Brad from Fix This Build Thatmade one a few years ago complete with a French Cleat Hanger.  I didn’t do that, it sounds like a lot of work for someone with a "Lazy Guy" moniker.  But mine also only took me 30 minutes to make, not to mention Brad’s is only 15 ½” tall while mine is more than double that if you know what I’m saying… I’m saying I have more sanding discs sitting around my shop.  Plus, this build fits perfectly next to my 32” Wall Control Metal Pegboards (*affiliate link).  Organization next to organization?  Bliss. 
This is an extremely easy build, I used a total of four tools (plus a Kreg Jig) and a scrap piece of ¾” plywood and some leftover underlayment.  Plus, I got a billion questions about how I cut dados with my miter saw when I posted this on Instagram, so you get a special quick tip video! 
On to the build!
Tools Used (affiliate links)
Supplies/Material Used
2’x4’ sheet of ¾” plywoodScrap UnderlaymentWood Glue1-1/4” pocket screws
Step 1
As mentioned above, I made my storage unit 32” long, feel free to expand if you have a lot of sanding pads or just want to show off how many cubbies you can make.  Cut your quarter panel of ¾” plywood down to 32”.  Rip down two pieces to 6”x 32” and one to 7.25” x 32”.  If you’ve got a table saw… perfect. 

If you don’t have a table saw you can easily rip cut with a circular saw and a guide like the Kreg Rip Cut (*affiliate link) or Accu-Cut(*affiliate link) or you can make your own saw guide.  You do you.   
Step 2
Now for the fun part, I casually mentioned on Instagram I was using my sliding miter saw to cut dados and got a million questions how that was possible.  Easy… if you have a sliding miter saw with a depth stop (sorry normal miter saws) it’s as simple as spinning a knob on the side of your power tool to adjust the depth.  I have two sliding miter saws and one has the depth stop feature, the other one doesn’t.  If you don’t, you can just as easily cut your dados on a table saw or with a router. 

I just prefer my sliding miter method when the material works because I find there is less room for error and a higher chance my cutting will be square thanks to the fence.  Check out the quick video below and I’ll show you what I mean:
I pre-marked both 6” x 32” side panels with 4” increments to give me enough room to include multiple cubbies for varying grits of sanding discs.  I then cut my dado grooves wide enough to fit shelves made out of underlayment (thin plywood often used as paneling or drawer bottoms) It’s usually about an 1/8” thick. 

It’s important that your dados are cut at the same increments on both panels because your shelves will need to line up.  You don’t want wonky shelves.  You’re better than that. 
Step 3
With the dados cut on both panels I added a few pairs of ¾” depth pocket holes with my Kreg K5 Master Jig that will attach to the 7.25” x 32” back panel. 

I already know I’ll get complaints about why I didn’t hide the pocket holes on the back out of sight… valid question, my 6” x 32” panels were already pre-cut and leftover from another project so I didn’t adjust my measurements to accommodate the hidden pocket holes.  Plus with shop furniture I don’t care if I can see a pocket hole on the inside of my cubbies.  They are hidden by the sanding discs.  Pffttt…

Attach both panels with wood glue and 1-1/4” pocket screws and you’re almost done.
Step 4
Depending on the depth of your dado cuts, your shelves for each level should be close to 6”x 6” (give or take a 1/16th) .  You need seven.  Not six.  Not five.  Don’t be a rebel.  Follow my plans or suffer the consequences (of being short a shelf).

I find it easiest to stack my underlayment and cut a few pieces at a time so they are all equally sized.  Once you’ve cut them all, slide them into the slots.  You want them a little tight so they don’t easily slide out, but not so tight that they splay your side panels like your legs in a bad roller skating accident.
Step 5
Final step (other than attaching it onto the wall and admiring it) is to add the top and bottom panels.  Assuming you "mathed" correctly the top and bottom panels of underlayment will need to be 6.75" x 7.25".

Cut them evenly and attach with wood glue and brad nails.  If it goes a little wonky you can always clean up any overhang with a router and a flush trim bit.  But this is shop furniture, no one will judge you…other than everyone that sees your shoddy work…
Hang It Up!  Fill It Up!
The benefit of having wood panels on my walls means I can just screw everything straight to it.  I just predrilled and then attached directly to my shop walls.  Simple as that. 

It’s secure and it’s not going anywhere.  If you want to get fancy you can check out Brad’s French Cleat method or just use a router and a key-hole bit
~ Lazy Guy

Source: Lazy Guy

Home Depot Pro-Spective Review: DeWALT 20v Max Circular Saw

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Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. 
It’s always about Marcia, that flashy DeWALT 60v Max FlexVolt (*affiliate link) platform (with the matte black accents!) is full of power and is adored by the masses.  And then there’s little Cindy, that 18v NiCad DeWALT (*affiliate link) platform that’s pint sized with a 6.50” blade.  So cute and approachable.  But what about Jan?  It’s tough being the middle child.  It’s so easy to overlook a 20v Max model when there are two extremes on either side.  But this middle sibling is no slouch.  The DeWALT 20v Max XR Circular Saw (*affiliate link) packs a punch and shouldn’t have to resort to hitting Marcia in the face with a football to get noticed. 

The DeWALT DCS570 (*affiliate link) turns a 7.25” blade like it’s older sibling and thanks to its Brushless motor, hits over 5,000 RPM’s under load.  Before someone asks it, other than blade size, what’s the difference between the 18v and 20v max models?  If you didn’t already know, they use essentially the same battery power (alittle different with NiCad and Lithium-ion tech).  The guys at Pro-Tool Reviews have an excellent write up about the topic if you want to check it out, but basically it comes down to marketing the different lines within brand not the amount of volts it produces.  So what’s the real difference?  It’s the addition of the brushless motor.  Less friction and more power gives you more go juice, longer run time (over 100 crosscuts) and more raw power.  So if you were looking for more brute strength in the next model up, you’ve got it here.

Prove you say?  Will do.  I have a collection of circular saws from a variety of brands that are corded, cordless, brushless, 6.50" bladed, 7.25" bladed, left-blade mounted, right-blade mounted and even rear-driven (what?  I like collecting things…).  But, every single one of those saws struggled on the slab of 2" white oak I’ve been working on for months.  The wood is too hard and too thick (stop it) for those other models and would just bog down part of the way through.  Nothing looks better than incomplete cuts on a client build.  Not with this DeWALT.  It sliced like a hot knife through butter… or a 20v Max saw through 2" thick white oak…

The pistol grip is by far the most comfortable in my inventory.  I have lighter saws that are easy to use on crosscuts because of the weight difference (this one is 7.5 pounds), but the ergonomics on the DeWALT index in my hand in a way that requires very little assistance on the pommel to keep it on track.  So embracing your inner Luke Perry and hanging on for the full "8 Seconds" is a breeze.  I’ve since been using the saw on my deck demo paired with a Diablo Demo Demon blade (*affiliate link) and those water logged decking boards haven’t stood a chance. 

Straight cuts not good enough for you?  You get a bevel up to 57 degrees, but what you’re really going to love is the saw brake.  It’s electronic, so you get a quick stop when you take your finger off the trigger.  Like it’s miter saw big brothers, that’s an essential safety feature if you like to dangerously wave your saw around in celebration after glorious straight cuts.  You really should work on that…

My only negative mark is with the shoe (I’m more of a flip flop guy when I’m not in the shop).  Before I got the numbers full of sawdust and dirt, they were difficult to read when using the saw outside because of the reflective surface.  The FLEXVOLT line uses a matte black that cuts down on this issue (have I said how cool that looks recently?).  If my only complaint is about something being too shiny in the sunlight, then I think we have a winner.
The DeWALT 20v Max XR 7.25" Circular Saw (*affiliate link) is available now at the Home Depot

 for $159.00. 

~ Lazy Guy
*This DeWALT saw is part of The Home Depot Pro-Spective tool review program.  I have been provided with product and compensated for my time for my opinion of this saw.  My opinion is my own, so don’t go thinking otherwise.  And don’t go chasing waterfalls.  Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.

Source: Lazy Guy

Fun With Epoxy

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Uh oh.  Now you’ve gone and done it.  I had a perfectly planned order of posts coming up and “you’ve done messed it up A-Aron”.  Who am I kidding?  Like I have a plan.  Ha!  Anyway, if you’ve been following along on Instagram or are familiar with some of my previous posts, you’ll know that I’ve done quite a bit of experimenting with Epoxy recently… and it’s awesome.  I’ve actually had a handful of readers (yes I have more than two) reach out to me asking if I could publish a post on the topic.  So by popular demand…
I give you… Fun with epoxy.  But not too much fun.
If you didn’t already know, epoxy is magical.  not unicorn magical, but pretty darn close.  It’s a polymer (meaning it bonds, like a glue, not a BFF) and it can coat and adhere to pretty much any surface.  Wood, metal, stone… you name it.  Did I mention it’s waterproof?  They use this stuff on boats (with their flippy floppies on)!  So why is a DIY/Hobbyist using it?  Simple… to make projects look AWESOME.  Oh, and it’s functional too.  Sorry, it’s not all about looks… but look how good that looks below!

Admittedly, my first epoxy project (pictured below) was all about adding a little pop to an otherwise boring build.  You might remember it from my Valentine’s Day giveaway where I built a magic magnetic key holder with a bright red epoxy filled heart in the middle.  That was about as close as I’ve ever come to a decor craft project on my site.  Credit to you crafty folk, I go stir crazy if I don’t have a project that’s not a full sized piece of furniture taking up ¾’s of my shop.  While not the prettiest project, it was my gateway drug into using epoxy more with woodworking.

Where epoxy really shines though is with live edge lumber.  A slab of cherry or walnut is beautiful and rustic… the knots and cracks make it as unique as Elsa’s “frozen fractal” snowflakes.  But those unique features can also weaken your build as the wood moves over time, so something like an epoxy has the ability to fill those voids evenly and strengthen your material.  Or even more obvious, if you have a giant knot in your perfectly good slab that’s supposed to be a desk, you fill that sucker up with epoxy for a smooth surface, like on the desk I built pictured below.

Because of its durability and it’s ability to permanently Velcro itself to pretty much anything, the possibilities are endless in how you can implement it creatively into your work.  Just uh… make sure you’re wearing gloves when you use it because permanently epoxied fingers doesn’t bode well for your future projects.  My buddy Matt from Keddie Woodshop is using tinted epoxy set in molds (like the image below) to extend pieces of live edge that would otherwise be scrap.  Want to see what he made with it… click the image to find out!

So where do we find this magical glue of the Gods?  I personally get mine from Amazon.  I’ve been buying this 32 oz. Clear Epoxy Kit from East Coast Resin (*affiliate link).  I then use a drop or two of Epoxy Pigment or Epoxy Powder to change the color.  In the immortal words of Jessica Simpson "A little bit goes a long way"… or "it says Chicken by the Sea".  Just know that one little drop can tint an entire 12 ounce cup of mix.

Let’s talk actually applying it though.  It’s messy.  You need to tape off your material if you’re filling knots or cracks or cut outs. I usually use good old blue painter’s tape and tape off the back (for leak throughs) and around the edges of whatever I’m filling so clean up is easier.  Prepare for the worst (isn’t that the coast guard motto?) and tape extra just in case.

Mixing is no joke.  You get two bottles, one is Resin (the thick as molasses goop) and hardener (clear and runny).  You need three clean and equal sized containers.  Pour equal parts resin and hardener into their own cups.  Then stir the resin for several minutes.  Your hand will honestly get tired.  The instructions even warn you of hand fatigue.  I was honestly a little offended… but dammit they were right.  My hand was tired.  Jerks.  Then you pour the contents of both container into the third empty cup… and stir some more.  Literally for several more minutes.  You can do the math depending on the size of your project or wait until it starts giving off a little heat.  What?  Heat? No one told you there’s a dangerous chemical reaction about to happen?  Yes, it starts getting warm and will eventually get hot, so hop to it before the reaction ends and your epoxy sets.

So how did I make mine so pretty?  I added a drop or two of acrylic house paint and stirred to get my base color.   Then after I poured my epoxy into the piece, I used a dropper and added a touch of black pigment dye.  It dissipated and swirled on it’s on.   It was mostly topical like you saw at the image at the top of the page, but you can actually inject other paint colors or dye with a syringe to make sure it penetrates the entire void. 

Let it set for the recommended timeframe (usually over night) and then it’s time to pull out the sander.  I should mention there might be a little "shrinkage" during drying.  Don’t worry Costanza, it won’t be "I was in the pool" level of shrinkage, just know you might need to go back and touch up some areas as air bubbles rise out while the epoxy sets.  When you’re happy (and it’s dry again) you need to sand off the excess (if you over poured like I did) so depending on the size of the space filled use a Random Orbit Sander or a Belt Sander.  I start with 80-100 grit and then work my way up to 220 grit.  Once all the waste is removed, I’m left with a perfect epoxy filled inlay that’s an extension of my wood surface.  I sand and seal like the rest of the wood and sit back and bask in the beauty of the build.
~ Lazy Guy

Source: Lazy Guy

Bosch StarLock-MAX Oscillating Multi-Tool Review

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When a new box of surprises arrives from a tool company… I get excited.  It’s not Charlie Bucket excited where I break into a song with a bedridden grandparent, but it might as well be.  Maybe I’ll back it down to how excited my toddler daughter gets when she finds anything that combines the color pink that also happens to be dusted with glitter.  Which in turn… covers all of us and our pets with glitter.  Seriously… glitter toys are the devil.  I can explain away sawdust (man glitter) to my sports buddies… but they aren’t letting pink glitter on my face slide.  Back to the tools though… I generally work with consumer or pro-sumer grade tools.  They blend the perfect amount of power with a DIY’er friendly budget and have plenty of “oomph” to get most jobs done right.  These are the tools for the nice guys (and gals).  The weekend warriors and the project makers.  But occasionally I get my hands on something a little meaner.  You know, one of those tools that the standard models are afraid to make eye contact with in the hallway.  That tool with enough power and brute strength that children and small animals run for cover when you flip the switch and unleash the fury.  In this case, I’m talking about the Bosch 5.5 Amp StarLockMAX Oscillating Multi-Tool GOP55-36 (*affiliate link).  

You’re talking up to 20,000 OPM’s (oscillations per minute) from a corded 5.5 amp hand tool that sounds impressive even without any context or comparison.  But any old tool company can make a product that shakes back and forth really quickly… only to shake itself to pieces and fail after a few times of use.  That’s not the case here like my heavy duty Bosch Routers.   There’s something more under the skin of this Bosch tool.  The entire construction is solid with reinforced metal gearing that stands up to the abuse this beefier motor dishes out.  I’ve got a handful of other Oscillating Multi-Tools (OMT’s) that you can barely use for more than a few minutes before your hands start going numb from the vibrations.  Not this model.  Because of the tough construction and StarkLock (more on that in a minute) connection, you’re not sending all of that wasted energy back into your arms.  It’s getting pushed right back into your work surface for maximum power (and maximum effort in the words of Wade Wilson). 

Alright, cozy yourself up for a second and get comfy, let’s have a fire side chat (sorry, no bear skin rug) about the StarLock connection.  Basic science has taught us that metal is a fantastic conductor of heat, especially when friction is involved.  So whether you’re cutting through bolts or breaking up tile, your blade is going to be heating up… which is problematic when you have to swap them out.  The StarLock system has two benefits:  Tool-less changes and a Gi-Joe Kung Fu grip that’s never letting go.  Just a quick pull of the release handle on the side of the unit and the hot blade easily drops right off (no burnt fingers).  But “easily removed” doesn’t mean your blades are going to fall off mid-use.  No, while you might think the “Star” in StarLock is referring to one of those shiny star stickers our grade school teacher would only put on Shannon’s “Excellent A+” book reports (or one of those stupid Apple A+ stickers), it’s actually referring to the grip pattern that holds the StarLock blades in place.  The best way I can describe it (other than a jello mold shaped star) is a cog or bottle cap top with a dozen teeth making sure the blade never slides or shifts.  That goes a long way in reducing that vibration I mentioned early.  Less vibration in the blades means more precision cutting, but also a grip that isn’t going to fail you mid-project.  Bonus, it also lets you mount the accessory securely in any direction (preferably not back towards your hand).

Speaking of blades… the Bosch GOP55-36 works with all StarLock, StarLockPlus & StarLockMax (for the really tough projects) accessories.  From plunge blades, to sanding pads, to knives and scrapers, there are over 40 different StarLock accessories you can snap onto your model and do some real damage with (in the most precise way possible).  I’ve been using mine mostly with the metal cutting carbide blades for sheering through stripped out decking screws in the porch I’m tearing out.  I’m repurposing the lumber for another project so I don’t want to go into full demolition mode (but I could with a quick blade change).  With the compact design, I’m able to easily slide the blade underneath a decking board and cut through the stubborn screws in seconds given the amount of power I’m throwing at it.  I’ve actually seen videos online of people using this OMT instead of a reciprocating saw.  You can literally cut a 2×4 in half with it.  Try that with one of the “other” guys’ models.  See you in an hour.

Next project up I have to rough out a few holes for electrical work boxes for the interior and exterior walls of my shop.  Quick work for the Bosch whether I’m cutting through wood or metal.  After that I’ll slap on the attachment for scraping up tiles for the bathroom overhaul we’ve been putting off forever.  The bottom line is, Oscillating Multi-Tools are the Swiss Army Knife of power tools.  They can be used in pretty much all trades whether you’re a carpenter, electrician, GC or even a plumber.   Short of having to cut or grind through Adamantium, there aren’t many materials that the G0P55-36 can’t muscle its way through.

So let’s talk the important details if you haven’t already clicked ahead to see the price (affiliate links to follow).  The model I tested is the Bosch GOP55-36C2 that’s a 40 piece kit with a hard case that retails for $399.00.  That’s a ton of attachments.  You can also get the Bosch GOP55-36B that comes with only one plunge blade attachment and a soft sided case for $259.00.  Those are big price tags if you were originally considering something like the Dremel Multi-Max 5 amp OMT that comes from the same family tree and retails for $99 (and no StarLock!).  Just like cars though, a three cylinder 55 horsepower Geo Metro could probably drive you from point A to point B, but a v12, 690 horsepower Lamborghini Aventador will do it faster and with more power (oh, and look good too).  Fancy car jokes aside, if your work depends on speed, accuracy and enough power to tackle pretty much any task, you know the value of spending more money on reliability when you know you’re going to need it.  A ton of power and a gritty toughness is something I’ve consistently found with the Bosch tools I’ve been using recently and you’ll find the exact same qualities here in the GOP55-36 OMT.
*This product was provided by Bosch Tools in exchange for my opinion and review.  My opinions are my own, but can be heavily influenced with a donation of some Epic-Bar Buffalo Jerky bars and a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle… but then I’ll be really sleepy and need a nap.
~ Lazy Guy

Source: Lazy Guy

Portable Power: Ryobi One+One Cordless Miter Saw

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I don’t know whether I’m proud or ashamed by the fact that I’ve referenced the Fast & Furious franchise (how did this even become a franchise?) only one other time on this website.  But there’s a scene in one of the newer movies where “The Pacifier” says something along the lines of “I need you to take all of this equipment and put it into this car and make sure it’s portable, lightweight and fast.”  I’m paraphrasing of course, but dialogue was never the strong suit of those movies.  Cars then proceeded to go fast and things start ‘sploding.  Luckily for me, when Ryobi Tools decided to take all of this equipment stacked on one side and then drop it into a tricked out lightweight model that was portable… we got a lot of speed and a lot of power… and no ‘splosions!  This is especially important because we are talking about the new Ryobi One+One 10” Cordless Brushless Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw (affiliate link).  That’s a mouth full.  I shall now rename you the “Mobile Blade of Fury” or “Bruce”. 

But how mobile is Bruce?  And how furious is he?  To quote myself when my wife asks me an in-depth question and I’m distracted by something shiny and awesome… “yes… wait what?”.
Let’s start with the power.  This is the beefiest power tool in the Ryobi One+ line up.  It’s running two 4 amp hour 18v batteries that combine into a 36v powerhouse.   You’re getting over 800 cuts with a fully juiced flux capacitor that has enough power to take you back to Hill Valley in 1955.  I’ve talked about this before, but Brushless motors are game changers in the battery world.  Less heat and less friction equals more power and longer run time.  I’ve been using this saw for about 2 months now and I’ve yet to drain more than half the power over a full day of work. 

Smoothly but more so awkwardly segueing from power to portability… this saw has no cord.  It’s 100% battery powered.  I would love to see a Hybrid model in the future like the Ryobi One+ SCORE Bluetooth Speakers or the Shop Fan, but for now… let’s bask in the glory of the cordless miter saw.  My normal shop saw is the RIDGID 10” Dual Bevel, Sliding Compound Miter saw (again with the name… let’s call him Steve).  Some people still call Steve one of the best saws you could get for the money even after he’s been out for a few years.  However, Steve is fat (and not just with a PH).  He’s over 70 lbs. fat.  Other than the obviousness of having to plug the saw in, lugging 70 lbs. around isn’t exactly portable.  Which is why the Ryobi weighing in at only 34 lbs. is nothing short of amazing when you take the same great features and make it half the weight.  With easy one-handed carrying, Ryobi is generally categorized as “consumer” brand for DIY’ers, but now they are fully jumping into the pro-grade world because this is definitely a “job-site” saw. 

Over the last few years thanks to HGTV and DIY Networks house flipping has become about as trendy as pumpkin spice lattes.  Regardless of background or skill level, people are foaming at the mouth (and not from their latte froth) to snag a property for the cheap and turn it into a Chip and Joanna Fixer Upper.  If you’ve ever gutted a house to the studs before, you usually find some major electrical issues (if you’re lucky enough to even have the power safely running) which means your bigger power tools either have to run off of a generator (extension cords everywhere!) or you’re saving those associated tasks for last.  Having a portable miter saw that runs on batteries is a game changer for that reason alone.  Making it lightweight and easy to relocate around the job site just puts on exclamation point on how ridiculously convenient it is.  Whether you’re a beginner DIY’er or a flipping pro, this is a great addition to your tool inventory.
Let’s touch on the features before we go anywhere else.  There are very few models of cordless miter saws on the market right now and even fewer have saw blades 10” or bigger.  The novelty wears off when you realize most of the competing models have a tiny 7.50” saw blade and cost double the price of the Ryobi.  So you spend more… and can cut less…. Hmmm….  The 10” saw blade and the sliding miter give you a 12” cross cut capacity.  That’s big enough for pretty much any job-site requirements plus it can cut up to a recommended 3.50” thick material so 4×4’s are on the table (unlike some other brands…).  The EXACTLINE laser is more accurate than most onboard lasers I’ve used on other models plus it’s easily adjustable.  I generally use my miter saw lasers more like “pirate guidelines” than tools for accuracy, but this model is by far one of the better options I’ve had my hands on. 

Another element I was very happy to see is an upgrade to the dust collection.  Miter saws will always kick up a ton of sawdust regardless of what kind of suction you have hooked up.  One of the biggest issues is how to gather the dust coming immediately off the blade without inhibiting the cut?  A lot of people have been MacGyver’ing a deflector out of foil or tape directly behind the blade that channels your kick off into that problem area to get sucked up.  Ryobi has taken note and extended the deflection point as well.  While we are nowhere near the elusive “dust free” operation it’s a noticeable upgrade.    
One thing you’ll notice when pulling the trigger is the sound is very specific to this model.  It’s a little more high pitched than other models, but I’m already wearing ear protection (and so should you!) so it doesn’t bother me.  The fun part is when you take your finger off the trigger… electric brake!  It’s not immediate, but it might as well be.  The electric brake should be standard on all saws.  It’s a fantastic feature that will can save your fingers or material from absent minded action. 

So is it all sunshine and butterflies?  Actually yes, you get a lot of saw for the money compared to other models in the group.  My only gripe doesn’t even apply to me, but those weirdo left handed folk out there.  The trigger safety is not lefty friendly like my RIDGID is and it’s a little cumbersome at first even for a righty.  Once I got used to it I had no issue, but I found the safety design distracting at first after I had carefully lined up a cut.  But hey… with an accurate laser who needs to stress over lining up a cut?
The Ryobi One+One Cordless Brushless Dual Bevel Sliding Miter Saw (Bruce) is available now at the Home Depot for $299.00, but don’t forget your batteries (*affiliate links).
*This product was provided by Ryobi Power Tools in exchange for my opinion on the product.  My opinion is my own (even though they gave me a magical cordless miter saw).
~ Lazy Guy

Source: Lazy Guy

Hammer Time: Heavy Hitter Shoot Out

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*Some of these tools were provided by The Home Depot as part of The Home Depot Pro-Spective Review or provided by the manufacturer in exchange for compensation and my opinion of their product.  Even though they sent me nice things, my opinions are still my own.  Unless you buy me a truck, then I’ll say whatever you want about your product…Ha!

Before we get started, I have to ask the question. It’s just the elephant in the room.  When we are talking hammers, which MC Hammer song do you play in your head?  I personally think “U Can’t Touch This” is too obvious of a choice.  “Too Legit To Quit” is a solid option, but I’m going with “Addams Groove” or breaking it down real slow with “Have You Seen Her” (the Hammer ballad).
I have a lot of hammers now.  I think I have just under a dozen around various places if you throw in the mallets and the odd balls (I’ve never even used a ballpeen).  Those are different birds altogether.  I still have my first real hammer my dad gave me during a project from when I was a teen (or I just took it, it’s unclear at this point).  It’s some indecipherable brand hammer that’s seen several decades worth of wear and tear.  Other than material, I’m amazed at just how complicated a simple machine like a hammer can be these days.  It’s all about being a multi-tool now, so I decided I would take a few of these hammers with bells and whistles and pit them against a bare bones model. We aren’t picking winners and losers though, that’s not what this website is about, the idea here is to find the right kind of hammer for you depending on your work. 
The Selection Process

The hammers needed to be under $50 so no fancy Stiletto’s (although if anyone has an extra…).  Their weight needed to be 20 oz. or more so these big boys didn’t overpower a little old 10-16 ouncer.  They must have an add on as a standard feature.  I chose three very different brands and designs to go head to head against a bare bones traditional hammer.  Each of these hammers are available for purchase at The Home Depot.  Product links below will be affiliate links. 
The Physical Head To Head Test

I found the gnarliest piece of pressure treated 4×4 I could find and drove several 3” galvanized nails (for each hammer) into the moldy old board leaving about a quarter inch exposed.  I then used each hammer’s claw to attempt to pry out each nail. 
The Standard Swinger

Retailing for $12.97.  It has a magnetic nail starter, a ripping claw and an 11” handle totaling it in at just under 13” long.  This is actually the first hammer I purchased on my own (although mine is an older graphite model).  It’s heavier than any model I previously used and it’s been smashed, dropped, kicked, thrown and left outside in the elements for weeks at a time.  For such a low entry price, it’s amazing how well it’s held up over the years. 
The Grip Test
The hammer shaft (stop giggling) itself has a subtle contour that comfortably moves the head forward for front loaded striking.  It swings like a heavier hammer.  It fits well in the hand, but several years of use (and neglect outside for a few months) have left the grip very slick.  The newer models have a similar material so you can expect a similar reaction over time.  It’s not a deal breaker, but I know from working outside in the summer with it, a sweaty palm could send it flying.  The end of the grip does flare out like bell bottoms so you should be able to keep a handle on your hammer. 

The Blunt Force Test
The traditional round face is standard size, so it swings like a hammer should.  The front load drives the nail in with no issues so there are no surprises here.  Because I have owned this hammer for a few years and have absolutely abused it, the edges of the striking surface have started to round slightly from mishits which means off center swings can be problematic. 
The Pry Test
Smaller nails with larger heads are no issue for this claw, but anything bigger seems to cause trouble with this model.  Whether it’s the arc of the curve (not "of the covenant") or the split of the claw, I almost always have to grab a prying tool to pull nails with this hammer.  The 3” nail didn’t even budge for this pry test.
Bells & Whistles
This is a bare basics model, but it does come with a magnetic nail start. This was a new feature at the time on the model I purchased in 19 digity two, so the technology wasn’t there yet.  Because of the wear and tear, the nail set rarely works as intended anymore, but the new models it works just fine.

The Conclusion
You’re going to think by the statements above that I’m down on old faithful here… but I’m not.  This is a sub $15 hammer and it performs beautifully in terms of what I’m asking it to do.  Throw in the lifetime warranty (guaranteed forever!) from Husky and this tool will last longer than I ever will.  If you’re looking for a no frills model with great durability that will get the job done this is an excellent budget choice.  I know I can pass this on to my kid after the writing has completely worn off like my dad did with his trusty old masher. 
The Stealth Bomber

Retailing for $34.99.  It has a magnetic nail set, a straight claw and a 15” handle totaling it in at 17” long.  The Milled Face provides a non-slip striking surface in addition to the “Shockshield Grip” that is supposed to reduce vibration up to 10x more than the competition and has industry leading durability.  The i-beam handle construction should stand up to a lifetime of abuse without bending while the claw has an asymmetrical anti-ring claw that reduces vibrations.  It comes across as a minimalist inspired heavy hitter that takes in consideration how you feel after the violent journey you’re about to put it through.
The Grip Test
“Good Vibrations” must have been playing on loop for the design team here because the shape and contour of this hammer is all about reducing the impact your body takes with each blow.  The red “Shock-Shield Grip” is comfortable in the hand and supplies an extra few inches or room to have a comfortable purchase when prying.  While it’s probably not indestructible, the grip of this hammer is supposed to be an industry leader in durability.  This is by far the thickest grip of the group, but it’s spongy enough that it grips firmly. 

The Blunt Force Test
Compared to the standard hammer, I’m shocked at how balanced this model feels from top to bottom.  It truly feels like an extension of my hand when swinging it.  You immediately notice the difference a milled face (dimples instead of a smooth face) makes on the striking surface.  I intentionally (sure you did) tried a glancing blow when driving the nails and it found solid purchase each time.  Striking has a completely different feel then the other hammers as well because this model is all about shock absorbing the blow.  Whether it’s the asymmetrical claw or the construction of the handle, you can feel the difference when driving the nail home. 
The Pry Test
The claw on the Milwaukee is flat, which is perfect for prying up boards and getting extra leverage in the demo world.  It did not fare well in the nail pull though, because it’s not a claw hammer, this is a framing hammer.  The lack of curve in a framing hammer makes it difficult to pull nails, in fact, the nails I attempted didn’t even budge, but that’s not the point.  Framing hammers are drivers.  You get solid hits each time for quick and consistent builds.  Who needs to pull nails when you get it right the first time?
Bells & Whistles
The magnetic nailset on this hammer is fantastic.  I can slap a nail on and get it started one handed every time and then smash it into my lumber without any fear of deflection.  But that’s not what sets this hammer apart though.  Coming in as the most expensive of the group (but still under $40) the selling point of this hammer is the vibration reducing technology.  Framing hammers usually swing like a heavy load and really fatigue the user after extended use because of the trauma you’re causing.  Tennis elbow be damned, this is the equivalent of sitting in your cushy easy chair. 

The Conclusion
The Milwaukee is by far the best driver of the group, but then, that’s what it was designed to be.  Pitting it against other framing hammers, it should still get the same tip of the cap when it comes to balance and comfort.  The milled face is one of my favorite features of a framing hammers when you’re smashing nails into 2×4’s.  Just know that the milled face will leave indentations on your lumber, so don’t expect a pretty finish, just straight results.  The Milwaukee does come with a Limited Lifetime Warranty, but it feels pretty indestructible.  Look good, feel good, that’s what I say.
The Multi-Tool

Retailing for $29.97.  The striking surface is larger for maximum impact with an enlarged claw curve and an 8.25” handle totaling it in at 17” long. The extended claw curve is meant for board gripping during demo in addition to a 2×4 notch for maximum torque when pulling studs.  The hammer also includes two different nail prying locations (one on the side) for when a traditional claw won’t cut it.  This is what a hammer from the future should look like.
The Grip Test
It has one of the shorter designated grip zones out of the competition, but it doesn’t take away from its comfort.  The rubberized grip has plenty of tread that makes it very comfortable to squeeze and the cushioning definitely reduces vibrations .  This DeWALT has the second biggest grip contour out of the group that helps balance out a design that could honestly feel very off balance given the weight distribution.  But the ergonomics and the design of the grip area pay off because the swing feels front loaded for extra driving power.   

The Blunt Force Test
Even though it’s only 17”, this hammer feels like you’re swinging a much longer model.  I honestly had to check my swing at first because I felt like I was going to miss the target when I was lining up the strike.  That’s a quick fix though and the larger striking surface brings the pain.  The face is almost square in shape and is significantly larger than most of the competition.  That’s a great feature for driving big nails and absolutely when unleashing the fury in the demo world.  It’s not easy make a demolition hammer feel like an everyday swinger, but DeWALT has (forgive me…) nailed it.    
The Pry Test
If you’re advertising a model as a demo hammer, it better perform when pulling nails and the DeWALT shines here.  The extended claw and curvature snatches the life out of any nail that thinks it’s going to stay put.  I’ve even pulled stripped decking screws out of material with this model because it doesn’t fear no stinking screw threads.  This model also offers a secondary nail prying location that gives you another option if you can’t fit the hammer into a smaller space for traditional prying methods. 
Bells & Whistles
If you know anything about cats and dogs, you’ll immediately notice this hammer has what looks like a dewclaw.  That’s where this striker becomes a ripper for torqueing 2×4’s and pulling down sheet goods.  You don’t call it a demo hammer because it hits hard, it’s a demo hammer because you can also use it to tear things apart. 

The Conclusion
Demo hammers are a rowdy bunch that usually come in and ruin the party.   However, there’s enough balance in the DeWALT that it really feels like it wants to be a striker like a framing hammer.  My guess is you’re going to start seeing a lot of clones of this design soon because it really is the best of both worlds.  While I’ve seen no weakness in the durability, I’m going to be very interested in seeing how a tool that’s pulling double duty holds up over time, but hey, that’s why DeWALT has a Limited Lifetime Warranty on it.
The Zombie Slayer 

Retailing for $29.97.    With an oversized demolition striking surface and a chisel point, this hammer measures in at 18”.  At almost triple the weight of the competition, this hammer has a multi-purpose wrench, a board adjuster, a dry wall ripper, multiple nail prying slots and oh yeah… a bottle opener.  Make no mistake… this is a tool built for destruction.
The Grip Test
Even though it has a soft rubber coating, the Annihilator has the most difficult grip to index because of the shape of the tool underneath.  It’s a straight metal bar without contours or hand ergonomics mixed in to the  metal underneath for comfort.  But that’s intentional.  Because this is part wrecking hammer and part pry bar, adding curves to the handle would cause the tool to potentially rotate during prying actions where significant leverage is needed or even worse open it up to structural failures under extreme pressure.  I personally would like to see some sort of contour in the rubber grip that gives your fingers extra purchase, but this tool is about brute strength and mayhem.  Stop being a pansy.

The Blunt Force Test
If you watched the teaser video of this test, you’re going to catch me trying to hold back a grin when I picked up the Annihilator.  It’s heavy.  Almost 4 pounds of heavy.  The other models are barely over 1 pound.  I mentioned in the grip section that it indexes funny, but by God it smashes a nail in.  I had to consciously tone down my swinging motion for this hammer (do we call it a hammer or a WMD?) in the video because it was distracting.  Ha.  The massive striking surface is there for demolition, but I was actually shocked at how well it drove a nail in.  Keep in mind, this isn’t something you want to swing all day, you’ll fatigue quickly compared to lighter models.
The Pry Test
The claw on the Dead On is aggressively curved and shorter than all of the other models.  It’s a completely different design, but it also pries better than any other model.  The only restriction I’ve found with the main claw is with smaller more delicate nails, but why are trying to be delicate with this model.  There are multiple nail prying locations along the handle for the little guys, and if worse comes to worse, you can also use the prying location on the stabby end. 

Bells & Whistles
There’s no ignoring the unique design of the head of the Annihilator.  That’s for gripping and ripping.  Sheet goods and 2×4’s tremble in fear when the jaws lock and you apply torque with this model.  This isn’t a demolition tool, it’s a wrecking ball.  I would be remiss to leave out the dagger on the end.  Okay, it’s not a dagger, it’s a chisel head for breaking up tile and bricks, but this is one of the reasons people keep this tool in their zombie apocalypse bug out bags.

The Conclusion
Okay, I’ll admit, this is the oddball of the group.  But it fits all of the criteria and it actually faired pretty well.  It sounds silly to compare something this monstrous to a traditional claw hammer, but the point is you have a ton of options out there that can pull double duty.  Of course the weight holds it back from being an everyday striker, but when it comes down to breaking stuff, the Annihilator throws its weight around and has the teeth to bite back.

Hammers comes in all shapes and sizes for good reason.  No one hammer is going to be suited for all jobs.  Each of these offers a solution for whatever DIY project you have lined up.  Of course there are more expensive options out there that might do wondrous things, but at these price points, you’ve got a low investment and great results with each of these models.
~Lazy Guy

Source: Lazy Guy